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michaelday
2009-11-18, 23:16
I understand the new Touch will be able run in standalone mode Ė directly accessing a music library on a USB drive via TinySC, and then act as SB Server for other Squeezebox players in the network. Will the SB Server within Touch be able to perform transcoding for the other Squeezebox players? Iíve seen another thread implying that the sbs in Touch wonít perform transcoding. Ouch! This can be a real limitation! Can / will the ability to perform transcoding be added sometime later to sbs in the Touch, as part of a firmware update?

Iíd like to get the new Touch (for all it can do) especially this new capability to run it in standalone mode - no longer needing to have a PC always running, to have sbs - while the Touch provides the sbs music library access for other Squeezebox players.
Iíve already got a couple SB3s, and my LARGE music library is already all ripped w iTunes in the AppleLossless format ( because I also have iPods ). With my AppleLossless formatted music - Iíll need transcoding to be able to play my other SB3s, if I want to have a new Touch thatís running standalone attached to the USB drive music library.

Help !

Thanks!
Mike

pfarrell
2009-11-18, 23:26
michaelday wrote:
> I understand the new Touch will be able run in standalone mode Ė
> directly accessing a music library on a USB drive via TinySC, and then
> act as SB Server for other Squeezebox players in the network. Will the
> SB Server within Touch be able to perform transcoding for the other
> Squeezebox players? Iíve seen another thread implying that the sbs in
> Touch wonít perform transcoding. Ouch! This can be a real limitation!

I have no inside information, but lets get real. The Touch is tiny, and
has a small embedded processor. Its never going to run the complete
SqueezeBoxServer software. Its too slow, has too little memory, etc.

Of course there are limitations, its not a big computer with a couple of
gighertz processor with hundreds if not thousands of megabytes of memory.

I'm not even seeing why you would need transcoding. There is no need for
transcoding for MP3 or flac files (know from personal experience) and
I'm pretty sure that AAC is supported natively by new and even legacy
SqueezeBoxen.


--
Pat Farrell
http://www.pfarrell.com/

bpa
2009-11-19, 00:58
Transcoding is a way around the memory limitations of the older players such as SB3 as well as a way of adding support quickly for formats which have a smaller user base. The limitation affected not just audio format but also the transport p[rotocol (e.g. mms, rtmp)

Compared to IP3K players, AAC is supported natively in Touch. I believe WMA lossless and other WMA variations will be supported. I think they are in the build but they are currently disabled as they need tuning.

In recent builds there is support for Flash RTMP protocol for test purposes which means Flash/MP3 and Flash/AAC streams could be supported natively.

With less memory constraints it is possible that in subsequent releases more native audio formats will be added depending on demand vs costs (e.g. licensing). So the future for Touch is not adding transcoding but adding native formats.

pippin
2009-11-19, 01:29
Transcoding is a way around the memory limitations of the older players such as SB3 as well as a way of adding support quickly for formats which have a smaller user base. The limitation affected not just audio format but also the transport p[rotocol (e.g. mms, rtmp)

Compared to IP3K players, AAC is supported natively in Touch. I believe WMA lossless and other WMA variations will be supported. I think they are in the build but they are currently disabled as they need tuning.

In recent builds there is support for Flash RTMP protocol for test purposes which means Flash/MP3 and Flash/AAC streams could be supported natively.

With less memory constraints it is possible that in subsequent releases more native audio formats will be added depending on demand vs costs (e.g. licensing). So the future for Touch is not adding transcoding but adding native formats.

Which doesn't help if you want to stream to an old player...
I wonder: If it's possible to decode on the unit, it should also be possible to transcode, shouldn't it? After all, you could just decode and then stream PCM.

bpa
2009-11-19, 01:39
I think it is possible to transcode just it may not always be practical (i.e. the rest of touch functionality may suffer).

A while back, as a test for a Waveinput like functionality using a USB audio adapter for line-in. I put together a plugin which uses transcoding routines which would stream PCM from the USB into SBS using "arecord". This would be minimal "transcoding" as there is no processing of audio format just passing PCM from an ALSA input to SBS for playing.

It didn't work and I didn't do more investigation but I think it was because transcoding was disabled because of command line option rather than missing code.

mherger
2009-11-19, 01:53
> I wonder: If it's possible to decode on the unit, it should also be
> possible to transcode, shouldn't it? After all, you could just decode
> and then stream PCM.

The code is not removed but disabled by default. I'm sure some of you guys will come up with a workaround if it can be done. But for the masses we don't want to risk playback interruption thus disable transcoding by default.

Themis
2009-11-19, 03:55
What would be the practical advantage of transcoding if the server (transcoding) software and the client (player) software use the same hardware resources ? (processor/memory)
There's something I don't get here... does the Touch has two processors and two distinct memories ?

bpa
2009-11-19, 04:00
It would help if you are using SBS on another system which has not much power (e.g. NAS). In a broader context once a native decoder has been implemented, it may become available on all Squeezeplay platforms (e.g. Radio) not just Touch.

SO if decoding is done natively then the NAS will not have to do transcoding so the NAS could stream AAC, WMA lossless etc. to many Touch, Radio etc.

pfarrell
2009-11-19, 08:37
pippin wrote:
> Which doesn't help if you want to stream to an old player...

And why is that a problem? If you have an old player, you are running
SqueezeCenter or SqueezeBoxServer on something. Use that server.

I have never paid a penny for my SlimDevices server over the many years
I've been using this stuff, going back to pre-"G" SB1. I have just used
an obsolete left over computer.

I'm just not grokking all the whining in this thread. Its a dinky
embedded computer. That is can do any functions of an SBS is cool. That
it can't do them all is expected.

At this rate, we are going to have to resurrect Ron Popiel to do
advertising for the Touch: It plays, it servers, it chops, it dices.


--
Pat Farrell
http://www.pfarrell.com/

JJZolx
2009-11-19, 13:53
The thing that everyone has to understand is that Squeezebox Server on the Touch is a lightweight. It's "Squeezebox Server Light". If it works for you, great. If you can change your hardware and/or your music library to make it work for you, great. If not, you can't use it and that's all there is to it.

It doesn't do transcoding, there isn't a web interface, and it can't access network files. There's also no access to many of the server and player settings that you see in BigSC's web interface, because nobody is going to code an interface for all those setting in the Touch's user interface.

pfarrell
2009-11-19, 14:07
JJZolx wrote:
> The thing that everyone has to understand is that Squeezebox Server on
> the Touch is a lightweight.
>
> It doesn't do transcoding, there isn't a web interface, and it can't
> access network files. There's also no access to many of the server and
> player settings that you see in BigSC's web interface, because nobody is
> going to code an interface for all those setting in the Touch's user
> interface.

What he said.

And if someone tried to implement all the differences, I bet they would
soon find out that the Touch CPU is too slow, and the Touch memory is
too small.

Its cool, but its not going to replace that four year old PC with a AMD
or Intel gigahertz processor and a gig of ram.

--
Pat Farrell
http://www.pfarrell.com/

pippin
2009-11-19, 14:44
And if someone tried to implement all the differences, I bet they would
soon find out that the Touch CPU is too slow, and the Touch memory is
too small.


Hm.
I can run a web server on a wristwatch these days.
And decoding is done anyway for playback.

I can believe there are complexity reasons for not having all this, but a lot has to do with just porting over a platform (TinySC) that is being developed on an outdated environment (Perl) and simply was never intended for this kind of a device.

You don't need a GHz and a GB RAM for all this.

pfarrell
2009-11-19, 14:55
pippin wrote:
> I can run a web server on a wristwatch these days.

With MySql?
Right

I will agree that there is a gray scale, but all the whining is driving
me crazy. The device is not released yet.

--
Pat Farrell
http://www.pfarrell.com/

bpa
2009-11-19, 15:23
For a period of time the lack of transcoding may cause confusion with users who run a mixed set of players with Touch as the server.

For example, AAC and possibly WMA lossless will play OK on Touch and on a Radio served from Touch but not on a Boom or SB3 served from Touch. It might be advisable to add a matrix of formats/players that will play with Touch as a server.

michaelday
2009-11-19, 18:09
Thanks everyone for all this good info! In short, you say the Touch will have a tiny CPU, and I should only expect very minimal sbs capabilities, which excludes it doing transcoding for other SB3 players. Wishful thinking on my part. Iíll need to continue to have a PC on with SqueezeBoxServer running for my old SB3 players.

I donít always have my PC running with SBS, so Ö
Do you know if it'd be quick and easy to control the Touch to switch between:
> running in standalone mode - with a connected USB drive music library
then quickly switch
> to have the Touch use SBServer from the PC, when Iíve got the PC on for the SB3 players? so I can then have the music from all players in sync

Itíd sure be nice to be able to come home and have music playing quickly with the Touch in standalone mode (without the PC), then when I want later Ö I can easily switch and sync the Touch with SB3 players, when Iíve got the PC running.

Cheers!
Mike

JJZolx
2009-11-19, 18:17
I don’t always have my PC running with SBS, so …
Do you know if it'd be quick and easy to control the Touch to switch between:
> running in standalone mode - with a connected USB drive music library
then quickly switch
> to have the Touch use SBServer from the PC, when I’ve got the PC on for the SB3 players? so I can then have the music from all players in sync


Yes, it's very easy and very fast. The way the menus are set up currently, you enter My Music from the Home menu, and in that menu in addition to Artists, Albums, etc. there's a 'Switch Library' selection. Takes just a moment to connect to another server. If only one server is running I believe it may even switch automatically as soon as you enter My Music.

michaelday
2009-11-19, 18:22
Thanks! Very cool! This Touch is going to be sweet!

pippin
2009-11-19, 23:48
pippin wrote:
> I can run a web server on a wristwatch these days.

With MySql?
Right


WHAT on earth has MySQL to do with this?
TinySC doesn't use it.

I was talking about the web server that was taken out of it.
Which is a very, very bad idea, IMHO, because it costs you so much flexibility. And the sole reason is that the performance of the web server is so bad.
I own a lot of devices with much, much less power than the Touch that run their own web server for configuration access.

gorman
2009-11-21, 03:26
pippin wrote:[color=blue]
I will agree that there is a gray scale, but all the whining is driving
me crazy.Well, you know... relax. Don't get crazy, it's not one of your relatives being criticised. Logitech chose the hardware for the Touch, they chose the software, they chose their price point and they chose their margin. If a customer is dissatisfied with their choices he can basically do two things:

1) Vote with his/her wallet.

2) Come on official channels and express to the company his/her dissatisfaction with the choices it has made.

People in this thread are doing #2. You are whining, not them. And, quite frankly, these forums are getting tiresome with people defending Logitech's choices for the sake of it.

pacc
2009-11-26, 02:06
Well, from my point of view the Touch is already decoding AAC in the player.
It seems that the server should be able to use that stream to feed RAW or lightly compressed streams to other squeezeboxes.

The problem seem to be synchronization (if the touch has to buffer lots of RAW data to synch) and bandwith, unless data can be broadcast. And of course the missing implementation.