Squeezebox Touch will access files on any computer on your home network.
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mac mini running pure music. can't beat it. why buy a squeezebox when you need a computer anyway, doesn't make sense. get a used intel based 1.66 or 1.8 ghz mac mini at the minimum and max out the memory. you can run snow leopard on it. you can get an airport express or apple tv if you want to setup remote rooms with the mac being your music server. for your main listening room, you will need a good external dac, and for your other rooms for background music, you can use an internal dac in a receiver or get a cheaper dac for better sound quality. this will give you a system that you can grow.
$500 will buy you an Oppo 93, which will do what you want (disclaimer, the music library management functionality is extremely limited - basically you work from your directory structure. You need a DLNA server on your network). However, for this $500 you also get a SOTA blu ray player, netflix streaming, you can stream not only music, but also your pictures and video clips.
"on't you still need a computer and a DAC?
Computer is needed for your own music server but not for web/internet sources.
Touch has a decent DAC built in so you only need a separate one if you want or need to tweak from there.
Why I really like the SB Touch requires another thread to really explain clearly. Suffice it to say it is not expensive by audiphile terms yet can be a top notch digital music source and provides a lot of other nice usability features. Sound quality can be top notch today with right DAC. Features are very good but not perfect and still in the evolutionary stage as is computer audio in general.
I own an SBT and a Marantz NA 7004. The Marantz sounds better but has major reliability issues , and it costs more than twice your budget. In your range the SBT is the only option. I don't think that a TV is necessary
SBT has a large touchscreen that can be viewed from a distance and you can use a tablet or pc to operate it as well.
I actually get the best sound running my MacBook with Decibel via USB into a musical fidelity v link and then an optical out to my Dac. These audiophile streamers really are not necessary.
Well.... for what it's worth, I just bought myself a Logitech Squeezebox Touch for Christmas. Got it off of e-Bay for $230.00 plus shipping.
From what I have read here, it will access music files off of your computer (if it is connected to a network), off of a thumb drive, a network disk drive, and can stream music off the internet via internet radio.
What I like about the Logitech Squeezebox Touch is that it also supports any file type, and that it supports Apple Lossless and anything I have stored on i-Tunes (not all network players do, from what I've read so far..... I originally wanted a Cambridge Audio NP-30, but was disappointed when I read it didn't support Apple Lossless, or any type of "Apple" type of file playback.... and thus, that's what steered me to the Logitech Squeezebox Touch), so when I get that up and going, I will be transferring my entire i-Tunes collection off of my main computer and storing it on a dedicated G-Drive attached to the Logitech.
My only thing now is what would be a suitable DAC that I can use with my brand new Logitech Squeezebox Touch???
I would think Logitech Squeezebox Touch right now. They're priced at $300.00, but if you shop around, you should be able to get one for almost $100.00 less plus shipping if you're buying off the internet.
Good Luck and Happy Shopping....