IPOD with USB? Apple TV as music server? Options?

So let me start a new issue.. So we have about 1000 ways to skin a cat with Hard drive based audio storage and playback now.. But getting to the point of most effective, compact, and of course unaltered playback of the recordings stored how about an IPOD with a Usb interface like all the other portable phones and devices on the market with a mini USB to USB 1.2 or whatever standard sized cable conversion?

It would seem to me that then you could get a hold of this pure digital stream out of the ipod unit just the same as people are doing with lossless files from a PC based unit and have no real need for a Wadia dock or similar and you could plug right into a DAC with USB input just the same and direct as possible?

Honestly I don't own, or even know anything about this kids device that has turned audiophile and mainstream over the past 5 years so maybe this already exists..

I was also considering an APPLE TV unit which seems to do it all in the way of holding your tunes and sending them out via a OPtical cable, with the plus of actually being able to download and store 1080p movies for a reasonable price..

However I will wait on that approach as I think 2 things need to be improved in the next Gen Apple TV as well with having also its own digital out via USB, and also have a Dual monitor out, as from what I understand after calling Apple on this they automatically sense the HDMI main hookup if used and will not transmit a signal from the old Component video out, which if they could parallel both monitor outs that would ideal for the audiophile server useage as you could put a 80 dollar 7 inch LCD at the listening postion for navigating the operating system without having to fire up a large screen for music useage only Make sense?

I realize too that many will try to do this whole Ipod touch screen and use as a remote server etc.. adding more money and units that can be cut out of the game

I am just looking at the lowest amount of cables, conversions, and quality of course for the money as digital is going to be cheaper and cheaper, more and more options in the future Also the addition of a blue tooth type interface maybe would help on the Apple TV but it does at least have the wireless card for the network at least.

Thanks for your opinions and options Basically I would like to use a transport with blu ray, and all audio formats running into a quality dac via coax digital, and then have a server(or apple tv, Ipod) capable of feeding from a USB cable etc And have everything at the fingertips in under 3 units on the shelf or coffee table, and very low amounts of excess cables.
If you dont mind the fact that most WiFi devices are limited to 16/44.1 (same as CD), then just go with an AirPort Express ($99) that drives Toslink to a reclocker to a DAC. This can all be behind your rack. This will give you great audio quality (probably better than your CD player), and great ease of use.

Then iTunes can reside on any computer in the household and hold the music files. From the listening position, you use either iPod Touch or iPhone to navigate your music and control volume and mute. These control iTunes on your computer, which spools the Apple Lossless files to the AirPort Express which outputs digital audio to the reclocker. The reclocker gives you ultra-low jitter digital to the DAC and then analog outs go to your preamp.

The Touch gives you the remote capability and ease of use, the reclocker gives you the audio quality.

Steve N.
Empirical Audio
I see… Well again that seems to involve several units, and I prefer not to go with wireless for that purpose a good cable is fine if its easily accessable as an interface is the whole idea I guess…

I would prefer to use something like this Apple TV anyway I as the full HD capability, and downloads along with being a standard Hard drive just as capable as any PC hard drive to hold the music files, and being fully compatible with all the itunes, flac etc…, and have an automatic very manageable music server basically with no added PC support, or extra transfers between more units would be a key feature too.

Also for around 300 bucks the apple Tv with a good DAC would be much more simple and effective in my mind. It does have a nice little remote as well, I plan to wait another generation probably 18 months or so to see what they come up with for the 100% solution and have the USB on all units for easy interface for whatever combo you want.

Seems we can't be too far off of some pretty good solutions, also its not really worth dealing with all the other current solutions accept maybe a 200 dollar IPOD with a Wadia Doc for 350 straight into a USB DAC which would seem to be the overall best and most direct solution (minus HD content storage and playback like an apple tv) for the highest quality lowest amounts of conversion and having all the extra obsolete units in the chain.

Maybe even the Ipod Touch with Blue tooth and a new Apple TV generation with blue tooth would be a good way to go, and have portable music, also not have any PC to boot or backup as it would be backed up files on the originating PC and also on the Apple hard drive in that case. I guess that’s kinda why I asked the question, were not quite there but gaining fast!     
I use my Apple iTouch as a remote with a 160g Apple TV which I run through an upgraded Genesis Digital Lens.

It sounds as good or better than my upgraded SD Duet, and
I can access & control my music, listen to Internet radio, check email and surf the web without turning on my PC.

I hope Apple gets the hint that people are using AppleTVs as music servers and addresses this market with an upgraded product.
Kana813, Yeah the apple Tv is really right there in terms of what is necessary and the future of HD content along with a nice addition of holding uncompressed music... Hope the next gen just has a few extra toys, maybe a bigger hard drive, I am sure that will occur especially with the whole movie storage possibilities now.
Sounds like you want a "Media Center" computer. There are a small handful of computer manufacturers out there still trying (like Velocity Micro) but the ubiquity of Tivo and DVR technology is just thrashing media PCs in the market. Unless you are prepared to build it yourself, of course.
It seems more or less that the Apple TV is a "Media Center" as it stands... Just a bit small of a hard drive but it also has the apple online service already so you can download for rent at like 4 bucks HD movies with 1080 p output all in one, along with a remote control, and capable of storing itune files and outputing them thru digital out to all the same things as a standalone PC at this point.

So yeah in the end your more or less right a media center would be the best solution, but not much reason to build a pricey pc to do it, again I am only considering such a device, as for audio its one thing to go this route, but now considering you can eliminate buying 25 dollar Blu rays etc... in the future and just easily rent it with a very fast download speed from apple and still have the interface already capable of playing back as a music server this seems the most direct solution to kill 10 birds with one stone possibly.. Also the price seems about right at the bigger units for 300…

I think in 24 months once we see the shake out of the blu ray costs, and the major release High def downloads, it will be easy to jam some lossless music files on board as well and still have your PC that you originated all the files from having your backups that would be transferred onto the Apple TV… then you don't need the extra hard drive backup unless you think both your PC and the apple will crash at the same time… I would then not even use the PC for audio playback, just for the original Ripping of CD's, and transfering the files to the apple device etc… Anything else you can download wireless directly to the apple tv anyway.
Why not use Idisc as a backup for music files; then you can listen on any system, vacation home, travel, etc?