Thursday, April 17, 2014

Roku - The Poor Mans Barix

Roku LT is media player capable of streaming most any audio and video available on the internet. Measuring 3 x 3 x 0.9 inches the Roku LT is a dependable stand-alone miniature media streaming device which only requires a wifi internet connection and an AC power source.

The Roku line of products are intended for streaming movies and other content to a tv (which it does exceptionally well), but I have adopted it to extend my AM signal range by serving as an audio feed (via ShoutCast) to a second remote transmitter.. Thus it can be considered a "poor mans Barix unit".

Although, I'm still under the stage of experimentation for this use, and have only tried it consistently for a week or so at a time, as of yet have not experienced a single dropout or buffing issue with this unit.

In the event of internet signal loss, the Roku has proved to be self healing when using a shoutcast stream, in that it simply waits for the signal to return and then resumes.. 

However, if power is interrupted the Roku reboots and waits for user interaction, so a UPS might be desirable to avoid such an occurrence.. Another possible remedy is by incorporating the use of a Ruko app that works in any browser called "Remoku" (it's free), which enables a lot of additional controls to how it works, such as automatically starting up the Shoutcast channel to a specific stream... but I haven't actually experimented with it yet, so.. can't say much more about it.

These Roku units are intended to run 24/7, they do not even have a on/off switch, and they use minimal energy. Also note that the higher end models do have the option of using an ethernet connection, but I saw no need for one for my purposes.
I bought this LT model used for $38, then liked it so much I bought a new HD model just for home entertainment on sale for $49.
This certainly appears to be a viable and inexpensive alternative to a $600 Barix installation for feeding a second transmitter located away from the studio.
More info and manuals:

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