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I need a device (or small computer) that does nothing but boot up and start playing a specific internet radio station (streaming MP3 at 128kbit over SHOUTcast), utilizing WiFi. The sound quality should be good, but doesn't need to be amazing... this is 128k MP3 after all. Bonus points if it is rack mount or small enough to be tossed on a shelf in a rack. Another bonus would be something I can manage remotely over the network. The target cost for this project is less than $100.

I have considered picking up one of the VIA ARTiGO kits, but they cost too much. I will probably end up setting up an old desktop PC, but was hoping to stumble across something smaller first.

In the likely event I set up the desktop, any suggestions for a base OS to start with? The last time I tried something like this, I spent a month in Linux dependency hell, and would rather not bother with that again. Maybe a small router distro would work? Currently I'm leaning towards stripped down Windows XP.

I'm open to any ideas and suggestions. Thanks for your time!

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clarifying the question to emphasize it's mostly desktop build question, and not a "what should I buy" question – Jeff Atwood Sep 12 '10 at 21:13
Thank you Jeff, I do appreciate the edit, so that it is more clearly a computer question. – Brad Sep 13 '10 at 1:28
up vote 2 down vote accepted

Sure, they sell netbooks for around $100. You could use a windows based one with a startup script launching VLC:

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Mind posting a link of your $100 netbook? I couldn't find one. – Brad Sep 8 '10 at 21:25
I tried to post one but apparently I need more rep to post more then one link!… – Jeff F. Sep 9 '10 at 14:58
Jeff, I've already checked Froogle and other places. If you were to click on any of those netbooks, you will see the prices are $200+, and that the only ones listed for cheaper are accessories or screens. Thanks anyway... – Brad Sep 10 '10 at 13:16

An idea that comes to mind is a Chumby (, a small Linux device. It is capable of playing Shoutcast. I was able to get one recently right around the $100 price. And you can even enable SSH for some remote administration.

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I was looking at Chumby, but there doesn't seem to be an option of getting it to play on startup. Since you own one, can you confirm if this is possible without excessive modification? – Brad Sep 8 '10 at 21:28
There is a wiki for tips about Chumby ( On that page, there is a section for "Open a secure shell (SSH) console on the chumby" and then "Listening to Internet Radio Stations". You could write a little script to start the internet radio on startup or something. – JonathanMueller Sep 9 '10 at 12:21
I got a best buy chumby variant on super xmas sale and it works great. I haven't hacked it to do what you're suggesting but it's just linux under the hood, so it should be possible with some scripting. – John May 16 '11 at 21:47

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