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I don't know if what I want is possible/feasible but I thought I'd ask it anyways!

At the moment, I have a laptop (running MacOS X - it's a MacBook Pro) and I connect it to a Hi-fi via a standard line-in/headphones cable. However, I often take my laptop around my room so it's not always near my hi-fi. However, I have a server computer (running Ubuntu Server 10.10) which IS always next to my hi-fi. I was wondering if there's a way to stream the sound from my laptop over wifi, to my server which would output the sound through my hi-fi using the headphones cable?

Hopefully that's written well enough to be intelligible!


  • Javawag
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Streaming sound realtime over a network is not an easy task. Network audio streams (Shoutcast, etc) are invariably buffered. For realtime streaming you have the problem of network latency (the time it takes the data to travel through the network). While there are network audio systems around (Jack, NAS and the like) they work best over a high speed wired network. Throw WiFi into the mix with its retransmits, SSID scans, etc and you don't have an ideal network for streaming realtime audio.

I got around the problem by investing in a little FM transmitter which I plug into the headphone socket of the laptop and tune the HiFi into that. While not as good quality as directly wiring the laptop to the HiFi it's good enough for me. Plus I can use it on my iPod in the car.

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FM transmitter... that sounds like a really, really good idea actually! Although that would require extra hardware (albeit cheap) so I want to try for streaming first - I understand wifi isn't ideal but I'm hoping it'll be ok with my setup as my laptop connects to the router via wifi (the router is no more than about 2-3 metres away from the laptop at all times!) and then my server is connected to said router via gigabit ethernet - hopefully that shouldn't be too... latent (is that the word for it?!) – Javawag Mar 23 '11 at 16:05

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