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I have seen software for Linux systems that allows me to send the audio from one system to another over the network, is there such a software (a driver likely) for Windows, specificly XP but Vista and Windows 7 would be best.

I'd like to stream audio (ALL audio, not just mp3s, etc) from my laptop to another computer over the network. I know that Windows Remote Desktop can play audio over the network pretty easily. Is this part of .Net that I could just code a simple app that streams the audio without RD'ing in? I also don't want to run it over an extra physical wire if possible.

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I have a similar situation where I want several computers in my house to play the same audio with low latency so they would all be in sync, and have yet to find a solid solution. –  duckworth Jan 12 '10 at 20:02
    
If you want to use your PC both as a server AND as the controller and you have a rather simple/passive renderer (aka network player without much controls/display), take a look at the "play-to" feature of windows 7 and up. Limited to WindowsMedia-Playback, but well... groovypost.com/howto/… –  Fronker Jun 17 at 18:09

6 Answers 6

Airfoil will let you stream audio from Windows/Mac to Windows/Mac/Airport.

Send any audio from your PC to AirPort Express units, Apple TVs, iPhones and iPods Touch, and even other PCs and Macs, all in sync!

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"Before purchase, noise is overlaid on all transmissions longer than 10 minutes." –  Borislav Ivanov 15 hours ago

I don't know for sure... but here are some thoughts. The difficulty in sending your laptop's audio over lan is that windows does not provide natively a 'channel' or something to listen on that a software developer could use to implement something. In essence, I believe a successful solution has to be either:

  • a full-fledged virtual audio driver.

From what I understand, this seems like a complicated fare: Try making a fake driver that will support a plethora of inputs (mp3s, surround games and movies, various bitrates and sample rates, simultaneous applications), while also taking care of encoding, transmitting with low latency, receiving on the other end, that works well and is stable with various version of windows, all that with a damn low profit incentive given only a minority of people would be interested to buy it. Sounds like a bad business plan to me.

Have you tried pulseaudio on windows? Apparently it is cross-platform.

OR

  • a real sound card whose driver is designed to allow applications to record its output.

A few years ago, Creative Labs had a pretty good 'what you hear' channel that applications could record on. I remember playing audio over sound card hardware effect such as reverb and recording it in realtime in my audio software using this "what you hear" channel. Technically, Shoutcast will be able to select this channel as the input and stream all your laptop sound. I don't have a Creative card anymore, so I don't know how well this works nowadays. Plus, I imagine you want to use your laptop's built-in audio, which likely would not have that feature, but an external Creative Audigy might!

OR

  • Audio Over IP / Audio Over Ethernet dedicated hardware.

More expensive and complicated than you current best bet: a physical audio cable to your main computer....

OR

  • The quick fix.

Plug the output of your laptop back into your laptop's linein with a mini <1 ft cable. Without a doubt, shoutcast can stream your sound card's line-in. The downside with this method is reduced audio quality with 2 superfluous DAC/ADC.

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VLC can be run as a server (on your laptop) and a client (on your HTPC) to stream video or audio. Just use the Media menu (helpfully placed where File menu is in most apps) and select Streaming, then select all the files you want to stream, click Stream and you'll get options of how to stream it.

When it's started, start up VLC on the HTPC and direct it to the laptop's IP and port and it should play.

This forum post explains how to do it.

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That's not a very good solution because from what I can tell, it uses VLC as the player essentially, rather than streaming all sound output from all of the laptop's programs. –  Artem Russakovskii Jun 4 '13 at 18:18

You htpc likely has a line-in jack on the audio card. Just run an audio patch cable there from your source computer's speaker jack.

Here's an example:
http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=3612891
That one is only 6ft, but you get longer ones or combine it with an extension cable.

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More info on the line-in solution here: cavemonkey50.com/2006/02/two-computers-only-one-set-of-speakers –  Jon Galloway Jan 12 '10 at 19:16

I'd take a look at the "Play To" feature that is present in Windows 7. The little I've played with it, it was performed awesomely. Here's a little write-up with more info.

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I tried this once but my all my media is on a network drive and I remember running onto issues. –  duckworth Jan 12 '10 at 19:59

This answer is a little late but I figured I'd post it in case someone is looking for a solution in the future. There is a piece of software called Airfoil that has this exact functionality. It also lets you stream to PCs, MACs, Linux, iPhones, iPod Touches, Apple TV, and more.

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protected by nhinkle May 10 '11 at 3:05

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