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I want to be able to play a song on my laptop and have it sound through my desktop's (infinitely better) speakers.

If you're familiar with Input Director: I want something that is to audio what Input Director is to mouse/keyboard. I want something that automatically redirects all audio from the laptop to the desktop in real time, and I want that solution to require, like Input Director, minimum maintenance. Beyond the initial setup, I don't want to have to babysit the program that does this. I want something that launches automatically with Windows and just works, and also allows me to cancel it whenever I want. And also doesn't go crazy when the laptop is turned on in a different network where the desktop computer isn't available.

Any suggestions for such a program?

(I use Windows XP on both computers.)

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Stardock Acoustic Bridge only works with Windows Vista or later. :-( – allquixotic Nov 30 '12 at 16:16
You will find that there is lots of latency when doing this. So films and games wont be suitable. This should be OK for music though – joshkrz Dec 3 '12 at 13:41
A great solution is provided here: – bPratik Aug 20 '15 at 16:51
up vote 2 down vote accepted

One software solution uses the free VLC media player for streaming audio/video between computers.
For details see : How-To: Stream almost anything using VLC.

Another solution uses the Windows Media Player, but may possibly not apply to XP.
See this article: Stream Music Over Your Home Network with Windows Media Player 12.

For completeness I mention Speakershare, although the project has disappeared from Google Code.
For more info see : SpeakerShare Streams Music Between PCs with Minimal Fuss.

More software:

Sound over RDP ($49, trial available)
Virtual Audio Streaming ($29.95, trial available)

Even more software, discussed in this thread:

Axia IP-Audio Driver for Windows
Jamcast ($29.99, trial available)
Sharing Media Over The Internet Using foobar2000

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None of the 3 solutions you propose will work for me: 1. The VLC solution is for streaming specific files, while I'm interested in streaming all audio from all applications. 2. The Windows Media Player 12 solution would not work on my XP systems. 3. Regarding SpeakerShare, I prefer to avoid abandonware. – Ram Rachum Dec 3 '12 at 10:31
I added some more software products. – harrymc Dec 3 '12 at 11:48
None of the new 3 solutions you proposes worked for me: 1. PulseAudio is not friendly for non-Linux-nerds. (The Windows builds don't include an installer, are of an old version, and there's no explanation on how to use it.) 2. I tried Sound over RDP, but it requires keeping Microsoft's Remote Desktop open, which is way more clutter than I want to tolerate. 3. I tried Virtual Audio Streaming, but it didn't work. – Ram Rachum Dec 4 '12 at 12:08
I added even more software to check out. – harrymc Dec 4 '12 at 15:03
Actually, VLC doesn't only stream specific files. It can be used to stream a video and/or audio mix (i.e. everything on the screen + everything coming from the sound card) directly from a PC to any wireless device. I don't have the specifics, but I'm planning on trying this myself over the weekend. – Ian Atkin Dec 7 '12 at 19:00

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