I recently decided to give the Squeezebox Server on my MediaSmart EX495. If you are not familiar with any of the Squeezebox products, they are worth looking at if you'd like to have a device that can connect to your stereo and your network, and play your audio files from a centralized file repository. Squeeze products were originally developed and marketed by a company named Slim Devices, however Slim Devices was purchased by Logitech in 2006.
A few years ago, I got an early release unit of a Squeezebox Duet, which essentially Logitech's answer to the high-end (and high-priced) SONOS music system. Admittedly, it is not as flashy, but it does the trick. It comes in two pieces: a small box that plugs into an amplifier as well as your network, and a handheld remote with a color screen, and WiFi connectivity, so that you can control the Squeezebox.
For the entire outfit to work properly, you need to have some software, known as the Squeezebox Server software running somewhere on your network, typically on a PC. The server software indexes all of your music content, manages your playlists and other preferences, and streams your music to other devices on your network when you want to listen. One of the requirements of the Squeezebox Server software is that it needs to be running at all times if you want your music devices to have access to your library, and that means that you need to leave your PC on all the time.
Do you see where this is going? With the MediaSmart Server running continuously on your network, and with your music library sitting right there on it, it is possible to install a special version of the Squeezebox Server for Windows Home Server so you don't have to worry about any of your other PCs or make them available as a critical part of your music distribution system.
Installing the Squeezebox Server software, as well as any other WHS add-in, is relatively simple.
First, head over to the download page for the Squeezebox server software and be sure to use the pull-down menu to select the Wi
ndows Home Server version. As of today, the current version of the software is 7.5.1, but if you are adventurous, you can download a BETA version of the software. To access the BETA versions, head on over to this page for details.
Once you've grabbed your download, copy it into the add-ins directory (under software) on your MediaSmart Server, and then proceed to the add-ins management panel which is under settings on your MediaSmart Server control-panel.
From there, you can install the Squeezebox Server software from the available add-ins tab.
After you've completed the basic installation, the Squeezebox Server will show up as an add-in which can be managed. Select that, and you'll be presented with a series of tabs you can use to configure the server, link (or create) your mysqueezebox.com account, and set up the rest of your options.
Take the time to go through all of the tabs and note the different options you have, including the ability to connect to the Squeezebox server using an ip address on your local network.
You'll find that the Squeezebox Server, when hosted on your MediaSmart Server is very quick and responsive when you connect to it remotely. I ran the same tests on my aging Netgear ReadyNAS NV system, and the server was painfully slow and not worth running. The comparison isn't 100% fair, since the ReadyNAS is at least four years old now, but it is worth noting.