Just had an exciting morning discovering PlugPlayer and thought it might be helpful for others to share my experience and views to date
I have a QNAP nas on my network with a pretty large and following a few weeks work with id3tagger and media monkey a relatively well organised mp3 and flac collection. I had intended to setup a sagetv based media system but googled thwarted that by buying them and closing them down. I also have an iPad and iPhone and wanted to have a sound system controlled from those devices with two zones at home with Yamaha rx371 av units and Cambridge minx 5.1 speakers. So I was considering sonos which I understand operates pretty much standalone and Logitech Squeezebox. QNAP do a squeezebox application so seemed a good choice, though my relatively underpowered qnap 409 on arm x09 might not be built for it and it's a £300+ investment for the hardware so thought I'd play around with other solutions. Sonos is even more of an investment so only if nothing else works...
Installed twonky and it setup fine pretty quickly so started exploring iPad upnp apps. Main disappointment was navigation. Connecting was fine but apps like mediaconnect and various others like 8player and fusion stream apps seemed to want to be video and music players but seemed to accomplish neither. For me the best navigation I've seen is iTunes cover flow sorted by artist by album. So navigate with album art grouped by major artists like oasis for instance so you don't have to remember album names and you don't get every artist on every compilation album appearing on the list. Ideally also with google speed searching. But i dont want to just remote control itunes as the only pc i leave on all day is the nas. Plugplayer is by far the closest I could find. Figure it might actually be a twonky issue rather than a player issue, but plugplayer had by far the best playing interface with albums to the left and player to the right on the ipad and with album art loading quickly enough to be functional. Plus my folders are just about arranged as artist and album so I can get close to the arrangement I want if I navigate by folder. Plugplayer is leagues ahead of the other guys for me on navigation. However if viewed on a folder basis seems reluctant to let you view the songs themselves by anything other than alphabetical order within a folder which isn't great. Plus I don't seem to be able to use functions like random or repeat. Havent yet played with playlists. Still 80 per cent of the way
Then browsing the forums I chanced upon playing through media renderers. So I setup my iPhone as a renderer. Tough to get it to work as the device URL end is hidden, no scrolling right. Also unlike twonky it didnt seem to auto detect, odd as its all on the same subnet. Fortunately the forums helped and I used the the jar app hosted here and the Upnp scanner here http://alax.info/blog/257
to figure out that the end of the URL is RendererDescription.xml. Took a while but got there in the end. Pretty buggy to get it setup. Twonky on the qnap struggles on the initial library download if it's doing something else so get a lot of the directory error messsages that other users seem to get. My collection is around 20k songs so I guess that's understandable if a bit frustrating
Then I remembered I have an old iPhone...and that there's an iPhone dock cable for the rx371 (I don't have one so am using a phono cable with the 3.5 socket at the moment but £50 on amazon for the dock still a lot cheaper than sonos or squeezebox). Awesome. So I installed plugplayer on the redundant iPhone and hooked it up to my av receiver and now can remote control it from the iPad and from my active iPhone. Which means it does pretty much what sonos and squeezebox would have done. I even have a second old iPhone that technically belongs to the missus and is currently locked that I might be able to negotiate onto the other zone and be able to control both zones from the master iPad and iPhone.
Other than the slight difficulty with navigation that might be twonky's fault. I get 208 error reasonably regularly. Each app crashes every once in a while. currently I'm playing through a long album from the iPhone and logging in occasionally on the iPad or master iPhone to see if it works to change song etc and I'd say one out of every three times the app shuts down without explanation. I have wifi always on in advanced settings for the iPhone on the av receiver but sometimes It just doesn't want to be found. also I have two wifi zones at home and moving between them means creating the connections again from scratch which often seems to much for the software no handle, no idea where the roadblock is
That's all pretty vague, I'm not yet aware of how to get hold of crash logs when I figure it out I'll post
So thanks very much plugplayer guys (and twonky) for an awesome app that has saved me a bundle versus a hardware based solution. very excited about recycling old hardware and being able to put my speakers to better use.
Gonna spend the rest of the day playing and flicking through the forums for solutions to my bugs