Home Networking Paralysis

I’m in a dark place of the home computing universe where I know what I want, and many products come close to giving it to me, but none actually deliver.

What I want is simple. Multiple laptops sharing a music server. Ability to control iTunes from any laptop and stream music to stereo. Hmm, sounds like many recent Apple product launches, doesn’t it? Not quite.

Apple Extreme is a network router that will let me attach storage (NAS) so I could keep all my music in one spot. But, to stream to my stereo, the files would have to first stream to my laptop, then back to the Extreme hub then to the stereo. This is stupid. There’s also really no way to have multiple laptops use the same music repository without lots of hacks.

Some vendors offer storage with a built-in “iTunes Server”. Unfortunately, Apple appears to have never heard of such a thing and there’s clearly no functionally such a thing actually offers.

Apple Time Machine sounds perfect. It combines the hard drive with the network router connected directly to the stereo. No dice. It has absolutely all the same problems as the Extreme setup. Stupid.

What about Apple TV? This is a cool device, but the wrong one for the job. Unlike the NAS options it has very little storage, and it is controlled by a remote instead of our laptops.

How hard is it to solve this problem?