1. mrpuny's Avatar
    I've 'rediscovered' a way of getting Xbox Music to work in a wireless, multiroom audio setup where the same music is being played in more than one room. So if you've ever lusted after a Sonos-like experience for Xbox Music, this will be of interest.

    The solution uses Apple's Airplay. This is Apple's proprietary protocol for streaming audio (and video, but that's not involved here). Now if you have experienience with it on iOS, you'll know that an iOS device can only stream to one Airplay enabled device at a time. But what's probably not as well known is that on both Macs and Windows, iTunes can stream to multiple Airplay speakers in sync, very much like a Sonos.

    So you need to install iTunes, right? Wrong! Rogue Amoeba (Rogue Amoeba | Quality Audio Software for Mac OS X) has a piece of software called Airfoil for both MacOS and Windows that can take the audio of other programs and transmit it to Airplay speakers. I had used this a few years ago to transmit audio from Windows 7 media player to an AppleTV and an Airport Express (both Apple Airplay devices). A couple of things happened: Airfoil couldn't hook the audio from Metro apps in Windows 8 because of the way they're sandboxed, and then my Airport Express died, leaving only the AppleTV, so I didn't really have multiroom audio anymore. But given that it's just not Christmas without Dean Martin crooning "Baby It's Cold Outside" throughout the house, I revisted Airfoil this week.

    Turns out there have been some improvements since I last looked. Rogue Amoeba now has a system level driver available (it's an optional install after the main program is installed) that hooks into the audio system at a low level, and allows airfoil to transmit everything including from Xbox Music or any other Windows 8 app, for that matter. Airport Expresses still exist as well, but there are also a bunch of options for Airplay speakers at a wide range of price points. I picked up an inexpensive Airplay device to connect to my living room stereo (where my old Airport Express used to be) as a test.

    This was a success! It requires an x86-based Windows 8 device, of course; I installed Airfoil on my Dell Venue 8 Pro. From the desktop, I ran the program, told it to use the system driver (which started the driver install) and then selected the Airplay devices I wanted to stream to. Then I switched to the Xbox Music app, started streaming, and had the music playing in sync in a couple of rooms.

    This ends up being a fairly inexpensive setup (Airfoil is a $25 dollar program and can be used on as many computers as you have). The nice thing is that there's a free trial of Airfoil that lets you test it for 10 minutes at a time. Airfoil also includes a program (airfoil speakers) that lets another computer act as an airplay speaker so if you're interested and you have more than one computer, you can demo the setup for free to see if works for you. (And no, I don't have any relationship with Rogue Amoeba; I'm just excited to find something that works and gets me my whole house streaming back including with my Xbox Music pass.)
    dgr_874, RTGent and hotphil like this.
    12-14-2014 11:27 AM
  2. dgr_874's Avatar
    Thanks! I have been looking for something like this for a while. I will try it out and see how it works.

    So you still had to use the apple devices (apple TV and airport express) or am I reading this wrong?
    Last edited by dgr_874; 12-15-2014 at 08:04 PM. Reason: New question
    12-14-2014 11:32 AM
  3. loofmodnar's Avatar
    You can also use Play To if you have a device that supports it. It's built into Windows 8 and works pretty similar to airplay.
    12-15-2014 07:39 PM
  4. mrpuny's Avatar
    You can also use Play To if you have a device that supports it. It's built into Windows 8 and works pretty similar to airplay.
    DLNA does work to play unprotected (non-DRM) music files, but it has several limitations compared to Airplay. First, if you want to stream music to more than one device, "play to" doesn't synchronize the streams. (And while I did this with Media Player, starting separate streams for each device, I'm not sure a Metro app can have more than one "play to" stream going; if not, that's more like Airplay on iOS which is also limited to a single stream.) The other big limitation for Xbox Music is that "play to" over DLNA isn't enabled for DRM'd music downloaded or streamed with a music pass subscription. There is a "play to" like feature that will start such music playing in the Xbox Music app on an Xbox, but again, I believe it's limited to a single stream, so it can't be playing on multiple Xboxes.
    Last edited by mrpuny; 12-16-2014 at 08:55 AM. Reason: added clarification
    12-16-2014 08:35 AM
  5. mrpuny's Avatar
    So you still had to use the apple devices (apple TV and airport express) or am I reading this wrong?
    Sorry, didn't see this question before. To do this you need airplay receivers of some sort. In my case I had an AppleTV from before so I used that. Instead of getting another airport express, I got a 3rd party (Sabrent WF-RADU) device to hook to my stereo. This is an airplay receiver with a mini jack (e.g 3.5 mm headphone style) connector; I used a mini jack to stereo RCA plug cable to connect to my receiver inputs. It works, but I don't know that I'd recommend that particular model; setup was a bit quirky.

    But you should be able to use any Airplay device including receivers with airplay built in, standalone airplay speakers, or use the airfoil speaker companion software to turn another PC into an airplay device.
    dgr_874 likes this.
    12-17-2014 09:49 AM
  6. mnsiw's Avatar
    Hi Mrpuny
    Is there any Airfoil Speaker (receiver) app for Windows Phone?
    04-12-2015 11:58 PM
  7. mrpuny's Avatar
    Hi Mrpuny
    Is there any Airfoil Speaker (receiver) app for Windows Phone?
    Not that I'm aware of. (I don't know for sure that there isn't one, but a quick search of the store didn't turn up anything.) Are you trying to do something like use your phone as an airplay speaker or hook it to a stereo like an airplay receiver?
    04-16-2015 10:54 PM
  8. mnsiw's Avatar
    Sorry for late reply. I was using my Droid Mini to receive audio from Mac over WiFi, now trying to find something similar for Lumia 535.
    04-29-2015 09:32 AM
  9. FredBloggs007's Avatar
    Not a bad solution. I used 'Just Add Power' to distribute the HDMI output over IP to all my TV and ceiling speakers across the house. Admitably I do have quite a complex setup for a home environment with Creston controller etc but it does the job I need.
    05-07-2015 06:14 PM

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