Stream Audio Throughout Your Home
Christian writes, "I am trying to stream music to all the computers on my home network to give a feeling of surround sound music coming from every corner of the house. I am using Windows Media Encoder to stream but I can not figure out how to sync it up with my stream so every computer is playing in sync. What can I do?"
Home networks invariably have some amount of overhead on the network even when it appears nothing is happening, which creates a few milliseconds up to a few seconds of lag even in a finely tuned operation. The delivery tools for IP network content delivery just haven't quite reached the immediacy of frequency or amplitude modulated delivery of radio and television. This is a long winded way of saying you'll never get all the streams to be perfectly in sync.
Broadcast Audio with an FM Transmitter
Sometimes old technology can be the best (and most affordable) way to do what seems like something new. Instead of trying to squeeze a few extra milliseconds from your home data network, an easier solution is to use the power of FM radio to transmit your signal to all corners of the house. To accomplish this, you need an FM transmitter to send your music signal and some kind of FM receiver (like a radio, portable media player, or PC with built in FM tuner) to receive the transmission.
With the widespread popularity of iPods, finding an FM transmitter is a simple matter. The portable media player section of every electronics store usually has at least six to choose from. You can playback audio on one PC, connect an FM transmitter to the line out on your sound card and be broadcasting throughout your house in seconds. The Belkin TuneCast line is a solid choice for this, although there are a number of other options.
Receive Audio with a TV Tuner Card
This makes the broadcast available to your home theater system, the clock radio next to your bed, or any computer with easy access to an FM tuner (and possibly the neighbors). The trick here is to set the transmitter to a frequency with no local station.
Most of the TV tuner cards on the market also tune in FM radio. If you need to have the audio play on a PC, this is the easiest way to get no latency audio to every PC in your house. TV tuner cards with FM support can be found for $50-100 at places like Amazon or by searching eBay.