Streaming Audio to an Onkyo Receiver

We have an Onkyo TX-NR509 in our main room, which we sometimes call, in a nod to another era of architecture, our hall. It feeds a pair of Polk Audio speakers that I received as hand-me-downs years and years ago — those old Polks our hefty for their size and they sound great. The Onkyo, unfortunately, does not feed our television, which is an aged Panasonic CRT that was built before the HDMI era but refuses to die. (And we just don’t seem compelled to double our television bill to commit to HD content. First, we don’t watch enough television to warrant it, and, second, a lot of the television we watch doesn’t really demand that it be seen in HD. It’s a “nice to have” kind of thing for us.)

The Onkyo could do a lot more, but mostly we use it to stream music from Pandora or play audio — music, podcasts, or audio books — off our iPhones. But what we would really is to be able to stream audio from our kitchen computer, which sits on our household LAN just like the Onkyo. We thought we could do that very easily: I thought I had read that the Onkyo was “AirPlay” or “AirTunes” compatible, but it appears not to be. If I put the Onkyo into DLNA mode, it does not see iTunes on the computer as a server and iTunes does not recognize it as speakers to which it can play.

Barring buying a designed for the purpose device like an AppleTV or, for a lower cost, buying and setting up a device like this Raspbmc (a Raspberry Pi built to run XBMC), the next logical step is to set up a device we already own. We are already using the Airport Express to strengthen the signal in my study and to stream to the speakers there. We could, in theory, dedicate our old 12-inch G4 PowerBook to be a music server, but that seems like a lot of hardware for such a simply problem. We do have, however, a capable device that is currently serving no other purpose, our original iPhone (sometimes known as the 2G). It has a somewhat cracked screen and I have no idea of the battery’s condition, but it could live on the Onkyo’s USB connection and its capable, so far as I know of running the one piece of necessary software, Apple Remote.

Note Bene: While Onkyo provides its own iOS remote application, someone else appears to have come up with another option. It’s $5, but oRemote looks promising.

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