On what has to be a common topic, I'm more and more wanting to have a way to (easily) play my music through my receiver. The traditional answer would be a big-ass CD changer. While that would work, I don't know that it's really ideal for my usual listening pattern (lots of random) and also is a bit limited in expansion capability. Also, I already rip all of my CDs to ogg so that I can have them with me, so it seems that being able to take advantage of that would be ideal. There are a number of hardware devices available to support playing encoded music via a receiver. And with consumer-grade NAS, I could even get away with not having to keep another full machine running.
Unfortunately, this hits a couple of snags
a) Most of the devices require some custom software running on a PC. So much for not having to have a dedicated machine always running.
b) Support for non patent encumbered formats is rare at best.
The best idea I've got at present is getting one of the Roku Soundbridge devices and setting up a machine to run the server and do transcoding. I'd probably take the plunge on reripping my CDs to flac at that point, just to get better sound quality for after the transcode. Anyone know of anything better that I'm missing? If so, leave a comment or send me mail. I'd be interested to hear what other people have ended up doing before going and reinventing the wheel myself. I'm pretty much resigned to having to compromise on at least one if not both of the above at this point, so don't let one of them stop you from making a suggestion.
Update: And the third bit I forgot to mention is that being able to control it with a remote instead of having to use my laptop would be a plus. Since if I'm going to have to use my laptop, I might as well just plug it into the receiver instead.