I've been trying to get a handle on a good solution for ripping/storing/distributing my music collection, and it seems there are many ways to go. Suddenly it ocurred to me, why not use a netbook? All I need to do is hook up a big-ass external HDD and a CD drive, and I'm good to go. I can rip my cds, stream music to wherever in the house, and off-load to various mp3 players. I don't need to have my power hog PC on all the time, I don't need to turn my TV on like I would if I was using my PS3 as a server, I can stash it in the living room.
This seems too simple/cheap to be true. Am I missing something?
No this would work. You may want to rip your CDs on the fastest CDROM you can find, probably in a server -- a netbook optical drive might be optimized for low noise. After 10 hours of ripping you want a noisy fast drive.
After you finish ripping your music COPY IT TO OTHER DRIVES. So when your drive fails you won't lose your music. You'll never want to rip CDs again.
Choose the bit rate you use wisely. Its very easy to transcode to a lower bit rate later, but you can't get to a higher bit rate or loss-less compression without ripping all over, and You'll never want to rip CDs again.
The quality of the sound depends on the digital to analog conversion (DAC). That's done somewhere. If you stream digital to a receiver then the DAC is in the receiver and the netbook doesn't need good sound. If you connect RCA or speaker outs then the DAC is in the netbook. Check the specs on the netbook DAC if you use it. Or go for a USB attached external DAC. (google them)
Thanks for the input, good points. I won't have to rip everything from scratch, I can copy most of my stuff from my PC, and just add new stuff. The idea is to centralise the mess I've got going now, and avoid using my power-hungry PC as a server.