There are many different types of audio players on the market today. Two of the most popular types are network players and streamers. But what is the difference between them? And which one is right for you? This article will explore the differences between network players and streamers and help you decide which type of player is best for your needs.

Related article – the best music streaming device reviews.

What is a network player?

A network player is a digital audio player that connects to your home network and allows you to stream music from your computer or NAS (network-attached storage) device. Network players usually have a built-in DAC (digital-to-analog converter), which means they can connect directly to your stereo system. Some higher-end network players also have built-in amplifiers and can function as a standalone audio system.

network player

Аdvantages and disadvantages of a network player

Аdvantages

The most significant advantage of a network player is that it gives you access to your entire music collection. Therefore, a network player is the best way to listen to it if you have an extensive digital music library.

Another advantage of a network player is that it offers better sound quality than a streamer. Network players usually have a built-in DAC, which converts digital audio signals into analog signals that can be played through your stereo system.

Disadvantages

One of the most significant disadvantages of a network player is requiring a home network. If you don’t have a home network, or if your network is not reliable, then a network player may not be the best option for you.

Another disadvantage of a network player is that it can be more expensive than a streamer. It is because network players usually have more features and better sound quality than streamers.

what is a streamer

What is a streamer?

A streamer is a digital audio player that connects to your home network and allows you to stream music from your computer or NAS (network-attached storage) device. Streamers usually do not have a built-in DAC, which means they need to be connected to an external DAC or amplifier to play music.

Аdvantages and disadvantages of streaming media

Аdvantages

The main feature of streaming media is that it allows you to listen to your music without having to download and store it on your computer or mobile device. It means you can save space on your hard drive, and you don’t have to worry about losing your music if your computer crashes.

Another advantage of streaming media is that it allows you to listen to music from various sources, including online radio stations, podcasts, and music services like Spotify, Rhapsody, or Apple Music.

Finally, streaming media is convenient because it allows you to listen to your music anywhere you have an internet connection.

Disadvantages

One of the main disadvantages of streaming media is that it can be a bit of a drain on your internet data allowance. Streamlining music can quickly eat up your data allowance if you have a limited data cap.

Another disadvantage of streaming media is that it can be unreliable. For example, if your internet connection is slow or interrupted, you may experience buffering or dropouts while listening to music.

Finally, some people argue that streaming music is not as good quality as listening to music from a CD or other high-quality source.

What are examples of media streamers?

There are many different types of media streamers on the market, from simple devices that allow you to listen to online radio stations to complex systems that can stream music from your computer or NAS and a variety of online services.

Some examples of media streamers include:

  • Sonos. It is a famous brand of a media streamer that offers a wide range of features and options.
  • Roku. It is a famous brand of a media streamer that offers a simple, easy-to-use interface.
  • Apple TV. It is a popular media streamer that allows you to access your music, movies, and TV shows from your iTunes library and a variety of online services.
  • Chromecast. It is a popular media streamer that allows you to “cast” music and videos from your computer or mobile device to your TV.

So, what to choose: network player or streamer?

If you are looking for a simple way to stream music from your computer to your stereo system, then a network player is good. Network players are typically easier to set up than streamers, and they usually have better sound quality since they have a built-in DAC.

If you are looking for the highest quality audio experience, then a streamer is better. Streamers allow you to use higher-end DACs and amplifiers, resulting in better sound quality. Streamers also usually have more features than network players, such as streaming from online music services like Tidal and Qobuz.

No matter which type of player you choose, you will be able to enjoy the convenience of streaming music from your computer or NAS device. So, take your time and choose the best player for your needs.