Songbird solves my multi-multimedia player dilemma

Between home and work, I have vari­ous Win­dows, Linux and Macin­tosh com­puters. I cent­ral­ize my media on a Net­work Attached Stor­age (NAS) device, access­ible by all. As you can ima­gine, I use dif­fer­ent media play­ers on all.

My biggest hurdle has been con­sist­ency in user exper­i­ence. I’ve had to run iTunes on the Mac, Win­amp, FooBar2000 or VLC on my XP/Vista boxes, and VLC on the Linux machines.

But today, I dis­covered Song­bird, a Moz­illa based media browser, with ver­sions for all my box­en (Mac, Linux and PC).

The exper­i­ence is quite sim­il­ar to Win­amp. Simply point song­bird at your music dir­ect­ory and let it build a cata­logue.

Bonus fea­ture, Song­bird also talks to my iPods per­fectly. Trans­fer music, build playlists…everything works.

From the developers:

We’re work­ing on cre­at­ing a non-pro­pri­et­ary, cross plat­form, extens­ible tool that will help enable new ways to play­back, man­age, and dis­cov­er music.

Song­bird is cur­rently just out of beta; cur­rent ver­sion is 1.0. But it’s a pretty slick piece of work for being so new. I’m already a fan of the Fire­Fox-like AddOn fea­tures — Liv­eTweeter (a Twit­ter plu­gin), Shout­Cast Radio (stream­ing audio), and a whole host of visu­al cus­tom­iz­a­tion addons.

If you’re look­ing for a nice, clean, Open Source media play­er, give Song­bird a try.

*** UPDATE*** [Dec.25.08]
One major annoy­ance for many Song­bird users is the lack of a Watched Folder. Simply put, this lets you point Song­bird at a par­tic­u­lar media folder and import any changes into the Song­bird lib­rary auto­ma­gic­ally. Developers are aware of this, and appear to be con­sid­er­ing adding this func­tion­al­ity in future. I cer­tainly hope so, as now it’s a cum­ber­sum pro­cess to remem­ber to update my Song­bird lib­rary on every com­puter.

*** UPDATE*** [Mar.13.09] Song­bird 1.1.1 has been released. Among the updates you’ll find the much-awaited Watched Folder.

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