Mobile Music Sync and Streaming [On Roadmap]

Probbaly true enough, I’ve never noticed. I’d take mobile over gapless any day, as irritiating as it can be in some places. Better to listen to ‘some’ music than have gapless you can’t even listen to if you get my drift.

Could you link to the one saying it might not be coming this year?

I think it’s a feature many of us would like, but it’s not trivial to do (and even less trivial to do well) so I’m not sure it would come ‘soon’. More ‘as soon as possible’ I’d think. Where did they post it would come ‘soon’?

The only pointer I’ve seen is Brian’s post above (quoted below), which I read as they’d really like to have it this year, but can’t say.

I’ve only just started using Plex for video so haven’t tried remote streaming (not sure I’ll bother as I tend to watch movies at home). I can only imagine it took Plex a while to create the system.

Hey, can’t look right now but it was in one of the other mobile request threads. Plex has had amazing streaming for years. You can stream it, sync it local and choose what quality you want on mobile devices to save space. Each device ca have it’s own account so can be shared with family members so yeah it’s definitely a strength. It even figures out how much bandwidth you have so you can apply this to video and it adjusts as necessary. However, it is predominantly a video system, even though audio is quite good too.

Roon would be the golden nugget of audio quality though of course. Plex does support HD audio and video, but likely haven’t put much thought into bitperfect and such, it’s not really their market.

Hi Brian, out of interest has their been any progress on this front? I know it happens when it happens, but would be great to get an update. :slight_smile:
Thanks.

We’ve started laying out the architecture. There is a lot more here than syncing a subset of library to your phone to listen on the go–that was a valid product when the iPod came out, but today, whatever we do had better feel more like a personal streaming service–meaning it seamlessly provides access to your library to the greatest extent possible regardless of your location or connectivity situation.

Addressing mobile listening on a phone is one small piece of that.

It’s a long project–bigger than we were thinking when we commented about it previously. I don’t know when it will be done. Probably later than we think. It will be the first significant re-architecture of the app/ecosystem since launching in 2015 :slight_smile:

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OK, thanks for the update and honesty around timelines. I can myself see a few issues that are unique to Roon and I’ve not gotten into it like you will have.

Roon is not the cheapest system on the block and I’m not sure if I’ll resubscribe without mobile - yet to make that decision - which will come down to where I’m doing most of my listening at the time. So in the vein of being honest, I personally see Mobile as a major requirement, but I know you do too, so I’m only saying that to make myself feel better!

Thanks again for creating such a well functioning and thought through product. I still think Roon is truly amazing.

Q

@brian I honestly wonder how big an issue this is for users, considering how big an issue it is for Roon to implement.

I think Roon need to think very carefully about this.

A workaround of sorts would be if a way could be found for all our ripped albums to be favourited in TIdal so then when we log into Tidal on our phone we have a large subset of our music.

I know everyone won’t be happy with this but it may free up development time on lower hanging fruit.

.sjb

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@brian
My view is that mobile/cloud is the biggest issue, bigger than UI and SQ, let alone oddball devices and tweaked filters.

Access everywhere (offices and vacation hone and boat and hotel and airplane…) would change my life.

Ultimately tweaking sound quality or even better navigation/discovery would not.

I know it is big, I have talked about it before and I don’t want to whine. Just a vote.

@danny has hinted at a UI reinvention. Cool, I’m looking forward to it, I’m sure it will be great. But it won’t change my life.

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I’m not suggesting it wouldn’t be great, but it appears to me that Roon would have to become a streaming service to make this work properly.

I’d hate Roon to bite off more than they can chew and end up going under.

Perhaps I’m over-complicating the isssue.

.sjb

This is of utmost importance to me and has been since I purchased Roon. At the time of purchase two years didn’t even think about being able to access my Roon library while at work, in the car, on holiday etc… I was stunned really when I quickly figured out this limitation. I was also a bit surprised to hear the reason was due to Apple’s programming restrictions, especially when I had experienced a vast range of applications on the iOS platform that have no problem streaming music from either their own cloud based servers or from my own local server infrastructure. Even today the most popular iOS apps allow for streaming of music and playback on iOS devices.
I must be quite slow as it has only been in recent weeks that I think I understand what Roon meant by ‘This is not allowed by Apple’. Depends on what your meaning of is is…
As I understand it, Roon means that the remote software on an iOS device cannot be successfully controlled by another remote all the time and as an endpoint all control would need to be done on the device. This would go against their ethos of all remotes need to be equal, never mind that all other remotes can handle playback now.

I initially used a VPN as a workaround. Yay! It worked! I could see my lovely Roon library while I was away from home.
“Look everyone, see this amazing software, you should buy it.”
“Oh yeah? It looks amazing, check out all that rich meta data. Oh hey you even have Tidal integration. Can I listen to that new Jay Z album?”
“Oh sure.” I’d say, taping the first track, then clumsily tapping the ‘Play Now?’ pop up.
You can see where this was headed. Apologies for the app, sorry it can’t stream outside of home. How much again? they’d ask. Or, why not just stream it from the Tidal version, might be asked. Outta luck sorry.

So, fast forward these days, I maintain three music libraries! Roon is easy, it watches all the folders in my iTunes Music directory. I add music using iTunes, do all tag editing and arrangement in iTunes and let Roon display it. I also use Plex to create a music library. It adds a lot of rich meta data too, and allows me to sync hi-res content.
On my mobile devices, I have 4 music apps.

  1. Roon - number one at home, not usable elsewhere
  2. iTunes - on the go playback, usually in the car or where I have good mobile internet access.
  3. Plex - Music I have synced at full resolution to my device, mostly for playback where I do not have access to the internet.
  4. Tidal - for desperate times to access an album I don’t physically own. I would not use Tidal if it weren’t for its Roon integration.

I have introduced Roon to many many people, anyone that will let me get a word in really. I’ve been a corporate salesman of software and IT for a decade, and was apparently quite good. I could convince no one to take up Roon because of its inability to be accessed outside of the local subnet.

I haven’t harped in about it like the one click play crowd, for example, but I know how they feel when someone comments that it’s not important to them so maybe it should be lower priority.
My music listening has been greatly enhanced by Roon, I am super grateful for that.
Having to endure the lacklustre experience of the software I was hoping to replace it with, for such a long time, is quite frustrating.

So, um, yeah +1 from me.

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One slight correction I think - I don’t believe apple is a limitation for mobile music, it is however a limitation on being a remote network endpoint. I believe the subtle difference is that Roon’s architecture plays over the network for anything that isn’t a Roon ‘core’. That is limited by apple on iOS, but doesn’t prevent mobile. If Plex.tv can do mobile music on iOS (and a gazillion others) then so can Roon. And just a further point, Plex does this, from my own personal libarary, no streaming from any Plex related server is required. So I think definitely possible. But the architecture for whatever reason hasn’t been designed that way.

This is a misunderstanding. The goal is a user experience like that of a streaming services–in the sense that content is available as possible in context of your current location/connectivity. We don’t intend to turn into a streaming service ourselves.

Yes, agreed. It’s the most important strategic technology move coming up for us, and crucial if we are to remain relevant over time.

But–it’s not totally fair to compare projects that are orders of magnitude different in size against each other. Tactical projects get done because they fit into the schedule easily and because going dark for an extended period of time without releases is bad for business.

The mobile/cloud project doesn’t need the services of a UI designer right now–he’s are available to work on Roon as-it-is-today, so he’s doing that. Integration work is boring, but it’s efficient at generating revenue, aids us in growing important relationships, and helps secure our place in the market that we are entering with Nucleus.

Solving mobility properly opens the possibility of having customers with no core, with library managed purely in the cloud–sort of like operating in an online mobile mode at all times. It is more than a feature–it will open us up to new kinds of users and new lines of business. If I snapped my fingers and had the feature built tomorrow, there would still be significant non-technical effort left figuring out how to extract all of the value from it properly.

In any case, the project is under way–lots of moving pieces, things to figure out, and work to be done.

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I wonder whether there are really two phases of this: 1. Increasing on-the-road access to Roon files when using a laptop or other computer device through a broadband connection (i.e. when travelling and in a hotel room). 2. Making the entire Roon experience seamless through an iPhone or other handset in the car or anywhere with varying bandwidth access.

In the first case, it might require remote access to the original Roon database on a NAS server (thereby requiring outside access to the NAS which opens the construct to security issues, which i think most of us would prefer to avoid). The other way to do it would be to limit the access to Tidal files only (thereby excluding higher res files we might have on our computer or NAS, but since we are on the road, the 16/44 capabilities of Tidal are likely to be just fine and Roon would only need to validate that we have a Tidal license and what our Tidal files are.

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Any requirement on Tidal is not a solution, IMO.

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It’s great to hear that Roon have the vision and capability to achieve this. My worries are obviously unfounded as it seems part of a well thought out long term strategy.

Didn’t mean to p1ss on anyone’s parade, just concerned about overstretching.

.sjb

it might… the new focus is ridiculously awesome :slight_smile:

It also will give you full functionality on phone form-factor, which is a critical first step in going to full cloud/mobile.

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You do know how to build up the anticipation…

@danny how will you get iPhone playback? Are you moving away from Xamarin?

Sure, I understand about the practicalities.
And I’m not pushing on you guys, I know you are fully aware.
This is more to tilt the conversation across the forum, broadly.

There are very interesting issues involved in the mobile/cloud project. Difficult issues, I have seen very large and very sophisticated organizations flub it badly.

And numerous scenarios with slightly different requirements and priorities.
Will be interesting to watch your interpretation.

no plans to move away from .NET at all… that said, there is a new GC in the works that can be told ‘this time is critical, dont interrupt’

that’s what we need to do iOS playback.

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