Ripserver Lets Your CD drive R.I.P.

At first glance, Belfast, Ireland-based Ripfactory's just-released Ripserver looks like nothing more than a $1,400 1-terabyte hard drive. For those not keeping track of digital storage prices, that's about five times too expensive.

But for audiophiles committed to streaming their entire music collections from a PC to high-end speaker system, the Ripserver looks like a time-saver.

The mini-safe-sized box slurps up 1,000 gigabytes of music through a slot-loading optical drive, turns it into near-perfect lossless audio tracks, and pumps it automatically over a home ethernet network to just about any networked media sharing device and software. That includes Logitech's SlimServer, Sonos, the PlayStation 3, the Xbox360, or iTunes sitting on your PC. The ripped music is accessible from any computer and speaker setup around your home.

Sure, a PC with an optical drive can do the same thing in about five steps, but the Ripserver cuts the audio-ripping process down to one step and let's you do the tiresome CD-feeding in your living room where your speakers are.

Now, if Ripfactory could invent a robotic arm that takes the CD out of its jewel case, feeds it into the Ripserver slot, then boxes up the ejected CDs and carries them up to the attic, they'd have a killer app. And audiophiles around the world would have absolutely no reason to get up off the couch. Hmmm...looks like Ripfactory's almost there. -Rachel Rosmarin