Primer on Music Servers?

I've been watching as the price of digital storage falls like a rock. You can now get a 4GB compact flash card for $45. A 16GB compact flash card sells for $235. I clicked around and saw that Samsung is planning 64GB CF cards in the near future, which means that those 16GB cards will be 50 bucks before too long.

However you code it, that's a lot of music. I have a friend who ran his own software company, and a short while back he told me that people will soon be carrying the contents of their PC (operating system, apps and data) on compact flash cards, and soon after that on their credit cards.

I've got to think that we're at the dawn of an era where digital content is stored and retrieved without moving parts, and where storage is so vast that capacity is no longer an issue. All of this leads me to believe that the various spinning media are living on borrowed time, be they conventional hard drives or CD, SACD and DVD.

I've discussed this with my A/V system dealer and he points out that the music servers come from the PC makers. Those guys just don't get it when it comes to the various interconnection and other performance issues that audiophiles care about, he says.

Having interacted with my share of geeks I absolutely believe thus. Still, how hard is this? I'd think it's a matter of how to stream the data from storage. If the PC makers don't get it, what's keeping the audio equipment guys like, say, Linn, from going there? It must be that there are much more formidble technical challenges than I know.

Perhaps folks here can lay them out? I'm not particularly interested in various format wars (coding methods) unless there's something about a particular one of them that makes it especially difficult to move digital content off of a CD or DVD. What's the holdup to music servers that would equal the sound from the best spinning disc players?

I'm hoping I don't set off a religious war with my question. I don't own a music server right now, and I'm not going to get one until my dealer tells me they're ready. I'm just wondering what the holdup is.
Let me tell you a little something...People like to think HDD is not as good as Flash for some reason, and that the whole 'moving parts' theory is the reason why. This is somewhat true, but solid state storage (Flash) is not much better, and when it fails, which is statistically as often as HDD, whatever you had on there is gonzo. Good luck getting it back.

At least with a magnetic platter design you have the ability to recover the the bits.

I work for a premier IT market intelligence company, and I do lots of research on these. Flash has promise, but a long way to go before it becomes better than HDD. I wouldn't recommend sitting around for too long waiting for one to pan out over the other.
I did some checking and found that I purchased my first digital camera four years and two months ago. At that time, you got a 16MB (notice the "M") flash card with the camera. The largest available at the computer store was a massive 128MB card that cost $125. I'd suspect that if I had checked on the Internet at the time, I could've found a 512MB card for a lot of dough.

So, in four years we've seen flash memory do a 32-fold increase. I see no reason to think we won't get at least the same multiple in the next four years, which would mean cheap 128GB cards in 2011 and expensive 512GB cards.

At the very least, that's a lot of room to back up your data, wouldn't you say?
High quality computer music servers are hear now, no need to wait. Having your music organized on a server is a patently superior method of accessing one's music collection, assuming one has more than 50 CD's. There are the stand alone units (McIntosh, Yamaha, Sonos, Cambridge, SlimDevices, etc.) or you can construct your own music server with a PC of some sort.

IMHO the keys to audiophile grade sound in these implementations are: 1) lossless encoding of music files, and 2) careful attention to USB - S/PDIF conversion (and this is only an issue for those who are NOT using WIFI).

Once you have those elements sorted out though, the rest of the issues are those you would face when assembling any hifi system: amplification, D/A conversion, speakers, room acoustics, etc..

Computer music servers are the future of the digital front end (IMHO).
Thanks for your response. After I posted this, I saw your excellent posting, "Today's Transport War: Significant Differences?" At some point I'll probably post there with more questions. I was really impressed by your knowledge.
Thanks, Pluck. I am an amatuer, at best. Good luck in your journey. The threads here are a good place to get started. You can also learn a lot about computer audio from two websites: Empirical Audio and Wavelength Audio. Each has dedicated content on the subject. True experts behind these sites.