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Forums › General › Off Topic › Nybody with HTPC networking experience?

Nybody with HTPC networking experience?
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Crash1976
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2012 2:53 pm    Post subject: Nybody with HTPC networking experience?

HTPC is short for Home Theatre PC. So what i want to do is setup a computer as a media server to service the whole house.

Goal:
Store and serve entire DVD and BluRay collection to televisions within the home as well as record programming content from over the air broadcasts and archive them for playback on TVs throught the home network.

The system basics:
AMD Turion tripple core CPU
ATI or Nvidia HD graphics (unimportant as playback will be on external TVs)
4GB RAM
8 TB HD space (Divided into 4 2TB drives on a RAID system for data protection)
Dual Digital PCI tuner card(records 2 sources simultaneously,may expand to 4 souces with 2 cards)
BluRay disc Burner/player internal

All run on Windows 7 with media content managed by Windows Media Center.

All this seems fairly straight forward and simple. The fly in the ointment so to speak has been how to get the content from the server to the TVs in the various rooms in a way that is easy to navigate from the couch or lying in bed with a remote.

So far the best soloution seems to be the Xbox 360. I am hearing that the gaming console being a microsoft product integrates into a Windows Media Center environment easily and allows navigation via the Xbox wireless controllers. Anyone tried this or have any experience with it? Thoughts?

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eviladam
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2012 6:25 pm    Post subject: Re: Nybody with HTPC networking experience?

I used to use the ATI remote that came with the old old old Radeon video cards. However I now use bluetooth mice and keyboards, the super small ones. I personally like the option of using the machine for other things than just movies even though thats originally why I built the 3 I have in my house. The bluetooth usb dongle cost me a whopping $2 shipped from China on ebay and works perfect, so maybe something to consider as a solution.

I like having the option to ebay or email from every room even though I have a mobile device on me at all times.....
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mayford5
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2012 6:36 pm    Post subject: Re: Nybody with HTPC networking experience?

The Xbox is a good(not great) way to do this as it supports all of the file extensions for the video files except one. Xbox will not play blu-ray. there aren't any codecs that would allow you to do that.

So the question I have is what format are you going to use for video? If you are going to use ISOs the Xbox will not play those.

The least cost effective but best solution is to have a media box at each TV. these come with remotes and will connect to your server seamlessly and cause almost no hassle. Like these
www.pixelmagicsystems....diabox.htm

this one is prob more like you are looking for.
www.google.com/product...d=0CCAQrhI

The only issue I can see is still if you are going to use ISO files these may not play them. I have heard that the Popcorn Hour A-210 supports them with a third party firmware called YAMJ but I could not speak to the validity of that as I have never used them.

Here is what I have. 1 media server in bedroom that has 2Tb space in RAID5 with MS HomeServer. This allows streaming anywhere in my home from a laptop or desktop. I have my main desktop hooked up to my entertainment system in the living room and can stream media to that as well. This gets rid of the issues with file formats but not so much the ease of use unless you get an app to control you PC like I have for my IPAD(splashtop). Plays really nice over the TV in 1080P but you have to have the server on all the time for it to really be useful. Best thing about it(splashtop) is now I can stream media from my server to my Ipad as long as I have a interenet connection in any place that i stay. No more renting movies at the Drury for me.

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Crash1976 wrote:
sometimes i wish i would get fired. You know that feeling there is something else you should be doing and don't have the cojones to go find something else? plus working for your dad is a major drag.

Crash1976 wrote:
I DO love the color. The pictures don't do it justice. If you are not getting a chub looking at the pictures then you are not getting the full effect. This color is why Viagra pills are blue.
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kwik
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2012 7:40 pm    Post subject: Re: Nybody with HTPC networking experience?

the media box is probably your best bet, we have gone through several iterations of an HTPC setup and it does work best with one of those.

Currently our htpc is basically just a big hard drive storage facility. All the data goes through either the receiver or the media box then the receiver(due to surround sound) if we werent trying to have surround sound for all mediums you could probably go from the htpc to the TV stright or the media box and skip the receiver.

I haven't tried to run an iso yet through this setup, mostly avi files from top gear seasons and movies, or the std format for BD and HD DVD rips.
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Crash1976
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 9:49 am    Post subject: Re: Nybody with HTPC networking experience?

Yeah I like that Sony box, priced right and seems to be a good soloution in leiu of the Xbox.

If these boxes won't read ISOs is there a program that will rip DVD and BD to a suitable format for storage and playback? I would prefer not to lose the BD menu functionality like special features, deleted scenes, BDlive etc etc.

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dblk22vball
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 1:59 pm    Post subject: Re: Nybody with HTPC networking experience?

I have done this same thing, except I ripped my whole library into mp4 format, since then we can put them on our Touchpads.

I have a basic DNS-323 file server (basically 2 hard drives in mirror raid in a tiny box), with a UPNP server running on it (DLNA compliant) that serves up my music and videos.

I then have a PS3 and a samsung blu-ray player that can play the music and movies. Only issue with the dns-323, is the dlna server built in does not id3 tags for mp3's.

For recording over the air content, I use SageTV software and I love it. I have Hauppauge HVR cards to record in HD, and they also come with a remote.

Kind of a hodgepodge of media players, but it works.

I think using a Windows box for everything with Windows Media Center on Windows 7 might be a decent solution. You could pick up a couple of the Atom low power pcs with an nvidia video gpu in them to handle the decoding of blu-rays etc. Then you can also use a MCE certified remote that works seamlessly with windows media center.

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mayford5
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 2:19 pm    Post subject: Re: Nybody with HTPC networking experience?

I don't know of any(software converters other than to ISO) currently that will do a decent format that doesn't hurt the eyes when watched on an HDTV. The biggest problem you run into is compression. The more your file gets compressed the worse it looks, especially in HD. You can take a nice BD and make it look really bad. That is why ISOs are the best things for media servers as long as what your sharing with supports them.

I have found out that the Popcorn hour media players do in fact support them with the right firmware but they get pricey really quick.
www.popcornhour.com/onlinestore/
This one comes from them supporting ISOs but is $219.
www.popcornhour.com/on...nItemId=45
That isn't that bad considering some of the others I have found that suppport ISOs are upwards of $350-$400 but still out of my pricerange.

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Crash1976 wrote:
sometimes i wish i would get fired. You know that feeling there is something else you should be doing and don't have the cojones to go find something else? plus working for your dad is a major drag.

Crash1976 wrote:
I DO love the color. The pictures don't do it justice. If you are not getting a chub looking at the pictures then you are not getting the full effect. This color is why Viagra pills are blue.
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Crash1976
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 2:21 pm    Post subject: Re: Nybody with HTPC networking experience?

I have a samsung blu ray player that has wifi, but i have yet to figure out how to network it to the computer to pull video files. the samsung is app based in that each function is accessed thru an app of somekind. is there an app for that?

Also I'm looking at the WD TV Live player instead of the Sony unit. the WD unit has a better DLNA compliant interface for pulling media off of a NAS in that it is more of an intuitive interface.

still trying to muddle through the sea of media player devices out there. theres alot out there but none seem to be the "complete package" in that they support all formats and are DLNA compliant etc.

_________________
The Bushmaster Resale Market...The House That FGB built.

On wierd facial affectations...
mayford5 wrote:
I don't care how progressive casual Friday gets that is still not acceptable.

Roads?....Where we're going, we don't need roads... -Rom 5:1-2
Feedback---> www.icd-owners.com/htm...mp;t=13878
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dblk22vball
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 2:45 pm    Post subject: Re: Nybody with HTPC networking experience?

Crash1976 wrote:
I have a samsung blu ray player that has wifi, but i have yet to figure out how to network it to the computer to pull video files. the samsung is app based in that each function is accessed thru an app of somekind. is there an app for that?

No app, but you have to have a DLNA server. I think Windows 7 has one, but you have to share a drive or folder first. Reason we love our samsung (BD-C5500) is that it can stream the movies/music, has netflix app and pandora.

Crash1976 wrote:

Also I'm looking at the WD TV Live player instead of the Sony unit. the WD unit has a better DLNA compliant interface for pulling media off of a NAS in that it is more of an intuitive interface.

I have a couple of friends that really like the WD Live.

Crash1976 wrote:

still trying to muddle through the sea of media player devices out there. theres alot out there but none seem to be the "complete package" in that they support all formats and are DLNA compliant etc.

Yea, I hear you on this one.

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63VDub
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 3:00 pm    Post subject: Re: Nybody with HTPC networking experience?

Crash, we just got the WD Live at home. I love it, but I don't pull a lot over my network. everything I have pulled plays seamlessly, though,

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