Buy a 2nd PS3 or first XBox 360 as a media extender for use with OTA HD, HDHomerun, and PS3 Media Server - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 28 Old 07-02-2012, 12:15 PM - Thread Starter
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Hopefully that title wasn't enough to scare everyone off! I'd like to get some opinions. I have no idea if this is the right place to put this, but I tried to narrow it down to the appropriate section...

I am cutting the cord and getting rid of cable. I'll be using my Uverse internet wired to the desktop with a HDHomerun Dual. I'll be using Windows Media Center to set up the DVR recording onto my desktop hard drive of all the OTA shows we watch. I'll then use PS3 Media Server to stream files I've recorded, movies I've downloaded, etc. to the PS3 I have in the living room.

I'm going to be another console for the bedroom as a media extender. I'm trying to decide whether to buy a second PS3 or pick up an XBox 360 and have one of each. I like the PS3, am familiar with how everything works, like the BluRay, and think it is all around a better machine. But the Xbox does have ESPN3 (which I realize you have to subscribe to the online service, but that's not really an issue) and I'm a big sports fan. I could also get any games that are exclusive to XBox or a Kinect if I wouldn't one later on. If I don't get the XBox, I think the only way to really watch ESPN on my tv would be to plug my laptop in through the HDMI port and use it instead. Not that big of a deal, but kinda cuts down on one more device.

So... thoughts? If you were in this situation would you get a second PS3 or get an XBox 360 to have one of each?

Thanks!
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post #2 of 28 Old 07-02-2012, 12:20 PM
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Given I have the same setup, I'd say an HTPC in the bedroom. That's what I have. There are times I miss having a PS3 in there though, mostly for Netflix and Amazon. Netflix is a better experience on the PS3. But, as an extender, the XBOX beats the PS3, just no bluray.
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post #3 of 28 Old 07-02-2012, 12:25 PM
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I should mention if you want to stream to PS3 or XBOX, you need a transcoder on a server, and a GOOD connection (100mb+, not wifi). This is one of the reasons it's easier to just do an HTPC.
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post #4 of 28 Old 07-02-2012, 12:29 PM
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As those above say, if you just want media streaming capabilities, why not just get a cheap HTPC?

You get a lot more bang for your buck (and a lot more media access), and you could probably put one together for less than the price of either console. I have a three-year-old PC that I put together for around $300 that still does a better job with media streaming than either console. The only reason I'd bother with another console is if you want to play games in your bedroom, or if you don't want to bother with assembling and configuring a new PC. Also, pretty much any Xbox "exclusive" also gets a PC release.

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post #5 of 28 Old 07-02-2012, 01:09 PM
 
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Since you'll already have it working with your PS3 in the living room, get a second PS3. Why go through the hassle of getting stuff working for both at the same time? Implement once, deploy everywhere.
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post #6 of 28 Old 07-02-2012, 01:16 PM
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I don't have an XBOX, but I believe the XBOX has better media extender functionality when connected to a PC running Windows Media Center. I know with the PS3 you won't be able to delete shows when you have finished them, and doing things like rewinding or jumping forward are a real hassle. Not having rewind/FF is what finally ruined it for me, and why I built an HTPC for the bedroom.
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post #7 of 28 Old 07-02-2012, 02:43 PM - Thread Starter
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As far as the HPTC goes, I'd rather have a PS3 or XBox to play games with. The streaming is the main priority, but gaming would be nice also. I've already been streaming downloaded files from my PC in the office to the PS3 in the living room for a couple years using PS3 Media Server. I think either option in the bedroom would work using the same setup. The issue I guess really comes down to is it worth it to have the ESPN3 app and some of the different aspects of XBox online gaming, or the system I'm already used to with the Bluray and having everything consistent. Also wondering if I have two PS3s using the same PSN username and everything would cause issues or if it would be better to have one PS3 and one XBox on the network.
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post #8 of 28 Old 07-02-2012, 02:45 PM - Thread Starter
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As far as rewinding and fast forwarding goes, I just use my PS3 remote and I do it no problem currently.
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post #9 of 28 Old 07-02-2012, 04:14 PM
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XBox since it doesn't have Cinavia.

500 gigs FTW.
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post #10 of 28 Old 07-02-2012, 04:27 PM
 
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Let me clarify my suggestion: The 360 is a piece of crap for local media streaming, with very limited codec support and poor FF/RW functionality. This improves within Media Center Extender, but then you have the "multiple implementations" problem. The 360 is bloody fantastic as a web video streaming device, offering up the most solid interfaces for the majority of video apps compared to any competing web streaming device.

By comparison, the PS3 makes a pretty good local streaming device, as you've already experienced. It is pretty crap for web streaming though, as the apps tend to be very poorly laid out, crash-prone, and very limited in selection.

If you want access to your local video everywhere, get the PS3. If you instead make the choice that "you know what, I don't need local video in the bedroom, as the web streaming options are vast", then get a 360.

In my house I have a 360, PS3, and HTPC in the living room. If I want local streaming video I use the PS3. If I want web video I use the 360. I never use the HTPC. The hardware is great, but the user experience is crap. Maybe I'll try again with Windows 8. In the bedroom I have a 360 and no other video source. Really, if I'm in the bedroom, then it's fine that all I have access to is the vast Netflix library, the vast Hulu library, the vast Youtube library and my vast 360 game library. Not using local video in the bedroom is no big deal.

I want to again emphasize just how terrible HTPCs are in comparison. The hardware and flexibility is great, but at their absolute best they take far too much effort, and you end up pulling out a mouse and keyboard far too often to configure something. I'm guessing that everyone here saying "Go HTPC!" thinks that a keyboard and mouse is fine in the livingroom and bedroom. These people are doing life wrong. The user experience on either console is far superior. That's saying quite a bit given how very little I think of the usability of Sony's ancient dashboard.
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post #11 of 28 Old 07-02-2012, 05:38 PM
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Windows 8 is basically a tablet OS from what I understand. I think most people will stick with 7.

500 gigs FTW.
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post #12 of 28 Old 07-02-2012, 05:57 PM - Thread Starter
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Ah, gotcha! Thanks for clearing that up. I'm definitely not interested in an HPTC for precisely the reasons you bring up. I do have quite a bit of movies and downloaded content that would be nice to stream in the bedroom, which sounds like the PS3 would be better for. But the XBox does have some online stuff I like, for instance the ESPN3. I could hook a laptop up through HDMI, but again, this goes back to user friendly issues. I guess I just need to weight those two and do some soul searching.
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post #13 of 28 Old 07-02-2012, 06:11 PM
 
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"Windows 8 is basically a tablet OS from what I understand."

You don't have an understanding of what Windows 8 is then. The normal everyday Windows 7 desktop is still there. The Start Menu is now Metro, just like every other Microsoft device is these days. An upgrade to Win8 is $40, and all new PCs will come with Win8 by default. Adoption will be rapid.

Win8 RT is a tablet OS. But that's like saying OSX is a tablet OS because iOS exists.
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post #14 of 28 Old 07-02-2012, 09:03 PM - Thread Starter
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Just out of curiousty though... why does the XBox suck for local media streaming? What makes you say that?
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post #15 of 28 Old 07-03-2012, 03:02 AM
 
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A complete lack of a good solution for h264 with surround is a pretty heavy reason. Browsing local media is also a rather poor experience and takes too many clicks plus too much loading to even get to the browsing point. Again, a lot of this gets solved inside MCE, but then you grow new problems plus the old "double implementation" problem.

Microsoft put a little bit of thought in to local streaming back in 2005-2007, then shifted heavily to focusing on web streaming, ignoring local streaming for the next five years. It was absolutely the correct choice as web streaming is far more important and useful to a greater number of people, but local streaming did suffer as a result.

Sony is running an ancient 8 year old interface and hasn't updated local streaming in just about as long, but they got to a barely acceptable place before giving up on it. A PS3 fed h264+dolby 5.1 inside a M2TS container works really damn well, even at perfectly fine bit-rate 1080p. Ergo, we have found one of the three things that the PS3 is demonstrably better at than a 360: local streaming.
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post #16 of 28 Old 07-03-2012, 05:27 AM
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I will chime in and say that the ESPN app for the xbox is pretty awesome. I've used it quite a bit during the last month to catch up on Euro 2012 action and when college football starts up it is absolutely amazing. The number of games to pick from is a sports junkie's dream come true. I believe they also announced full 24-7 ESPN access with the upcoming fall update...so you'll have the ESPN3 stuff as well as the regular ESPN channel. How else are you gonna watch MNF? smile.gif
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post #17 of 28 Old 07-03-2012, 10:13 AM - Thread Starter
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Damn you! Just when I had my mind pretty much made up on a second PS3 you remind me of the one damn thing that is keeping the XBox in the conversation for me... ESPN. Especially with football coming up.
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post #18 of 28 Old 07-03-2012, 01:22 PM
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Just throwing this out there, to use all the stuff you want to use on Xbox (ESPN) you have to have a gold subscription. There are sites you can go to for sports, so do you really want to have to pay for gold just to watch some sports highlights?

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post #19 of 28 Old 07-03-2012, 02:06 PM - Thread Starter
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Definitely don't want to pay for sports highlights. I want to watch live sports. What sites are you talking about?
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post #20 of 28 Old 07-03-2012, 02:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wes_mantooth View Post

Definitely don't want to pay for sports highlights. I want to watch live sports. What sites are you talking about?
Well, ESPN3 for starters. Totally free on the internet. No need for a Gold Subscription. Most of what MS charges for on 360 you can get totally free (and legal) with a basic internet connection and a PC/Mac. Always seemed like a rip-off to me that you need a gold sub for all that streaming content. I mean, if I already pay for the internet, and even a streaming service like Netflix or Hulu+, why should I also have to pay MS for access to those things?

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post #21 of 28 Old 07-03-2012, 02:41 PM - Thread Starter
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Well I agree that it kinda sucks to pay for a Live subscription to use ESPN3. I have a laptop that I could hook up to the tv to watch ESPN3 on. The point was not to have to drag a laptop around to a room everytime I want to watch a game on tv. If I get two PS3s I'll have to take the laptop into whichever room I'm in to watch ESPN3. If I get an XBox360 I can keep the laptop hooked up to the tv in the living room where the PS3 is and just use the ESPN3 app on the XBox in the bedroom. I keep the laptop hooked up to the tv in the living room anyways when I stream PPV fights. The thing that pisses me off about the PS3 is that the web browswer is pretty much useless and I have to use a laptop to stream any type of embedded Flash video in the first place.
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post #22 of 28 Old 07-03-2012, 03:32 PM
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You pay for Live to play games online. That has been the main reason to buy Live since day one. Live shouldn't be an option because of any of the additional services that are offered. Hulu and Netflix and other services you pay for individually are optional features that require Live service to access because once again you bought Live for the MP as the primary reason. If your not buying Live for the MP as your primary reason your wasting money. Those services can be accessed in other ways.

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post #23 of 28 Old 07-03-2012, 07:55 PM - Thread Starter
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Well the majoity of my gaming would probably still be through the PS3 as that's what I've built up and have all my games for right now. If I got an XBox and read that a particular game was better on the XBox I would buy it for that system in the future, but I'd pay for a live subscription either way to access ESPN3 and play what few games I did get with the XBox. Another thing I don't like about the XBox is the 4GB of memory. I know you can add a HDD, and I may not even need that much space if I'm doing limited gaming on it and primarily streaming to it, but the higher memory model is $50 more than the 160GB PS3.
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post #24 of 28 Old 07-03-2012, 10:15 PM
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You have the option to add two 16gb thumb drives to use. Don't need a hard drive in your case.

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post #25 of 28 Old 07-05-2012, 08:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by darklordjames View Post

I want to again emphasize just how terrible HTPCs are in comparison. The hardware and flexibility is great, but at their absolute best they take far too much effort, and you end up pulling out a mouse and keyboard far too often to configure something. I'm guessing that everyone here saying "Go HTPC!" thinks that a keyboard and mouse is fine in the livingroom and bedroom. These people are doing life wrong. The user experience on either console is far superior. That's saying quite a bit given how very little I think of the usability of Sony's ancient dashboard.

The HTPC in my bedroom has not had a keyboard/mouse attached to it in MONTHS. I took the PS3 out of the bedroom because for the most part streaming from my Windows Home Server was a lousy experience. Netflix is far better on PS3, and Amazon is worthless on the HTPC. But like I said, anything streaming from a server or from a Windows 7 machine is far better from another HTPC than from a PS3. And the HDHomeRun can't be used on the PS3 at all, but it can be used on an HTPC. I use my HDHomeRun on 5 PCs around my house, love it.
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post #26 of 28 Old 07-05-2012, 07:19 PM - Thread Starter
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The HDHomerun can't be used to watch live tv on the PS3 you mean? The only thing I want it for is to allow me to record shows on my PC and then stream those shows to devices later using PS3 Media Server.
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post #27 of 28 Old 07-06-2012, 09:52 AM
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Correct, so it'll do what you want. I like being able to pause, rewind, etc. live TV like a DVR.
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post #28 of 28 Old 07-06-2012, 09:24 PM - Thread Starter
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Okay, cool. Actually got mine in the mail today and think I have everything set up right. Now I've just gotta decide which console to get.
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