Streaming/Media Server HTPC Advice - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 7 Old 01-05-2012, 10:49 PM - Thread Starter
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I'm seriously considering building a HTPC again, but it's been a long time and the tech has changed a lot. But so has my requirements. I'm not trying to build an all-in-one machine. For instance I don't need disk (BR/DVD) playback. I have no interest in a TV turner or DVR functions.

Really I have four requirements
1) It'll store all video and music for the network. I'll very likely have a wired connection rather than WiFi. Since there are just two of us in the household, the likelihood of media being accessed from multiple devices on the network at the same time is very low. This is primarily a means to centrally locate/manage our media so I don't hear, "Turn on your computer so I can listen to my music."
2) It needs to be low power. Being a media server it'll be running 24/7.
3) It needs to be able to play back streaming content well. This means no Roku, Boxee, etc. I want simply to use a web browser and get to all the content.
4) It needs full HDMI AV output. I plan to run this through an AVR with HDMI switching so as to keep a single HDMI cable going to the TV and simplifying the programming of my Harmony remote.

I can get about 80% of the way with my current setup. My Samsung Blu-Ray player does DLNA and plays back most of the codecs that I have, as well as my music. My Xbox360 does most of that as well. Both have Hulu Plus and Netflix, but Amazon Instant doesn't work on either. And more often than not certain networks simply don't have their content on these services (ahem CBS).

I've been using an old laptop with VGA output and a mini-jack to RCA audio connection and it works fine but it's clunky as hell. I'm sure a new laptop would do all this fairly well but I suspect I could get more bang for my buck building a dedicated HTPC.

Any thoughts/advice would be greatly appreciated. I'm guessing I could go pretty cheap by my requirements but I don't want to end up with a system that chokes on moderate tasks.
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post #2 of 7 Old 01-06-2012, 07:36 AM
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Check the stickied guides at the top of this forum. They go into in-depth detail about what you need to build a system to play HD content.
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post #3 of 7 Old 01-06-2012, 07:38 AM
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It may a bit old school by now, but I use several of these:
http://www.dlink.ca/products/?pid=509

You can put a pair of drives in them, up to 3 TB each, and they seem to handle multiple connections just fine. I actually have 5 of them with my entire DVD collection ripped to them. I have an HTPC in my theater, 2 WD TV Live boxes and a jailbroken Apple TV, any or all of them can play media over my network at any given time from any room in the house, and the only delay is getting the drive to first spin up when they have gone into power save mode. There may be newer products like this, or simpler ones such as the MyBook, but these are a very simple way to store media and access it from a variety of devices.
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post #4 of 7 Old 01-06-2012, 10:14 AM
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I personally use PlayOn, Serviio, and HuluPlus. All are accessible through the Sony SMP-N100 ($50 at BB).

My server runs constantly...and allows all the above viewing.

I will be moving the server contents to a Netgear NAS (with DLNA media server, $100) next month. Then I can use the server for a dedicated HTPC.
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post #5 of 7 Old 01-07-2012, 09:11 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Puwaha View Post

Check the stickied guides at the top of this forum. They go into in-depth detail about what you need to build a system to play HD content.

HD content isn't really an issue, if you'll go back an re-read what I'm looking for.
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post #6 of 7 Old 01-07-2012, 09:15 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Warren_G View Post

It may a bit old school by now, but I use several of these:
DNS-323 2-BAY NETWORK STORAGE ENCLOSURE

Quote:
Originally Posted by boardboy330 View Post

I personally use PlayOn, Serviio, and HuluPlus. All are accessible through the Sony SMP-N100 ($50 at BB).

The NAS is nice but not quite what I'm looking for. I need to have a web browser on this system. That counts the Sony out too. I really want this to be a PC so I have control of the software and can upgrade it later if desired. I've been burned a couple times now with set-top-boxes.
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post #7 of 7 Old 01-08-2012, 08:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MAJikMARCer View Post

HD content isn't really an issue, if you'll go back an re-read what I'm looking for.

Check the stickied guides. There's plenty in there to build a media server or HD capable HTPC.

There are hundreds of threads where people ask the same questions... that's why the stickied guides are there.


What are you really asking advice on?
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