Originally Posted by smokarz
i have an HTPC in my dedicated media room downstairs which has all my video and music libraries. this is my main viewing room, however somtimes i like to see a quick flick from my living without having to run downstairs.
so i am thinking of building a smaller, cheaper htpc with the sole purpase of streaming media from my main HTPC downstairs to the plasma TV in my living room. but before i do that, i like to know if there's already a prebuilt solution in the market that is already built for this purpose? cheap, small, and stream effieciently via wireless?
if so, i love to hear about them. i really appreciate your feedbacks/responses. thanks
I was just going through this decision process myself, and I thought that an xBox would be the perfect solution. I bought one from walmart just to try it out, with full intentions of just taking it back when I was done testing. Turns out it mimics the WM7 interface perfectly, and plays recorded TV shows over my network flawlessly. It also allows me to watch live TV, and control the scheduled recordings. That I thought was very cool, but the major problem came in streaming other media like avi, mkv, dvd rips and other stuff. Lots of them it wouldn't even play, and the ones that would play ended up being really crappy quality. I believe it has to do with the fact that the xbox has a very limited number of file types that it can transcode, so it forces the media center to do it on the fly.
Anyway, we watch a lot of media like that, as well as our home videos which are very high bitrate avi files. So that wasn't going to work. I took it back. About 8 years ago I probably would have gone with it, and tweak whatever needed to get it work, as it sounds like others have crossed these bridges, but I've got three kids now, and it's all the time I can afford just put this setup together.
I think other media center extenders will behave the same way.
My other solution is like what you're looking for, a small, cheap PC with windows 7 on it, that I can use to steam media over the network from my main media pc. This will do all the things that the xbox can't, but won't do the one thing that it can do. Since you can't register another PC as an actual extender, you won't be able to watch live TV or control the recordings. But it seems like that's about the only drawback. You can still watch previously recorded shows, as well as any other content from the media center.
So I think that's going to be my solution. I've actually priced out a build for a small form factor media center for my bedroom for about $261, but it uses a HDD I already own, so you'd have to add on the price of a hard drive. I think you can probably build a cheaper one, or even find a pre built cheaper one, but this one includes a sandy bridge chip. Here's the build I'm planning on, but be weary, I haven't done full compatibility research on it:Raidmax Case+PSU
for $33 (can be found cheaper watching slickdeals)motherboard
This DVD Burner
was $16 a few days ago. They can be found really cheap.
All you'd need is a hard drive on top of that. Let me know what you come up with. Good luck!