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post #1 of 18 Old 06-28-2012, 09:49 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi, All.

 

I'm still working through the planning stages of my HTPC project. I have been thinking through my network topology (or my lack thereof). Currently, my cable modem (Time Warner/Road Runner) and 802.11n/Gigabit Wireless Router are both located right beside the living room TV. That's great for the HTPC that I will build for the living room. Unfortunately, my house is not wired with ethernet cables. So, to extend my wired internet to the spare bedroom on the second floor where the printer resides, I installed a pair of Netgear AV200 powerline adapters. This works great for printing, but printing doesn't require a lot of bandwidth. HD movies do. I decided to test the data throughput of the powerline adapters by using a tool called iperf. Based on the measurements taken by that tool, throughput was hitting about 19 Mbps. frown.gif Now, the adapters are on different circuits, but this test showed me that getting additional powerline adapters, even the Netgear AV500, are not an option for extending my network to the master bedroom for an HTPC to be located there.

 

My only other options are to try to install some cat5e or try MoCA adapters on the coaxial running through the house. I called a data cable installer today. The man I spoke with told me that he was reluctant to take on such a job due to liability issues. He took my information and told me he would call back about scheduling a time to have a look at where the drop would go and what obstacles would be in the way. However, I have not yet heard back from him. So, I might be stuck ordering a pair of Actiontec MoCA adapters to see what my data throughput would be.

 

Even with MoCA, I will not be able to experience more than 100 Mbps as that is what the adapters ethernet port is rated for. If I am able to get greater than 50 Mbps over MoCA, I think that would be fine for streaming HD video, but I do not believe that would be good enough for high quality MKV blu-ray rips to be downloaded locally in a timely manner for playback. As part of my project, I am looking to build a NAS probably based on FreeNAS. This server has a DLNA service to allow clients, such as TVs Blu-Ray players, to discover and stream media from the NAS. I have done quite a bit of searching, and I cannot find any information about Windows Media Center or Media Browser or some other Media Center plugin that allows content to be streamed, rather than having to download the entire file for video playback. Can anyone here relate their experiences streaming ripped discs from a NAS to a HTPC? What media software and plugins were you using? I have read on the XBMC web site that it will stream media from any network you can access. However, XBMC still does not have live TV, EPG, and DVR functionality integrated.

 

Thank you for any assistance.


HTPC
Windows 7 Home Premium 64 SP1/WMC/MediaBrowser
GD05B-USB3
Core i3-2120/GIGABYTE GA-B75M-D3V
8 GB G.Skill Ripjaws X Series DDR3 1333
ASUS GeForce GT 430
WinTV-HVR-2250
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Seasonic 430W S12II (OS/Apps)
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post #2 of 18 Old 06-29-2012, 01:01 PM
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I've done some of this and have a simular setup to what you're trying to do. I can tell you this up front. If you want to push HD quality video throughout your house you'll have to run Cat5e or better cabling for that Giga-bit througput. Wireless signals, including 802.11n, introduces too much latency in the signal to push HD video. It will constantly buffer and be really jittery where it stops & starts a lot. Wireless is fine to stream standard definition video like DVD quality or standard def TV.

That said, I had to run Cat5e cabling in my house through the attic space. My HTPC is in the family room and I ran Cat5e from there and my master bedroom back to the my home office space where the cable modem and wireless-N router resides. You'll thank God you did it. Run it yourself if you have too. Just climb up in the attic space's to recon and plan it out. I did that. I sweated like I was working a chain-gang in the attic running cable but it was worth it in the end.

I have aboue 3 1/2 TB of storage on my HTPC (2TB in RAID-5 for my ripped movies and 1.5TB Drive for daily DVR WMC recordings). I've been experimenting for years with coming up with the perfect video configuration of video quality (bps) and audio quality bps. I tried MKV which is just a container file to get a high quality video (not true-HD) and keep HD audio (uncompressed DolbyTrue-HD or DTS-HD) in that single mkv file. In the end I abandoned converting to mkv because I couldn't find a software program that could playback the streamed mkv files good enough. That was a few years ago and I've since upgraded to PowerDVD Ultra v12 so I want to give that ripping blu-ray movies to mkv files another try.

I do rip my blu-ray movies to my hard drive to HD video quality (1920x1080) with about 420 kbps audio. That streams just fine arcoss giga-bit ethernet. I barely use 3% of the bandwidth.

So to answer your question, yes you can use a NAS (essentially what my HTPC is with 3.5 TB) to stream HD movies across the house but you giga-bit ethernet to do it.

There is a plug-in for WMC that I use that can also stream your WMC content and that's Remote Potato. It's pretty well known to be able to remotely schedule WMC shows and also stream your audio and video via the web. It only works with IE because it uses Silverlight. There's also a 3rd party Android App that allows to utilize Remote Potato on your Android device called "Remote Media Center". it works great as well to be able to remotely schedule shows from my Android Phone.

I've found that it takes more software than just WMC to get a great experience from using your HTPC to stream all your media and use it's DVR capabilitys. My HTPC runs 24 hours a day. I never shut it off and it never goes to sleep.

Here's my list of software I use on my htpc that makes having a hptc worth it. It's a great wow factor when guys come over and see what I can do on it.
- J. River Media Center (JRMC) - All-in-one media center with 10ft tall theather view and allows you to remotely stream music & video. Video streams works great via wifi in the home but you need a large upload pipe to stream your video remotely via JRMC outside of the home. This runs all the time on my htpc as a background servie. I love it. JRMC has a free Android app called Gizmo that enxtends the functionality to stream your content to your Android device. It also has a web interface to do all the same functionals. JRMC does everything. If it could work with a CableCard I would drop using WMC all together.
- Remote Potato - I use this to be able to remotely schedule shows. It does other functional like allow you to remotely stream audio & video but I don't like that functionality. I ue JRMC for that.
- Remote Media Center Android App - Connects into Remote Potato to remotely schedule shows to recordf rom my Android phone.
- PowerDVD Ultra v12 - for Playback of blu-ray movies in myh htpc. to me this is the best blu-ray & DVD player software on th market. In v12 it now also allows you to stream music & video from your pc to your mobile devices & vice-versa but only locally via wifi in the house. I don't use it for this functionality but it works pretty good.

That's my setup in a nutshell. Good luck. I didn't mention the software I use to rip blu-ray movies to my htpc hard drive because I don't want any legal copy right issues in this thread.
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post #3 of 18 Old 06-29-2012, 01:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rbrinson View Post

Even with MoCA, I will not be able to experience more than 100 Mbps as that is what the adapters ethernet port is rated for. If I am able to get greater than 50 Mbps over MoCA, I think that would be fine for streaming HD video, but I do not believe that would be good enough for high quality MKV blu-ray rips to be downloaded locally in a timely manner for playback.

Maybe I'm missing something, but why are you copying files locally for playback? Even without factoring a network into it, just at a pretty good hard drive speed of 100MB/sec, that's still like a 5 minute wait for a 30GB BD to copy. That's really on the very high end of what's possible with even full Gigabit ethernet.
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I have done quite a bit of searching, and I cannot find any information about Windows Media Center or Media Browser or some other Media Center plugin that allows content to be streamed, rather than having to download the entire file for video playback.

You don't have to copy the whole file for playback, I don't think anybody does this. You just read it off the network share and it reads it as necessary. So if you can get >50Mbps (reliable) throughput, you'll be fine for even the highest bitrate Blu-ray.

See what an anamorphoscopic lens can do, see movies the way they were meant to be seen
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post #4 of 18 Old 06-29-2012, 05:33 PM
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mkv can contain the exact same video file as a Blu-ray disc. Although the bitrate is compressed and it can be said to be "not true HD" it is the best video and audio currently commercially available so mkv playback is just as good as Blu-ray playback. There is no need to compress it whatsoever. I have movie files near 50gigs on my pc.

I stream this every single time I watch a movie across my gig network which contains two switches between my PC and my HTPC. My sons and I installed the Cat5e years ago before cat 6 was even heard of. This network delivers perfect video every time even when my PC is busy using the network for internet purposes.cool.gif

I suggest installing your network yourself to save money and know it is done right. There's easy connectors now that sure beat the tiny screw terminals that we fussed with on phase one of the installation. Retail packaging of the connectors will have the directions included. Monoprice may not put you'll save a bundle. The color coding is readily available via google.

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post #5 of 18 Old 06-29-2012, 06:29 PM
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I'm using Trendnet Powerline 500 units to extend my gigabit network into the living room, the master bedroom, and a guest room. I don't think you should give up so quickly on that option. I can see the 200 units not cutting it, but the 500 is very likely to. Works great for me, on 1080P and 720P HD rips. Lots of them. biggrin.gif
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post #6 of 18 Old 06-30-2012, 05:04 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by famu97 View Post

I've done some of this and have a simular setup to what you're trying to do. I can tell you this up front. If you want to push HD quality video throughout your house you'll have to run Cat5e or better cabling for that Giga-bit througput. Wireless signals, including 802.11n, introduces too much latency in the signal to push HD video. It will constantly buffer and be really jittery where it stops & starts a lot. Wireless is fine to stream standard definition video like DVD quality or standard def TV.
That said, I had to run Cat5e cabling in my house through the attic space. My HTPC is in the family room and I ran Cat5e from there and my master bedroom back to the my home office space where the cable modem and wireless-N router resides. You'll thank God you did it. Run it yourself if you have too. Just climb up in the attic space's to recon and plan it out. I did that. I sweated like I was working a chain-gang in the attic running cable but it was worth it in the end.

 

Thank you so much for your reply. If it were only a matter of running some Cat5e through the attic, I would do that. The problem that I have is that I live in a two story house. The living room in on the first floor, and of course, that would be the most critical run. I do not see a way to run cable without having to open up a wall on either the first or the second floor to drill through the top of the first floor stud wall. That is something that my wife will not tolerate. smile.gif All other runs could be done in the attic to drop down into rooms on the second floor. Anyway, I'm going to order the Actiontec MoCA adapters and see what level of throughput I am able to achieve with that technology. If I'm able to achieve over 50 Mbps, then I will be comfortable with streaming HD content.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by famu97 View Post

Here's my list of software I use on my htpc that makes having a hptc worth it. It's a great wow factor when guys come over and see what I can do on it.
- J. River Media Center (JRMC) - All-in-one media center with 10ft tall theather view and allows you to remotely stream music & video. Video streams works great via wifi in the home but you need a large upload pipe to stream your video remotely via JRMC outside of the home. This runs all the time on my htpc as a background servie. I love it. JRMC has a free Android app called Gizmo that enxtends the functionality to stream your content to your Android device. It also has a web interface to do all the same functionals. JRMC does everything. If it could work with a CableCard I would drop using WMC all together.
- Remote Potato - I use this to be able to remotely schedule shows. It does other functional like allow you to remotely stream audio & video but I don't like that functionality. I ue JRMC for that.
- Remote Media Center Android App - Connects into Remote Potato to remotely schedule shows to recordf rom my Android phone.
- PowerDVD Ultra v12 - for Playback of blu-ray movies in myh htpc. to me this is the best blu-ray & DVD player software on th market. In v12 it now also allows you to stream music & video from your pc to your mobile devices & vice-versa but only locally via wifi in the house. I don't use it for this functionality but it works pretty good.

 

It's interesting that you mention JRiver Media Center. Since I started looking into how this would all work out, I have been somewhat disappointed that I would have to install different "media center" applications to integrate with Windows Media Center to get to all of the different pieces of functionality. I then looked into JRiver, and it appears to have just about everything that we use, the exception being Pandora. They also seem to have a brilliant way to handle the media codecs issue with their Red October implementation for DirectShow filters. So, unless I learn something that would cause me to reconsider, I'm planning to go with JRiver when I build the HTPC.


HTPC
Windows 7 Home Premium 64 SP1/WMC/MediaBrowser
GD05B-USB3
Core i3-2120/GIGABYTE GA-B75M-D3V
8 GB G.Skill Ripjaws X Series DDR3 1333
ASUS GeForce GT 430
WinTV-HVR-2250
Lite-On 12x BD-ROM ihes112-04
Samsung 830 Series 128GB SATA III SSD
Seasonic 430W S12II (OS/Apps)
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post #7 of 18 Old 06-30-2012, 05:12 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by stanger89 View Post

Maybe I'm missing something, but why are you copying files locally for playback? Even without factoring a network into it, just at a pretty good hard drive speed of 100MB/sec, that's still like a 5 minute wait for a 30GB BD to copy. That's really on the very high end of what's possible with even full Gigabit ethernet.
....
You don't have to copy the whole file for playback, I don't think anybody does this. You just read it off the network share and it reads it as necessary. So if you can get >50Mbps (reliable) throughput, you'll be fine for even the highest bitrate Blu-ray.

 

Hi, stranger89. Thank you so much for the information. I would not copy the file to the HTPC from the NAS. My assumption was that the playback software would need to do this in order to begin playing the movie. Perhaps I am incorrect in this assumption. However, I am now looking at using JRiver Media Center for my HTPC, and it seems that it plays nice with my scenario.


HTPC
Windows 7 Home Premium 64 SP1/WMC/MediaBrowser
GD05B-USB3
Core i3-2120/GIGABYTE GA-B75M-D3V
8 GB G.Skill Ripjaws X Series DDR3 1333
ASUS GeForce GT 430
WinTV-HVR-2250
Lite-On 12x BD-ROM ihes112-04
Samsung 830 Series 128GB SATA III SSD
Seasonic 430W S12II (OS/Apps)
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post #8 of 18 Old 06-30-2012, 05:16 PM
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Originally Posted by rbrinson View Post

Hi, stranger89. Thank you so much for the information. I would not copy the file to the HTPC from the NAS. My assumption was that the playback software would need to do this in order to begin playing the movie. Perhaps I am incorrect in this assumption. However, I am now looking at using JRiver Media Center for my HTPC, and it seems that it plays nice with my scenario.

Playback software doesn't copy the file at all - it just plays the file from wherever the file is located.
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post #9 of 18 Old 06-30-2012, 05:16 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Pagali View Post

I'm using Trendnet Powerline 500 units to extend my gigabit network into the living room, the master bedroom, and a guest room. I don't think you should give up so quickly on that option. I can see the 200 units not cutting it, but the 500 is very likely to. Works great for me, on 1080P and 720P HD rips. Lots of them. biggrin.gif

 

Hi, Pagali. I'm glad to hear that the powerline adapter technology is working well in your home. Unfortunately for me, I am only achieving throughput levels of about 19 Mbps on powerline adapters rated for 200 Mbps. Now, I never expected to achieve 200 Mbps, but I'm not getting anywhere near the levels that they claim. So, I have no confidence that 500 Mbps adapters would work for me. I plan to order the ActionTec MoCA adapters to see how that technology fairs in my house.


HTPC
Windows 7 Home Premium 64 SP1/WMC/MediaBrowser
GD05B-USB3
Core i3-2120/GIGABYTE GA-B75M-D3V
8 GB G.Skill Ripjaws X Series DDR3 1333
ASUS GeForce GT 430
WinTV-HVR-2250
Lite-On 12x BD-ROM ihes112-04
Samsung 830 Series 128GB SATA III SSD
Seasonic 430W S12II (OS/Apps)
AZIO KB338BP BT KB/Trackpad

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post #10 of 18 Old 07-01-2012, 06:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rbrinson View Post

Hi, stranger89. Thank you so much for the information. I would not copy the file to the HTPC from the NAS. My assumption was that the playback software would need to do this in order to begin playing the movie. Perhaps I am incorrect in this assumption. However, I am now looking at using JRiver Media Center for my HTPC, and it seems that it plays nice with my scenario.

I'm not aware of any software the copies the whole file before playback. They essentially all "stream" (using the term somewhat loosely here) in that they just read the file on an as needed basis.

See what an anamorphoscopic lens can do, see movies the way they were meant to be seen
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post #11 of 18 Old 07-03-2012, 05:12 AM
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Originally Posted by rbrinson View Post

I called a data cable installer today. The man I spoke with told me that he was reluctant to take on such a job due to liability issues. He took my information and told me he would call back about scheduling a time to have a look at where the drop would go and what obstacles would be in the way. However, I have not yet heard back from him. So, I might be stuck ordering a pair of Actiontec MoCA adapters to see what my data throughput would be.

What is the liability issue that the cable installer is afraid of?
Quote:
Originally Posted by rbrinson View Post

Thank you so much for your reply. If it were only a matter of running some Cat5e through the attic, I would do that. The problem that I have is that I live in a two story house. The living room in on the first floor, and of course, that would be the most critical run. I do not see a way to run cable without having to open up a wall on either the first or the second floor to drill through the top of the first floor stud wall. That is something that my wife will not tolerate. smile.gif

Why does your wife not want a wall to be opened up? It's fairly easy to create small holes that can be patched up. With a good paint, you can just prime/paint the patched areas without having to paint the entire wall. You'll only notice the patch in low light conditions at an angle. Otherwise, just paint the entire wall.
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post #12 of 18 Old 07-03-2012, 06:11 AM
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Originally Posted by rbrinson View Post

Hi, Pagali. I'm glad to hear that the powerline adapter technology is working well in your home. Unfortunately for me, I am only achieving throughput levels of about 19 Mbps on powerline adapters rated for 200 Mbps. Now, I never expected to achieve 200 Mbps, but I'm not getting anywhere near the levels that they claim. So, I have no confidence that 500 Mbps adapters would work for me. I plan to order the ActionTec MoCA adapters to see how that technology fairs in my house.

May I ask how you are measuring your throughput rates? There's plenty of factors to consider when measuring speed of a network.

Also, do you have the option to test the powerline adapters with the video before buying anything? If it were me I'd unplug the printer and move the adapter to the desired location in the house to test a BR stream. At least that way you'd know for sure without spending anything other than time.

Best of luck....

I'm confused too.

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post #13 of 18 Old 07-03-2012, 06:49 AM - Thread Starter
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What is the liability issue that the cable installer is afraid of?

What the installer described to me was that he could probably do the one drop for $100. However, he was concerned about poking around with a fish tape in the walls. If he punched through something, he would be liable for the damages. He told me that normally for commercial work, there is a $500 liability charge to cover such issues. Anyway, he told me he would have to look at my house to see if it would be possible. I never heard back from him.

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It's fairly easy to create small holes that can be patched up.

Unfortunately, my house is two stories with an attic built on a slab. The most critical run is from the living room on the first floor to the master bedroom on the second floor. So, in order to get there, I would have run ethernet up through the wall on the first floor and up through the wall on the second floor to get into the attic where I could make the drop into the master bedroom. I can drill through the top of the second floor stud wall in the attic. However, to get through the stud wall and subflooring between the first and second floor would require creating an opening in the wall either on the first floor or the second floor large enough to get a drill with a long bit into it in order to create a hole for the ethernet to run through. That is the part that is not welcomed.


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Windows 7 Home Premium 64 SP1/WMC/MediaBrowser
GD05B-USB3
Core i3-2120/GIGABYTE GA-B75M-D3V
8 GB G.Skill Ripjaws X Series DDR3 1333
ASUS GeForce GT 430
WinTV-HVR-2250
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Samsung 830 Series 128GB SATA III SSD
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post #14 of 18 Old 07-03-2012, 07:10 AM
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There are lots of ways to drop a cable between floors. If you have carpet on the second floor, or a nearby closet that you could punch & patch a hole in. I haven't seen your home, but i'm sure it could be done. Quite frankly...the installer you talked to sounds like a bit of a P**sy.

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post #15 of 18 Old 07-03-2012, 07:22 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by djearl81 View Post


May I ask how you are measuring your throughput rates? There's plenty of factors to consider when measuring speed of a network.
Also, do you have the option to test the powerline adapters with the video before buying anything? If it were me I'd unplug the printer and move the adapter to the desired location in the house to test a BR stream. At least that way you'd know for sure without spending anything other than time.
Best of luck....

 

Hi, djearl81.

 

At the moment, I have no means to measure throughput of a MKV stream of any sort. The measured throughput is good enough for streaming online content, such as Netflix. However, I am more concerned about streaming MKVs of ripped discs.

 

I used a tool called iperf to measure the throughput. I tested a few times in various conditions. As a base, I set up my laptop as the server on my gigabit router and my wife's laptop as the client on the same gigabit router. I measured throughput of 497 Mbps. I then took my wife's laptop upstairs and measured throughput with its wireless connection, and I was seeing about 11.9 Mbps. I then turned off the wireless and connected my wife's laptop to the network via the 200 Mbps powerline adapter, and I measured only about 19 Mbps with that configuration.

 

Since I never heard back from the data cable installer, I decided to go ahead and order the Actiontec MoCA adapter kit to see what my throughput will be with that technology. Those will arrive on Friday. Once I get it set up, I'll run some tests and let you know what I'm seeing. Also, now that I'm typing this, I realize that I was using an old version of the iperf tool. So, I'm going to retest the above scenarios with the latest version to make sure my results were accurate.


HTPC
Windows 7 Home Premium 64 SP1/WMC/MediaBrowser
GD05B-USB3
Core i3-2120/GIGABYTE GA-B75M-D3V
8 GB G.Skill Ripjaws X Series DDR3 1333
ASUS GeForce GT 430
WinTV-HVR-2250
Lite-On 12x BD-ROM ihes112-04
Samsung 830 Series 128GB SATA III SSD
Seasonic 430W S12II (OS/Apps)
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post #16 of 18 Old 07-03-2012, 08:17 AM
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I'll be interested to see how your MoCA experiment turns out.... and cost.

I assume your cables are not already being used for TV, and each one runs back to a common box. You may want to isolate those cables you are using for MoCA from the others in the house to get the best transmission rate. You may also want to make sure any connectors you have are high bandwidth ones.
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post #17 of 18 Old 07-03-2012, 07:46 PM - Thread Starter
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Well, to my surprise, the MoCA adapters arrived today. So, I quickly set them up to run some tests. I again ran the tests using iperf. The test between the two laptops connected directly to the gigabit router resulted in a transfer rate of 427 Mbps. I then connected my wife's laptop to the MoCA adapter upstairs in the master bedroom, and I was able to get 29.1 Mbps. frown.gif I ran the test several times to be sure, and I consistently received 29.1 Mbps. I then disconnected my wife's laptop from the MoCA adapter and turned on the wireless. I was able to receive 14.6 Mbps. I then turned off the wireless and retested the powerline adpater, which obtained a transfer rate of 18.6 Mbps. So, I'm afraid that none of these alternative "connectivity" models will be sufficient for HD video streaming.

 

The MoCA adapters that I bought were the Actiontec MoCA Adapter Kit, and they cost $136.00 from Amazon. Fortunately, since I bought them from Amazon, I can return them.


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ASUS GeForce GT 430
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Seasonic 430W S12II (OS/Apps)
AZIO KB338BP BT KB/Trackpad

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post #18 of 18 Old 07-03-2012, 11:24 PM
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You could just use a stopwatch and a large file to test throughput, or even Task Manger. Just copy it from one PC to another, and watch the network tab.
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