I've seen a lot of threads on various forums talking about what best software to do "x" and what best server hardware to do "y" and to be honest non of them really answer what I want to do. Possibly as I'm in the Uk and don't run a cable service maybe.
First off I have been running a Win7x64 PC in the study with Media Center and MediaBrowser for about 2 years now (LiveTV/TV Series/Movies). I have the HDMI from this box, into a splitter and that feeds the TV in the bedroom and the TV in the lounge. It's been fine, but the audio is only 2.0 (I've tried all sorts to fix it, but it's due to the EDID handshaking I believe).
I'm just about to move house and I have a blank canvas. So I'm looking for any advise on what would be the ultimate set-up to give me the following:
- Live/Pause/Recorded TV
- TV Series (DVD/BluRay Ripped)
- Movies (DVD/BluRay Ripped)
- Music (Some CDs, but mainly Spotify)
- Internet Streaming (Youtube, iPlayer, Ted, etc.)
I have a list of things I'm looking for:
- Distributed to at least 3 TVs in the house
- 5.1 surround in at least the lounge
- Be reliable enough to be used every day
- No "faffing" with the remote to switch sources. I'd like one interface to do it all in
- It's got to look like the mutz. MediaBrowser currently is very sweet to look at and wows anyone that sees it
- Stream live to to Android (Tablets & Phones ideally) - nice to have if I'm honest
- Oh and it has to be very user friendly for my not so tech savvy and impatient other half
I'm likely to drop the music playing from this list, as I think I'll go down the Sonos route for that and hook that into my Onkyo.
I've looked at lots of different options, but I can't seem to get a single solution to this (MediaPortal, XBMC, NextPVR). The only thing that comes close is having a media streamer with each of the TVs and then have a Sky+ multiroom set-up for TV (I don't have Sky today). If I carry on with the same set-up I have now I don't fix the sound issue. I could put a cheap HTPC box with the TVs and run the current software stack, but then I get fragmented recorded TV all over the place, unless I've missed something with the various backend TV recorders. I've bought the DVBLink Server and tried uPnP on the TV and that's just rubbish (The uPnP not DVBLink, that's been rock solid with the MediaCenter).
So what bits of kit do I currently have:
- Win7x64 PC (Quad Q6600, 8GB RAM, 5 1TB HDDs on an LSI RAID5 config)
- Separate Quad Core Q6600, 8GB RAM (currently this is running ESXi and WinServer2012)
- 2 x BlackGold BGT 3595 satellite cards
- 2 x Compro S350 satellite cards
- VideoMate USB digital aerial tuner
- Mede8er MED500X2 with a 320GB HDD
- Logitech Harmony 900
- WD TV Live Hub - Although I bought this for my parents, so I shouldn't really include this ;-)
- Onkyo TX-NR509
- Panasonic 46GT30
- Toshiba 40" Plasma (can't remember the model)
- QNAP TS-859 Pro (8 x 2TB HDDs)
I have a few more bits than this, but they are the main ones (I'm an IT consultant so I've collected a fair bit of kit over the years).
I've been tinkering with the USB VideoMate in a VMWare Workstation with various software solutions and I've found the XBMC with PVR to be really good, considering it's not release quality yet.
Ideally what I'd like to see is a device I can plug into each of the TVs that is fully functional with the above desires. Maybe I'm a little ahead of where the various, very talented, developers are, certainly having read recently about the XBMC Android stuff that's being developed currently (Although there is no mention of Live TV supported on them). If I have to buy some new devices then I'm happy to do so if it gives me a top notch solution. I don't really want to spend loads of money, I will have just moved house after all, but I have around £1,500 in my pocket, although I'm looking to buy some new speakers to go with the Onkyo when I move.
I'm very much a Microsoft man, so unless there is a really strong argument to go down the Linux route, then I'll stick with what I know.
It's rather a long post, so thankyou if you've managed to get this far and read all of my droll. I'm happy to entertain any suggestions.