Why not Media Center Extenders for HD Distribution? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 8 Old 01-20-2008, 10:05 PM - Thread Starter
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I've been skimming this forum for awhile now looking for insight on video distribution. It seems like most people here recommend/install cabling to allow for a central source to drive video to distributed displays (analog component video over coax/cat5 via baluns or HDMI/DVI). Why don't more people use media center extenders or equivalent technology (NetStreams?) to build and IP network of thin clients with a central content server?

Is cost the main reason? Are people unhappy with the bandwidth limitations of Cat6/IP? It seems cumbersome to me to drive a video signal over 50+ feet of cable (especially analog) when an IP network will provide 2-way communication and much simpler wiring. Why isn't this more common here? What am I missing?

For reference, here are a couple of videos from a MS propaganda blog that illustrate media center extenders sharing live HD TV, recorded TV, music, photos, etc.

http://on10.net/blogs/Brianjo/Amazin...p/Default.aspx
http://on10.net/blogs/tina/Show-me-y...r/Default.aspx

Thanks,
GD
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post #2 of 8 Old 01-20-2008, 10:21 PM
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Actually, with the advent of the SageTV HDExtender, and the work that's being done to render CQC control inside SageTV, I think that's about to change at least for some folks. MS-Extenders are pretty limited from a variety of ways, but SageTV is much more open to external control and skinning.

You still have the issue of not being able to distribute Megachanger discs that way, but for a variety of rooms that's still entirely viable.

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post #3 of 8 Old 01-21-2008, 10:54 AM
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It's mainly a matter of the cost or restrictions. I'm not sure what all Netstreams can or can't do but I do know it is very expensive, I think like 8K for the setup.

The three biggests holdups so far are premium content, currently the only HD sources you can stream are OTA HD and cablecard if you pony up the money for a new PC. There is no DirecTV HD or component capture yet. I think these are both coming. Second would be DVDs. Sage extenders and stream a ripped DVD, MS can't unless you convert it to another format and then you loose menus. And finally if you have any third party programs you want to share, they have to be media center versions to show them on all TVs.

I think that is the direction things are heading. I think this year we will have DirecTV integration as well as component video capture so that will help a lot.

-Josh

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post #4 of 8 Old 01-28-2008, 01:49 PM
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I'd like to see a tie into Mediaportal with CQC or something. With Mediaportal you can install mutiple TV cards(DVB or OTA) into a TVServer machine which can stream to mutiple Mediaportal clients. You're not restricted to MS's stupid restrictions, can play pretty much any format (just install the codecs). Only bad thing is you have to have a computer that's powerful enough to process HD at each viewing location.
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post #5 of 8 Old 01-29-2008, 07:04 AM
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I suspect it's because most home theater people are more comfortable with analog over cat or DVI/HDMI extenders than they are with TCP/IP networking. Personally, I've been driving HD to media-servers for over a year now using 802.11g and Fast/Gigabit Ethernet. I find that it's actually much easier than dealing with the signal attrition problems--not to mention the cabling costs--of non-network solutions,.

Steven
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post #6 of 8 Old 01-29-2008, 07:07 AM
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Here, for what it's worth, are my thoughts on the Vudu box vs. Apple TV.

http://practical-tech.com/entertainm...ccessful-vudu/

The short version: If all you ever do is rent, and you don't mind being able to rent or buy only from Vudu, Vudu's the better choice. Otherwise, the Apple TV is the better deal. Why? Read the tale and you'll find my reasons.

Steven
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post #7 of 8 Old 01-29-2008, 10:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sjvn View Post

I suspect it's because most home theater people are more comfortable with analog over cat or DVI/HDMI extenders than they are with TCP/IP networking. Personally, I've been driving HD to media-servers for over a year now using 802.11g and Fast/Gigabit Ethernet. I find that it's actually much easier than dealing with the signal attrition problems--not to mention the cabling costs--of non-network solutions,.

Steven

Post what equipment youre running if you wouldnt mind. I would rather run cat6 than deal with wireless, but im interested in the endpoints to the server and how requests for a/v files are requested and distributed, especially the control functionality from the remote room/area the request is commin from.
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post #8 of 8 Old 01-29-2008, 11:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zbtmarshall View Post

Post what equipment youre running if you wouldnt mind. I would rather run cat6 than deal with wireless, but im interested in the endpoints to the server and how requests for a/v files are requested and distributed, especially the control functionality from the remote room/area the request is commin from.

You should really have a look at SageTV. I could describe it all to you, but their site will do a better job of it than I can. Check it out here:http://www.sagetv.com

I have been using Sagetv for almost three years now, and I cannot see distributing A/V any other way.

J

Not afraid to break a few eggs....
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