Point me to a media streaming & network 101 for dummies!!! - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 11 Old 10-24-2010, 11:31 AM - Thread Starter
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A recent misunderstanding I had regarding how a media streamer displayed album art was brought about because I didn't know what the term "scraping" meant, so about five or six posts and replies later I finally figured it out.

That got me thinking;

It seems that the computer crowd has been coming toward A/V at a faster rate than the A/V crowd is coming to the computer world. A lot of this stuff is second nature to the computer guys - but it's gobbly-gook to us A/V guys. I'm trying to learn all the nomenclature, but not knowing the term "scraping" is a perfect example of a confused A/V guy trying to get into the computer realm!

Just about all the how-to's for streaming and network set up notoriously assume a knowledge level that is beyond where a lot of us are coming from. I've been at this for days searching and and asking questions trying to figure out the best approach and I'm surprised at the lack of true newbie "how to" info there is out there.

There's a gazillion audio/video 101's out there that don't have an assumed knowledge level, I just can't seem to find the same for media streaming, NAS & network setup for media streaming.

Maybe I'm looking in the wrong places?

Another example is my NAS set-up screen - it has a window to set up "shares" it has some blank boxes to fill in your "shares", well if you're like me and don't have a freaking clue what "shares" are in the first place then what? Okay, I have a concept of what they are, but no idea how to name them so they work... The instructions with the NAS just assume I know - and setting up my NAS ends there until I can figure it out.

I know I'm not the only one trying to figure out this jigsaw puzzle and I'm fairly certain that I'm at the front of the coming stampede once they make this less daunting.


So as the title of this thread suggests, maybe someone could point me, and others in the same boat to some streaming, networking & storage for dummies FAQ's, "how-to's" or guides.

The caveat being they must not have an assumed knowledge level beyond where guys like me are coming from.


If there's guys like me, that have been there, figured it out, and found success please share how you pulled it off.

Thanks.
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post #2 of 11 Old 10-24-2010, 11:52 AM
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Originally Posted by rnrgagne View Post

A recent misunderstanding I had regarding how a media streamer displayed album art was brought about because I didn't know what the term "scraping" meant, so about five or six posts and replies later I finally figured it out.

That got me thinking;

It seems that the computer crowd has been coming toward A/V at a faster rate than the A/V crowd is coming to the computer world. A lot of this stuff is second nature to the computer guys - but it's gobbly-gook to us A/V guys. I'm trying to learn all the nomenclature, but not knowing the term "scraping" is a perfect example of a confused A/V guy trying to get into the computer realm!

Just about all the how-to's for streaming and network set up notoriously assume a knowledge level that is beyond where a lot of us are coming from. I've been at this for days searching and and asking questions trying to figure out the best approach and I'm surprised at the lack of true newbie "how to" info there is out there.

There's a gazillion audio/video 101's out there that don't have an assumed knowledge level, I just can't seem to find the same for media streaming, NAS & network setup for media streaming.

Maybe I'm looking in the wrong places?

Another example is my NAS set-up screen - it has a window to set up "shares" it has some blank boxes to fill in your "shares", well if you're like me and don't have a freaking clue what "shares" are in the first place then what? Okay, I have a concept of what they are, but no idea how to name them so they work... The instructions with the NAS just assume I know - and setting up my NAS ends there until I can figure it out.

I know I'm not the only one trying to figure out this jigsaw puzzle and I'm fairly certain that I'm at the front of the coming stampede once they make this less daunting.


So as the title of this thread suggests, maybe someone could point me, and others in the same boat to some streaming, networking & storage for dummies FAQ's, "how-to's" or guides.

The caveat being they must not have an assumed knowledge level beyond where guys like me are coming from.


If there's guys like me, that have been there, figured it out, and found success please share how you pulled it off.

Thanks.

Some have found the guide in my sig helpful.

CD

Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything. -Plato
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post #3 of 11 Old 10-24-2010, 12:39 PM - Thread Starter
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Excellent, I've actually read that before.

http://home.comcast.net/~cdlehner/si...and_Streaming/

That's definitely along the lines of what I'm looking for.
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post #4 of 11 Old 10-24-2010, 03:51 PM
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CD's guide is very useful as you noted. Aside from that I don't think there is one resource per se but a lot of stuff scattered throughout the various forums. I have tried to document as much as I can, but probably haven't done a good job at bringing it all together into a sort of Dummies guide.

I guess really it comes down to:

1) How do you want to store your media (some type of server/pc streaming throughout your house, just attached drives, etc...)
2) The answer to #1 then dictates this point. If you want to stream then you have to think about your infrastructure (i.e. wired Cat6/6 vs wireless vs powerline/MoCA, etc). Of course there are a lot of variables that may dictate which way you go (some people don't/cannot run wires where they are)
3) What are you looking for in a media playback device (.e. are you looking to just play back local videos, online content, record and watch live tv, HD audio, etc...). This is probably the toughest part, narrowing down the right player for you, whether it be an HTPC or a dedicated media player, as there really is no perfect player.
4) Rip all your content so it can be accessed

For my setup this has definitely evolved over time. When I bought my house 5 years ago I had never streamed a file and knew very little about this stuff. My house had a lone cat5 line, and I figured with wireless I would be covered. Probably when I first got an HP MediaSmart server for fathers day was when I really came to the conclusion that I needed to go in another direction (plus with our first boy on the way I had a desire to get all my media off of discs as I had seen the damage kids could do from family members!). So at this point I have now wired my house (cat5e/cat6), have a dedicated media server (Windows Home Server) storing about 20TB of data, and a variety of HTPCs/streaming throughout my house. I probably have about 4 switches in my house managing the network traffic

Cheers,
Damian

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post #5 of 11 Old 10-24-2010, 04:16 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks Damian,

I think your example might be more than a typical HT guy might get to - but that's just an assumption on my part.

It would be nice if some one could develop a logical "flow chart" kind of following the flow of your questions above and then showing the various progressions from there....
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post #6 of 11 Old 10-25-2010, 05:54 AM
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Originally Posted by rnrgagne View Post

Thanks Damian,

I think your example might be more than a typical HT guy might get to - but that's just an assumption on my part.

It would be nice if some one could develop a logical "flow chart" kind of following the flow of your questions above and then showing the various progressions from there....

Let me try and put some context around this:

Someone could likely build something like that but it would be extremely time consuming and I suspect it would have to be a dynamic document that someone would need to own as this is all driven by supporting technology. As an example the basic premise:


1) To stream media you need to define the type and format of your media you plan on storing and or streaming to end points eg. Blu Ray - DVD's Music / Format eg. avi's , MP3's, ISO, MKV etc.
2) To stream media you need a source and an end point. that support the formats you intend on streaming or distributing.
3) To stream media one needs to determine if the formats being used are the best way to go and or if the products that one wants to use support those formats you might have and or do a better job with a different format that you will need to adopt.

And lastly it would be important to note that the technology available comes in all sorts of varations and sizes and not all products are 100% or even 50% for that matter where they may do well in one aspect they fail in others....as an example when the Popcorn Hour C200 came out if you read the original release marketing PDF you would have thought you had hit the Nrivana of an end point device that you could tie to your NAS or server...1 year later ( lucky for you and others) they are almost there, but then so too are their competition like dune and other vendors giving us more options...

The short of it is don't discourage!!

From my perspective this is an exciting time for AV enthusiasts slick new technologies and those that promised to support 1080P streaming from a NAS are there today! Ushering a new age of ease of use and functionality. Most of all be very diligent in fleshing out the details, as I probably have 6 or 7 end point devices that promised the world all sitting in boxes on the shelf in what my wife calls the technology grave yard...Hope this helps...I'll look for specific questions in your thread and see if I can't help shorten your curve.

Cheers,

Requis
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post #7 of 11 Old 10-25-2010, 07:51 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks Requis,

I'm plodding along and coming up with a plan. The intent of this thread isn't just for me though, I'm hoping it can maybe be a "gateway" to some "newbie help" for others.

The link to the Average Guys Guide to Streaming above is a perfect example.

CD's helped me with some PM's and one of the things he suggested was to get some NAS set up help on the manufacturer site or forums. Well, their site is a real example of computer people with an assumed knowledge level discussing things. It's hard to learn stuff when you don't even know the acronyms, or as CD so succinctly put it; "when you don't even know what your don't know"!
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post #8 of 11 Old 10-25-2010, 08:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rnrgagne View Post

Thanks Requis,

I'm plodding along and coming up with a plan. The intent of this thread isn't just for me though, I'm hoping it can maybe be a "gateway" to some "newbie help" for others.

The link to the Average Guys Guide to Streaming above is a perfect example.

CD's helped me with some PM's and one of the things he suggested was to get some NAS set up help on the manufacturer site or forums. Well, their site is a real example of computer people with an assumed knowledge level discussing things. It's hard to learn stuff when you don't even know the acronyms, or as CD so succinctly put it; "when you don't even know what your don't know"!

Getting the HP Media Smart server was a great way to introduce myself to the whole network/streaming/terminology. With that I just took baby steps picking up this stuff and really understanding what I wanted/needed my setup to before I really dove in

Cheers,
Damian

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post #9 of 11 Old 10-25-2010, 08:59 AM
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Originally Posted by dbone1026 View Post

Getting the HP Media Smart server was a great way to introduce myself to the whole network/streaming/terminology. With that I just took baby steps picking up this stuff and really understanding what I wanted/needed my setup to before I really dove in

Damian, that's how I've explained it to OP to approach things as well. Many of the noobies who've come to me for help, have wanted to try and figure everything out in a "vacuum". When you're starting out, none of it makes sense until you get your hands on all the moving parts, and start slowing putting 2 and 2 together.

Once you see how the player (client) relates to the server, and the pros and cons of containers and codecs...etc...it starts to make more sense. You learn slowly, and learn from your mistakes; and yes, sometimes there can be some growing pains. But it's tough to try and do an all-encompassing "this is how networking and streaming works". I know some of us have tried to break it down, and explain the parts...but there's never going to be a way to accommodate ALL known variables.

CD

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post #10 of 11 Old 10-25-2010, 10:25 AM
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Originally Posted by CDLehner View Post

Many of the noobies who've come to me for help, have wanted to try and figure everything out in a "vacuum". When you're starting out, none of it makes sense until you get your hands on all the moving parts, and start slowing putting 2 and 2 together.

I can't agree more with your statement. Too many people want to do all encompassing research with the goal of making the "perfect" purchase the first time. That may work in mature product fields, but not in a new and rapidly evolving area such as HT streaming.

I feel one is best served by dipping one's toes in the water and adding a learning-by-experience component to the research. After a noobie has hung around a forum like this for a while I recommend they spend a little money to get in the game and splash around. You can do this fairly inexpensively. Buy a moderate but fully functional player, like the Seagate or the WD; buy an external HDD to plug into it and you are all set to actually do and learn by enjoying some content. You can now learn all about ripping your content, and actually trying it out -- which programs and which formats; you may find what you like quickly and stick with it. You can learn what you like about the player; what it can and can't do; what you wish it did that it doesn't; what you can compromise on -- this builds a list for you to look for in your next player. You can learn whether attached playback is right for you, or you would like to get into networked streaming -- just attach the USB HDD to your PC and learn about shares and experiment with organizing and streaming network-based content; what kind of a network you'll need to stream the kind of content you'll want to view.

This is how I started a scant few months ago. I bought a Seagate player and a 1TB 2.5" HDD (no power brick); plugged it to my plasma and started to play and learn with DVD rips. Now it's plugged into my AVR; it's on my home network; I have 2 NAS units feeding it. Best of all, I've gotten into 1080p streaming and ripping of BD content without ever having to buy a BluRay player -- I don't have one and likely never will. So now that I know what I want my next player to do, I hang around here watching and waiting for Dune and NetGear to make their appearance.

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post #11 of 11 Old 10-25-2010, 10:30 AM
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I can't agree more with your statement. Too many people want to do all encompassing research with the goal of making the "perfect" purchase the first time. That may work in mature product fields, but not in a new and rapidly evolving area such as HT streaming.

I feel one is best served by dipping one's toes in the water and adding a learning-by-experience component to the research. After a noobie has hung around a forum like this for a while I recommend they spend a little money to get in the game and splash around. You can do this fairly inexpensively. Buy a moderate but fully functional player, like the Seagate or the WD; buy an external HDD to plug into it and you are all set to actually do and learn by enjoying some content. You can now learn all about ripping your content, and actually trying it out -- which programs and which formats; you may find what you like quickly and stick with it. You can learn what you like about the player; what it can and can't do; what you wish it did that it doesn't; what you can compromise on -- this builds a list for you to look for in your next player. You can learn whether attached playback is right for you, or you would like to get into networked streaming -- just attach the USB HDD to your PC and learn about shares and experiment with organizing and streaming network-based content; what kind of a network you'll need to stream the kind of content you'll want to view.

This is how I started a scant few months ago. I bought a Seagate player and a 1TB 2.5" HDD (no power brick); plugged it to my plasma and started to play and learn with DVD rips. Now it's plugged into my AVR; it's on my home network; I have 2 NAS units feeding it. Best of all, I've gotten into 1080p streaming and ripping of BD content without ever having to buy a BluRay player. So now that I know what I want my next player to do, I hang around here watching and waiting for Dune and NetGear to make their appearance.

Yup! And another point I might add Kelson...which I just made in another thread...is, IMO, noobies should be careful about starting with the latest, and greatest streamer. Those boxes are often fraught with bugs right out of the gate, and since they're so new...there's not a lot of support established about them yet.

IMO, nothing must be more frustrating to a noobie, than trying to fumble your way through your first set-up, and not being able to tell if you're doing something wrong, or if the box is just buggy. I say, cut your teeth or something cheap and (relatively) stable.

CD

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