What is best DLNA server/integrated media player software? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 77 Old 11-17-2010, 08:32 AM - Thread Starter
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I am looking for the best DLNA server software that also is a competant media player on my desktop (server). I scoured all these forums but did not see this specific topic being discussed.

My goal is to condense 3 different server programs and 3 different media players on my computer down to one solution to conserve resources. Here are my basic requirements:

- DLNA server for different makes and models of media devices around the house.
- Plays locally all major media types, including HD formats, Quicktime formats, and Windows Media formats.
- Has a tagging tool for music and movies (secondary requirement)
- Free or otherwise

Please don't say Twonky or Tversity because their local media playing abilities are abysmal. Having said that, if there is a way to install codecs in order for Twonky or Tversity to play all HD formats, Quicktime formats, and WMP formats then I am all ears. I would like to manage all the media at a glance and play media from my desktop with the same interface.

I anxiously await your experiences! Thanks in advance!
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post #2 of 77 Old 11-17-2010, 09:20 AM
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I'm subscribing to this thread.
I'm currently using (trying to use) Mezzmo, which ON PAPER does everything I need.
In reality, I'm struggling badly to play any video content (MP4, MPEG, MKV, VOB) with any degree of consistency over my wired network.

The audio is fine (MP3, ALAC).

Support is friendly and tries to be helpful, but they are in Australia and I can only play around with the system in the evening, which means I wait 24 hours or more before I get feedback to my questions or issues every time. This turns the whole thing into a very slow-motion project.

So I can't wait to hear what else is out there.
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post #3 of 77 Old 11-17-2010, 09:34 AM - Thread Starter
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Mezzmo, J. River Media, and Nero MediaHome are some that get brought up here and there. I'm hoping that some of these users will chime in with their experience. Problems with media players get discussed under their device-specific threads, but I could not find a modern general discussion on just the media server software solution for multiple devices.

I have to think that with the gazillion network media players out there, there would be a huge demand for a solution to compile, manage, and play to these devices while having a good internal media player so one can view and manage playlists, etc.
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post #4 of 77 Old 11-17-2010, 09:49 AM
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I might be off base here but doesn't Windows Media Player (from 11 onward) do all of this? It has built in UPnP and DLNA (just has to be enabled) and with the right codec pack installed will play pretty much everything that I've tried. Best of all it's built in and it's free.
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post #5 of 77 Old 11-17-2010, 10:02 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drunkmunk View Post

I might be off base here but doesn't Windows Media Player (from 11 onward) do all of this? It has built in UPnP and DLNA (just has to be enabled) and with the right codec pack installed will play pretty much everything that I've tried. Best of all it's built in and it's free.

WMP 11 can be made to play most video, but moreover, it doesn't serve very many popular video formats like mt2s and several others. If you stream HD video over your network, you cannot use WMP as the server. WMP otherwise is great for music and photos.

Most network media players can go grab these files through a folder structure interface and play them, but you can't view them on the PC or make playlists. That's where the DLNA server software comes in.

DISCLAIMER: I am new to all this, and I am not an expert. That's why I'm here. If I'm incorrect on anything I say, kindly point that out.
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post #6 of 77 Old 11-17-2010, 10:20 AM
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Interested in what people have to say also. I've tried Messmo and might go and play around with Tversity also.

Found this during some of my searches: http://www.rbgrn.net/content/21-how-...-os-x-or-linux
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post #7 of 77 Old 11-17-2010, 12:08 PM
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I use playon currently with VLC and the latest divx installed.
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post #8 of 77 Old 11-17-2010, 12:38 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gener9 View Post

I use playon currently with VLC and the latest divx installed.

VLC is a great standalone media player, but I thought Playon just streamed internet channels to devices. Not really a network media server with good audio and video codec support to handle and stream HD audio and video to the DLNA clients. I just checked the website, and they don't even list codec support or really tout their non-internet media server abilities.

For what it's worth, I'm not really that interested in getting internet channels on my TV's. I only use Netflix which my DLNA clients already support.
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post #9 of 77 Old 11-17-2010, 01:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by treefrog100 View Post

VLC is a great standalone media player, but I thought Playon just streamed internet channels to devices. Not really a network media server with good audio and video codec support to handle and stream HD audio and video to the DLNA clients. I just checked the website, and they don't even list codec support or really tout their non-internet media server abilities.

For what it's worth, I'm not really that interested in getting internet channels on my TV's. I only use Netflix which my DLNA clients already support.

Sorry, I misread your post about needing to play back stuff locally. Yes, playon has a beta feature that requires VLC to be installed so you can stream your local content as well as their internet channels. I used this for a while with my WDTV because I had a hell of a time getting win7x64 shares to work. Once I got that working I stopped using playon as DLNA server, but it does work.
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post #10 of 77 Old 11-23-2010, 08:44 AM - Thread Starter
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I have previous experience with Windows Media Player and PS3 Media Server. During my silence on this thread I experimented Twonky, J. River Media Center, and Nero MediaHome to see what was under the hood. I also tried Tversity some time ago and found that it didn't talk to the PS3 very well and didn't otherwise do anything WMP 12 couldn't do.

I have a WDTV Live Plus in my "kid's lounge/playroom/upstairs living room", a PS3 in my home theater, an SMC EZStream (audio only) in my living room, and I am asking Santa for a new Netgear NTV550 which isn't out yet. I do not use a NAS, but I host all my media on my desktop which is a quad-core with gigabit ethernet adapter. The house is wired for Gig-E, but only the PS3 has a gigabit adapter.

Twonky has a sluggish user interface on my desktop and has a terrible internal media player. Transcoding to the PS3 was a pain and unreliable. It is supposedly a "reference DLNA server" and very well may be, but I could not get past the sluggishness of the UI.

J. River Media Cener has a slick and responsive UI with lots of extras like cool tagging and cover art tools. It also has a good integrated media player with plenty of codec support. DLNA play to functions worked well for DLNA supported media. It did struggle playing newer M2TS files, and transcoding to the PS3 was no better than the competition. At this point WMP 12 and PS3MS combo bests J. River Media Center in overall performance and value, but I could see myself using J. River Media Center in place of WMP 12 if it were free or wanted to take a summer off and fix all my ID3 tags.

Nero MediaHome is just a server. No media manager/player so you have to have Nero Showtime to play files and some other program to manage files and make playlists. I happen to own Nero 9 for my CD/DVD burning needs, and Nero Showtime takes a long time to load and bring up video. I uninstalled it long ago when it wanted me to pay for an upgrade to play some files that I could get to work with WMP with the right codecs. MediaHome freezes a lot while you add share folders and runs my CPU and hard drive harder than any program I've ever had. I almost was thinking something was wrong because for the longest time both my hard drives and CPU were going 90-to-nothing for an hour before it calmed down. I woke up the next morning, and it was cranking away again. You have to install too many programs to use MediaHome as a total media solution which defeats the purpose of my exercise. Also PS3 streaming was terrible and problematic.

So now I have come full circle. If you want to stream to a PS3 then you have one option - PS3 Media Server on top of whatever else you are trying to do. It's not without its shorcomings, but it is far and away the best out there. Actually your best bet for streaming is to not use the PS3. Having said that, there is still no substitute for Blu-Ray 1080P and DTS MA 5.1/7.1 in a good HT. I generally only watch Blu-Ray in my HT anyway so the PS3MS shortcomings are tolerable.

To stream HD or view DVD ISO's or folder structures the media streamers have to work with network shares and not through media servers. I didn't quite understand that at the onset of my adventure. That eliminates the possibility that one media manager on one computer can control video and audio to all zones, just DLNA supported audio and video which HD and DVD ISO's are not. This brings the WMP 12 back up to the top for overall general functionality. It "plays to" all DLNA devices very well, and with a codec pack like the K-Lite Codec Pack, you can watch nearly all file formats locally except for some modern MT2S files. There's always VLC to pick those up.

So for my purposes: WMP12 and PS3 Media Server cover the functionality, best response, and best resource managment/smallest footprint. Honorable mention goes to J. River Media Center as it has a lot of extra features, performs very well, and has good support forums.

I welcome constructive feedback and experiences from others.
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post #11 of 77 Old 12-18-2010, 02:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by treefrog100 View Post

To stream HD or view DVD ISO's or folder structures the media streamers have to work with network shares and not through media servers. ....That eliminates the possibility that one media manager on one computer can control video and audio to all zones, just DLNA supported audio and video which HD and DVD ISO's are not.

I just found this thread - very informative. I'm also seeking something similar to your specs. I've been looking at J River closely and did not know of any limitations as you mention, but I'm not sure I understand exactly what you mean.

1)What do you mean by "HD"?
2) Regarding ISO files, I found this link that seems to say that J River can read and stream ISO files, but I'm interested to learn what you found out that doesn't make this practical or feasible, or limits it in some way: http://wiki.jriver.com/index.php/DVD...n_Media_Center
3) I didn't follow your comment that J River (or any other) can 't be the one media manager on one computer to control playback everywhere. Are you also saying that J River doesn't work across a network for streaming "HD" and DVD ISOs? If that's not what you meant, could you please explain some more?

Thanks for any clarifications.
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post #12 of 77 Old 12-19-2010, 09:31 AM
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post #13 of 77 Old 12-30-2010, 01:42 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djs777 View Post

I just found this thread - very informative. I'm also seeking something similar to your specs. I've been looking at J River closely and did not know of any limitations as you mention, but I'm not sure I understand exactly what you mean.

1)What do you mean by "HD"?
2) Regarding ISO files, I found this link that seems to say that J River can read and stream ISO files, but I'm interested to learn what you found out that doesn't make this practical or feasible, or limits it in some way: http://wiki.jriver.com/index.php/DVD...n_Media_Center
3) I didn't follow your comment that J River (or any other) can 't be the one media manager on one computer to control playback everywhere. Are you also saying that J River doesn't work across a network for streaming "HD" and DVD ISOs? If that's not what you meant, could you please explain some more?

Thanks for any clarifications.

Djs777, sorry for the delay. It's been a busy end of the year. See my responses to your questions below:

1) High Definition
2) The link you sent does not say that J River MC can stream ISO files. It only says it can share folders to be visible on the network. It is up to the remote media player to find them in the shared network folder and then play them on the connected TV. This functionality is already built into Windows Media Player so there is no need for J River MC, unless you simply like the user interface better. It certainly is a nifty program, but its strength is in local media playback. It would be a great media player for a home theater PC -- one that is connected to your primary TV. The DLNA "play to" function works as well as anything in Windows 7 Windows Media Player.
3) I am saying that J River Media Center, Windows Media Player, or any other DLNA-based media player on a host computer cannot stream or "play to" most video formats. The DLNA architecture does not support the most common file types of movie storage. You have to use a network share, and then find your movies from the remote media player. The most common movie archival formats for standard definition are: *.MKV, *.ISO and Video_TS folder structure. The most common HD formats are: *.MKV, *.ISO, and *.MT2S folder structure. DLNA does not support any of those so using DLNA "play to" either from the host computer or a DLNA remote device is not possible.

So to conclude: J River MC doesn't do anything more than what WMP can do with regards to DLNA "play to" functionality over a network; and DLNA remote control works best for audio zone control but not video control because of the limited DLNA video codec support. There are supported video formats, but having to rip and then transcode all your discs to another format is less than desireable. You lose HD audio and menus when you do this, and this is a dealbreaker for a lot of us, especially when there are media players out there now that can play shared DVD's and BD disc rips from the network and maintain the menus and HD audio.

Edit: (other info)

For codecs supported in DLNA see here: http://www.dlna.org/industry/why_dln.../media_format/

Some local media players have remote controls through phone apps or web interfaces, but they are specific to that network media streamer.
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post #14 of 77 Old 12-30-2010, 01:43 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mfusick View Post

subbed

Okay, I am an idiot. What does subbed mean?

Edit: Never mind. Just googled it: "subscribed to thread."
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post #15 of 77 Old 12-30-2010, 04:11 PM
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lol... yup.

Bookmarked for following and reading

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post #16 of 77 Old 12-31-2010, 01:44 PM
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Let me get this straight, there is no simple way to use a DLNA server on my desktop to send ripped blurays to my Pioneer Kuro? I have ripped several BluRay discs to my hard drive for my grand kids to watch and not take the chance of having their grubby mits on the discs themselves. They are viewable on the PC using Roxio CinePlayer BD, but the kids want to watch them on the Kuro!

I have been trying to find a DLNA server that would do this over my wired connection but what I'm sensing is next to impossible to do..... or is it?
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post #17 of 77 Old 12-31-2010, 02:34 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by radtek View Post

Let me get this straight, there is no simple way to use a DLNA server on my desktop to send ripped blurays to my Pioneer Kuro? I have ripped several BluRay discs to my hard drive for my grand kids to watch and not take the chance of having their grubby mits on the discs themselves. They are viewable on the PC using Roxio CinePlayer BD, but the kids want to watch them on the Kuro!

I have been trying to find a DLNA server that would do this over my wired connection but what I'm sensing is next to impossible to do..... or is it?

In order to do it through the DLNA server, you must rip the files to a file structure on your hard drive then combine them and transcode them into another file type that is supported by DLNA like MPEG-2 or MPEG-4. This is a lot of work. Essentially you have to turn it into something your TV can understand, which is limited by the minimum required by DLNA.

The easiest way to watch DVD rips are to rip to *.ISO and then use a media streamer like the WDTV Live that is hooked to your TV. It can find your share folders, play *.ISO files, and retain the DVD menus. I use this method in my kids' playroom/TV lounge.

Blu-Ray can also be ripped to *.ISO, but there are only a small handful of devices currently on the market that can play network shares of BD iso's. I just got one from Santa, the Netgear NeoTV 550.

Most media streamers play all the files that are encoded onto DVD and BD discs like VOB files and MT2S files. However, many newer discs utilize seamless branching which means there are several of these small files that get strung together to make the entire movie. In order play these files effectively over the network to a media streamer, you must author a new VOB, MT2S, or ISO file with a program like DVDFab where you can take all the files, put them in the right order, and roll them back into a new single file for convenience.

So to summarize: DLNA is not the best solution for watching DVD's and BD's over a network. Network shares and media streamers are.

There is an abundance of discussion on BD file types, ripping, and network streaming in the Netgear NeoTV 500 thread in this forum.
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post #18 of 77 Old 12-31-2010, 03:10 PM
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Thanks for the info. I will look into the Netgear NeoTV 550 sounds like a solution I can use.
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post #19 of 77 Old 01-16-2011, 10:40 AM
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This site as a decent listing of media boxes http://www.missingremote.com/guide/m...ers-comparison Many of the media boxes announced since the Fall of 2010 or at CES 2011 are not yet listed, but I haven't found a better listing.

Note the columns showing the Blu-Ray and DVD playback capabilities - ISO support is what I understand is what we want to make playback as easy as possible (but please correct me if I'm wrong)

In terms of CES 2011, Iomega announced a few boxes per http://www.pcworld.com/article/21547...ml?tk=rss_news .

What also got my attention was the agreement between XBMC and Sigma Designs http://xbmc.org/theuni/2011/01/05/xbmc-port-from-sigma/

as well as the 8910 chip from Sigma per http://www.engadget.com/2011/01/04/s...-scaling-to-c/
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post #20 of 77 Old 02-14-2011, 05:56 AM
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is the easiest way to get movies from one pc to another just to network them and copy paste the file ?

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post #21 of 77 Old 02-14-2011, 09:23 AM
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Originally Posted by Mfusick View Post

is the easiest way to get movies from one pc to another just to network them and copy paste the file ?

Yes, but that isn't the goal they are after.

Tree, how is the netgear appliance working out for you? Is it streaming bluray iso files after all? (and is it outputting HD audio formats?)

I'm currently using PS3 media server with lots of MKVs i have and was planning on adding something like another WD live on another TV else where in the house. It'd be nice if I could buy a device at the TV that would just natively stream BR iso files (with HD audio, otherwise i'll just keep using my MKV's).
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post #22 of 77 Old 02-15-2011, 07:58 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djs777 View Post

Note the columns showing the Blu-Ray and DVD playback capabilities - ISO support is what I understand is what we want to make playback as easy as possible (but please correct me if I'm wrong)

Yes ISO support is the easiest in principle, but as far as BD is concerned, nobody has implemented BD iso support without too many headaches. I own a Netgear NeoTV 550, and it's riddled with BD iso playback bugs. Video issues, FPS, audio codec issues, and network connection issues. Because I own two WDTV Live+ boxes as well, the easiest way for me to get movies from disc to media player reliably is to use MakeMKV, dump it into my shared movies folder, run Media Center Master for cover art, and I'm serving up movies all over the house.
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post #23 of 77 Old 02-15-2011, 08:14 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 00b5 View Post

Yes, but that isn't the goal they are after.

Tree, how is the netgear appliance working out for you? Is it streaming bluray iso files after all? (and is it outputting HD audio formats?)

I'm currently using PS3 media server with lots of MKVs i have and was planning on adding something like another WD live on another TV else where in the house. It'd be nice if I could buy a device at the TV that would just natively stream BR iso files (with HD audio, otherwise i'll just keep using my MKV's).

Per my previous post, it has not been a pleasurable experience. Because the BD iso experience is hit or miss, I just stick with MKV files for compatibilty and performance reasons across my house. I can serve (2) 1080p MKV's with DTS or DD 5.1 at the same time from my computer hard drive without a hitch. With ISO, I cannot get some movies to play one at a time without severe stutter with my computer otherwise idle. If I had to do it over again, I would have gotten a third Live+ instead of the Netgear 550. I have every reason, however, to expect that the developers will fix all these bugs and issues. Since the BD support for these media players is still in it's infancy, I don't even bother keeping the HD audio tracks in the MKV's. Most of what I keep on my server are family movies where the HD audio is not as big of a deal. For the really good A-list movies like Avatar, etc, I just watch the BD discs for a flawless experience on my 100" projection and Denon 3808.

Do you use your PS3 for MKV's from BD rips? I could never get MKV BD rips to play over my PS3 using PS3 Media Server. I got tired of dealing with the PS3 for a media streamer so I got my second Live+. It works great and reliable, and I use it for everything except discs themselve -- still use the PS3 for that.

My 2 cents: Wait another year before considering something for BD iso playback. Even if the hardware worked properly, there are other issues brewing like the studio-mandated Cinavia copyright protection that will be a monkey wrench everyone's vision of whole house networked media.

Back on topic, MKV is not in the DLNA spec so playback support is at the discretion of the DLNA server software maker. I just use network shares for video, but I use DLNA for music because you can sort by all the metadata for more convenient access to the songs through selection of Album, Artist, Genre, Year, etc.
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post #24 of 77 Old 02-15-2011, 10:07 AM
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Mr. Treefrog,
Sounds like you have quite a bit of experience in this area. I'm just getting started. I have a NAS and after a few weeks of getting things set up I'm learning the pitfalls of DLNA.

Not to bag on DLNA, its just not explained very well in product literature. This thread has helped tremendously.

So, to stay on topic, what is the best "DLNA" software package? Actually, I will be more specific. I've been looking at network media players but b/c DLNA seems to be in infancy, I'm thinking a netbook might be the best choice until this technology matures a bit. Thoughts?

BTW, I like VLC as a player and plan on running linux on the netbook (or media player/nettop). The NAS does well streaming music on its own with its integrated music player. Any software and/or hardware recommendations?
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post #25 of 77 Old 02-15-2011, 11:22 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by prouddad1 View Post

Mr. Treefrog,
Sounds like you have quite a bit of experience in this area. I'm just getting started. I have a NAS and after a few weeks of getting things set up I'm learning the pitfalls of DLNA.

Not to bag on DLNA, its just not explained very well in product literature. This thread has helped tremendously.

So, to stay on topic, what is the best "DLNA" software package? Actually, I will be more specific. I've been looking at network media players but b/c DLNA seems to be in infancy, I'm thinking a netbook might be the best choice until this technology matures a bit. Thoughts?

BTW, I like VLC as a player and plan on running linux on the netbook (or media player/nettop). The NAS does well streaming music on its own with its integrated music player. Any software and/or hardware recommendations?

Oh, contraire. I started learning about all this around mid-November when I preordered my Netgear NeoTV 550 and following that thread ever since. Around late November I purchased my first WDTV Live+ for my daughter's playroom to get her and her many Disney and Dora DVD's out of my living room and play from the network. Then I've been trying to standardize on file formats to play across my house, ultimately ditching the PS3 in favor or a second Live+ for my HT. I started this thread so that you all could teach me!

Everything I know about streaming movies, NAS, metadata, etc, is from reading the NeoTV 550 thread, the WDTV Live thread, the WDTV Live+ threads, and a few others off and on. I feel dumb when I read those.

For music, I started several years ago with a slew of mp3's on my computer that I've accumulated over the years. I used to play them on a laptop through an Edirol USB D/A converter hooked over RCA's into my receiver or guitar amplifier for parties elsewhere. Then I built my home theater and purchased a Denon 3808 in December 2007 that was my first networked attached media device. I could stream Windows Media playlists to it really making it easier to make and enjoy custom playlists around the house. Then WMP 12 came out with DLNA "Play To," and that reallly unlocked a new dimension in home media.

Unfortunately, DLNA's video support is poor so it's not really a consideration with selecting a media player specifically for video; however, most of them support DLNA these days anyway which is better for music. On the WDTV Live threads there are those that report accessing the DLNA server for M2TS and MKV files for better network performance and less stuttering. This is a complex discussion that I won't deal with here.

For software, I've gone round and round with this. I downloaded Media Monkey to start cleaning up the metadata on my music files and add cover art. It's a great free tool. When I opened WMP 12, it would automatically rewrite the metadata in the songs added to my library erasing hours of work. Even when I unchecked all of the automatic media information retreival options, it would still write over the metadata with blank information. After not being able to figure this out, I removed WMP from my system in its entirety and installed Twonky Media Manager. Twonky is a no frills reliable DLNA media server for music, photos, and supported video. It's cheap, but it is a reference DLNA server so it promises to play nice with all media renderers and other media servers on your network.

So now my system is as follows:
Living Room - NeoTV 550
Playroom - WDTV Live+
HT/Basement - WDTV Live+, Denon 3808, PS3
Server is my 4-core Intel Q8200 desktop
Twonky Media Manager for media server and music playback on desktop
VLC for video playback on my desktop
Media Monkey to manage music metadata and cover art
Media Center Master for movie and TV show metadata and cover art
iTunes because I can't live without my iPhone
PlugPlayer app on iPhone that I can control any DLNA supported music, photos, and video to all of my devices. In other words, I walk around the house and use my iPhone as a remote control for the music coming out of the nearest media player.

Prouddad1, I don't know anything about netbooks and am not sure how you would use it as a media player. I'm pretty sure they don't have HDMI or component video connections for HD and lack the processing muscle to do it. A WDTV Live+ is the is the best thing going today for the money and basic HD video, music, and photo functionality. you can usually find new ones for $90 and refurbs sometimes can be had for $60-$70.

I would start with WMP 12 for your server software unless there is a specific requirement that is not being met. Then look at one of the following: Twonky, Tversity, Mezzmo, or J.River. All of those have free trials.

Disclaimer: there are many different philosophies and possibilities on server software, media playback devices, file formats, and every facet of media networking. It really depends on what your priorities and specific requirements are.
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post #26 of 77 Old 02-15-2011, 12:47 PM
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treefrog,

A netbook is a miniature laptop. Look at at something like Asus EEe PC. Processing power in these little computers is not bad - dual core cpus for about $200 to $300 bucks. Don't use fans - no optical drive and small footprint. The appeal, at least for my application, is that I can update codecs and install different media player software until I find what I like. There may be models with HDMI support but I haven't searched for it yet.

Nettop box is almost the same thing without the display. These can be configured with aftermarket video cards which could support HDMI. There are tons of options in this area if you're interested in building it yourself. Of course, the other con going the computer route is likely no remote control unless networked to iphone or other gadget.

I'm weaning the household of windows (OS) - trying to run everything on Linux. At this point I'm happy with the NAS and network performance. I'm just looking for a cheap, simple media player to serve up video files to the TV. Also been looking at the Argosy and WD live. Really don't need anymore storage, just a network media player that plays multiple video formats. VLC seems to play most everything.
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post #27 of 77 Old 02-16-2011, 09:38 AM - Thread Starter
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treefrog,

A netbook is a miniature laptop. Look at at something like Asus EEe PC. Processing power in these little computers is not bad - dual core cpus for about $200 to $300 bucks. Don't use fans - no optical drive and small footprint. The appeal, at least for my application, is that I can update codecs and install different media player software until I find what I like. There may be models with HDMI support but I haven't searched for it yet.

Nettop box is almost the same thing without the display. These can be configured with aftermarket video cards which could support HDMI. There are tons of options in this area if you're interested in building it yourself. Of course, the other con going the computer route is likely no remote control unless networked to iphone or other gadget.

I'm weaning the household of windows (OS) - trying to run everything on Linux. At this point I'm happy with the NAS and network performance. I'm just looking for a cheap, simple media player to serve up video files to the TV. Also been looking at the Argosy and WD live. Really don't need anymore storage, just a network media player that plays multiple video formats. VLC seems to play most everything.
You have more of an HTPC setup running videos off a network drive than a media server/client setup.
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post #28 of 77 Old 02-16-2011, 09:54 AM
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You have more of an HTPC setup running videos off a network drive than a media server/client setup.

wHAT IS BETTER?

wHAT IS EASIER?

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"Too much is almost enough. Anything in life worth doing is worth overdoing. Moderation is for cowards."
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post #29 of 77 Old 02-16-2011, 10:16 AM - Thread Starter
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wHAT IS BETTER?

wHAT IS EASIER?
I have not built and HTPC, but I got really close once. I followed the following thread for months preparing my plan of attack:

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...2#post14239742

Then more advanced set top network media players started hitting the shelves along with lower prices. My WDTV Live+ plays 100% I throw at it, and it cost me $85. That's not to say that it can play every weird codec out there, but since I have control over how I rip my media, I can make sure media lives on my server in a format that all my devices can play.

HTPC's are a lot of work to build, are costly, and require frequent software maintenance. A network media player is easy, cheap, and firmware updates show up automatically.

If you read the Netgear 550, Boxee, Popcorn Hour, Dune threads, and others, you will see discussions of many folks that are ditching their HTPC's in favor of these cheap and easy network media players.
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Yes, a network media player is exactly what I'm looking for. WDTV live seems to be most popular and has good reviews at new egg. I'll research it further. Just need to make sure it will play nicely with my synology nas.

Thanks for all your insight.
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