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post #1 of 23 Old 07-02-2011, 07:10 PM - Thread Starter
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Can someone give me a general layout of what I'm going to need in my system to accomplish the following tasks:
  1. Rip my cd's so I can store them away and still listen to all my music.
  2. Rip my dvd's so I can store them away and still watch all my movies.
  3. Sit in my family room and browse my music and dvd's with a friendly user interface.
  4. Play the music and dvd's at a high quality level.

I currently have a home theater based system. Integra DHC-80.2 preamp, Anthem MCA50 AMP, MK150 speaker system. Directv,xbox360,pioneer elite dv59avi and a low-end Sony Bluray player.

I'm looking to add: (not including the project above)
Dual HSU VTF-15H subs, to replace my damaged SVS PC12-Ultra
Oppo 93 or 95.

I've spent some time at this site researching:

streaming flac thru the Oppo 95 to use their dacs, Peachtree Audio iDAC, to use for ipod/iphone and other sources thru their dacs, Popcorn, squeezebox, NAS servers, Windows Home Servers, minimac with server software, drobo's, j river media, dbpoweramp, RipNAS, it goes on and on...

My internet comes in where my Home Theater is located so all equipment can connect thru a wired connection, although I do have wireless as well.

Any help on a starting point would be appreciated. Anybody who can help me visualize this would be greatly appreciated!
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post #2 of 23 Old 07-03-2011, 01:53 PM - Thread Starter
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As I continue to educate myself on this project, I will update my progress here:

SERVER: Synology DS1511+ (Box is a tank, 15tb to start, can expand to 45tb)
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post #3 of 23 Old 07-03-2011, 02:07 PM
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Hi and welcome to the wild and crazy world of digital media. I have found through much experience that the best solution is a 2 box (client/server) one.

Server:
This is either a network attached storage appliance or a computer that has lots of shared disk space. The server can also be used to house your software that handles media ripping duties, metadata creation for cataloging, navigating and displaying the media, media proxy services to allow for access to internet based media, scanning of photos and video, etc. Recording of broadcast media, such as live television. And much more.

Client (also known as streamer):
This is generally an appliance that connects via network to your server and also connects to a display (TV) and/or a processor (your 80.2). Generally, you get what you pay for in this category. The products that are the most flexible/stable/mature/capable devices are products made by Dune and the Popcorn Hour PCH C-200. All others have severe limitations and will not meet YOUR requirements for quality.

I prefer the Dune products (except for the Dune lite which is limited). I personally have:

Server1 (video): Windows 7 computer with 32TB of storage attached
Server2 (audio/photo/backup/apps shares): Netgear ReadyNAS Pro with 12TB
Client1 (Home Theater): Dune 3 Prime (built in blu-ray drive)
Client2 (Bedroom): Dune 3 Base

Both of the clients can get to both of the servers


Attached audio equipment:
Integra 9.8 Pre/Pro
Sherbourn 7/2100 amp
Piega P10 Mains
Piega Coax Center
Piega Coax Surrounds
HSU - 15 Sub
Oppo 93 for ONLY SACD (all other digital media is ripped and streamed)

Sound similar to you?

For processing of my media, I use
CD - Exact audio copy
DVD Audio - DVD audio explorer
DVD Video and Blu-ray -DVDFab Platinum
Hauppauge HD-PVR - Recording over the air and premium broadcasts

For creating metadata and gathering coverart used in navigation I use
My Movies - for TV and Movies
Musicnizer - for Music
Adobe Photoshop Essentials - Photos
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post #4 of 23 Old 07-03-2011, 04:31 PM - Thread Starter
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thanks for the info. We do have similar setups!

So if I understand you correctly, I'm sitting on my couch, I switch inputs to either a Popcorn or Dune, select what I want to watch or listen to and viola!, it pulls the media from the server and outputs it to my Intergra DHC-80.2.

To get the media on the server, I use my pc to rip the stuff. (or the server itself depending on what type of server I have...)
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post #5 of 23 Old 07-03-2011, 04:53 PM - Thread Starter
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Sounds to me like the place to start is the server. Got to have a place to store everything.

I noticed in other threads that some people go with a NAS server like:

Synology DS1511+
Netgear ReadyNAS Pro

and others use a WHS. (Windows Home Server)

What are the major factors I need to consider in choosing one or the other?

On a side note, is there a problem with WHS 2011? Because most people only mention WHS, links to products usually just have WHS running on them, and I don't see very many vendors selling boxes with WHS 2011 on them...
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post #6 of 23 Old 07-03-2011, 05:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RockysDad View Post

thanks for the info. We do have similar setups!

So if I understand you correctly, I'm sitting on my couch, I switch inputs to either a Popcorn or Dune, select what I want to watch or listen to and viola!, it pulls the media from the server and outputs it to my Intergra DHC-80.2.

To get the media on the server, I use my pc to rip the stuff. (or the server itself depending on what type of server I have...)

You got it!
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post #7 of 23 Old 07-03-2011, 05:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RockysDad View Post

Sounds to me like the place to start is the server. Got to have a place to store everything.

I noticed in other threads that some people go with a NAS server like:

Synology DS1511+
Netgear ReadyNAS Pro

and others use a WHS. (Windows Home Server)

What are the major factors I need to consider in choosing one or the other?

On a side note, is there a problem with WHS 2011? Because most people only mention WHS, links to products usually just have WHS running on them, and I don't see very many vendors selling boxes with WHS 2011 on them...

The NAS appliances have their positives and negatives

Positives
Easy to set up and admin
totally independent of computing devices
not as easy to get virus problems

Negatives
Hard or impossible to expand
still need a computer to rip, gather metadata, etc.
may not allow easy backups
may not allow defragmentation
not as easy to increase performance as may be desired in future

I do enjoy having my primary server be a windows 7 pc as it affords a lot of room for expansion and modification as well as backup options. I initially had my Netgear ReadyNAS pro but ran out of room quickly and still needed additional capabilities.

WHS was a great idea from Microsoft originally, but they got rid of their built-in backup ability and storage pooling which were why most people liked them. The WHS 2011 got rid of these capabilities.
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post #8 of 23 Old 07-03-2011, 07:26 PM
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For another server option, you could go with unraid. Once built and setup (or purchased) it is easy to maintain and plays well with the Dunes.

One thing to consider is that you will need to have a tv on using the Dune or Popcorn Hour (and every other decent media player as far as I know) to play music. In my living room setup where I have a plasma, this isn't a big deal, but for my theater, I bought a squeezebox touch so I wouldn't have to turn on the projector to listen to music. It sits in my equipment closet and I can control it with my iPhone. I have two Dune D1's that I use and they are great. I use Zappiti as a media jukebox and also have musicnizer for the Dunes.

For ripping, I use EAC for CD's and AnyDVD HD, Clown_BD and mkvmerge for movies. I do all my ripping on the pc and transfer to my unraid server with (currently) 12TB of storage (but with enough empty drive bays for a total of 38TB of storage).

Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence

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post #9 of 23 Old 07-03-2011, 09:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrlittlejeans View Post

For another server option, you could go with unraid. Once built and setup (or purchased) it is easy to maintain and plays well with the Dunes.

One thing to consider is that you will need to have a tv on using the Dune or Popcorn Hour (and every other decent media player as far as I know) to play music. In my living room setup where I have a plasma, this isn't a big deal, but for my theater, I bought a squeezebox touch so I wouldn't have to turn on the projector to listen to music. It sits in my equipment closet and I can control it with my iPhone. I have two Dune D1's that I use and they are great. I use Zappiti as a media jukebox and also have musicnizer for the Dunes.

For ripping, I use EAC for CD's and AnyDVD HD, Clown_BD and mkvmerge for movies. I do all my ripping on the pc and transfer to my unraid server with (currently) 12TB of storage (but with enough empty drive bays for a total of 38TB of storage).

I use an iPad and a pc app to remote my Dune boxes so I can use them without the display just fine
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post #10 of 23 Old 07-03-2011, 10:31 PM
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Well that's pretty sweet. What software are you using?

Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence

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post #11 of 23 Old 07-04-2011, 12:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RockysDad View Post

Sounds to me like the place to start is the server. Got to have a place to store everything.

I noticed in other threads that some people go with a NAS server like:

Synology DS1511+
Netgear ReadyNAS Pro

and others use a WHS. (Windows Home Server)

What are the major factors I need to consider in choosing one or the other?

On a side note, is there a problem with WHS 2011? Because most people only mention WHS, links to products usually just have WHS running on them, and I don't see very many vendors selling boxes with WHS 2011 on them...

There is a NAS thread and sites where you can read forever. I have a bunch of NAS units, including a Drobo FS which is easy to expand, and a WHS v1 Acer. The problem with NAS devices is they are not meant for backup and so you have to back them up, unless you don't care if you lose a few TB's of content. They also are typically Linux based so it's not like you can get at the contents if something goes wrong, even if you have a Linux system ( assuming you are set up with some sort of RAID other than mirroring). WHS formats its drives as NTFS which to me is a big advantage. I don't use DE ( the mirroring technology that Microsoft dropped) so moving to 2011 would be fine. The problem as you noted is DE is pretty neat and dropping it really alienated a lot of users. WHS is a very nice product which has been mishandled by MS. Noone really knows where it fits in anymore. In short, its future is not clear. You can just as easily use Windows 7 or a more robust server. Anyway, the jury is out on that one.

I have a WHS with a Drobo connected to it which serves as the backup of the WHS. I disabled DE of course ( you get weird things happening if you don't and use Raid with it) and so I have the advantage of a backup of the WHS which is itself a type of Raid.

You can get a WHS unit which is low on power, similar to a NAS, The Drobo sleeps when it isn't backing up and so you get the power advantages of a NAS with a very easy system to manage.

A good NAS, from Synology for example, is pretty expensive. The WHS+Drobo combo works out to be around the same price.

philip
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post #12 of 23 Old 07-04-2011, 02:45 AM - Thread Starter
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Well,

I spent a couple of hours reading about the DS1511+ and also spent some time researching WHS and have decided to go with the DS1511+.

I really don't want to build my own WHS or even a windows 7 pc with a ton of HDD's inside... I want a box that's built and designed to go in my entertainment center and just kick @ss at what I want it to do, serve up media. I looked at a few of the WHS boxes that look like the drobo's and NAS boxes but I think the expandability of the DS1511+ down the road will more than pay for itself.

Thanks for all the great info!
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post #13 of 23 Old 07-04-2011, 03:10 AM - Thread Starter
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So, based on previous advice, The logical choice for the client device would be either:

Popcorn Hour C-200
Dune HD MAX
Dune HD Base 3.0


I'll start researching the units, but if anyone can help me get started with the basics of each it would be of great help.
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post #14 of 23 Old 07-04-2011, 09:54 AM
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If you are buying the Oppo 93 or 95 you don't need another device as receiver. It may not be the ultimate in flexibility, but it will act as a wifi DLNA receiver without much setup required. As a server, any computer with a large hard drive will do, there is no need for a separate device, except that NAS can go really large and may be the best option for expansion. All you need then is server software, like Twonky, which is what I use on my iMac, or the NAS server should be built in already. I'm using Songbird to rip Flac on my Mac from CD. I've also download some stuff from HDTracks and freebies from other hi-res sites.

I can't hear a difference between a CD played directly vs. a CD ripped and played over the wifi using this setup and the internal OPPO dac. And either of these blow away my prior transport/tube DAC that I used. I immediately sold the tube DAC, and the transport is an upconverting DVD Player on my kids tv now.
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post #15 of 23 Old 07-04-2011, 03:25 PM - Thread Starter
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Zacster,

thanks for the info on twonky. I spent some time at the site and watched a few of the youtube video's. Good stuff. When it comes to 2-channel audio playing at the highest quality, this sounds like a way to get it into the oppo-95 and take advantage of their awesome DAC's.

I still feel as though I need the Client device as listed above because I want to be able to view my media thru my home theater setup with a remote in my hands and not load up or run over to my pc.
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post #16 of 23 Old 07-05-2011, 02:09 AM - Thread Starter
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I'm having a little bit of a hard time getting a feel for the GUI on each device. Searching backwards doesn't help too much as the firmware and features are vastly different then they were even 6 months ago.

It seems like either player will work out fine for me so I think it just comes down to which interface I will prefer. The Popcorn has a decent looking GUI, I think they call it NMJ (networked media jukebox) and the Dune doesn't look like it has hardly anything, except that you can use third party apps, like MyMovies...

All of this can be confusing, to say the least. So what do I want? I'd like to turn on the device and be greeted by some sort of wall asking if I want to watch a movie, listen to music, look at some photo's or whatever else is available on the box.

It may sound like I'm leaning towards the popcorn, but not really. I just don't understand fully how I interact with their device and their website doesn't really bother to demo it. (or I missed it) Maybe the Dune is basic because you have the choice between 20 different third party setups, that might be a plus for me... does the Popcorn have third party developers for the gui as well?

As always, any help would be appreciated.
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post #17 of 23 Old 07-05-2011, 05:28 AM
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Again, the Oppo will give you that menu you are looking for. The home menu will let you access Movies, photos, music directly from a connected hard drive, and there is a Network menu that will access from your computer over the network. You don't need to go to the computer to select anything as you can navigate on the Oppo.

The only time you really need the computer is to add content to your folders. The only thing is you need to have it always on, but you need whatever you want to use to be always on.
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post #18 of 23 Old 07-05-2011, 07:42 AM
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The Oppo will play movies over the network via DLNA. However, DLNA is not a robust way to view files over your network as there are many compatibility issues. One look through the Oppo thread in this forum will give you an idea of some of the problems (for example, no .iso files over DLNA). I actually started out trying to use my Oppo as a media player at one point but it is nowhere near as robust as a dedicated media player.

In addition, while the Oppo does have a menu, it is basically a list of files available on whatever machine you have a media server running. While it is true that a server would need to be on at all times, a dedicated server typically does not use as much power as a PC and offers much more storage capacity. My server stays spun down unless being used, sits in the basement and uses around 30 watts. A media player using a media jukebox will have a much nicer interface with a lot more information available.

Here are some pics. Forgive the iphone quality but they will give you an idea.

This is a pic of the home screen on my Dune. Skins are interchangeable btw.


Here is a pic of the home screen of zappiti (the media jukebox I use). Better pics can be seen at www.zappiti.com. The first icon allows you to look at movies by alphabet. The second icon brings up your movie wall. The third brings up your tv shows, which further drills down to season wall and episode wall. The fourth shows recent additions while the fifth allows you to browse by category (war, comedy, drama, etc).


Here is a pic of the movie wall.


Here is a pic of what you see when you select a movie. Pressing enter will start movie playback.


Here is a pic of musicnizer. I access it by clicking on the music catalog link on my homepage.


Here is a pic of my artist wall.


And here is a pic of an album wall once you pick an artist.


You can also directly view the files you have on your network. I have links to the movies folder and music folder on my server in case I want to view something without going through the jukeboxes.

Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence

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post #19 of 23 Old 07-05-2011, 12:42 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrlittlejeans View Post

This is a pic of the home screen on my Dune. Skins are interchangeable btw.

So is this first picture from the original Dune GUI? When I went to Zappiti site it shows a screenshot where the first page already looks like Zappiti. Do you have to load the zappiti gui each time u turn on the device? Does the _zappiti icon or the Movies icon take you to your second photo? (or do you have to select the skin first?)

Similarly, does music catalog icon automatically load the musicnizer skin/gui, or does it do it automatically when you select the icon?

Finally, is "Music/Movie on Tower" icons the shortcuts you mentioned to just browse the files directly?
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post #20 of 23 Old 07-05-2011, 12:56 PM - Thread Starter
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As a follow up, where does zappiti store all the movie info and graphics and stuff?

From what I gathered at musicnizer, that particular software "scrapes" your collection, stores it on your pc, builds a "catalog", and then you move it over to the dune on a usb key. anytime you change your collection you update your usb key. Is that right? Can I leave the usb key in the dune and just use my pc to copy the files over to the usb key?
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post #21 of 23 Old 07-05-2011, 01:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RockysDad View Post

So is this first picture from the original Dune GUI? When I went to Zappiti site it shows a screenshot where the first page already looks like Zappiti. Do you have to load the zappiti gui each time u turn on the device? Does the _zappiti icon or the Movies icon take you to your second photo? (or do you have to select the skin first?)

This is what shows on the Dune when I turn it on. There are multiple skins you can use, including a Zappiti skin which is probably what they are showing. I just haven't loaded it. To access Zappiti, you have to click the Zappiti icon and it then takes you to my second screen shot. Progression would be press power button, highlight and click zappiti icon and then it takes you to my second pic. You do not have to select a zappiti skin for the Dune first or at all to use zappiti.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RockysDad View Post

Similarly, does music catalog icon automatically load the musicnizer skin/gui, or does it do it automatically when you select the icon?

Music catalog is the name of the folder on my server where I have the musicnizer index files. I could have named it musicnizer but didn't. Clicking on that icon, takes you to the musicnizer pic.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RockysDad View Post

Finally, is "Music/Movie on Tower" icons the shortcuts you mentioned to just browse the files directly?

I have a Media share and a Music share on my server. The Media share has a movies folder and a tv shows folder underneath it.

The Media icon takes me to the Media share on my server. The Music icon takes me to the Music share on my server and the Movies icon takes me to the Movies folder in my Media share.

Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence

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post #22 of 23 Old 07-05-2011, 01:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RockysDad View Post

As a follow up, where does zappiti store all the movie info and graphics and stuff?

From what I gathered at musicnizer, that particular software "scrapes" your collection, stores it on your pc, builds a "catalog", and then you move it over to the dune on a usb key. anytime you change your collection you update your usb key. Is that right? Can I leave the usb key in the dune and just use my pc to copy the files over to the usb key?

Both Zappiti and Musicnizer are similar. You use your computer to scan your collection and then they scrape the metadata. For Zappiti, the data is stored on your computer and then exported to a location where the Dune can use it (either a NAS or locally to the Dune). I think musicnizer works the same way but can't recall. Having the zappiti files on the device allows the Dune to scroll through your collection faster but the delay from having it on my NAS doesn't bother me. I also have two Dunes in my house and can't be bothered trying to export the database to both. It is easier to just keep it on my NAS. You can leave a USB in the Dune and export to that if you want.

Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence

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post #23 of 23 Old 10-10-2012, 07:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrlittlejeans View Post

The Oppo will play movies over the network via DLNA. However, DLNA is not a robust way to view files over your network as there are many compatibility issues. One look through the Oppo thread in this forum will give you an idea of some of the problems (for example, no .iso files over DLNA). I actually started out trying to use my Oppo as a media player at one point but it is nowhere near as robust as a dedicated media player.


In addition, while the Oppo does have a menu, it is basically a list of files available on whatever machine you have a media server running. While it is true that a server would need to be on at all times, a dedicated server typically does not use as much power as a PC and offers much more storage capacity. My server stays spun down unless being used, sits in the basement and uses around 30 watts. A media player using a media jukebox will have a much nicer interface with a lot more information available.


Here are some pics. Forgive the iphone quality but they will give you an idea.


This is a pic of the home screen on my Dune. Skins are interchangeable btw.


Ok. I am quoting a very old post. I am at my wits end trying to figure this out. But how do i get the zappiti icon to show up. All i get is the "star" since its marked as a favorite
I started telnetd on the dune, navigated to /mnt/config/mainscreen_items/, placed a dune_folder.txt file and a sample aai file but no luck frown.gif

Will post some pics later
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