Best setup for streaming HD content from Laptop/External Hard Drive - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 8 Old 05-08-2012, 06:18 AM - Thread Starter
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Hey guys,

I am a noob to the HT enthusiast arena and I've been lurking around avs for some time now and thanks to the great deal of info discussed already, I never had the need to post anything on here. Almost all my questions have been answered already except one. I know my title may sound like something that's been asked a thousand times before but even after using the search function and checking other sources online, I've not been able to find a proper solution to my conundrum. It's actually more of a "what do you suggest/recommend" kinda question rather than a problem. And before I go on I apologize if this has been discussed already but my "not-so-comprehensive" search did not lead me anywhere decisive so here it goes.

Being a noob to the HT scene, I only recently bought most of my equipment including towers, receiver, sub and center channels. I am also looking at a pair of bookshelfs for surrounds. As a result, I am somewhat limited on my budget (probly 200 max for what I am looking-discussed further down)

My current setup for streaming
Laptop : a not very impressive HP dv6 with a 4gb ram and a dual core processor

Streaming device : PS3

Streaming server : PS3 media server on my laptop

I just ordered a belkin dual-band N router and a set of Cat6 cables (I'm assuming this setup should be sufficient enough for smooth streaming provided everything else is perfect)

When I stream the HD files from my laptop, there is considerable stuttering that occurs like 5-6 times during a movie. I know that my current setup is not ideal for streaming and that is why I'm seeking you guys' help on what I could do to make it better.

I'm planning on buying a network hard drive and connecting that and the ps3 with some Cat6 cables and my N router. Now will just about any network drive that is DLNA/UPnP compatible work well enough for what I'm looking for or do I have to give the speed of the drive more importance than I already do. For instance will the WD My Book Live or the iOmega Network Hard Drive suffice or do I have to get something more advanced like the synology ds212j (this would more than double the price but I'm willing to stretch if the former option is a definite no-no.

How good are the in-built media servers on these network hard drives. I'm assuming that the synology's is way better than that of the other two. Am i correct?. I'm actually starting to lean towards something like the diskstation (even though i don't care about how many bays it has or other purely NAS based functions) but I wanna know you guys' opinion on this before deciding anything.

Thanks in advance.
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post #2 of 8 Old 05-08-2012, 06:46 AM
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PS3 isn't the best media player out there. You can stream wireless all of you media if you were to considerably downgrade the picture and audio quality of the movie with Handbrake.

I used to do this a lot, but it is time consuming. It take about 3 hours to do one blu-ray movie.

I ended up building my own unraid server, which is were I've got all of my movies stored at the moment. I can stream them to 4 different location without any issues.

I also got media players. I've got a Dune Smart D1 series in the living room and a AIOS in the master bedroom. They both play all of my movies without any issues.

My suggestion would be to think about what you really need. If you are not going to keep ripping movies, I would just get an external hard drive format it as FAT32, make sure all of your movies are 4GB or less, which is the limit for FAT32. Transfer all your movies to that external drive and hook it up to your PS3.

If you want the best picture and sound quality you will have to spend more $$$.

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post #3 of 8 Old 05-08-2012, 08:05 AM - Thread Starter
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thanks gus...so what you're effectively saying is that no matter what you do outside the ps3 due to it's inherent flaws, it will never achieve the level of smoothness that a dedicated media player would achieve..it is just as i feared then...

if that is the case, i am willing to shell out a lil more and get a media player+hard drive..that is an area i've never explored before so the only devices I've hear of are the wd live tv, netgear neotv and thanks to you now the AIOS and dune...what would you suggest to be a good buy under 200?...I would like something that provides a smooth stream from the hard drive and has support for different formats. I understand that the dune is a comprehensive solution to this but I am just curious to find out if there's something under the 200 dollar budget that could do well enough if not as well as the dune...would you suggest the AIOS?
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post #4 of 8 Old 05-08-2012, 10:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jinxeddeep View Post

thanks gus...so what you're effectively saying is that no matter what you do outside the ps3 due to it's inherent flaws, it will never achieve the level of smoothness that a dedicated media player would achieve..it is just as i feared then...

if that is the case, i am willing to shell out a lil more and get a media player+hard drive..that is an area i've never explored before so the only devices I've hear of are the wd live tv, netgear neotv and thanks to you now the AIOS and dune...what would you suggest to be a good buy under 200?...I would like something that provides a smooth stream from the hard drive and has support for different formats. I understand that the dune is a comprehensive solution to this but I am just curious to find out if there's something under the 200 dollar budget that could do well enough if not as well as the dune...would you suggest the AIOS?

The AIOS is a very simple and inexpensive media player. I only use it to stream movies from my server and nothing else. It has a few apps, but I don't use them, and I can't tell you if they work or not. I have not tested this media player with an internal drive either. I have heard some people having some issues with installing and accessing the internal hard drive, but I think that is due to not formatting the drive correctly.

AIOS has their own forum, and Aasoror, which is a member here can help you out with any issues you have. He helped me a lot with setting up a jukebox, which I don't use anymore because it is easier for me to update the Dune's jukebox. AIOS uses a combination of ThumbGen and TVix program to create a jukebox, and at the end I got tired of it.

Therefore, I only use the "list" option for my movies. It only give me an alphabetical list of all my movies, and it doesn't have a search option either.

Over all, it does support HD video and audio. It plays all of my M2TS and MKV files via network without any issues. It supports DVD ISO, but it doesn't support BD ISO's with java menus.

So, if you do not want to spend a lot of money, and want to give it a try buy it from Amazon.com just in case you don't like it you won't have an issue with it.

Here's the pivos website with their description and supported files:
http://www.pivosgroup.com/#!vstc3=sp...stc2=productsa

Here the pivos/AIOS forum
pivosforums.com

Price at amazon.com $89.99
http://www.amazon.com/Pivos-AIOS-Net...6494829&sr=8-1

Another media players I would suggest looking into:
Mede8er---is a little bit more then $200, but it is a good media player here a review of it done by Damian / dbone1026. I used to have one, and I sold it. I regret it now lol.
http://www.mediasmartserver.net/2012...e8er-med500x2/

Popbox V8 $130
review site: http://www.mediasmartserver.net/2011...iew-popbox-v8/

Netgear NeoTV550 $84.95 on amazon.com
http://www.amazon.com/Netgear-NTV550...6495157&sr=8-1

The NeoTV550, is similar to the AIOS. However, it does play DVD and BD ISO's. The downside, Netgear does not support this player anymore. A large number of people like this player, but there are some that have had issues with it.

WDTV Live $89.99
http://www.amazon.com/Western-Digita...6495324&sr=1-1

I bought this media player for my parents because it is an all-in-one media player. It has netflix, hulu, vudu, and pandora, which is what my parents use. I tested this player, and it played all of my files within an external hard drive. I did not test this player playing the files via network.

Patriot Memory / PBO Alpine $99.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...media%20player

This is a new media player, which replaces the Patriot Box media player. It is android based OS 2.2 I believe. It is fairly new, and I haven't read anyone on this forum getting one or writing a review. So, I can't recommend it, but it is there. It doesn't support HD sound.

Micca EP950 / EP600
EP950 $150.00
http://www.amazon.com/EP950-Digital-...6495717&sr=8-1

EP650 $120
http://www.amazon.com/Micca-EP600-G2...6495717&sr=8-2

EP950 has room for internal hard drive. EP650 doesn't. They are both the same. They play 3D movies, but they are having some issues with stuttering at certain frames. micca is working on the issue. Jack@Micca is a AVSForum member, and is the only person who I know to provide support for this device.

I almost bought this media player to replace my AIOS, but I didn't once I heard it was having some issues with stuttering. However, there have been reports from some Micca owners who do not have any issues. I don't believe this media player has any issues with playing regular DVD and BD movies.

Then you have the "elite" and "expensive" media players:

Dune media players and PCH media players. If you have the money, I would suggest the Dune player over the PCH. I used to own a PCH-A300 when it first came out, and I had a lot of issues with it. After testing, spending $$ and time with other players, I ended up buying a Dune Smart D1 series, and it was the best media player I've own so far.

PCH-A300 has new firmware, and it appears that Popcorn Hour is working on all of the issues. The player still has some bugs, but it is a lot better now, and it is a lot cheaper than the Dune media players now.

So, there you have it. I wish I can tell you just buy this media player and you will be set, but it just doesn't work that way. You will have to just buy one, try it out, and see if it works for you.

One other thing, if you decide to buy any media player that are able to have an internal hard drive do not be surprise or alarmed when you try to transfer a file to it, and the fastest speed you see is 6 MB/s to 12 MB/s if you are lucky.

There are a lot of people who complaint about transfer speed with the media players even the ones that have gigabit ethernet connections are slow. That's just the way it is. Theses media player are designed to play files not to transfer / receive files.

Hope this helps.

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post #5 of 8 Old 05-08-2012, 01:37 PM
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Gus, that was very good! Would make a good stickie!

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post #6 of 8 Old 05-08-2012, 03:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carl Jones View Post

Gus, that was very good! Would make a good stickie!

Thank you

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post #7 of 8 Old 05-08-2012, 03:32 PM - Thread Starter
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thank you so much gus...in one post you made me ten times wiser than i was before...i can't believe you took the pains to post so many links...

I am looking at just 4 factors in deciding what player to buy

1. speed of streaming or rather the smoothness of it without any stuttering or sudden pausing or stuff like that cos this is the very reason I'm moving away from my ps3 in the first place so...

2. support for all major codecs (both video and audio including bd iso and mkv)

3. easy and uninterrupted interfacing with a NAS drive since it's from the NAS drive that I will be streaming the content from.

4. Atleast a basic jukebox, even if it has to be installed as an addon, to make life simpler.

I do not need support for apps as i never use them and in any case have a ps3, smart tv and a network receiver for those functions. I do not need an internal drive slot.

I know I'm pushing my luck here by repeatedly asking your suggestions but do the above factors help in narrowing down on one of these?
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post #8 of 8 Old 05-09-2012, 08:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jinxeddeep View Post

thank you so much gus...in one post you made me ten times wiser than i was before...i can't believe you took the pains to post so many links...

I am looking at just 4 factors in deciding what player to buy

1. speed of streaming or rather the smoothness of it without any stuttering or sudden pausing or stuff like that cos this is the very reason I'm moving away from my ps3 in the first place so...

The speed will depend on your network set up. I would suggest having a gigabit network, which mean all of your devices will have to support gigabit. For example, I use a WNDR3700 router, which all of my devices that do not support gigabit are connected to it such as my PS3, Xbox360, Xbox Slim, Dune Media player. I have a 8 port gigabit switch which has all of my gigabit devices such as W7 PC, Server and a 5 port gigabit switch located in my master bedroom.

I don't have any issues with stuttering at all. You've got to make sure you get good ethernet cables such as Cat5e or Cat6. I would recommend monoprice.com they've got the best prices for pre-terminated cable or you can do it yourself like I did since I need to make long runs of Cat5e.



2. support for all major codecs (both video and audio including bd iso and mkv)

Pretty much all of the media players I've mentions support all of the formats. It is also depends on how you rip your movies.

3. easy and uninterrupted interfacing with a NAS drive since it's from the NAS drive that I will be streaming the content from.

Again this will depend on how your network is set up.

4. Atleast a basic jukebox, even if it has to be installed as an addon, to make life simpler.

AIOS, MICCA, Netgear NeoTV550 do not support a jukebox. It is possible for the AIOS to support one, but you will have to do some Linux code in order for it to work. It isn't hard, but it was time consuming for me since my media library was pretty large. Micca can support folder.jpg files, which shows the front cover of the movie. The program AIOS uses is a combination of ThumgGen and TVix, which isn't hard to learn. If I can do it anyone else can. WDTV Live / HUB uses ThumgGen as well.

Here's the link to the WDT live forum with pictures of the jukebox, the AIOS is similar to it since it uses the same sheets.
http://www.wdtvlive.net/showthread.p...0-Movie-Sheets!



I do not need support for apps as i never use them and in any case have a ps3, smart tv and a network receiver for those functions. I do not need an internal drive slot.

If you don't need app. then any of them will do, witch the exception of WDTV Live, which is an all around media player.

I know I'm pushing my luck here by repeatedly asking your suggestions but do the above factors help in narrowing down on one of these?

Not really. The only media player I've that I've found to have the easiest and simplest jukebox to use is the Dune media player. I use Dune in combination with Zappiti, and it is very easy to set up and use. The PCH-A300 has an internal jukebox, which means you don't need to use a computer to run it. You run the NMJ jukebox within the media player, which is pretty good looking, but as I said before I had issues with it, and I ended up returning the media player. However, it might work better now. I know that Popcorn Hour is working on having the same set up for their PCH-200 / 210 series to have the same internal jukebox by updating the firmware. I've been trying to find a PCH-200 / 210 on ebay for a good price less than $200, but so far no luck.

Hope that helps.

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http://www.avsforum.com/lists/display/view/id/8599

 

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