Recomendations for Home Streaming of NAS Content? - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 6 Old 06-04-2012, 09:18 AM - Thread Starter
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I am moving into a new home and am looking to create a new setup to stream audio (and video, if possible) to 2 locations in my house (can be wired or wirless):

a) a Home Theater setup in the basement. My current receiver is not networkable. Not averse to getting a new one.
b) a receiver on the first floor which is hardwired to speakers in the ceiling of every room of the house. There are volume switches on the wall in each room (and on the back deck).

I currently have a ReadyNAS Duo with 2-1TB drives and all my music (and videos and documents) on it. Playlists are not currently backed up there. I like the Duo but am not adverse to getting a new NAS if it will make this easier. I've never had any luck with the iTunes server option - computers take too long to read the library (I have something like 30,000 music files).

I'm willing to get new receivers (DNLA/UPnP compatible or whatever) or a new TV if that will make this easier.

I'm also open to standalone boxes which you hook up the receiver (like Sonos, I think?).

I'd prefer not to go bankrupt, but getting a system that is intuitive for myself (and my wife!) to use is necessary. I'll spend what I have to.

Here are my requirements:

1) Select and play music from anywhere in the house (over WiFi or 3G, I don't care) using an iPhone or Android device. I don't want to have to use a special, separately-purchased remote or a program running on a PC or Mac just to play music.

2) I do NOT want to have a PC on at all times to stream content (it looks like Synology's Audio Station requires this, but I'm not sure). This should all be done directly from the NAS.

3) Good UI. Being able to select a playlist and shuffle it from my phone is key. It would also be nice to be able to easily search for a song and play it at a moment's notice (I've heard some devices have terrible UIs which make searching really difficult).

4) Creation of playlists. I currently have playlists on my PC which I'd like to be able to access from anywhere. It's OK if I have to move (or even recreate) these playlists onto my NAS, though a simple export option would be nice. Still, I'm probably going to modify playlists on my PC at some point, so then I would need some kind of solution to sync playlists between the two. In other words, if I add a song to a playlist on my PC, I would like that somehow reflected on the NAS playlist without a lot of extra effort.

5) Just a note, I currently have my music files manually organized into folders. I'm moving towards using the "comment" field to sort files into playlists, so if I have to modify my folder structure (like iTunes' stupid "keep my music organized" option), that's OK. Smart playlists (i.e., a playlist that automatically includes any file with the words "[top][classic rock]" in the comment field) would be perfect.

Any recommendations would really be appreciated! I've looked at Synology devices, Sonos and a couple others and just don't know if I'll be able to do what I'm looking for.

Thanks very much!

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post #2 of 6 Old 06-07-2012, 11:38 AM
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If you have a central NAS then I would think you can achieve what you want with many of the available media players. For my home theater room, I chose a PCH A-300. It has a built in jukebox (that I haven't been able to get working) but is also compatible with other Jukeboxes (i.e. YAMJ). It streams all content (video/audio/pictures) from my home server/NAS. I have the HDMI connected right to my AVR.

For my bedroom, I chose a PopBox V8. It is basically a less expensive version of the A-300 and doesn't have an option for an internal hard drive. They will both be using the YAMJ jukebox so that the experience is consistent between both locations and the same content is available at both locations. The PopBox V8 is also small enough that you can hide it easily.

Both units are controlled with an IR remote so I can incorporate them into my Harmony universal. You can buy both units for a total of < $400.

There are other options: Dune, Boxee Box (non-IR remote), AppleTV, Google TV, Roku, Micca EP boxes, etc. As you can see there are a lot of options and they all have their hiccups. Unfortunately, all of these players seem to be like flavors of ice cream. Everyone has one that suits their own needs best. You almost have to just keep trying a few until you find the one that you like best. Dune seems to be thought of as the most stable, but it is also the most expensive. The A-300 and V8 are capable of streaming pretty much any codec I can think of, they do HD audio/video, and have a relatively easy to install and use jukebox (YAMJ).

I'm no expert on this stuff but keep asking questions and I'm sure you'll get lots of opinions/advice on what may work best for you.
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post #3 of 6 Old 06-07-2012, 12:43 PM
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I built my own unRAID server, which I've got all my BD's and DVD's movies in it. I can access this server via my PC, Laptop, Iphone, Android phone and tablets. I stream movies to any location without any issues as long as they can play the movie format, which I use M2TS, MKV and ISO's. I'm starting to thinker about placing music in my server as well.

I've got a Dune D1 in my living room connected to a 7.1 surround sound and using Zappiti as my jukebox. Everyone who comes overs and sees it are amazed. They all asked if this is a "new netflix thing." LMAO.

If I had the money, I would of gone with Synology. They've got excellent customer server and have a lot of applications, but they are expensive. unRAID is flexible since you can use older and inexpensive computer parts.

The only issue I've got with unRAID is installing the different pluggins / applications. Most of them have to be installed manually, which I have had a hard time doing since I am new to Linux language.
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post #4 of 6 Old 06-07-2012, 12:53 PM
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Originally Posted by GusGus748s View Post

The only issue I've got with unRAID is installing the different pluggins / applications. Most of them have to be installed manually, which I have had a hard time doing since I am new to Linux language.

C'mon Gus...plugins are easy now. wink.gif Just dump the files in the plugin folder. Will be nice to see a plugin manager though.

edit: btw, the Syology Audio Station will work without a PC, android/iphone remote, airplay, etc..and can connect to speakers with a USB Audio Adapter
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post #5 of 6 Old 09-18-2012, 08:30 AM - Thread Starter
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Quick update on my solution:

SHUTTLE XS35V2 PC Barebone System - about $165
4 GB RAM for about $25
32GB SSD - about $45
Win 7 x64 - got a copy for about $100
AudioSource AMP-100 amplifier - about $90 (has a nice auto-off feature to save power when the system is not in use)

Remote app on iOS
Hyperfine Remote for iTunes on Android

I run iTunes on the headless nettop (which is a pretty low power device itself), controlled using RealVNC. iTunes sources its files from the NAS with no problems.

It's dead easy to use (even my wife has no issues) and sounds great.

This doesn't offer the future possibility to stream video throughout the house, but I'll get there.

For my basement area, I got an Onko NR-414, which can read music from my NAS as well. Unfortunately I can't figure out how to get it to pull playlists from the iTunes running on the nettop, but I haven't put a lot of effort into that. I'm sure there's a way to make iTunes host its playlists over DLNA, which would do the trick.
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post #6 of 6 Old 09-19-2012, 10:36 AM
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My WD TV Live situation is very modest, and has a high WAF.

IMO, the exposure with storage is disk failure.
It takes my i7/870 a very long time to process my BD media to .M2TS files.
The loss of a 2TB disk (60 movies) would trash months of work.

Hardware RAID is a very pricey solution, just in the controller itself.
The Intel ICHx software/firmware RAID is affordable, but finicky.
My last replacement of a 2TB Caviar Green took a couple of days for the rebuild.
This leaves the other drive(s) at high risk during the rebuild cycle.

My solution was migrating to NAS4FREE which is based on ZFS v28 running on FreeBSD.
One can opt for 1,2 or 3 parity drives.
This allows 1,2 or 3 drive concurrent drive failures without data loss.

I opted for 2 parity drives.
Four 2TB drives = P + P + 2TB + 2TB = 4TB total space.
Additional drives can be added, no drives can be removed.

ZFS is a software redundancy, but is design to fill the holes in hardware RAID.
I understand ZFS is much more tolerant of non-TLER drives such as Caviar Green.
When ZFS rebuilds a volume, it only rebuilds the data present on the failed drive.
This can substantially reduce the build time, compared to a Mirrored pair.

I am a teleworker, and own a computer business.
I have need of an always-on backup server with data safety.
It doubles nicely as a Movie repository.
The WD TV Live talks to CIFS/SMB (samba) shares as nicely as it currently talks to Server 2003 shares.
FreeBSD is a bit more 'fiddly' which can put off those not wanting to work with servers, shares, and security.
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