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post #1 of 16 Old 09-10-2012, 05:19 PM - Thread Starter
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Okay I have a PC as a server and currently I have it running PMS (PS3 media server) to stream to my PS3, and I have Orb to stream to the Wii and I have yet another TV with nothing attached yet.

My biggest problems are the follwing.

1) I have to run multiple serving applications. I would like to have 1 application that can serve to multiple devices and just be done with these multiple device applications and their individual settings tweaking.

2) I absolutely hate streaming to the Wii. I want something that I can stream HD content to I have the network jacks available why not use them right?

3) I need something that isn't going to have issues with playing back my backed up blu-ray disks. Currently I have two movies I cannot stream to my PS3 because of "copy protection" though its my own darn movie.

What I woud like to get is 3 boxes I can attach to all three TVs all that can play at least netflix as this is the one thing my wife really enjoys using and at the same time will play all my media from my server. Most everything I have is ripped blu-rays I keep on my server as mkv and alot of the dvds are in avi files depending on how I ripped them and reassembled them over the years.

Can anyone think of a lower price point box that can do these tasks well? Also can anyone suggest a main "serving application" that works the best with the products suggested. The serving app has to be able to support multiple playings at a time from devices so if I am watching say The Matrix in the bedroom and the kids are watching Looney Tunes in the living room both would play no problem.

Lastly not ot throw a wrench in things but I was even thinking of going as far as turning the PC into a DVR and having it record programs as files that I can then also watch on these streaming devices. (My wife uses up our Multiple tuner DVR with many recordings and I figure I oculd do this and then be able to watch my shows in ANY room in the house not just the living room where the DVR is.)

All my house is wired gigabit so I am not worried about bandwidth just trying to figure out the best endpoint hardware for this application type and the best software for serving and program recording.

I was hoping to keep the endpoints under 200$ and the PC software under 150$ keeping this whole project well under 1k.
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post #2 of 16 Old 09-12-2012, 06:39 AM - Thread Starter
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Noone has any thoughts on this? I thought someone would have some ideas on end point devices that would work for this situation at least if not the PC/Server side streaming application.
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post #3 of 16 Old 09-12-2012, 08:26 AM
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If you have a hard-wired network available, your choices are numerous, that may be why there aren't any responses. There are also many threads asking for recommendations over and over, and frankly there isn't an easy answer.

Now, if you move to a real streamer and want to ditch the PS3/Wii, you don't actually NEED software on the PC to do anything. What you would do is share the storage location for your media within Windows, and use SMB to access it with your media streamer(s).

I don't have real experience with anything but the Seagate FAT+ and the Boxee Box, and while the Boxee will do what you ask it is NOT a low priced streamer. It'll run you $125 or so used, and $170 or so new. I think perhaps the Western Digital WDTV will do what you are asking, but I can't be sure.
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post #4 of 16 Old 09-12-2012, 09:21 AM
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I was going to suggest WDTV Live. The current version supports Netflix and as said above, will stream easily from a Windows PC via SMB shares without any server software. It will also playback pretty much everything and is pretty cheap/small with a decent interface.

Some issues might be 3D blu-ray images and HD audio though.
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post #5 of 16 Old 09-12-2012, 10:33 AM
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The WD Live-SMP ($90) does Netflix streaming and a whole bunch of other Internet streaming services -- I don't use any of them so I can't comment on that. The only media I stream are ripped DVD.iso and BluRay titles, BD.m2ts, and HDTV captures. They all play perfectly from 480i to 1080p. The Live-SMP plays MKV but just about every player will have a problem with a random MKV file -- that's just the way it is with MKV. The number of streams you can play simultaneously depends on your network speed and how fast your PC can output the data, not the players. Using the WD Live on your wired network, you don't need any serving software on the PC, you just use shared folders (Windows Shares). Two noted "deficiencies" of the Live-SMP are: support for bitstreaming TrueHD and DTS but not DTS-HD; no support for BD menus. If those are important to you, you have to pay a lot more.

Although my primary media servers are NAS units, I do have a media-PC that both serves media and has DVR software on it for recording HDTV. Recording takes little PC resources, playback from the PC takes considerable horsepower. As long as you are just using it to record, it won't get in the way of also serving media. You didn't say what your HDTV source is -- OTA or cable/FIOS. If you have cable/FIOS you will need to get a cable card tuner for the PC and will have to run Windows Media Center as the DVR app. (because of the DRM requirement). WMC files cannot be played directly by the WD Live-SMP (I don't know of any media player that can play them) and would have to be converted (which is only possible if they are not copy-protected). If you have OTA then you can buy an ATSC tuner card and have a wider choice of DVR software that makes WD Live-SMP compatible files that can be played directly. I use NextPVR (open source) with a Silicon Dust HD Homerun network tuner (dual tuner). The 7 day guide data costs $25/yr (Schedules Direct). This combination produces .ts files which can be played directly by my Live-SMP -AND- I can play them while they are still recording. Unfortunately, the Live-SMP doesn't have a 30 sec skip button so you have to use the FF to run through commercials -- it works, it's just not as convenient as the skip button on a DVR.

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post #6 of 16 Old 09-12-2012, 12:42 PM
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Kelson, a little off-topic, but what players are you using at this point?
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post #7 of 16 Old 09-12-2012, 04:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Irishdoom View Post

Kelson, a little off-topic, but what players are you using at this point?
I have a Live+ and a Live-SMP for the main TV's. My daughter only streams DVD.iso (mostly TV shows) so she has the FAT+ in her room. When the new WD Live comes out, I'll give her the Live+ and permanently retire the FAT+.

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post #8 of 16 Old 09-12-2012, 11:40 PM
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If you want a media player that can play Netflix, Hulu, Vudu, Amazon etc your options are limited. At the top of the list is Boxee Box, which doesn't play HD sound (if you care about this). Second would be the WDTV2 or HUB, which also doesn't play HD sound. After that your 3rd option would be to build an HTPC.

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post #9 of 16 Old 09-13-2012, 12:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GusGus748s View Post

If you want a media player that can play Netflix, Hulu, Vudu, Amazon etc your options are limited. At the top of the list is Boxee Box, which doesn't play HD sound (if you care about this). Second would be the WDTV2 or HUB, which also doesn't play HD sound. After that your 3rd option would be to build an HTPC.

I thought it does multi channel PCM a la ps3 style
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post #10 of 16 Old 09-13-2012, 07:24 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks guys just a couple more questions.
Quote:
When the new WD Live comes out

When is this coming out? I am assuming its supposed to have even more features? Just wondering if I should shelf this project and make them all the new version when it comes out?

As far as the program recording I am on cable but I don't have any thoughts on tuner cards or capturing just yet. I really just tossed that idea on right as I was writing up what I would like ot get to. It would be so nice to have 3 streamers that could grab everything from netflix for my wife to movies for me and the kids to my programs I can then watch in any room.
Quote:
I use NextPVR (open source) with a Silicon Dust HD Homerun network tuner (dual tuner). The 7 day guide data costs $25/yr (Schedules Direct). This combination produces .ts files which can be played directly by my Live-SMP -AND- I can play them while they are still recording. Unfortunately, the Live-SMP doesn't have a 30 sec skip button so you have to use the FF to run through commercials -- it works, it's just not as convenient as the skip button on a DVR.

Thanks. my current home DVR has no skip button anyway and I have to do FFing just to get around anyway so this wouldn't be any difference for me at all. I'll look into this as a BIG possibiliy. I like the idea of being able to watch as recording if I wanted to. One question on this setup. Is there any options to setup the scheduling via your phone/tablet over WIFI or directly over the WD Live? I am just trying to think of conveneince of going back to my computer each time I want to set something, but I guess If the answer is no then I could use my tablet to RDP into my computer to set the stuff up that way.
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post #11 of 16 Old 09-13-2012, 09:50 AM
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Originally Posted by StumpedOnHD View Post

Thanks guys just a couple more questions.
When is this coming out? I am assuming its supposed to have even more features? Just wondering if I should shelf this project and make them all the new version when it comes out?
No idea when the new model will come out, but WD has been very successful in this space and released a new model every couple years so one is coming due. If it has more features they will most likely be new/more Internet service options to catch up with Roku -- there's virtually no chance of support for DTS-HD or BD menus. In your case, I would not wait. New units always have bugs to start. The Live-SMP has just had its 10th firmware update and is very stable, although the latest FW update seems to have caused some Netflix issues. It will probably get fixed soon; they have been good with support.
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As far as the program recording I am on cable . . . I'll look into this as a BIG possibiliy. I like the idea of being able to watch as recording if I wanted to.
Forget it, you are on cable. Read what I said in my post about cable-card tuners, needing to use WMC and its Live-SMP incompatible file formats. Stick with your DVR.

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post #12 of 16 Old 09-13-2012, 11:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zoro View Post

I thought it does multi channel PCM a la ps3 style


This is what the WDTV2 supports:

MP3, WAV/PCM/LPCM, WMA, AAC, FLAC, MKA, AIF/AIFF, OGG, Dolby Digital, DTS

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post #13 of 16 Old 09-13-2012, 12:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kelson View Post

No idea when the new model will come out, but WD has been very successful in this space and released a new model every couple years so one is coming due. If it has more features they will most likely be new/more Internet service options to catch up with Roku -- there's virtually no chance of support for DTS-HD or BD menus.

Is the reason for no BR menus/HD audio due to DRM issues, or hardware capability in the ~$100USD price range?
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post #14 of 16 Old 09-13-2012, 03:23 PM
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Originally Posted by grambo View Post

Is the reason for no BR menus/HD audio due to DRM issues, or hardware capability in the ~$100USD price range?
All I can say is that WD has maintained that DTS license restrictions say they won't license DTS-HD to a device that does not play BD disks. I have read other writings that would indicate that is indeed true. But it begs the question as to why are other players (usually more expensive) doing DTS-HD bitstreaming. If I had to guess I would say it is a matter of money. The same goes for BD menu support -- that is the purview of much higher priced players and has not worked its way down to the $100 crowd. Probably expensive to implement and we are talking about a $90 player.

But seriously, if the WD ever did support BD menus and DTS-HD at the $100 price point, it would blow everything else away -- especially considering you can go into any number of retail stores and see it on the shelf next to the Roku and ATV boxes.

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post #15 of 16 Old 09-17-2012, 01:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kelson View Post

All I can say is that WD has maintained that DTS license restrictions say they won't license DTS-HD to a device that does not play BD disks. I have read other writings that would indicate that is indeed true. But it begs the question as to why are other players (usually more expensive) doing DTS-HD bitstreaming. If I had to guess I would say it is a matter of money. The same goes for BD menu support -- that is the purview of much higher priced players and has not worked its way down to the $100 crowd. Probably expensive to implement and we are talking about a $90 player.
But seriously, if the WD ever did support BD menus and DTS-HD at the $100 price point, it would blow everything else away -- especially considering you can go into any number of retail stores and see it on the shelf next to the Roku and ATV boxes.

Yeah, it has a to be a licensing related issue, and maybe something to do with jurisdiction of WD. Of course the content companies will fight against anything that they view as enabling piracy. Funny thing is many people (myself included) would rather just buy a copy of the Blu-ray image to download directly to their media server. The movie studios would be able to produce and distribute an image directly for WAY less than manufacturing/shipping/stocking a disc and still charge me $10-15 for it and make a nice profit.
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post #16 of 16 Old 09-20-2012, 10:12 PM
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Sony N100 roughly $39;)
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