Help with home media network setup - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 14 Old 04-08-2013, 01:41 AM - Thread Starter
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Hey guys!

So i am planning to upgrade my current setup to a brand new one that is networked.

At the moment:
TV (Connected to)
Asus RT-N13u - average signal around house
Bluray Player
Roku XD

I switch all hdmi plugs to the projector when i want to view on the projector.
I have been using the bluray player to play my movies. A lot are unable to play due to the lack of support on audio/video formats. I also have to move movies onto a external hdd from pc and then plug into the bluray drive (annoying!!). The roku xd is connected wirelessly and buffers every now and then.

Plans:
TV and Projector (Connected to via hdmi splitter)
HDMI splittler
Asus RT-AC66u or Netgear D6300 (Cant decide. HELP!)
Bluray player (only for bluray needs)
Roku 3 (wireless on 5ghz or powerline wired)
NETWORKED Media player (HELP WHICH ONE!!)


So those are my purchase plans. I am leaning towards the Asus at the moment due to its rave reviews. I want everything to be connected to that. Family laptop will be connected wirelessly and my computer (with movies) will be wired to router via powerline. I cant decide which mediaplayer is best for my needs. I like to play full hd videos as well as mkv 3d videos. I have lots of movies rips on my computer which i would love to move onto the mediaplayer or somewhere where the mediaplayer can automatically play (if that makes sense).

I want something/hdd that all computers can access. This will have movies as well as files i can share with devices connected on the network (wireless or wired).

At this stage i am thinking of the WDTV LIVE HUB. I can transfer all my movies to the 1tb hdd and transfer more rips as i get them. The problem here is that i have heard the transfer speeds are really average and the interface is quite bad too.

Help me make some decisions? Please?
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post #2 of 14 Old 04-09-2013, 09:33 AM
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I have the WDTV hub and the interface is simple enough for my 6 year old to use it. It is just basic, but you only use for a few seconds it to select what you want to watch, so it doesn't really bother me. If you want fully customizable, then you'd have to build a htpc and install xbmc. The WDTV will go out and find box art for whatever files you put on there (as long as the filenames aren't too crazy). I find navigating the menus to be slow and a little laggy (probably from a slow processor), but it plays 1080p video in any format just fine.

Your setup should be fine, but don't expect much streaming performance out of wireless or powerline. Some people on here can stream wirelessly and powerline, and others have had problems. If you search on here you will find out what I mean. If you want 1080p video for streaming, once you get up to a certain bitrate (that threshold will vary depending on your signal strength, etc.) then it will get laggy. With an average wireless signal, up to 720p will work. Powerline has it's own set of problems and again, it works for some people and others it doesnt. For trouble free streaming, wired ethernet is the only way to go.

As far as accessing the network, the WDTV will be able to access any shared files on the network, and the hub hard drive is shared on the network so you can push files to it from another pc.

What you are doing right though is getting the hub so you can transfer your files to the box before you watch it. If you are staying wireless or powerline, get the hub, or at least get a streamer with usb so you can use a flash drive.

For your wireless router, get one that is compatible with DD-WRT.
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post #3 of 14 Old 04-09-2013, 12:52 PM - Thread Starter
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Hey!

Thanks for your reply smile.gif I am new to this and your help is very much appreciated.

I have decided on the following setup:

Router: RT-AC66U
Streamer (XBMC): Intel NUC 120Gb msata 4gb ram
NAS: Synology Diskstation DS112j (4TB)

So i know the streamer is a bit over kill but i will probably end up using the internet on it every now and then. So basically i have decided to wire the streamer to the router which will be connected to the NAS.

1) This will easily let me achieve 1080p streaming from the nas to the NUC right?
2) Is setting up a nas easy for xbmc?
3) What are speeds like from transferring files to the nas over ethernet? Like from a pc?
4) How will i be able to access the nas from my pc? xbmc? laptop?
5) Can i access the nas files on a mobile phone? So i can just view the media without actually transferring it onto the phone?

Thanks for your help!

smile.gif
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post #4 of 14 Old 04-10-2013, 05:37 AM
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If it is wired, it will be fine at any bitrate. If it is connected wirelessly, you would need to transfer your file to your streamer's hard drive before you watch it, because 1080p at higher bitrates is too much for most wireless networks. Lower bitrates would probably stream fine, you'd have to try it for yourself to see what the threshold is because there is too many variables when you go wireless.

Setting up the NAS should be easy with xbmc, you would probably just point xbmc to the ip for your nas and it should then see the files.

If you are going over regular ethernet you should get (up to) 100 Mbps or if you are set up for gigabit ethernet, you should get 1000Mbps, it would be the same as transferring any other files over your network. You would probably want to enable qos in the router and have it prioritize video packets over other internet traffic.

Accessing the NAS is the same as any other network share, from a pc you would just point explorer to the ip address. From xbmc, you just give the ip of the nas and you will see your content.

From a phone, yes there are apps where you can do that. You would need an app that does SMB sharing, that would let you browse the files shared on the network. Then you would need a player on your phone that supported the files, like mkv or iso. You might be able to get vlc media player on your phone. From there you should just click on your file and it should stream to your phone.
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post #5 of 14 Old 04-10-2013, 10:41 AM
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I would echo the comments here regarding 1080p steaming speed. Hardwired is the best way to go if you can. XBMC Frodo is very nice now. There have been many subtle UI improvements particularly in the area of point to a NAS. Regarding the NAS if you want to stream 1080p or bluray you need to have a relatively fast NAS otherwise it can cause stuttering. XBMC also now plays bluray rips natively which is also nice. In fact I moved away from Media Center with Arcsoft TMT 3 to XBMC due to its simplicity now. Again Frodo 12.1 is what you want. XBMC is also fairly light weight in that its memory footprint isnt big so 4gb will be more than enough.

Regarding the router Id like to shed some light on your decision. While Asus is an excellent manufacturer they are not a networking company. In fact many companies today have jumped in the networking space such as WD, Vizio, Belkin and many others. Why? Well in today's world you can just go to an ODM (contract manufacturer) and order what you want. They design and build it for you. That is why you see all these new networking brands.

Netgear on the other hand is a networking company and designs their own networking products. The r6300 was the first AC router to hit the market and when it launched it launched with a new form factor and a superb UI design. This is the basis of all new Netgear products. In addition to the product there is an ecosystem of utilities and support around these products that is unique. As a 1st hand experience the r6300 is a superb product. Now let me qualify this and tell you I consult with Netgear to help support the AV marketplace. In particular AVS forum. As such I get review samples that I test and use. Now my agreement with Netgear is I only suggest products that I have 1st hand experience and would happily use myself. I am an AV/computer geek and suggest only those products I would buy myself. The r6300 is most definitely one of those products.

I wrote a review of the r6300 here. http://www.avsforum.com/t/1411661/netgear-r6300-r6100-gigabit-802-11ac-wireless-routers-thread

Back to xbmc. With the r6300 and the Netgear usb AC adapter on your Intel htpc you would have adequate wireless bandwidth to do 1080p streaming. AC standard has the capacity of 1.3ghz although the current usb adapter only supports up to 900mbs. But again that is fast enough so not a concern. But that said if you can run a wire then that would be best.

Rethink the r6300. It is a great product with a great set of usable features. I think you will be very happy with the r6300

Bob Silver
Netgear AV Consultant
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post #6 of 14 Old 04-10-2013, 11:15 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for your reply!

So i have decided to go with the Netgear R6300 as it seems to be a great router too and you have vouched for it.

I have ordered everything now and am hoping to get them in next week. I will be renaming my media files in the next week while I wait. I have a couple more questions if you don't mind tongue.gif

1) I ofter take some movie rips to my friends house on an external hdd every now and then. So is it alright to just keep 1 copy of all my rips on the nas? I am asking this because I am wondering what kind of transfer speeds i can expect from the nas back to the pc in which an external hdd would be plugged in. (HOPE THAT MAKES SENSE)

2) So I have read that it is better to scrape movie info first and then load them onto xbmc? This way if anything goes wrong with xbmc, i wouldn't have to scrape again. Is there a guide i could use to do this? I don't know any good scrapers or what settings to use so xbmc doesn't scrape movie info automatically. Here is how i plan to work with my rips. I will firstly get the rips, then scrape using a windows scraper(i guess), and then transfer onto the nas for xbmc? Is that the correct process?

3) How can i setup xbmc to have 3 categories in the front (where you choose movies, tv shows etc..) I want one called Movies which is already there. I want to use this for hollywood movies. Then i want a new menu called 3D for my 3d rips and lastly i want one called bollywood movies, for my bollywood rips. Can i do this? So 3 different menus/categories, each with different sources?

Thanks for all your help you have given me already, these are my last questions :P

Cheers!
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post #7 of 14 Old 04-11-2013, 08:33 AM
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Glad too see my comments helped on the router. Let me know your thoughts when you get it.

Regarding rips, XBMC etc.

When you copy from a NAS to an external drive you not delete the content from the NAS. You are copying not moving. Moving would delete it.

XBMC categories such as movies etc can be created. So you can create Hollywood movies, 3D Movies etc but this will be in file mode not library mode. Library mode is the prettier way but less flexible. When you play with XBMC you will quickly learn the difference You should prepare yourself for some time to immerse yourself in XBMC. It will take some getting used to. Let me suggest you check out Plex too. It is an XBMC cousin but is set up in a client server model. All the meta data is stored at the server and the client just reads from there. As meta data goes Plex is better. But XBMC is by far the better playback program as it plays blurays, dvd rips etc. Plex will not. It plays straight video files such as mp4, avi.

Given the Plex XBMC scenario you will need to learn how to rip movies and then convert to different formats. Check out AnyDVD for ripping and Handbrake for converting. Again XBMC will play a ripped dvd in file or ISO formats. Plex requires they be converted. But once converted it is a much easier way to go. I use both as they have pros and cons. You can set up both on your htpc.

Some other thoughts for you to consider are what OS will you put on the HTPC? This has to do with the remote function on XBMC and other aspects. Windows 7 is easiest. Linux is cheapest.

You are embarking on a journey here. It will take some time to get familiar with the various pieces of SW to make this all work the way you want. But in the end you will have a very powerful and pleasant media experience.

For resources check out the XBMC wiki and forums. Also the same for Plex.

And lastly if you want a portable experience like on an ipad or android tablet Plex is the way to go for that.

Bob Silver
Netgear AV Consultant
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post #8 of 14 Old 04-11-2013, 01:39 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks again for your reply smile.gif

I know copying to an external does not delete from the nas. I was just wondering what the trasfer speeds are like over wired ether net from the nas.

So like nas connected to the router > router connected to > pc (wired) > pc connected to external hdd

So when i want to copy some movies from the nas to the external hdd in the above manner, can i expect descent speeds?

I want to stick with xbmc and don't really want to try plex. I have been playing around with xbmc and found out a way to seperate my movies on the front menu (smart playlists).

As for access from smartphones and other devices, i plan to just download a file browser app which will be able to view contents of the nas.

I plan to just install windows 7 with xbmc over it.

I have started to scrape my media using media companion. This way, if my xbmc stuffs up for some reason, i wouldnt have to rescrape.
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post #9 of 14 Old 04-11-2013, 03:27 PM
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Ok misunderstood the file copy. Speed from a NAS on copy from is pretty fast. Not as fast as a USB drive to your computer but acceptable. Particularly with the gig speed network connection.

Regarding the media scraping you can back up the xbmc database so if there were a crash you could back it up. Plus it is pretty fast. My database is about 300 movies and it can get data in about 10 minutes. So it hasn't been a problem for me. And it has never crashed where I lost my data either. But a backup is always best for piece of mind. If you check the xbmc forum you will see how to ack up. Plus there is an add on to do it easily.

One thing on the NAS. Are you buying a 2 or 4 drive NAS. If you use a mirrored 2 drive NAS write speeds to it will be better then with a 4 drive. FYI.

Bob
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post #10 of 14 Old 04-12-2013, 12:46 AM - Thread Starter
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Hi

I have purchased a 2bay synology with 2x 3tb harddrives. I plan to run these in raid 0 for maximum space. I am planning to just plug in an external hdd to the actual nas for the inital transfer of all my files.

- Just wondering, will the nas show up as a shared drive in my computer on all the laptops and pcs? That is what i am really hoping for, just for the sake of easy access.
- I have also used media companion and started my scraping. This way, i can pre scrape and then transfer to the nas. Media companion also lets me edit incorrect scrapes really easily. I think i will continue using it.
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post #11 of 14 Old 04-12-2013, 09:06 AM
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If you want to add the NAS as a drive you will need to add it under Windows by choosing to connect network drive at login. That way it will have a drive letter.

I think what you to configure the NAS as is JBOD. That gives you one big volume. But if 1 drive fails you lose everything so be prepared.

Bob
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post #12 of 14 Old 04-13-2013, 09:46 PM
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Also looking for suggestions for reliable, high-quality local media playback. I have a Netgear 550 and a Micca EP600 G2. They both work fine for WAV (music) and DVD playback. Both have sporadic dropouts on BluRay audio. This is over a wired network - the Netgear 550 is connected to a 100Mbps wired switch and the Micca to a gigabit wired switch. The Netgear freezes in the middle of playing DTS CDs. So my playback needs include CD Audio (WAV) and DTS CD; DVD (with all audio formats); BluRay (with all audio formats including 7.1) - I bitstream via HDMI to processors in each listening area.

I'm thinking both of these units are somewhat flakey - the BD dropouts do not occur any more or less frequently whether I'm streaming HD content to both simultaneously versus just one - so it doesn't seem to be a network bandwidth issue.

My media server is WHS 2011 on an HP Micro Server with a gigabit wired connection.

Wyatt
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post #13 of 14 Old 04-14-2013, 05:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wyliec2 View Post

Also looking for suggestions for reliable, high-quality local media playback. I have a Netgear 550 and a Micca EP600 G2. They both work fine for WAV (music) and DVD playback. Both have sporadic dropouts on BluRay audio. This is over a wired network - the Netgear 550 is connected to a 100Mbps wired switch and the Micca to a gigabit wired switch. The Netgear freezes in the middle of playing DTS CDs. So my playback needs include CD Audio (WAV) and DTS CD; DVD (with all audio formats); BluRay (with all audio formats including 7.1) - I bitstream via HDMI to processors in each listening area.

I'm thinking both of these units are somewhat flakey - the BD dropouts do not occur any more or less frequently whether I'm streaming HD content to both simultaneously versus just one - so it doesn't seem to be a network bandwidth issue.

My media server is WHS 2011 on an HP Micro Server with a gigabit wired connection.

I know of many 550 and Micca owners who stream BD and DVD ripped movies without issue. What file format are you using?

Media Server: UnRaid Server: 15TB of storage and growing :).

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

 

Home Theater Set Up:

http://www.avsforum.com/lists/display/view/id/8597

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post #14 of 14 Old 04-14-2013, 08:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GusGus748s View Post

I know of many 550 and Micca owners who stream BD and DVD ripped movies without issue. What file format are you using?

Saving them as iso using AnyDVDHD. Probably a better description of the BD issue is the audio drops out for a few seconds - this is with HD audio formats DTS-HD, Dolby TrueHD. I have never had an issue with a standard DVD. I enabled Ethernet flow control which seemed to help the Netgear with BD playback (there's talk of problems when it runs on a gigabit network). It didn't totally eliminate the problem though.

The Netgear locks up on DTS CD (a niche format) same place each time. - the Micca plays the DTS CDs OK with the limited testing I've done.

Wyatt
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