Home Media set-up needs work - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 9 Old 05-01-2013, 06:42 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi All,

First post here so thanks in advance for reading.

I'm trying to set-up a home media network using a combination of old and new components. I've attached a diagram of the gear I've got that applies to this situation and I have a few more items that could be thrown into the fray:

Windows 7 desktop
old Vista laptop (dead monitor)
iPad
QNAP TS-119P II NAS with Seagate 2T drive (plugs into router)
spare Seagate Backup Plus 3T (not in use but available)
Apple TV 3
Sony Blu-Ray BPD-S3100
wireless router/modem with 1 ethernet port
older Netgear RP614V2 wired router (not in use but could be used as a switch)
very older XP laptop, no screen, just wiped when replaced by desktop (could be media server)

This all came about because my wife's Vista computer's HD is getting full of downloaded itunes movies. The screen also croaked so storage seemed a good way to offload the media. When the computer is plugged directly into the TV, the movies play normally -- including the special features shown as menu items. When using the Apple TV3, all you get is the feature presentation off the cloud. No director's comments or Making of ... extras. Vids are in mpeg-4 DRM so they don't play well with others. I understand why people are desperately trying to jailbreak the ATV3. Since my wife comes from the Mac family and I'm PC-schooled, we are kind of like the kids in a messy divorce.

Based on advise at a major electronics retailer, I got the 3T drive and the Blu-Ray as media player to load and stream movies. Turns out neither would work for their intended use. Not a lot of money and I'll use them for something so not a deal killer. Then I got the NAS but it has the same problems as every other non-Apple device even after you strip the protection and make them MP4s. That also seems to strip the special features as separate videos and buries them in a file. I haven't tried other formats They seem to be the only game in town for movies with special features but you can only play those on Mac OS devices. The NAS seems to be working well in the network. All the network devices can see it and it sees them through a multimedia network link off the Windows 7 machine.

I think what I need is the big red question mark on the diagram. You won't hurt my feelings if this is totally wrong. I've looked at Xios, Boxee, WDTV, an HTPC and I don't know how many other gizmos trying to bridge the gap. All have pluses but all seem to have problems with itunes-bought media, quality/performance issues or painful learning curves. If there is a device that fits the gap, I'd love to hear more.

Largely unrelated to all this is the possibility of a DVR. The cable company offers one but it hasn't been an issue up to now. If one of the HTPCs includes that feature, so much the better. I won't say money isn't an issue but this doesn't have to be done on the cheap. I'd rather get something that will keep working than save a few bucks up front.

Again, thanks for reading and I hope to hear your thoughts, sh
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post #2 of 9 Old 05-03-2013, 10:13 AM
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If you are dead set on having the DVD menus and extras, then I believe your only choice is to build (or buy) a HTPC and install XBMC which does do DVD menus. Other HTPC software will also do the menus. If you put a capture card in the HTPC then it can function as your DVR.
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post #3 of 9 Old 05-03-2013, 11:59 AM
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Hmmm.....if it's going to be an all Apple/iTunes type content, then here's what I'd do, based on hardware you already have.

Store all your content on the NAS (centrally located) and use either Vista or XP laptop to run iTunes (always on), map a drive on the laptop to the NAS and point/move your iTunes library to the mapped drive.; in this setup, your Apple TV can access all the iTunes content that is stored on the NAS. Make sure the laptop is also connected to either the router directly or through a switch connected directly to the router. This will allow you to stream content to the TV via AppleTV, the iPad via WiFi, and other computers throughout your home via iTunes. The Sony Blu-Ray will not work in this situation to stream movies from iTunes. Most 3rd Party Media Servers (XBMC, Plex, etc) will have a hard time with iTunes purchased content (as it's more then likely copy protected).
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post #4 of 9 Old 05-03-2013, 02:45 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks guys,

The project is evolving. I've attached the set-up as I see it in my head right now. I've decided I don't want to take on the world's largest company by myself. Since they will make it hard on people who don't watch their movies on their machines, I'm thinking of using a Mac Mini as the media center. They can be had second-hand for a couple hundred bucks and then I don't have to worry about all the codex BS. The can also handle other streaming formats and a bluetooth QWERTY remote. The switch shown on the diagram will be a gigabit with 6 or 8 ports. The older ones have optical drives but not HDMI. Quality adapters to go from the mini-DVI to HDMI are about the cost difference between the six year old ones and the three year old ones so I'll probably be looking for a 2010 or 2011 model.

Cheers and enjoy the weekend, sh
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post #5 of 9 Old 05-03-2013, 02:49 PM - Thread Starter
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forgot this

media by room.jpg 72k .jpg file
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post #6 of 9 Old 05-09-2013, 07:03 PM - Thread Starter
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Back again,

I've put a lot of surfing into the project and have tightened-up the parameters. It now seems the best way to go is with an HTPC. When I was outlining the basic project, my wife said she would like to do some light gaming beyond the capacity of her iPad. I checked the recommended system for the game and it is what you would have found on an entry-level PC six years ago. Still, an iPad isn't a computer.

Here is what I'm hovering over.

i3 or i5 chip or the AMD equivalent
case size: not huge but size and motif aren't important
capable power supply and cooling
SSD boot drive (I've got 5T on a NAS and external drive)
ordinary mobo with usual ports: USB 3.0, 2.0, HDMI, audio, ethernet, etc
4 Gb RAM probably 2X2
optical drive: nice but not necessary because I have a Sony BDP-S3100 right next to it
operating system: probably Windows 7 but it only has to run itunes, XBMC, plex and operating programs
wireless card for remote keyboard/trackpad
capture card for PVR
Video card for game?

Here are the game system recommendations:

Recommended system configuration for running EVE Online:
OS: Windows® XP Service Pack 2 / Vista / 7
CPU: Intel Pentium® or AMD dual core @ 2 Ghz or greater which supports SSE2
RAM: 2 GB
HD space: 20Gb Free Space
Network: ADSL connection or faster
Video: ATi Radeon 5750 or NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460
Drivers: DirectX® 9.0c (included) and latest video drivers
DVD-ROM : 2 speed DVD reader or greater required.
The minimum screen resolution for EVE is 1024x768. Audio hardware must support SSE and be Direct Sound compatible. For optimum performance, use latest drivers available.
Please note that Windows 95, 98, ME, NT and 2000 are not supported.


If the HDTV will be the monitor I don't know if the video card requirements would increase.

Thanks again for looking. I appreciate it, sh
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post #7 of 9 Old 05-14-2013, 05:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by luthierwnc View Post

Back again,

I've put a lot of surfing into the project and have tightened-up the parameters. It now seems the best way to go is with an HTPC. When I was outlining the basic project, my wife said she would like to do some light gaming beyond the capacity of her iPad. I checked the recommended system for the game and it is what you would have found on an entry-level PC six years ago. Still, an iPad isn't a computer.

Here is what I'm hovering over.

i3 or i5 chip or the AMD equivalent
case size: not huge but size and motif aren't important
capable power supply and cooling
SSD boot drive (I've got 5T on a NAS and external drive)
ordinary mobo with usual ports: USB 3.0, 2.0, HDMI, audio, ethernet, etc
4 Gb RAM probably 2X2
optical drive: nice but not necessary because I have a Sony BDP-S3100 right next to it
operating system: probably Windows 7 but it only has to run itunes, XBMC, plex and operating programs
wireless card for remote keyboard/trackpad
capture card for PVR
Video card for game?

Here are the game system recommendations:

Recommended system configuration for running EVE Online:
OS: Windows® XP Service Pack 2 / Vista / 7
CPU: Intel Pentium® or AMD dual core @ 2 Ghz or greater which supports SSE2
RAM: 2 GB
HD space: 20Gb Free Space
Network: ADSL connection or faster
Video: ATi Radeon 5750 or NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460
Drivers: DirectX® 9.0c (included) and latest video drivers
DVD-ROM : 2 speed DVD reader or greater required.
The minimum screen resolution for EVE is 1024x768. Audio hardware must support SSE and be Direct Sound compatible. For optimum performance, use latest drivers available.
Please note that Windows 95, 98, ME, NT and 2000 are not supported.


If the HDTV will be the monitor I don't know if the video card requirements would increase.

Thanks again for looking. I appreciate it, sh

If going this route, I'd recommend the Core i5 over the i3, as the HTPC will serve a dual role; streaming iTunes content to network devices, playing games, running Plex (server/client) and transcoding video. I'd also recommend going with at least 8GB RAM (RAM is cheap so get it now). For the SSD, figure at least 60GB, as the OS will take up about 23GB leaving the extra for updates and any additional software you'll install; get a 128GB unit if it fits in the budget.
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post #8 of 9 Old 05-14-2013, 06:58 PM
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Actually, in this situation it's not likely to matter because you will not be simultaneously transcoding, but the i3 (or i7) are ultimately better processors for transcoding, which leverages hyper threading. Also 4GB of memory is sufficient, the extra cost isn't worth it if it isn't needed.

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post #9 of 9 Old 05-15-2013, 05:39 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks all,

I actually picked up a unit on eBay last night that seems to do it all -- as well as some things I hadn't even been considering. Thanks for all your help and good luck with your gear! sh

Gigabyte Z68 Motherboard
600W PSU
Intel i5 2500K (quad core and over-clockable)
OCZ 60GB SSD for the OS
WD 1TB spinner for data and media
BluRay recorder/player
16GB RAM (Corsair)
SilverStone GD05B (Black) media case (about the size and look of a stereo receiver)
Rosewill RRC-126 media center remote
Logitech K400 wireless keyboard with trackpad
Rosewill PCIe WiFi
HIS H557HO1G Radeon HD 5570 1GB 128-bit DDR3 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready Low Profile Ready Video Card
Ceton InfiniTV 4 (PCIe)
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