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)
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