Stream Netflix/Hulu/Amazon AND movies stored on network drive - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 16 Old 07-09-2013, 11:30 AM - Thread Starter
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I am about to add a fourth TV to my household and I am hoping someone can give me a solution to my streaming woes. I would like something that can stream Netflix/Hulu/Amazon and the 2 TBs of movies I have on a network drive. So far, I have had to give up something from this list or use multiple devices.

WD TV Live - This is probably the closest to what I am looking for. It streams Netflix, Hulu, and my movies, but does not have Amazon. Additionally, the user interface not the best and it tends to run slow.

Apple TV - I love everything that Apple TV does. It has a great interface and there is nearly no delays. However, Apple TV cannot access Amazon or my networked movies.

Roku - I have been looking at the Roku 3, but it seems to be lacking in the ability to stream my movies.

I believe it is possible to get the Apple TV and Roku to stream my network devices, but it requires some type of media server. I really don't want to have my computer running all the time so that I can occassionally stream a movie.

I am guessing the only all encompassing solution is some type of media server. If this is the case, is there a cheap one I can build, or will a cheap one lag and just frustrate me more?
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post #2 of 16 Old 07-09-2013, 12:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tesal View Post

I am about to add a fourth TV to my household and I am hoping someone can give me a solution to my streaming woes. I would like something that can stream Netflix/Hulu/Amazon and the 2 TBs of movies I have on a network drive. So far, I have had to give up something from this list or use multiple devices.

WD TV Live - This is probably the closest to what I am looking for. It streams Netflix, Hulu, and my movies, but does not have Amazon. Additionally, the user interface not the best and it tends to run slow.

Apple TV - I love everything that Apple TV does. It has a great interface and there is nearly no delays. However, Apple TV cannot access Amazon or my networked movies.

Roku - I have been looking at the Roku 3, but it seems to be lacking in the ability to stream my movies.

I believe it is possible to get the Apple TV and Roku to stream my network devices, but it requires some type of media server. I really don't want to have my computer running all the time so that I can occassionally stream a movie.

I am guessing the only all encompassing solution is some type of media server. If this is the case, is there a cheap one I can build, or will a cheap one lag and just frustrate me more?

As long as your file server can handle the transcoding, the Roku 3 with the plex client works very well for this.

Looky here!
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post #3 of 16 Old 07-09-2013, 12:13 PM - Thread Starter
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Any recommendations for a file server?
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post #4 of 16 Old 07-09-2013, 02:04 PM
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I use Plex Media Server with the Plex client on a Roku 3 and Roku 2 XD as well as the Plex Home Theater on my HTPC. Great solution. As far as the physical server goes... what are you using now? Plex can run on compatible NAS devices instead of a full blown server but most of them won't support transcoding. So your media would need to be encoded to direct play on the Roku.

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post #5 of 16 Old 07-09-2013, 02:36 PM - Thread Starter
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Currently, I have no media server. My WD TV can read the movies I have directly from my WD MyBook. Based, on this article:
http://forums.plexapp.com/index.php/topic/66031-wd-my-book-live-plex-without-a-running-pc-for-remote-access-possible/

It doesn't seem like it is possible for me to use the MyBook as a server. I built a HTPC several years ago, but didn't think I was getting enough value from it so I sold it. I am pretty happy just streaming my movies from my harddrive, so if I built an HTPC I would want something cheap.

How advanced is the HTPC you built? Are you just using it as a server for Plex or are you using it for other purposes?
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post #6 of 16 Old 07-09-2013, 03:32 PM
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If you don't care about a fancy interface for your stored movies, a Blueray player can do everything you've specified. I have a Sony BDP which has Amazon, Hulu, Netflix and a bunch of other services. It will also read drives from the network. It is a simple folder browsing interface however. I use a Dune with yaDIS as a jukebox interface for my NAS movies, but I use the BDP for Netflix and Amazon.

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post #7 of 16 Old 07-09-2013, 04:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tesal View Post

Currently, I have no media server. My WD TV can read the movies I have directly from my WD MyBook. Based, on this article:
http://forums.plexapp.com/index.php/topic/66031-wd-my-book-live-plex-without-a-running-pc-for-remote-access-possible/

It doesn't seem like it is possible for me to use the MyBook as a server. I built a HTPC several years ago, but didn't think I was getting enough value from it so I sold it. I am pretty happy just streaming my movies from my harddrive, so if I built an HTPC I would want something cheap.

How advanced is the HTPC you built? Are you just using it as a server for Plex or are you using it for other purposes?

I use my media server for quite a bit. It's a Intel i5 3570k w/16GB of RAM and 10TB+ of storage. It's my Plex Media Server, my backup server, a VM host, primary DVR and encoding machine. I built an HTPC for the main TV room out of spare parts. AMD A6 machine with 4GB or RAM and a 60GB SSD. I agree though if you're only trying to stream movies... a media server + another HTPC is a little ridiculous. You can definitely get it done on the cheap but it doesn't seem like you're interested in going through all that. I don't know what format your videos are in now but if you were willing to re-encode them all a Roku + NAS/Plex solution would probably be ideal for you. Another great thing about Plex is that they have great documentation and a great community. Here is a nice writeup about running Plex on a NAS. http://wiki.plexapp.com/index.php/FAQ:_Plex_Media_Server_and_NAS At the bottom of the article is a link to a community driven NAS device list with peoples success. With the devices that offer trascoding support you wouldn't need to re-encode the entire library to work with the Roku. However there are still some codecs that don't work well with transcoding on the fly. Like some MKV/VC-1 files.
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Originally Posted by pstrisik View Post

If you don't care about a fancy interface for your stored movies, a Blueray player can do everything you've specified. I have a Sony BDP which has Amazon, Hulu, Netflix and a bunch of other services. It will also read drives from the network. It is a simple folder browsing interface however. I use a Dune with yaDIS as a jukebox interface for my NAS movies, but I use the BDP for Netflix and Amazon.

With the Blu-ray player option you run into the same issue as the Roku in that it most likely only supports 1 or 2 formats/codecs. So you'd most likely need to re-encode your entire library. Most of the Blu-ray players I've use are pretty painful to use as a streaming services device. The Roku's really excel in that area.

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post #8 of 16 Old 07-09-2013, 05:11 PM - Thread Starter
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I have almost all my videos in the .mkv file format. I am thinking I will hop over to the HTPC forums and see what I can build for cheap. I believe I still have some parts laying around from my previous PC that is ~3-4 years old. I think it would be fast enough to to host a server and would be cheap since I could recycle parts.

I spent a lot of time and a decent amount of money on my previous HTPC and it ended up not being what I expected, which was a big frustration (entirely my fault). Shortly after I bought a WD TV and it did everything I wanted from my HTPC at the time (stream movies from HD). I have since dropped my cable provider and picked up the online services, which my WD doesn't handle as well as I would like.
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post #9 of 16 Old 07-09-2013, 05:35 PM
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keep in mind that transcoding can take a fair amount of horsepower. Personally I think you are better off with two devices, a media streamer like Roku for online content and a media player like a WD or Popcorn Hour for playing content off your drive or server.
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post #10 of 16 Old 07-09-2013, 07:20 PM
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Originally Posted by primetimeguy View Post

keep in mind that transcoding can take a fair amount of horsepower. Personally I think you are better off with two devices, a media streamer like Roku for online content and a media player like a WD or Popcorn Hour for playing content off your drive or server.

He would still need a way to serve media out to multiple locations... if I'm understanding correctly... he currently only has the one WD player and a WD external drive. If he is going to put 2 devices at 3 additional locations and another Roku on the first location then you're looking at $300 minimum for the secondary devices... which he could almost build a server for.

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post #11 of 16 Old 07-09-2013, 08:03 PM - Thread Starter
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My current setup

Bedroom TV - AppleTV and WD TV
Family room TV - WD TV
Kitchen TV - Apple TV

I am adding a fourth TV to my man cave.

I think if I went the HTPC route then I would need to replace my existing devices with a Roku. I am planning on putting together one from parts I have and I ordered a Roku for my fourth TV. I will see how I like the integration and decide from there.
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post #12 of 16 Old 07-09-2013, 08:19 PM
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Originally Posted by itznfb View Post


He would still need a way to serve media out to multiple locations... if I'm understanding correctly... he currently only has the one WD player and a WD external drive. If he is going to put 2 devices at 3 additional locations and another Roku on the first location then you're looking at $300 minimum for the secondary devices... which he could almost build a server for.

True, but plugging the USB drive into his existing PC and sharing via smb would take care of the "server". 

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post #13 of 16 Old 07-10-2013, 03:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tesal View Post

I have almost all my videos in the .mkv file format. I am thinking I will hop over to the HTPC forums and see what I can build for cheap. I believe I still have some parts laying around from my previous PC that is ~3-4 years old. I think it would be fast enough to to host a server and would be cheap since I could recycle parts.

I spent a lot of time and a decent amount of money on my previous HTPC and it ended up not being what I expected, which was a big frustration (entirely my fault). Shortly after I bought a WD TV and it did everything I wanted from my HTPC at the time (stream movies from HD). I have since dropped my cable provider and picked up the online services, which my WD doesn't handle as well as I would like.

You won't get Hulu+ or Amazon VOD with an HTPC (unless you're ok using keyboard and mouse, and can live with lower quality streams from Amazon, Netlfix and Vudu)

I've been struggling with getting my HTPC to be an all-in-one box, and have decided to go the Samsung BD-player route. That gets me all the internet streaming options, plus the plex app for Samsung for all my server-stored content. The one thing to be aware of, is that the Samsung plex app doesn't support HD-audio, so your MKV's will need to have a AC3/DTS audio stream, or you might be able to convert everything to LPCM (which is what I'm going to try...)
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post #14 of 16 Old 07-11-2013, 01:29 PM
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You may want to look at Apple TV. I understand that Plex has away to install the client on the device now WITHOUT JAILBREAKING. So you get all the apps from Apple as well as Plex.
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post #15 of 16 Old 08-18-2014, 12:38 AM
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Red face Use DNS or VPN

I dont know much about technicalities, but i regularly use DNS for to watch Netflix USA and its working very fine for me . Specially i had a speed issues before DNS but now i can stream properly
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post #16 of 16 Old 08-18-2014, 08:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jcruse View Post
Quote:Originally Posted by Tesal 



I've been struggling with getting my HTPC to be an all-in-one box, and have decided to go the Samsung BD-player route. That gets me all the internet streaming options, plus the plex app for Samsung for all my server-stored content. The one thing to be aware of, is that the Samsung plex app doesn't support HD-audio, so your MKV's will need to have a AC3/DTS audio stream, or you might be able to convert everything to LPCM (which is what I'm going to try...)

Samsung BDPs are actually quite handy for this. I have one set up mostly for playing 3D discs, but it also comes with all the streaming apps anyone could ask for, including Plex and Media Browser. Also, both the Samsung players and televisions are able to play .mkv files natively. If all you want to do is to hook up a drive via USB and play your media that way, you can. It's probably going to be your best bet without resorting to an actual HTPC.
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