3tvs, i desperately want to kill cable --please check this streaming solution & advise? - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 4 Old 08-27-2013, 07:43 AM - Thread Starter
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Hi so just north of Toronto we are dominated by rogers cable, whom no one seems to like. Cable is very expensive, and we want to ditch that and just access online content; either streamed or downloaded.

Right now, i use Netflix a lot or download on the pc, Transfer to the portable hard drive, then hook up hd to blu ray and access files - a bit cumbersome.

We've got three plasmas on three different levels in the house. Two have blu rays hooked up. Ideally, I'd like to be able to access downloaded files on a hd from any tv. I'd like to also websurf on any tv, and be able to stream video from any tv.

There's so many options now I'm getting overwhelmed with so many reviews that my head is spinning. Here's a solution i THINK will work. Please tell me what you think and if you know of another solution please share. This seemsa bit pricey, but we need a tablet and new computer anyway.

So, a really good router is a given. In addition:
- Mac mini on one tv.
- An Apple TV on each plasma.
- a iPad mini for control, access, etc.

Will that do it? Thoughts? Alternatives? Thanks a lot in advance..
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post #2 of 4 Old 08-27-2013, 10:09 AM
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That is fine, but you have to look at the limitations.

1. you need itunes running all the time, for streaming to apple tv.

2. Apple tv does not have a web browser(but you can surf on your minis)

3. Any video will have to be converted.
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post #3 of 4 Old 08-27-2013, 09:17 PM
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You also have to consider HOW the signal is getting from point A to B, C, D, and E --- wireless generally won't cut it. Powerline adapters may work, running CAT5/6 is the best option.

I'm far from an apple fan and personally would not go in that direction, but if you like and use a lot of apple equipment it may be the best option for you. Personally I'd opt for the WD SMP that does pretty much what the apple device does, but allows you to stream from your computer to the various devices, not sure if apple lets you do this. One other option, if you have access to an antenna and are not too distant from the towers, would be to add a few OTA tuner cards, or something like a silicon dust unit. The WD can accept an OTA tuner and stream it, not sure if the apple can. Your computer can act as a dvr with OTA broadcasts, so things can be semi cable like.

You will loose the extra stuff that is not OTA, but perhaps you can find other content to fill that void.
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post #4 of 4 Old 09-01-2013, 06:42 AM
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I went with Apple TVs for movies and music since I primarily have Apple devices and it just works. A Mac Mini server runs iTunes all the time and serves up the content to my Apple TVs (2), iPhones (2), iPod (1), and iPads (3). All of my movies (DVD and Bluray) are encoded in Handbrake using the 4.1 High profile with 2 channel AAC and 5.1 Dolby digital. This is a drawback since you need to encode everything into a Apple friendly format, but it works great and everyone in the family can get to the media easily. I also have a HTPC that has all my media in a lossless format for viewing in my main Home Theater.

Another more flexible option is Plex since you can get a client app on more devices including TV's, Bluray players, Roku, and many Android and iOS devices. If you don't want to convert your media, Plex will transcode on the fly to a format supported by each specific device. This requires a powerful processor and you need to setup your clients such that it gets the best quality. Plex also works well with many DNLA devices and works beautifully with my Sony Bluray player after I "tuned" the Plex DNLA configuration file for the Sony. It can be frustrating to get a specific DNLA device to work, that's why you are better off with a device that supports the Plex client app. While more complex than an all Apple setup, it supports many more devices and may not require the purchase of a streamer box if your TV or Bluray player has a client app (mainly Samsungs and LG) or good DNLA support.

I also have the WD Live SMP and it works great for all my media including Bluray rips. It just doesn't support DTS-HD MA audio and only plays DTS core (not a big deal for me). This is a real good option if you want to play just about any format of media (M4V, MKV, ISO, MP3, FLAC, etc)

Live TV becomes more difficult for streaming to multiple locations. If you go OTA you can run a coax to each TV. If you want DVR functionality you will need another device like a Tivo or HTPC. Personally I'm transitioning from a HTPC based DVR (Windows Media Center) to a Tivo DVR with several Tivo Mini's. It works well and I can easily stream my recorded shows to my Apple devices.
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