Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Fredericksburg, VA
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 10 Post(s)
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.