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post #1 of 15 Old 09-29-2013, 07:59 PM - Thread Starter
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Hello I am brand new to this forum and I have very specific questions which I would like to get answered. I've been reading some of the threads here for the past couple of weeks trying to figure out what to do, but I have no idea how to get started. Basically I think I lie somewhere in the middle. I don't want a basic streamer from PC to TV. I know how to do that. It won't do. I can't renovate my entire childhood bedroom. My mom would freak. I still live at home for the time being, I just got a full time job working IT at a small local company. So since I am on good terms with my parents they are letting me stay to save up money so I can actually be able to buy my own place (That's where the fun will really begin). The rent is too high in NJ! I have shared a room with my brother up to this point and now he has moved out, so I would love to change things up a bit! 

 

I already have amassed a mountain of DVDs, and multimedia files on multiple hard drives. This includes movies, music, Complete collections of TV shows, netflix, pandora, porn, spotify etc... Because my room does not have wired connections (wifi only up here) I have already decided to use these guys Powerline AV 500 Mbps 4 Port Gigabit Switch Wall-plug Adapter to hook everything up to give things a Ethernet feel. The house has Verizon FIOS. 

 

The reason why I am writing this thread is because I am not sure whether I should go with NAS, Servers, or something entirely different. NAS seems like the way to go. I want to be able to watch Netflix, download new TV shows instantly etc and have them stored somewhere where I can easily access them from a nice television setup. It seems like something simple, especially for a technology guy like me. I just don't want to spend thousands of dollars on say a server setup when NAS would be much better. I really think Synology diskless systems are the way to go. Am I on the right track? Or should I just custom build a media PC with loads of TB space and just have that connected to the TV 24/7? That seems like a good choice too, but what would I be sacrificing with that idea?

 

I really like black and sleek designs for the hardware. I'm also looking for the best Media Software/server for the TV. 

 

As you can see I've already done some preliminary research, but again I don't want to waste money I don't have to. So any advice would be helpful. 

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post #2 of 15 Old 09-30-2013, 07:39 AM
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As a fellow 'technology guy' I don't understand what the issue is here. Surely, if the system is just for yourself confined to one room, there's no need for UI niceties, dedicated network storage, etc and just stick with the bog standard infinitely configurable 'tool of the trade' pc connected to the TV. What is there to lose?
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post #3 of 15 Old 09-30-2013, 10:19 AM
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If his parents are anything like my parents were, my mom would hate if I kept my room a mess. order leads the day. If you want to do this "nicely" in a manner that you can learn. see if there's a room you can use as your server closet (say laundry room?) where things can be tucked out of the way and then you can set up your room nicely in a way that your mom won't freak. It wont be as flexible (i.e. able to switch hard drives at ease), but it also give you the experience you would need if you ever implemented something in your own house.
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post #4 of 15 Old 09-30-2013, 04:59 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Cebolla View Post

As a fellow 'technology guy' I don't understand what the issue is here. Surely, if the system is just for yourself confined to one room, there's no need for UI niceties, dedicated network storage, etc and just stick with the bog standard infinitely configurable 'tool of the trade' pc connected to the TV. What is there to lose?

 

That's what my question was, if you recall. It just seems too simple. To buy a random PC or build my own mini tower and then keep that connected to the TV 24/7. Wouldn't NAS be best for storage expansion? The PC would be limited to how much memory I have internally installed. I've had crap experience with portable and most external hard drives. So that wouldn't be an ideal option. 

 

Also I still don't quite get what media servers are. I always seems that hardwire is best to go. So I don't think servers are the way best option here. 

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post #5 of 15 Old 09-30-2013, 05:03 PM - Thread Starter
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If his parents are anything like my parents were, my mom would hate if I kept my room a mess. order leads the day. If you want to do this "nicely" in a manner that you can learn. see if there's a room you can use as your server closet (say laundry room?) where things can be tucked out of the way and then you can set up your room nicely in a way that your mom won't freak. It wont be as flexible (i.e. able to switch hard drives at ease), but it also give you the experience you would need if you ever implemented something in your own house.

 

Right you are. I also hate loose wires (try to avoid wires altogether) and anything bulky, loud, hot, annoying etc... There is an storage space next to my bedroom, but I don't think that's ideal. I'd rather have stuff all right by my TV. Thanks for the suggestion though. 

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post #6 of 15 Old 09-30-2013, 06:20 PM
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That's what my question was, if you recall. It just seems too simple. To buy a random PC or build my own mini tower and then keep that connected to the TV 24/7. Wouldn't NAS be best for storage expansion? The PC would be limited to how much memory I have internally installed. I've had crap experience with portable and most external hard drives. So that wouldn't be an ideal option. 

Also I still don't quite get what media servers are. I always seems that hardwire is best to go. So I don't think servers are the way best option here. 
Other than for gaining experience in using a NAS as thetoad suggests, I personally don't see the point of having one for your specific situation. If your worried about storage expansion, just make sure you get a pc with a case to allow for future addition of a couple more drives, say. If anything the NAS will be restricting your choices, for example the media server you can run on it. Virtually every media server you can think of (including some decent free ones) has a version that can run on a Windows pc. You could always get a NAS at a later date if more storage is required (by which time you'll probably have your own place anyways!)
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post #7 of 15 Old 09-30-2013, 08:04 PM - Thread Starter
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Other than for gaining experience in using a NAS as thetoad suggests, I personally don't see the point of having one for your specific situation. If your worried about storage expansion, just make sure you get a pc with a case to allow for future addition of a couple more drives, say. If anything the NAS will be restricting your choices, for example the media server you can run on it. Virtually every media server you can think of (including some decent free ones) has a version that can run on a Windows pc. You could always get a NAS at a later date if more storage is required (by which time you'll probably have your own place anyways!)

 

Hm so maybe I'll get a pretty sleek black case with many drives. Though I do want a small tower nothing huge. I'll go up to a normal size tower if need be. Would I be able to get one that would support 4 4TB hard drives?? And it would still be sleek? What about wireless options? Should I try to do it wireless or is HDMI better for the hookup? 

 

I was also thinking about Rasberry pi. But not sure how expandable that is with memory. 

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post #8 of 15 Old 09-30-2013, 09:58 PM
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I've hard wired my whole house and run everything off a basic PC. I have 4T of storage in my main computer and everything goes there. I have several other PCs around the house, laptops, ipad and android phones all connected to my network. I use network shares at each of the 3 TVs that I use on a daily basis. I have a roku at two of them and WD SMP units at all three. If I was doing it again I'd skip the Roku and just buy the Wd SMP units, they do all I need.

I only feed the WDs network shares, no DNLA crap will ever cross my path. I was running Win 7 but some stupidity on my part wiped it out and I switched to Linux Mint. Both work equally well with the Wd units, but I had been running Play On on the Win 7 PC but no longer have it available on the Mint PC, I don't really miss it as I have SAT service but it does offer a number of network feeds if you cut the cord.

I really don't see what your issue is and the need to use powerline adapters. Not really knowing how your space is set up, is the computer at a desk across the room from the TV? Running a single CAT5 or 6 line around the room is hardly an issue as it can be routed around the base easily and not be seen. As for a NAS, it might be nice as a learning experience but in my case I find it's hardly needed as my PC is a 24/7 unit, no reason you can't do the same.
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post #9 of 15 Old 09-30-2013, 10:26 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Matt L View Post

I've hard wired my whole house and run everything off a basic PC. I have 4T of storage in my main computer and everything goes there. I have several other PCs around the house, laptops, ipad and android phones all connected to my network. I use network shares at each of the 3 TVs that I use on a daily basis. I have a roku at two of them and WD SMP units at all three. If I was doing it again I'd skip the Roku and just buy the Wd SMP units, they do all I need.

I only feed the WDs network shares, no DNLA crap will ever cross my path. I was running Win 7 but some stupidity on my part wiped it out and I switched to Linux Mint. Both work equally well with the Wd units, but I had been running Play On on the Win 7 PC but no longer have it available on the Mint PC, I don't really miss it as I have SAT service but it does offer a number of network feeds if you cut the cord.

I really don't see what your issue is and the need to use powerline adapters. Not really knowing how your space is set up, is the computer at a desk across the room from the TV? Running a single CAT5 or 6 line around the room is hardly an issue as it can be routed around the base easily and not be seen. As for a NAS, it might be nice as a learning experience but in my case I find it's hardly needed as my PC is a 24/7 unit, no reason you can't do the same.

 

Hi thanks for the suggestions would I be able to run the line around the room without tearing up the carpet or drilling holes in the walls? I think there is a way to easily change the outlets from outlets to ethernet ports. Am I right? My room is upstairs and the FIOS router is downstairs. Despite being in IT I know absolutely nothing about wiring or electronics. I'm more of a software guy. 

 

I think I have a phone jack in my room, if that helps. (Not sure if it even works though.)

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post #10 of 15 Old 09-30-2013, 11:16 PM
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Ahh, I think I see what you are getting at with the powerline adapters. You don't have a live network connection in your room, so yes that is good way to go. I guess we all interpret what we read differently. From reading your post I was thinking you wanted to use the powerline adapters to feed a network connection from your computer to your video setup. What you want is a connection to the FOIS in your room. Got it.

Are you looking at a dedicated computer for video? Or are you looking for a dual setup with the PC acting as both a desktop system with it's own monitor and feeding the TV? While they are not totally two different animals, there are significant differences. Personally, I'd opt for the dual use PC, as at some point you will be moving and may want to have a PC available. I know many people function fine with a notepad and smart phone but sometimes a PC and a good monitor is valuable. Look at your long range plans and work your current system based on what you think you may want in the future.

Just as a few notes, you will find that wireless is less than optimum for streaming video and really should be avoided. I'm not a big fan of multi use equipment, buy a display for it's video quality not for it's "smart" features they are often hobbled. Same with audio equipment, it's purpose is to generate good clean sound, though today it also acts as a switching center. For streaming content, both from the Internet and your home PC buy a decent streaming unit, as I said the WD is my go to streamer it will play 99% of the content out there and deliver Netflix and such. Roku does have hundreds of channels but does not easily stream from your computer. And just an aside, when you buy a display buy bigger than you think you need, the screen magically shrinks after a few weeks of viewing....
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post #11 of 15 Old 10-01-2013, 06:50 AM
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Here's what I would do:
Save the money from that powerline stuff and have an installer run one network drop to your room. If you are in the IT field, I'm sure the business has some contact with an installer. Surely it can't be that expensive to run one network drop. From there, your possibilities become endless. You can have a switch/hub/router in your room to hardwire virtually any source you want and hide the wires under your baseboard from that point.
I personally have a single pc housing all my media and stream to WD SMP to the bedroom and living room. For me it works well and handles all video/audio formats I throw at it. It also has netflix.
Just a thought.
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post #12 of 15 Old 10-01-2013, 04:58 PM - Thread Starter
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Ahh, I think I see what you are getting at with the powerline adapters. You don't have a live network connection in your room, so yes that is good way to go. I guess we all interpret what we read differently. From reading your post I was thinking you wanted to use the powerline adapters to feed a network connection from your computer to your video setup. What you want is a connection to the FOIS in your room. Got it.

Are you looking at a dedicated computer for video? Or are you looking for a dual setup with the PC acting as both a desktop system with it's own monitor and feeding the TV? While they are not totally two different animals, there are significant differences. Personally, I'd opt for the dual use PC, as at some point you will be moving and may want to have a PC available. I know many people function fine with a notepad and smart phone but sometimes a PC and a good monitor is valuable. Look at your long range plans and work your current system based on what you think you may want in the future.

Just as a few notes, you will find that wireless is less than optimum for streaming video and really should be avoided. I'm not a big fan of multi use equipment, buy a display for it's video quality not for it's "smart" features they are often hobbled. Same with audio equipment, it's purpose is to generate good clean sound, though today it also acts as a switching center. For streaming content, both from the Internet and your home PC buy a decent streaming unit, as I said the WD is my go to streamer it will play 99% of the content out there and deliver Netflix and such. Roku does have hundreds of channels but does not easily stream from your computer. And just an aside, when you buy a display buy bigger than you think you need, the screen magically shrinks after a few weeks of viewing....


I would definitely want a dedicated computer for video. I've tinkered with the insides of computers before, but I've never built my own PC. I know I would enjoy doing it. So I don't want to pay someone like assassinhtpc to build one for me. I'm just worried about buying components that don't work together. What would your suggestion be for a dedicated computer? Is CPU power really necessary if I am only going to run, say XBMC and linux or Windows 8?

 

I would like to have Core i7 and 3D graphics. EG the latest video graphics card. I don't play modern video games. I don't have the time or money to waste on $60 games. So I don't need a gaming rig. I was thinking something like this:

 

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16856101117

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post #13 of 15 Old 10-01-2013, 05:27 PM - Thread Starter
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Here's what I would do:
Save the money from that powerline stuff and have an installer run one network drop to your room. If you are in the IT field, I'm sure the business has some contact with an installer. Surely it can't be that expensive to run one network drop. From there, your possibilities become endless. You can have a switch/hub/router in your room to hardwire virtually any source you want and hide the wires under your baseboard from that point.
I personally have a single pc housing all my media and stream to WD SMP to the bedroom and living room. For me it works well and handles all video/audio formats I throw at it. It also has netflix.
Just a thought.

 

The real wired network is completely out of the question. My parents don't even want to attach the Direct TV in my room. Not that I'm complaining, I would only need that junk for news channels. Most of which I can find online anyway. 

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post #14 of 15 Old 10-01-2013, 06:32 PM
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Well that being the case I'd head over to:

http://www.avsforum.com/f/26/home-theater-computers

And pick your flavor of OS. I've been building computers for 20+ years, assembling them is quick, 15-20 minute job in most cases. What is time consuming is identifying the components you want. Read, read, read and be prepared to make mistakes, there have been times I've upgraded my system a month after I built it. But from the sound of it any good HT computer will fit your needs.
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post #15 of 15 Old 10-02-2013, 05:25 PM - Thread Starter
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Well that being the case I'd head over to:

http://www.avsforum.com/f/26/home-theater-computers

And pick your flavor of OS. I've been building computers for 20+ years, assembling them is quick, 15-20 minute job in most cases. What is time consuming is identifying the components you want. Read, read, read and be prepared to make mistakes, there have been times I've upgraded my system a month after I built it. But from the sound of it any good HT computer will fit your needs.

 

Thanx I'll post a link to the thread over there on this thread so that maybe you can help out there. Or I might just PM you. 

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