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Media Streamer Advice after Sage

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
Ok, I was ready to pull the trigger on SageTV, but now that Google bought them out, I do not want something with unknown support.

What I am looking to do is to stream DVD and Bluray (iso files or folders) from a server over a gigabit network. Players can do Netflix, Hulu, Vudu just fine.

My equipment so far:
Server - AMD 955 x4 several TB of data. Also used as workstation.
Gigabit wired network. (1 CAT5E with Switch sitting at each location)
3 High definition displays. Master bedroom, Theater, Family Room. May add another soon.
Onkyo 606 in 7.1 setup.
2xSony and 1 Samsung Bluray C5500
PS3
2 WDTV Live - Wife hates the interface.


What I have seen but am unsure of Popcorn Hour A210, Boxee Box, Roku, Dune HD1, Playon.

1. I guess I need suggestions as to hardware with nice interface. (Like XBMC, YAMJ, etc).
2. How you rip bluray/dvd to the server.
3. Server software (WMC, XBMC, ETC)
4. Anything else I am forgetting to ask.

DVR capability would have been nice, but I didn't see anything I liked other than SageTV, maybe MythTV, but that may be more work.

I am kinda tech savy, I am by no means a programmer though, so sorry for the ignorant questions in advance.
post #2 of 16
Regarding a DVR, if you go with WMC you can use a 360 as a WMC extender. But it's not the best for playing different file types like MKV, it's a bit of pain to get the right mix of codecs that will allow the 360 to play all of the files your main WMC server/pc will play within WMC.
post #3 of 16
The Roku boxes do not support ISO or folder structure streaming, so there's one you can cross off your potential list.

I have a Dune (Smart B1) which I primarily use to stream DVD and BD ISO's. I usually just use the default folder browser that it comes with which is fairly quick and easy, but I do use Zappiti when I want the nice looking interface. No server software is really required. Mine is setup to connect and browse my network using SMB shares. I have been very happy with it's performance and would highly recommend a Dune to anyone.

As far as how to rip, I'd suggest doing a search here in this forum. This is a good, recent thread to start with: http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1336046
post #4 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by rdb4133 View Post

Regarding a DVR, if you go with WMC you can use a 360 as a WMC extender. But it's not the best for playing different file types like MKV, it's a bit of pain to get the right mix of codecs that will allow the 360 to play all of the files your main WMC server/pc will play within WMC.


I do not think the 360 will play the Blu ray rips. But I will look into it. Thank you.
post #5 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by hps70w View Post

The Roku boxes do not support ISO or folder structure streaming, so there's one you can cross off your potential list.

I have a Dune (Smart B1) which I primarily use to stream DVD and BD ISO's. I usually just use the default folder browser that it comes with which is fairly quick and easy, but I do use Zappiti when I want the nice looking interface. No server software is really required. Mine is setup to connect and browse my network using SMB shares. I have been very happy with it's performance and would highly recommend a Dune to anyone.

As far as how to rip, I'd suggest doing a search here in this forum. This is a good, recent thread to start with: http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1336046


Thank you for the reply. I guess I misspoke on how to rip. I meant are you using .iso, folder, or container. I really do not want to do all the container steps. How are you getting fanart if you do not use a software on the server?
post #6 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bigmix View Post

Thank you for the reply. I guess I misspoke on how to rip. I meant are you using .iso, folder, or container. I really do not want to do all the container steps. How are you getting fanart if you do not use a software on the server?

Ah, I see. As my first reply said, I typically rip the main movie to ISO.

As far as fanart etc. for the Dune, that's where Zappiti or MyMovies comes into play. They fetch all the metadata and artwork and build the graphical UI pages that the Dune reads and displays.
post #7 of 16
Quote:


What I have seen but am unsure of Popcorn Hour A210, Boxee Box, Roku, Dune HD1, Playon.

If hd audio is important to you now, then the Popcorn Hour A210 or Dune. If not, then Boxee Box. You wife will likely like Boxee's UI.
post #8 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brajesh View Post

If hd audio is important to you now, then the Popcorn Hour A210 or Dune. If not, then Boxee Box. You wife will likely like Boxee's UI.

I like HD audio, especially in the theater. I do not really know much about Boxee Box. Dune is about $100 more, Popcorn A-210 with YAMJ has a nice interface. How does the Boxee Box compare? Ease of setup? Maintenance? What back end can you use with Boxee (XMBC, Metadata, My Movies).

Thanks.
post #9 of 16
By hd audio, I meant Dolby TrueHD & DTS-HD MA. On Boxee, it's broken; who knows when or if it'll ever get fixed. I personally don't think Dune is worth $100 more than PCH, but some might disagree. Like you note, PCH has YAMJ and an active community. There's also the nice Flash-based Eversion movie jukebox available. For ease of setup and use, can't beat Boxee. Maintenance is easier on Boxee as well (due to its built-in scraper/nfo support). Re: backend, Boxee has limited NFO & poster support. Dune and PCH are more full-featured there, with fanart and other metadata supported.
post #10 of 16
Thread Starter 
What about Popbox? I just stumbled across it while looking at forums. It seems for now, the A-210 and Boxee are the choices considering price.
post #11 of 16
I started our PopBox thread as one of the earliest guinea pigs. Thanks to recent firmware updates, the box has come a long way from its poor debut. But, I think the UI/navigation is sluggish, but it does have a built-in scraper for movies/TV and even supports the Eversion front-end (see here). Plus, supports hd audio. As a cheaper alternative, it's fine, but I'd go for the A210 instead. It's just better built and performs significantly faster. But, for wife/family use, Boxee is easier to use and has a nicer stock UI. The only real issue is hd audio being broken.
post #12 of 16
just curious, is there anything that compares with sage in the whole home PVR/Live TV/BR/HDDVD/DVD/etc (ie all your video media) under one UI, server + extenders realm?
post #13 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Somewhatlost View Post

just curious, is there anything that compares with sage in the whole home PVR/Live TV/BR/HDDVD/DVD/etc (ie all your video media) under one UI, server + extenders realm?

That is what I would hope for, but I haven't found anything. Hopefully someone will chime in with a resounding "YES!"
post #14 of 16
I tried an HD300 last night. Kind of ugly music browsing and the remote is a monstrousity of buttons. On the plus side it has very good video ouput with first class de-interlacing and the option of sending ouput out native formats. It also does HD Audio with no drama. So it has the fundamentals down..

The Sage beastie gets super hot and I saw a couple occasions of stutter so I don't think the HD300s are viable going forward. The HD300 is on the same gigabit switch as the PC so I doubt that it was a network traffic issue.

Anyway this not an HD300 thread. My brother has a couple of these as he was getting deep into Sage until he realized copy protection on HD cable was a more significant issue than he bargained for. Of course now Sage is a dead duck so it is a double whammy for him. I had never considered a streamer before other than a WMC extender. I have an hp x280n which is useful for watching HD cable in the bedroom, getting it to do movie files has not been worth the effort. The best integration is with a Media Center PC but it is a general pain and getting top notch video out of a PC is really not that easy. I know some will defend video out of a PC to the death. I am willing to agree to disagree on that point.


I just want to know what works as well or better than the HD300 in terms of audio and video ouptut? I know there is a whole forum here.. but the bottom line is what comes out the HDMI port, which player can meet or exceed the HD300?


Cost is very much secondary to me on this. I am using a big DLP and I will be streaming mostly music video, many of which the videos are poorly encoded to start with. I have an Iscan Duo VP so native output is a plus. If the intenal processing is top notch that is fine.
post #15 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Somewhatlost View Post

just curious, is there anything that compares with sage in the whole home PVR/Live TV/BR/HDDVD/DVD/etc (ie all your video media) under one UI, server + extenders realm?

I looked into this before I got my SageTV, unfortunately there is not one box that can do what Sage does...did .

WMC- the closest but poor codec support and only one good extender, xbox 360 which is loud.

Dune/PCH- probably better media streamers but don't have the PVR/Live TV portion

Although not ideal, you could always get some Sage stuff off of eBay then see what they are going to come out with next year with Google.

Edit: There is always the full HTPC route but that is typicly more costly and more set-up hassle, which is one of the reasons I ultimately chose Sage
post #16 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by jnmfox View Post

I looked into this before I got my SageTV, unfortunately there is not one box that can do what Sage does...did .

yea, that's what I found too...
bummer...
I don't want too, and wont, go back to HTPC anytime soon... just too much constant hassle...

although, maybe a linux live boot extender/miniPC type device may work... but I will wait to see what happens to sage first... I have a year before I need to start worrying I think... wish I had a couple spare HD300's though...

you never know when you might want to add another video zone..
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