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Home Network

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
Hi all, I have a very basic understanding of home networking and a/v related items so Im reaching out to you for some much needed help. Hopefully this is the correct forum for these questions, please move if it isnt.

Im trying to create and connect a network that will allow (3+) tv's, (1) ps3, (1) computer and or server, (2-3) roku/revue devices (1 @ each tv, if needed), (2-3) audio zones (different rooms/outside).

What I currently have: (2) tv's, (1) ps3, (2) receivers (1 of which is two-zone), 4 port N router, house on crawl space with some attic access.

If I want to use a single desktop computer either simultaneously or otherwise on any of the tv's. Do I need an actual server to deliver the video/computer feed?

With the limitation of HDMI cable length (50 ft?), do I need to use Cat5 to HDMI wall plate, or is there a better solution? Since the tv's could be more than 50ft away from the source (computer/server/roku/revue/ps3). Will I need an HDMI switch and are there any available that have ir or rf remote capabilities?

Will a network switch allow the usage of (1) roku/revue device to send feed to any of the tv's (non-simultaneously)? For simultaneous viewing I would need a device at each tv correct.

To sum it all up: I would like to be able to use the ps3 on any tv in my house for blu-ray/gaming playback. Use a computer on any tv in my house for work related tasks/internet browsing/music streaming/AirPlay/wireless printing. Use a roku/revue device for netflix/hulu/amazon streaming/internet browsing.

Comments/flames/blow ups/rants welcomed!


Justin - NC
post #2 of 9
As far as I know, you will need some kind of device at each TV, be it a Roku, PS3 or whatever. I don't know if you can easily "split" the stream from one device. I'm sure it's possible, but then it would display the same thing on both sets.

As far as the network itself, the ideal home network is a wired home network, if you can swing it. If you can get Cat5e or Cat6 cable drops to each location, that will provide the most stability and bandwidth available.

If this is impossible or just too difficult, there are other options that come close. You could use Powerline adapters (they plug into wall outlets and use your electrical wiring to distribute your network signal). You could use a MOCA solution (which uses your coax/cable setup to distribute the network - as far as I know this only works really well if you actually have Cable.) Or you could use wireless, which in my mind is the least reliable for steady, powerful signal strength.

What do you currently use for TV? Satellite? Cable? Uverse?
post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 
I currently have DTV and will soon be cutting the cord. Which is the main reason for inquiring as to networking options.

I wonder if running the feed from one device through a splitter/switch degrades the quality?

For the wired network, what would I need? A network switch, similar to the monoprice 8 port or something else? My current router seems to need a reboot often, is this tied to my ISP or my current router/modem setup? Should I also run the HDMI over cat5?

Once wired, is there a way to have multiple tv's using a computer for different operations? As in one tv browsing internet and another using MS office?
post #4 of 9
Originally Posted by hokieguy View Post

Once wired, is there a way to have multiple tv's using a computer for different operations? As in one tv browsing internet and another using MS office?

Not really...not one computer. There is software (Citrix and others) that will allow a computer to do something like this, but it requires other "client" devices (like another computer, or tablet). So, for you, it's certainly not cost effective, just build/buy another PC.
post #5 of 9
Who is your internet through? Does DirectTV provide that, or is it something else?
post #6 of 9
I think it would be helpful if you could explain a bit more in detail what you are trying to accomplish.

ARe you planning on streaming content from your computer to various TVs? Why would you want to use an HDMI cable to several rooms from one computer? You would have difficult time using a computer somewhat remotely.

A hard wire network is the best way to go. You simply have to make what are called home runs to each location from one common point, often called a wiring closet. This is where your modem and router and possibly a switch will be located. Any internet information is fed around the house from this point.

At each end of the wired run in various rooms you can add another switch and add as many components to that location as you like. In my main viewing area I added an 8 port switch to handle -TV, DVR, DVR2, Blu Ray player, Seagate streamer, Onkyo audio receiver, and an occasional hard wired connection to my laptop. I have a somewhat scaled down version in my bedroom, library, and basement.

If you are running wires I'd opt for CAT6 and Gigabit switches at this point. You can either buy the cables quite cheap at Monoprice or make them yourself. I do a bout 50/50 - I have made a few bad cables,there is a learning curve.

Are you factoring in any OTA TV reception? If you use Windows Media center with TV tuner cards you can record up to 8 things at once. However it is in a proprietary MS format, that only the PS3 will display. There are simple software conversions available but it is an extra step. If you record OTA you may want to look at other software besides WMC.

While Roku boxes are great at supplying internet content, it seems they fall down a little as a network streamer. there the basic stuff like WD , Seagate, and more expensive Dune and others shine. These are for streaming content you have ripped or recorded on your computer or NAS. If you go this route you will need lots of hard drive space. I'm running 3T at the moment and I"m not using raid which I should be. Rumor is hard drive prices will be going up soon, so bear that in mind.

So, think about what you want to accomplish. Truth is you will NOT have an experience similar to using DirecTV. AT this point it is not smooth and seamless, and you will need a good high speed internet connection, I"m on a 12M connection and it works well, you might be able to get by with less.
post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 
Matt L

Just to make sure Im understanding correctly:

I take my internet feed from my modem and run it into the gigabit switch. I then hook my pc, ps3, roku/google tv into that switch for internet connectivity. Then I need to take the hdmi output of all of those devices and hook them into an hdmi switch that will connect to all of the tv and receiver inputs.
post #8 of 9
You will need some sort of network streamer box at each location you want content. The streamer is connected to the switch by Cat5 or 6, and TV via whatever method the unit accepts. Most if not all streamers will output HDMI, Component, or composite signals along with audio over optical, HDMI, or standard line level. The switch is connected to the ROUTER, not the modem - unless it's a modem with a built in router.

i see no point in using a HDMI switch, it just makes things that much more complicated, and I"m not sure what you gain. Each location can stream whatever you want either from the internet or your computer. If you want to browse the internet from various rooms perhaps the Google Box might be a better choice of the Roku units. Your computer simply acts as a source for content STORED on it, nothing more.
post #9 of 9
You need a centralized storage device where you have all your content (movies and music), and you will need a media player device at each location that will have access to you content via gigabit network or wi-fi. I really suggest AGAINST wi-fi.

For example, I am buying a popcorn hour a-300 (located in my living room with 7.1 surround sound), which will have 12 tb hard drive enclosure connected to it via usb 3.0. This will have all my bd and dvd movies. The a-300 will be connected to my router via cat6 cable. Then my I will have a media player (for example EP600 or other) which will be connected to the same network via cat6 cable.

So, I will be able to play all of my movies from my a-300 in the living room and my bedroom via the EP600. My computer is also connected to the same network so I can access or add more content to the 12 tb hard drive enclosure or DAS (direct storage device).

Now, if you want to play netflix, vudu, hulu, pandora etc, you will need another streaming device such as roku or you will have to get a media player device that supports netlix, hulu, vudu, etc. The EP600 does not support that at the moment. I belive boxee box supports netflix.

For myself, I own a PS3 and 2 xboxes. The PS3 and Xbox is located in the living room, and my other xbox in my bedroom. All of which are connected to the same network. My xbox can access DVD movies from the DNS, but can't play the blu ray movies. My PS3 is not reliable at playing the blu ray movies from the network either. If the PS3 does play any of the blu ray movies, it can't play HD sound. A lot of times, it play stereo sound via my onkyo receiver. That's the reason why I choose to buy the A-300. I do not care about HD sound in my bedroom.

However, if I want to play Netflix (almost never), Hulu, Vudu or Zune, I turn on the XBOX or PS3.
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