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Media Server Question

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 
What do you guys recommend is the best form of media server? I want the cheapest method possible. Either using a boxee, computer, ps3, xbox 360 to view the content. I want to be able to use any tv in the house to stream 1080P mkv files, divx file format and music. I would prefer to hardware this device where my router is but allow my wireless devices to stream the content.

I hope I posted this in the correct forum. It was either here or a HTPC.
post #2 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by djtoodles View Post

What do you guys recommend is the best form of media server? I want the cheapest method possible. Either using a boxee, computer, ps3, xbox 360 to view the content. I want to be able to use any tv in the house to stream 1080P mkv files, divx file format and music. I would prefer to hardware this device where my router is but allow my wireless devices to stream the content.
I hope I posted this in the correct forum. It was either here or a HTPC.

You are in the correct forum. You just need to do a little more research. This question has been asked and answered numerous times.
post #3 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by GusGus748s View Post

You are in the correct forum. You just need to do a little more research. This question has been asked and answered numerous times.
i have looked and nothing seems definitive. I have searched google as well. everything is pretty ambiguous. Nothing I have seen says it can play 14-20gb bluray mkv's without issue. Seems people speak highly of xbmc but then I am stuck with a giant pc and it will only work in that one room.
post #4 of 28
1) Wireless is often no good for high bitrate HD media.
2) The range of devices you mention have vastly different support levels of media, the PC and Boxee Box are the only two which will play most things. The PS3 and Xbox 360 are extremely limited and the PS3 also has Cinavia DRM (audio watermark tech that will kill the audio).
3) The only way to stream 100% all media to all of the above clients is a wired ethernet network for all devices plus a PC with a high end CPU like an Intel Core i5 that can transcode all video and audio in real time where necessary.

The cheapest way to view all your content is to stick to mp4 media below a certain bitrate so the wireless can handle it and all of the above support mp4 natively. Use MKV2MP4 app to remux your existing h264/mkv files into mp4.

If your are looking for a cheap box to put in each room that supports h264/mkv then get a WDTV Live. For a server any basic NAS will do with the WDTV but again you need ethernet for those big files.
post #5 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alx330 View Post

1) Wireless is often no good for high bitrate HD media.
2) The range of devices you mention have vastly different support levels of media, the PC and Boxee Box are the only two which will play most things. The PS3 and Xbox 360 are extremely limited and the PS3 also has Cinavia DRM (audio watermark tech that will kill the audio).
3) The only way to stream 100% all media to all of the above clients is a wired ethernet network for all devices plus a PC with a high end CPU like an Intel Core i5 that can transcode all video and audio in real time where necessary.
The cheapest way to view all your content is to stick to mp4 media below a certain bitrate so the wireless can handle it and all of the above support mp4 natively. Use MKV2MP4 app to remux your existing h264/mkv files into mp4.
If your are looking for a cheap box to put in each room that supports h264/mkv then get a WDTV Live. For a server any basic NAS will do with the WDTV but again you need ethernet for those big files.
My linkys router has a usb port which can be used to plug a hdd into. can i use that for my files then a WDTV live to play the mkv files?
post #6 of 28
Here are the top media players manufacturers:

1)Dune (they are old hardware, but they are solid and reliable. They are also the most expensive)
2) Popcorn Hour (I would recommend the PCH-A200, A210 series. DO NOT BUY THE A300. They have a new media player the A400, which I wouldn't recommend buying until 1 yr later)
3) Mede8er (they have the 2D series and the new one can play 3D)

Inexpensive Media players:
1) Netgear NeoTV550 (can play DVD and BD ISO's, this player has been discontinued, but you can still find it around)
2) WDTV2 (this is an okay media player. It doesn't play BD ISO, and doesn't play HD sound tracks only DTS MA I think) Only plays TrueHD.
3) Micca (their support is probably none existent now, but still a good media player. I wouldn't buy one)
4) PCH Popbox v8
5) AIOS (probably the cheapest 1185 chip based media player. The remoter isn't responsive, but if you have a harmony this will fix it. UI is horrible, but it player all of my MKV, M2TS and DVD ISO's without any issues).
Edited by GusGus748s - 11/25/12 at 6:49pm
post #7 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by GusGus748s View Post

2) WDTV2 (this is an okay media player. It doesn't play BD ISO, and doesn't play HD sound tracks only DTS MA I think)

Actually it's TrueHD, it'd be a better option if it did DTS MA since most movies use it.
post #8 of 28
Thread Starter 
What about those acer revo's with XBMC?
post #9 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by djtoodles View Post

My linkys router has a usb port which can be used to plug a hdd into. can i use that for my files then a WDTV live to play the mkv files?
Yes.

It works fine for me, streaming wirelessly to my WDTV Streaming Media Player, but some will say that the read speed of the USB interface is insufficient compared to an Ethernet-connected NAS.

I suggest you try the USB HDD arrangement first to see if it works well enough.
post #10 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffschallenberg View Post

Yes.
It works fine for me, streaming wirelessly to my WDTV Streaming Media Player, but some will say that the read speed of the USB interface is insufficient compared to an Ethernet-connected NAS.
I suggest you try the USB HDD arrangement first to see if it works well enough.
Is it possible to put XBMC on the wdtv live?
post #11 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by djtoodles View Post

Is it possible to put XBMC on the wdtv live?

Nope.
post #12 of 28
Depending on your layout, No on said the large PC had to be in the same room as the display.

my setup:
Xbox 360, PS3, Cable box, media server with XBMC and NAS (free/already owned)
4x4 HDMI matrix (monoprice) $150
HDMI over cat5/6 (monoprice) $20
3 samsung 6100s

all stream 1080p flawlessly, and being you have a server runing XBMC you will have no problems with those large files. I also have Sickbeard + SABnzbd + nzbdmatrix.com automatically downloading all my shows for me.
post #13 of 28
Thread Starter 
does it matter going amd or intel for a HTPC? I dont need bluray or anything. Planning to run XBMC and plex. Was told to get a mac mini but thats 600bux. someone somewhere else mentioned to run plex and xbmc without any issues i would need an i5 at least. I presume i would need the intel 4000 video card as well. that alone brings the price to $220.... I havent built a PC in like 8 years so everything now adays is confusing. That and microATX confuses me. do i have to buy a cpu/gpu combo? Seems like thats all newegg has.

Sorry for so many questions/thoughts jumbled smile.gif
post #14 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by wadepoe View Post

Depending on your layout, No on said the large PC had to be in the same room as the display.
my setup:
Xbox 360, PS3, Cable box, media server with XBMC and NAS (free/already owned)
4x4 HDMI matrix (monoprice) $150
HDMI over cat5/6 (monoprice) $20
3 samsung 6100s
all stream 1080p flawlessly, and being you have a server runing XBMC you will have no problems with those large files. I also have Sickbeard + SABnzbd + nzbdmatrix.com automatically downloading all my shows for me.
from the news yesterday I guess you had it auto download smile.gif

how are you streaming to the 360 and ps3? plex?

Essentially your setup is what I am doing. I want to use the 360 or ps3. in the other rooms. but probably have xbmc in the main room. As of right now all I have is a laptop. i guess i could leave it on 24/7 and have it be the XBMC but its a 4 year old laptop... T9500 core 2 duo, 3gb of ram and a geforce 8600GT vid card.
post #15 of 28
Thread Starter 
Hey guys what do you recommend for a low powered solution to do xbmc, sabnzb and plex? I want to keep all possible power consumption down and do all that. The unit itself will be doing XBMC and sabnzbd processing. Then it will need to shoot plex off the other devices. hopefully with no transcoding. it would be nice to have it as quiet as possible. It seems a mac mini may fit the bill, problem is they are pretty expensive.
post #16 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by djtoodles View Post

Hey guys what do you recommend for a low powered solution to do xbmc, sabnzb and plex? I want to keep all possible power consumption down and do all that. The unit itself will be doing XBMC and sabnzbd processing. Then it will need to shoot plex off the other devices. hopefully with no transcoding. it would be nice to have it as quiet as possible. It seems a mac mini may fit the bill, problem is they are pretty expensive.

As far as I know Ples is like a transcoding server, it transcodes the file to be playable on the device with the Plex app...

I know sabnzb is processor intensive I would think with everything you need to do you will need a semi beefy system Otherwise you will see stutter\slowdown somewhere if you are trying to do everything at once...
post #17 of 28
I don't use Plex, so I am not sure if it only transcode whenever your devices do not support the file. Or if it transcodes all the time. However, it is true that with transcoding you will need CPU power specially if you are going to be transcoding to multiple devices.
post #18 of 28
Thread Starter 
depends on the device for plex. you can do direct play or fallback to transcode. my samsung tv does the decode on the tv so it never has to. But what do you guys think device wise I can do this with? Really want to keep it quiet and low power consumption as well.
post #19 of 28
If you just want to run XBMC, you can hack a Apple TV and run XBMC on it. They are super quite and are really small, however they run hot from my experiance. If you go this route just have a PC somewhere else in your house do all of the SAB work, like PH8te said it is super CPU intensive.

With my setup I only need to use XBMC because it plays everywhere in the house, same as the Xbox and PS3. No need to transcode or even use plex. However I am having problems with the 4x4 matrix connected to the HDMI to Cat5e wall plates. It seems monoprice equipment has some power issues and whenever anything gets turned on in the house (AC/Light etc) the matrix handshakes again causing a 1 second flicker.

If you do want the HDMI matrix spend the extra money and get the HDMI over cat5 that uses the dongles.
post #20 of 28
I sold my pch 210 earlier now in perfect need of equally good replacement that is good a reliable?
Any idea?
Pch 310 or 400 or any other equally good option and where is the best place to buy?
post #21 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by zoro View Post

I sold my pch 210 earlier now in perfect need of equally good replacement that is good a reliable?
Any idea?
Pch 310 or 400 or any other equally good option and where is the best place to buy?

I'm thinking of selling my PCH-A210 as well. I want to replace it with another Dune.
post #22 of 28
What are the advantages of runing the PCH products over say an XBMC?
post #23 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by wadepoe View Post

What are the advantages of runing the PCH products over say an XBMC?

Dune, PCH, Mede8er, etc are just dedicated media players and require only maintaining the jukebox. XBMC + HTPC will require more maintenance due to codec and what not. I was thinking of building an HTPC + XBMC, but after looking at all the stuff I would need to do, I went with a dedicated media player instead.
post #24 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by wadepoe View Post

What are the advantages of runing the PCH products over say an XBMC?

the biggest advantage is PQ, XBMC PQ suffers, you can work around it using mpc-hc w/ madvr as an external player but it gets sloppy and not easy for a whole house to use. HTPC takes some fussing with if you have to install codecs, and filters and things for subtitles, xbmc is pretty good at containing all this in its package, yet again that package does not have the best PQ
post #25 of 28
An option would be a Plex compatible device like the Roku or Samsung Blu-Ray players.

For XBMC a Raspberry Pi would probably be a good option since the Apple TV you need is the 2nd gen one which probably still goes for nearly $200 on eBay and you can't find them in stores anymore (only the 3rd gen ones)
post #26 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by djtoodles View Post

What do you guys recommend is the best form of media server? I want the cheapest method possible. Either using a boxee, computer, ps3, xbox 360 to view the content. I want to be able to use any tv in the house to stream 1080P mkv files, divx file format and music. I would prefer to hardware this device where my router is but allow my wireless devices to stream the content.

I hope I posted this in the correct forum. It was either here or a HTPC.

I would check this thread out... AVS Link

You said the cheapest method possible! It doesn't get any cheaper than this commercial grade server... More units will be available soon!

I can run multiple Dunes simultaneously... Healthy network = No Issues!
post #27 of 28
just a heads up. On the wdtv, you can do pass-through audio to a receiver, and play those true hd, and MA DTS
post #28 of 28
How to Build a Media Server

I did this with wdtvs. But i do have almost all my wdtvs hard wired. Blu-Ray MKV rips.
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