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Extender Questions

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
So I'm having my 1st HTPC built and it should arrive in the next day or so and I'm really looking forward to getting it set up and running. I do have a few questions though.

The HTPC will be in my theater room and I want to stream to my bedroom using an existing Roku and the living room with an Xbox via the extender.

I thinking the only way to get content to my Roku is with a program called PLEX, is that true? Is using Plex optimal inside a house? or is is Plex really for streaming outside the house to my hand devices and my 2nd home?

Is the Xbox really the best way to stream to the living room or should I pony up for a dedicated extender that they offer?
post #2 of 8
Plex works great on a local network. The Xbox 360 is an official extender and should work very well for TV.
post #3 of 8
what all is your new computer going to do? live tv with a cable card?
post #4 of 8
How well would those power line ethernet adapters work with an Xbox extender?
post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 
Ok, so I've put a few HD movies on my HTPC and The Roku played the movies BEAUTIFULLY in my bedroom.

The XBOX as an extender, on the other hand, was slow. The screen crawled thru the movie covers, the button's were virtually non responsive and when the movie finally did start playing it was jerky. I'm sure there are tweaks but I'm not keen on wanting to start fiddleing with my HTPC and slow down it's blazing speed that I have now.

So is a dedicated extender like what is offered by "Assassin" head and heels bettter that just adding a Roku? I know they are 3x the price but that doesn't bother me if the features & picture is that much better.

Thougts?

PS: Both the Roku & the XBox are Wifi connected
post #6 of 8
when you say HD movies, where did you get them? Did you make them? Are they remuxed bluray discs or recompressed files? Not all HD video files are created equal. Some are much smaller in average bitrate than others, which would help wifi playback.

Are you using Windows Media Center to play the files on the xbox or the default media player? Wifi was impossible for me to use to get through the WMC menus, let alone play video.

The 360 is a lousy media player period. Do you need live tv? 360 does that great.

Assassin and Vidabox "extenders" are really just small form factor low power pc's that dont have anything they don't need to playback video. So they would play your video library really well (provided you have enough network bandwidth to accomplish that). Using them as part of a whole house DVR solution may or may not work, depending on your cable provider.

Windows Media Extenders, on the other hand, should be primarily thought of as ways to share your TV tuner. They all play other media files, but none of them can play the entire wide range of containers, codecs, and bitrates that are in common use.

Digital Media Players (like a Roku, Boxee Box, WDTV Live, Patriot Box Office) are mostly aimed at playing video files. Contrast that with WMC extenders which are aimed at TV playback.

I am unfamiliar with the newer Roku's video playback capabilities (my mom has the older model for basically Netflix only). Can it natively play the files you have, or is it using something like Plex to change your file into something it understands on the fly? That is another explanation as to why the file works over wifi on the Roku but not the 360.
post #7 of 8
Thread Starter 
They are my DVD disk's, and regular DVD or BLu-Ray's that I own.
Used AutoRipnCompress with MakeMKV & no compression

Using WMC Extender on XBox. No Live TV needed at this time for me.

" Can it natively play the files you have, or is it using something like Plex to change your file into something it understands on the fly? " I'm using Plex on the Roku
post #8 of 8
I'm fairly certain Plex is compressing your video on the fly. You will be able to confirm that by looking at your CPU usage when the Roku is playing a bluray movie. If cpu usage is relatively high Plex is transcoding/compressing. Also, Roku does not list MPEG2 as a supported video codec. That is your entire DVD library - it has to be converting it.

http://support.roku.com/entries/423946-what-media-file-types-does-the-roku-usb-media-player-channel-support

That would also explain why you are having fairly good luck with wifi - those are relatively low bitrates and a good wifi network could possibly support that.

If playing back video files is really what your'e after, another small PC or a digital media player capable of playing your files untouched will be what you really want to get the best possible quality. Plex is probably stripping some of that out for the Roku. I can almost guarantee though that you will never get reliable full bitrate remuxed blurays over wifi.
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