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After reading for one month, still lost

787 Views 6 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  Laserfan
I have been reading posts just in this forum for the past month and I am still where I started. I have the need to store and share digital media around the house, that's all. But first things first, I haven't gotten the terminologies straight yet.

The digital bus for sharing media will be a network, wireless preferred. The content on the bus will be...well 0s and 1s, what else. There will be this device that will be a network element storing all the media. At the request of someone else on the network, a client possibly, that device will serv up the media without doing any funky things with the 0s and 1s, it's not his job. This storage device also will protect my content from disk failure.

The clients can do anything they want with their 0s and 1s they receive from the digital bus. They can try to display them, give them to a audio receiver for producing sound, or whatever..

It seems devices that are being discussed here are all duplicating lot of functionalities. That's understandable because everyone wants to grab the market before anyone else. Who is the server, who is the client, who is the thick server, who is the thin server, who is the thick client, who is the thin client, I have no idea. How do you define thick or thin? I have no idea.

I saw a spreadsheet with a bunch of devices along with what they do, are these servers, clients or both? If they are servers then how many I have to buy? If they are clients then how many do I buy? If they are both then how many do I buy? I have no idea.

Help me.
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When you are shopping for a car these days, it's a straightforward exercise. You decide how much you want to pay and what features you want. And then you shop. The real resaon that car shopping (like most other product shopping) is easy is because we all know what cars are...and what cars are not. Digital Media Servers are not cars. In fact no one can presently really define them in general because the product catagory "Digital Media Servers" is changing rapidly as each new product is offered.

You asked what is the server and what is the client. The answer is that some products are servers:


some products are clients:


...and some products are both (PC running Windows XP Media Edition)

Some clients (e.g. Mediagate MG-35) have their own local storage options so that the client does not require a server for media storage.

I have just received my MediaGate MG-35 with an included 250 GB hard drive. I am currently ripping my DVD collection and will be able to store about 30% of my collection on the Mediagate's local hard drive. I will most likely buy a Buffalo NAS (see above link) in the future to hold the rest of my collection. I like this approach because it gets me up and running at low cost (MG-35 with 250 GB was about $250 USD) and provides for a way to grow storage as I please at a time of my own choosing.

I hope this helps...

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Thanks Smoke, that gives me a good start. I was thinking about starting with the Media Storage solution first. A so called File Server with Raid option that any or most Media Players (thick or thin) can talk to. I would have liked to then start to convert/copy all my DVDs, CDs, downloaded music, etc..onto the File Server using my PC.
I'm setting up my second server/client system soon now. I started with a gateway ADC-320 and my homebuilt pc (slow, not MCE). That system never really worked so I'm moving on, probably to a linkplayer. Eventually I am thinking I'll get all my content onto a NAS with a server (probably a linkstation). I decided to get the client first and still use my PC because it get's me instant gratification (new client = new way to see HD !!). If you don't have a time constraint I'd look at waiting a month or two. There is a new box coming out from TVIX (DVICO) another from MediaGate, and the Zensonic Z500 is supposedly shipping in limited numbers. All of these are supposed to do things current generation can't (the most requested seem to be DVD menus, and native TS/TP/TY stream support although I'm a little fuzzy on that one). Even with the limited nature of the ADC-320, it is really cool to watch all of your computer content on your HT setup, so it's definetly worth it.
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Charlie, you are on the same track as I am, currently using my PC for everything including HDTV recording and watching on my PJ. I have about 10,000 downloaded mp3 songs sitting on the hard disk. If the hard disk crashes I am toast..

For me,, server means just a plain File Server and will have a processor but not a Media Processor. The Client will have a Media Processor but may or may not have hard disk. Some people are using Media Players as Media Storage also, that's not right.

Also,, I would like to take my Media Player with me when I go on long vacation. In that case, I can copy content from File Server onto the Media Player hard disk and go.

That TVIX box looks very promising. I will wait till it comes out.


I'm looking more toward setting up a wan server for when i'm away. I'm looking at orb to stream to my tablet and or my cell. I'm waiting for vista to come out with pc cable card support (I can only get digital cable). Then I'll replace my PVR with an HTPC. All my content from anywhere seems like a pipe dream.

Right now if you don't think you want to store at the TVIX then take a look at the Zensonic Z500 ( http://www.z500series.com ). Supposed to have a lot of the same functionality, but it looks a little more real (It's shipping in AUS allready. It's looking for distribution in the US and elsewhere. TVIX is delayed over a year allready, and there are rumors of technical issues).

I don't plan on doing a lot of DVD menu rips so I'm looking at the linkplayer. Mostly because it's here allready, and has a proven user base (on this forum). I think that WMV-HD dvd's also have issues, but I haven't got any of those.

My real feeling is that any of these setups will get us close. I think they all will have issues, but if you are creating most of your content I think we'll find a way.
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Originally Posted by jazzy1986
...That TVIX box looks very promising. I will wait till it comes out...
Indeed you should wait on (almost) everything until you get a box & server software to play with. Then you will have a "system" to work with and can begin to try some conversions and play them thru your own TV(s). Every person who is doing this has different ideas about what kind of quality they want, and how much storage they are willing to commit to (higher quality means greater storage space required!).

I have 3 ShowCenter media players (two SD, one HD), and Pinnacle's MediaManager software that ships with them, and I'm very happy with the setup despite some functionality gaps & a few bugs. You will find these with WHATEVER you buy, but you have learn by doing--"reading" has many limitations...

The one thing you should NOT wait on is backing-up those (mostly illegal?) songs you've downloaded. Get them onto data DVDs or a standby-or-shelved hard disc, or you are going to lose them all some day!
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