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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am looking for some kind of media server for a Yatch. Finding the right media server is kind of tricky because of the limitations we have while traveling. Some of these limitations are:


-Almost no internet connection. I will have internet connection during setup, but once installed I will be limited to shared connection from my phone. (If in a coverage area)

-Limited space, as there is in any boat. Keep in mind that I will be replacing a full 200 CD changer with this device. So there is plenty of space for the device itself. But I don't think I would have space for a computer.

-Movement. Well... that's what boats do... the are in constant motion... This one is a large boat, but it still moves and from time to time it does get slammed pretty hard. I am not looking for something that would survive a 10 foot drop, but it should be able to handle some movement.

-Used by non-techies. This should be operable by someone who doesn't know how to use a computer that well. For example, people shouldn't have to go through folders, but something like the itunes interface would be nice.

-Power - The boat loses power constantly.


Those were the limitations, this is what I need:


-The most important thing is being able to store and play HD music thorugh our 5.1 Suround Receiver. I just bought a yamaha Avertage rx-a820. I know it is capable of streaming music, but I don't think it matches everything I need. I haven't given it a try, but I would still need to figure out where to store the media.

-Being able to play Blue Rays would be nice. We currently have over 100 DVDs/Blue Rays and 200+ CDs... they take a lot of space and space is important!

-Posibility of recording a new CD easily (Optional, but would make my life easier). If it can be done with blue rays as well... that would be nice... but I doubt it...

-Ability to control it from long range... (Optional) It would be nice to be able to use it with a waterproof controller. If that is not an option... maybe from an iPad/iPhone.



Budget:


The budget for this device is around $1.5k USD (sort of flexible). It can be one or two devices in case one is needed for music and another for movies.
 

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are you referring to a "yacht" ? Most media streamers run off of flash drives but need some sort of NAS storage for audio and video files. I doubt most of us have any experience running media streamers on yachts. I believe I remember reading about a mega-yacht with a large number of Sonos zones in the sonos forum, but have no details. Sonos is audio only. I don't know if you will be able to find a file server and disk drives that can withstand the rocking and the wave movement of the ocean. Unless we are talking a "mega-yacht" .
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Yes, sorry. It is a Yacht. My first language is not english and it is not a word I use often.


I actually wasn't thinking about adding audio to the rooms, just the living room but I might expand this proyect into building a centralized server with media streamers in each room. Maybe I can mount the server in something that adds protection against the movement. I think building a NAS out of SSDs would be too expensive, but it might work if I go the audio only server route. I don't think cabling would be an issue. I should be able to run Cat5e/Cat6 to each room.


^Thanks for the comment mjt5282, it gave me some sort of direction
 

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These threads created that list some sort of impossible (ok, maybe highly improbable...) demands are hard to answer. Over the years, I've found that Sonos is easy for non-techies and popular once people sign up for streaming services like Rhapsody or SiriusXM . This sort of implies constant broadband internet. And is only for audio. For only $1,500 you might get three zones. On the plus side, there won't be much wifi interference in the water I guess, but you will only be able to play music on the local LAN (Sonos in this case requires SMB server such as WD Live Duo or somesuch and a LAN router/switch).


Video however, requires a large amount of disk storage (especially for Blu Ray discs (I have around 200 and it takes up 4.5 Tbytes on my home SMB server). And it requires a PC to Rip the disk into a format the streamer can understand. I recommend Dune SMART series to people wanting to get into streaming, easy interface, works with anything I throw at it, but still requires a SMB or NFS server to be fully functional unless you have a bunch of USB disks which isn't what I want to mess around with at home.


For entertainment on your yacht, I would recommend bringing along beautiful women and swimming, snorkeling, jet skiing (if your yacht is big enough). Unless you are trying to live at sea, My humble opinion is that the streamers are for the mansion (maybe Sonos ... but from what I've read about yacht power it is unstable and liable to break laptops, PC's, SMB servers when the power surges). There was an informative article on slashdot a few years ago about the logistics of bringing a laptop on a around the world journey on a boat. Try to avoid the pirates in the Indian ocean. Good luck with your quest.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by DJWikiera  /t/1472314/need-advice-finding-a-good-media-streaming-solution-for-a-yatch#post_23307400


How about one of these WD TV Live Hub . Everything in one small package and cost effective. Load up the hard drive on dry land and your ready to go.

It could work. The Hub now comes in either a 1tb version or 2tb. I use a 1tb Hub in my car connected to a built in DVD player and it works fine bouncing down Michigan roads!
 

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With all the movement on a boat, I would use solid state drives for media storage. They come in sizes up to 1 terabyte now.
 

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Mac Mini as server with AppleTV's as clients (up to 5 will work)

* Mac Mini required to run iTunes to act as Homesharing server

* simple UI with coverart

* ATV's have wireless no need to run ethernet

* ATV's are very low power devices like 2-3w in standby and 5-6w in use, no moving parts either.

* Can be controlled with iOS Remote app from Apple.

* Can play music too and multi-room.

* ATV's supports Dolby 5.1 in m4v video containers, ALAC/AAC/MP3 audio in M4A.


The downside to this approach is that you must convert everything into m4v videos files, the Mac Mini could help do this but it is a tedious task. The upside to converting is the files will be small so you can fit a lot more into the hard drive on the Mini or use an external USB drive, secondly they will be playable over wireless.


If going with the Apple plan get yourself IVI software to handle conversion of movies, it also integrates them into iTunes, you will also need MakeMKV to decrypt DVD/Blu-ray (it's free) and a USB DVD/Blu-ray drive to hook up to the Mac Mini.


I would also second the suggestion of getting SSD drives instead of mechanical HDD's, though these will eat into your budget. A low end bottom of the barrel Windows PC could also suffice as an iTunes server but I wouldn't recommend it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Apple would be an OK solution, but I am not a fan of how they work. I rather build my own HTPC than deal with apple. From what I have researched Sonos is very similar to Apple. The NUC seems very interesting the Olive seems fancy but maybe flimsy. I guess I should continue researching until I find a better solution.
 

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Sonos does not do video. The NUC is a PC that has a tendency to overheat.


Something usable by non-techies is going to be difficult with something self built. HTPC's require constant maintenance just like any PC , on top of that there is the power draw, lack of dedicated remote etc and PC's do not like sudden power cuts (that is a recipe for trouble).


For example if you went with XBMC minimal linux distro like Openelec running on a HTPC to minimize maintenance, even if you got that you wont get multi-room audio and XBMC's iOS/Android remote only work with one box, so you connect to one XBMC instance to control it but if you go to another room you must disconnect then connect to the other XBMC device to control that. XBMC does not have a central server system either. You could go with a DLNA solution but you wont get the fancy UI on tablets apps.


If you want the least fussy solution then Apple is the way to go, just hold your nose if not a fan ;-)
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alx330  /t/1472314/need-advice-finding-a-good-media-streaming-solution-for-a-yatch#post_23317876


HTPC's require constant maintenance just like any PC.

[...]

If you want the least fussy solution then Apple is the way to go, just hold your nose if not a fan ;-)

An apple computer is still a computer though :/ That is my problem with that solution. I can tolerate Apple TV, iPhones and iPads, but not their computer line. But my opinion about the system is not important. I am sure the more frequent users of the system would love an apple device.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by silentseba  /t/1472314/need-advice-finding-a-good-media-streaming-solution-for-a-yatch#post_23320751


An apple computer is still a computer though :/ That is my problem with that solution. I can tolerate Apple TV, iPhones and iPads, but not their computer line. But my opinion about the system is not important. I am sure the more frequent users of the system would love an apple device.

Yes but the computer is only the central server which minimizes the issues all the clients are low power embedded Arm devices (AppleTV's), going with a HTPC in each room is a bad idea in my opinion. You can stick a UPS on the Mac Mini and in the even of power cut tell it to shut down, the AppleTV clients dont need that level of protection.


You could use a Windows PC as the central server but iTunes sucks on Windows, it's buggy and unreliable whereas on a Mac you can just leave it run 24/7. Plus the IVI software which converts movies and merges them into the iTunes media library is only available for OSX so it needs a Mac, you can do the same on Windows but it takes a few applications to get the same result and it's a lot more work.



Another option is Plex but this needs an internet link to scrape media to build the media library, buy a decent Synology x86 NAS to run Plex media server, the Synology is linux based and will take a couple of HDD's, it has a nice UI to manage the NAS.

Then get something to run Plex clients;

* Samsung or LG Blu-ray disc player - can play discs, but will have Cinavia DRM built in, this will kill the audio track on movies which has the watermark.

* GoogleTV - best Plex set top box client but will need internet access to acquire Plex client.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Update: I bought a Synology NAS that was on sale @ Newegg (sale is over booooo) and added 2 X 4TB Drives to it. It has an iTunes server, so I can use it that way if I go the Apple TV route....
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by silentseba  /t/1472314/need-advice-finding-a-good-media-streaming-solution-for-a-yatch#post_23338049


Update: I bought a Synology NAS that was on sale @ Newegg (sale is over booooo) and added 2 X 4TB Drives to it. It has an iTunes server, so I can use it that way if I go the Apple TV route....

You cant I'm afraid, that is not a real iTunes server.


Various NAS makers have been deliberately deceiving customers for years with that, the "iTunes server" is really the Firefly media server which was originally developed for use with pre-Homesharing iTunes clients. Development on Firefly stopped circa 2006/2007 when it was abandoned and it only ever worked (badly) with desktop iTunes, it does not work with iOS devices.


Homesharing uses your AppleID to authenticate the connection between iTunes and the iOS device, no software other than iTunes can do that.



What you might be able to do with the Synology is use it's DSVideo and DSAudio iOS apps, these can push media to Airplay/DLNA renderers. Synology's Videostation service has some basic jukebox/media library features which might be good enough.


There are plenty of cheap basic media players like a WDTV Live for instance handles almost all media types so use that to push media to from DSVideo.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by silentseba  /t/1472314/need-advice-finding-a-good-media-streaming-solution-for-a-yatch#post_23346944


I tried doing a test run streaming an MKV to my PS3, but it is not displaying subtitles using the media server on the synology.

1) PS3 does not support the MKV container

2) PS3 does not support subtitles in that container.


The Synology media server is real time remuxing the video swapping the container from MKV to something like TS so the PS3 can play it (as it supports those codecs in that container) but it cant overcome the lack of support for codec x,y,z or lack of subtitles support.


PS3 can display embedded soft subtitles but only with .divx container and the .divx format is the older MPEG-4 ASP video format aka DivX.


WDTV Live will play MKV natively and display subtitles embedded with MKV.


PS3 will play H.264/M4V, H.264/TS (variants like M2TS, MTS), MPEG2/MPG, VC-1/WMV, MPEG4/AVI, MPEG4/DIVX.
 
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