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Sharing Media Across Home Network

1307 Views 6 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  AYColumbia
Greetings all,

I just recently completed a HTPC build using Assassin's HTPC Member Guides (great resources! - thanks Ben) and am trying to develop a good home network media sharing strategy. After researching and reading numerous postings, I have managed to thoroughly confuse myself and need the recommendations from those who have implemented a good setup. I have a simple home network of three PC's to which I have just added the HTPC and a HDHomeRun Prime tuner. Media storage for movies is on the HTPC hard drive. Music and picture media resides on one of the PC's in the Public Music and Picture folders. The PC's are running Windows 7 and have a couple of user accounts each.

In preparation for adding additional network HTPC's (extenders) that will use the assortment of media, should I use a Homegroup (library sharing?), individual folder sharing, or some other strategy? I'd like to keep the strategy somewhat generic (i.e., public folders, non-user accounts, etc.). Also want read-only permissions.

I would greatly appreciate any recommendations as to what has worked well for individuals as I did not want to have to change my overall strategy later down the road. Thanks again.
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I was using Nero MediaHome Essentials for a long time as it's easy to use. Recently, Oppo support mentioned oShare so I decided to check it out and it doesn't get any easier than this. Very simple to set up and free. Last year, I had 8 500MB and 2 250MB drives sitting around and decided to build a simple server for media for the lowest price I can get away with ($240). I have individual folders for movies, tv, photos and music. The oShare server software is not configurable other than adding your folders, but it's very simple and does what you need for simplicity.

Keep in mind that if you need transcoding (on the fly re-encoding of files your DLNA device cannot play) you'll have to go with DLNA server software that transcodes like PlayOn or TVersity and so on.

I'm using oShare exclusively now because not only does it support all my videos, but it supports flac audio which MediaHome Essentials does not. oShare streams only, so no transcoding but all my files can be played natively on my DLNA devices.

The built-in Windows streaming seems to be a big pain in the a$$ from everything I've read and from first-hand experience. But others find it works fine, so I'm not going to knock it since it does work well for others.

Have fun and good luck!
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Thanks for the reply. I am not familiar with oShare but will check it out. It sounds like you are using a network server strategy. I was really not intending to go in that direction as I have 2TB in the HTPC and 2 x 640 GB in the PC's, however I'll see if that would better meet my needs with oShare or something similar. Thanks again.
If all pc's have Windows 7 just use Homegroup. It doesn't get any easier then that.

Personally I just use folder sharing since my server is running Windows XP and my clients are running WIndows 7. I have a Movies folder and a Cartoons folder (for now). I can set them to read only if i wanted to. But I don't since one of the clients also serves as a Bluray / DVD to mp4 converter. This way it's easier to just drag and drop the files once they are converted.
You can use oShare on ANY Windows PC. You don't need a dedicated server. That's just the route I chose to go, but I could have used any of my PCs. Just stick your media in folders, point oShare to them and you're done.
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