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I'm new here so please bear with me... I am trying to set up a home theater to connect to my TV and I want all my content (which is stored on hard drives) to be wirelessly accessible to my laptop and PC


So far I bought a TV, the Samsung LN-46A750, and I am planning on buying the Yamaha RX-V663.


I will hook up the TV to the receiver via HDMI.


After that, I am a little bit lost. I have a library of over 400GB of my movies (mostly in .avi) and music. It is located on external hard drives. I want to take all this media and send it to my receiver to watch movies on the TV. How do I go about doing this?


I am thinking about setting up a NAS, so that it is always on, and wirelessly streaming the content through a media center extender. Is this possible or would the wireless cause problems with HD content? If I didn't do it wirelessly, how would I hook the NAS device up to the receiver and would I be installing vista on the NAS?


I am leaning towards Windows Vista Media Center, or otherwise building an HTPC. What do you guys think?


One last thing, would Media Center be able to record and perform all of its features through the RX-V663?? I just want to make sure that I will be able to record, pause, etc... my cable channels.


THANKS IN ADVANCE!
 

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Here's some stream of consciousness that might help you do some educated googling.



First of all I wouldn't bother with wireless if you can avoid it. A wired network with a Gig-E switch in the center is the way to go, imo. You'll never have to worry about glitches or wonder if some funky behavior has to do with those invisible radio waves flying through the air. But, if that is not an option, then be sure to do some research on wireless routers and find the best "N" router you can. BTW, there are other approaches for moving Ethernet around as well such as PowerLine products which carry ethernet over your power lines or MOCA products which carry ethernet over your coax network.


Here's my set up, fwiw:


I have a server PC in the basement running SageTV. This is where my (analog) cable and clear QAM goes and gets distributed to other TVs over ethernet using Sage's HD100 media extenders. Unless you really want a PC in the family room and want to deal with getting the video card and associated codecs to work correctly, I strongly suggest going the "hidden" server + media extenders approach. The server machine is running 24/7 so that it can record at any time. I have a few internal hard drives in there which hold the recorded TV programs, ripped DVDs, and ripped CDs.


The server feeds my Sage HD100s for live TV, recorded TV, movies, online videos and feeds my Squeezeboxes for music. (That said, you can use the HD100 to stream music as well.)


As far as recording stuff that you receive via a cable box, Hauppage's HD-PVR (sp?) can be used to record component output from the cable box. SageTV supports controlling the HD-PVR, etc. so that it supposed to be pretty seamless. I don't have first hand experience with this set up, and although there appear to be a few hoops to jump through, folks on the SageTV forums seem to be generally happy with it.


I hope this gives you some ideas and helps at least a little bit.



Mitch
 

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Discussion Starter #3

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mitch G /forum/post/14325908


Here's some stream of consciousness that might help you do some educated googling.



First of all I wouldn't bother with wireless if you can avoid it. A wired network with a Gig-E switch in the center is the way to go, imo. You'll never have to worry about glitches or wonder if some funky behavior has to do with those invisible radio waves flying through the air. But, if that is not an option, then be sure to do some research on wireless routers and find the best "N" router you can. BTW, there are other approaches for moving Ethernet around as well such as PowerLine products which carry ethernet over your power lines or MOCA products which carry ethernet over your coax network.


Here's my set up, fwiw:


I have a server PC in the basement running SageTV. This is where my (analog) cable and clear QAM goes and gets distributed to other TVs over ethernet using Sage's HD100 media extenders. Unless you really want a PC in the family room and want to deal with getting the video card and associated codecs to work correctly, I strongly suggest going the "hidden" server + media extenders approach. The server machine is running 24/7 so that it can record at any time. I have a few internal hard drives in there which hold the recorded TV programs, ripped DVDs, and ripped CDs.


The server feeds my Sage HD100s for live TV, recorded TV, movies, online videos and feeds my Squeezeboxes for music. (That said, you can use the HD100 to stream music as well.)


As far as recording stuff that you receive via a cable box, Hauppage's HD-PVR (sp?) can be used to record component output from the cable box. SageTV supports controlling the HD-PVR, etc. so that it supposed to be pretty seamless. I don't have first hand experience with this set up, and although there appear to be a few hoops to jump through, folks on the SageTV forums seem to be generally happy with it.


I hope this gives you some ideas and helps at least a little bit.



Mitch

Beautiful post thanks!! Mind me asking how much that set up cost you??


I'm planning on using windows media center, but I'll definitely look into SageTV now! A dedicated server is definitely the way I want to go, and putting it out of sight would be great too... I didn't think about the powerline method at all thanks for reminding me!
 

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It cost too much.


I think when I did the math, the server which consists of 750GB of space for TV recording, DVD rips and music storage, 2 GHz Core2Duo processor, 3 GB RAM, DVD player, and Windows XP and SageTV server license, 2 ATI-550 analog tuners, and and HD Homerun for 2 clear QAM HD tuners, cost about $1000. Then each HD100 extender costs $200.

I run this as a headless setup (i.e. I use VNC to remotely manage the server machine), so I don't have a monitor which saves money.



Mitch
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mitch G /forum/post/14331108


It cost too much.


I think when I did the math, the server which consists of 750GB of space for TV recording, DVD rips and music storage, 2 GHz Core2Duo processor, 3 GB RAM, DVD player, and Windows XP and SageTV server license, 2 ATI-550 analog tuners, and and HD Homerun for 2 clear QAM HD tuners, cost about $1000. Then each HD100 extender costs $200.

I run this as a headless setup (i.e. I use VNC to remotely manage the server machine), so I don't have a monitor which saves money.



Mitch

That sounds about right, I do have a question for you though. Why did you choose to pay for a SageTV license when you have Media Center in XP?? Also, do you know if Sage plays back .avi's? or can you use VLC to play?
 

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The main reason I went with SageTV is simply because of the HD100 media extender. Besides I trust SageTV to enhance their product more that I trust Microsoft.


(Additionally, SageTV has all sorts of customizations available for it from the user community. Personally, I use one customization called SageMC which is very slick.)


As far as AVIs are concerned, I've never played AVIs through the system, but the HD100 specs indicate support for AVIs (as well as various other formats).


Also, you can download SageTV for a 15 day trial if at all interested and they have a very active forum in case you want to read about others' experiences (forums.sagetv.com).



Mitch
 

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Discussion Starter #7

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mitch G /forum/post/14331879


The main reason I went with SageTV is simply because of the HD100 media extender. Besides I trust SageTV to enhance their product more that I trust Microsoft.


(Additionally, SageTV has all sorts of customizations available for it from the user community. Personally, I use one customization called SageMC which is very slick.)


As far as AVIs are concerned, I've never played AVIs through the system, but the HD100 specs indicate support for AVIs (as well as various other formats).


Also, you can download SageTV for a 15 day trial if at all interested and they have a very active forum in case you want to read about others' experiences (forums.sagetv.com).



Mitch

Thanks Mitch, you've been a great help! I was wondering though, how do you connect your server to your TV? Is it through DVI/HDMI, component, VGA??


I ask because I'm connecting my TV to a receiver and want to connect the HTPC/NAS to my receiver instead of directly to the TV. The only reason I'm doing this is because I've mounted my TV to the wall and don't want cables to show, so I ran the HDMI cable through the wall to where the receiver is.
 

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I think you didn't mean to say server, but just in case, let me clarify.

The server is in the basement and connected to my gig-E network and not connected to the TV.

The HD100 media extender is colocated with the TV and connected to the gig-E network and to the TV using HDMI and to my receiver using TOS cable.

But, if I understand correctly, in your case you would have the HD100 connected to the receiver using HDMI.


Mitch
 

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Discussion Starter #9

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mitch G /forum/post/14334271


I think you didn't mean to say server, but just in case, let me clarify.

The server is in the basement and connected to my gig-E network and not connected to the TV.

The HD100 media extender is colocated with the TV and connected to the gig-E network and to the TV using HDMI and to my receiver using TOS cable.

But, if I understand correctly, in your case you would have the HD100 connected to the receiver using HDMI.


Mitch

You got it, I was just trying to find out the technical specs of media extenders but its a real pain haha. Can't find what ports they have so I didn't know if you could plug it in via HDMI.


Thanks for all the help, I don't think I'm going to go with SageTV, depending on what extenders I can find though. The reason is that if I'm going to build a server, and I have a copy of Vista Premium, I may as well use the media center. But, if I can't find an extender as good as the HD100.....
 

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Definitely post your final setup. I would be especially interested if you end up going with another media extender and why because it might drive me to rethink some things at my end.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mitch G /forum/post/14334909


Definitely post your final setup. I would be especially interested if you end up going with another media extender and why because it might drive me to rethink some things at my end.

Will do! I will be putting it together next month though, hope you can wait haha!
 

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Cheapest solution? Old modded xbox's (not 360's), install XBMC and connect them to a network. Since your source content is only DVD's (not bluray or HDDVD), the limitations of the xbox won't matter (inability to display native 720p or 1080i content). The xbox can upscale your DVD's to 720 or 1080i at a cost of about $100 per unit. Find a used one, have it softmodded or install a modchip and you're up and running in about an hour. For more info check out the forums on xbox-scene.com
 

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Discussion Starter #13

Quote:
Originally Posted by justtaint /forum/post/14336757


Cheapest solution? Old modded xbox's (not 360's), install XBMC and connect them to a network. Since your source content is only DVD's (not bluray or HDDVD), the limitations of the xbox won't matter (inability to display native 720p or 1080i content). The xbox can upscale your DVD's to 720 or 1080i at a cost of about $100 per unit. Find a used one, have it softmodded or install a modchip and you're up and running in about an hour. For more info check out the forums on xbox-scene.com

Umm... but I do want to play 1080p... But im sure your right that may be one of the cheapest ways.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mitch G /forum/post/14334271


I think you didn't mean to say server, but just in case, let me clarify.

The server is in the basement and connected to my gig-E network and not connected to the TV.

The HD100 media extender is colocated with the TV and connected to the gig-E network and to the TV using HDMI and to my receiver using TOS cable.

But, if I understand correctly, in your case you would have the HD100 connected to the receiver using HDMI.


Mitch


I've been doing some more research and I think I've changed my mind on the whole HTPC. I'm now thinking between the Popcorn Hour with a Happauge PVR vs istar mini with a Happauge PVR vs TVIX HD-M6500A with a TV Tuner... I think this method would provide a cheaper way as any of these devices can just be hooked up to an external hard drive, while the Popcorn Hour also takes an internal...


The only problem here is that I now have to think of a way to get blu-ray on this! I have a player on my desktop, but switching cables all the time is not going to be fun.
 

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Great thread here, I'm looking past the whole HTPC method also since it isn't as expandable storage wise as I'd like it to be. I imagine myself burning through TB's worth of data in a year EASILY so the whole media server is my best bet I think. It is quite confusing though.
 
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