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I need help with media hub options

Last response: in Storage
December 25, 2010 1:31:44 PM

I’m in need of help, as I know very little about the NAS technology but can easily explain what I would like.

I would like to have a media hub that supports content sharing, imaged backups of my Mac, itunes media server, shares content with all of my HD media players, and allows printing capabilities from any computer on my network. I guess I also need some way to backup the media hub. I’m still confused on the terminology. Am I describing a media hub, NAS, or a media server?

2 Computers - intel mac, windows XP(don’t need or use this much), ipod touch
3 TVs
• New Samsung(DLNA, has built in netflix, hulu,etc…..) – works with mac, per some server that I downloaded. The UI is not pretty to look at, doesn’t handle playlists. I assume per DLNA capabilities that I can play movies from any DLNA compliant Media hub.
• Another low-end Samsung TV that has Roku HD attached. Can this device display content from a media hub(NAS)?
• Another TV with soon to be PS 3 attached. This device will display content, right?

I don’t where to start to find an NAS device that supports what I want. I would be willing to pay $500 for such of device if it really works

There you go. Can you help or point me in the right direction?


More about : media hub options

December 27, 2010 8:16:40 PM

a media hub that supports content sharing, imaged backups of my Mac, itunes media server, shares content with all of my HD media players, and allows printing capabilities from any computer on my network.

Personally, I would favour an HTPC-style build. You could stay below the 500 dollar mark simply because it doesn't sound like it is actually playing the (potentially hi-def) video, simply acting as a server, and storage-source of files.

Content Sharing - easy, just set up network sharing and use your preferred OS.

Imaged backups - also easy, just store em in a folder anywhere you want, again with preferred OS

media server - see above

shares content with HD media players - not sure how this differs from the first pointer

printing capabilities - also easy!

Couple of things to consider (that will also drive up your costs):

1) Processor and video card.
These should be chosen based on your intentions. If you'll be playing video directly from this machine, or using it to do on-the-fly encoding, such as using PS3 Media Server, you'll want to invest more here

2) Amount of Storage.
1.5TB hard drives are dirt cheap now, but if you're like me, and tend to be a packrat about media/backups, I'd suggest either going with a BIG case and PSU that can fit and cool several hard drives, or a very small case, with an external solution for storage (a hard drive bay, NAS, or just a bunch of external hard drives).

Personally, I have a low-profile mATX computer, with e-SATA hard drive bays hidden away out of site. Not necessarily the cheapest solution, but ideal for my wants.

3) Size and Locaton.
If you're planning on stashing this away in a closet or something, then size isn't an issue. If, like me, it's hooked up to your TV, size, noise and location all become a concern.
December 27, 2010 8:22:58 PM

A second solution is to simply buy one of those little Apple TV type machines, and put all the storage on a pre-existing computer. This also means your printer will need to be shared from a previous computer, or via a router that supports it.

This solution would mean:
- Your previous computer needs to be on 100% of the time
- Hard drive bays/NAS may be necessary.
- Not all media files would be supported (mileage may vary depending on the front end box you get, but I have yet to see one that supports everything)

The pro is it is definitely cheaper, but far more limiting.

Personally, I like the advantage of having an HTPC hooked up to my TV. I can watch movies (in any format), TV shows, play games (both for PC, or by way of emulator), browse the net, etc

It's also nice to have a dedicated machine that is always on that isn't in a bedroom, and I can load all the "not often used" hardware, like my printer, out in the other room.

Again, there's no right answer. For 500 bucks, the HTPC route would be far more scalable if your needs change/expand in the future, imho.