Home Network for Multimedia

This kind of crosses into multiple different topics, but hoping some of the experts here can lend some guidance on a network setup for streaming. I'm looking to move to more of a streaming process for my multimedia. Goal here is to create a network solution that allows me to stream multimedia files to

Current Setup is two rooms, next to each other.

Shuttle SX58J3
Intel i7
WD Raptor 250GB HD (Boot Drive)
2TB WD Caviar Green HD (2x)

FIOS Wireless Router with 4 Wired Ports

Living Room
Panasonic P60S30 60" Plasma
Denon AVR-2112CI
Western Digital HDTV Live
XBox 360

Wireless Devices
iPad 2
Work Laptop

Basically, I have all of my movies and music on my current computer, using the 2TB WD drives. To watch a movie on my plasma in the living room, I copy it onto an external drive and connect that external drive to a WDTV HD Live. That process is lengthy and kind of problematic as the copy of the file to the portable drive often gets corrupted and the WDTV won't play it or hangs. So then I have to copy the file back to the drive again and it works fine. I'm looking for a cleaner solution to share my multimedia throughout the house.

I currently have one ethernet cable running to the living room and basically have to move it between devices when I need one of them on the network (the AVR, WD HDTV Live, and XBox 360 all have ethernet ports). So really I'm looking at two or three things:

1) What is the best way to tie the living room into the network? Nothing there now is wireless as-is. Some have wireless accessories, but not really interested in that route. Figuring there's less latency and better speeds by just adding a four port gigabit router or switch to the living room. Benefit of the router would be upgrading to a Wireless N standard, instead of the 802.11g that I think the FIOS router uses. But the router I'm looking it is around $190 (Netgear N900) and a gigabit switch seems to run around $50. I hear the Netgear GS605 has a high failure rate, so any opinions on a good gigabit switch? And any opinions on going router vs switch?

2) Best way to share media across the network? Windows Home Server? NAS? Windows 7 Media Center? I'd kind of prefer to move the large file storage out of the Shuttle PC and into something with some redundancy (already lost 2TB of files previously when two other drives died on me). Also, I had originally intended to use the XBox to stream from the Shuttle as a Windows 7 Media Center Extender, there are a number of problems with streaming MKV HD files to extenders (http://markknijnenburg.blogspot.com/2011/01/windows-7-media-center-xbox360.html) without transcoding. Not sure if that issue's been fixed yet, but I know the WDTV hasn't had any issues playing the MKV files. Of course with the iPhone and iPad, I've got all my music managed by iTunes at the moment, so I'm sure that adds some complexity to the sharing of my music. Any thoughts guys?

If it matters, the CPU is a i7 930 and my GPU is an ATI 5700 series.

Also I forgot to mention that I'm looking at building an HTPC to replace my FIOS DVR (using a Ceton cable card tuner). Unfortunately I'm in one of the FIOS markets that got sold to Frontier and what's left of the tv service is a shell of what Verizon offered/offers. Mentioning that now in case it will impact the approach to the sharing of video files.
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  1. Emerald said:

    I actually looked at the 3700 and a review on Maximum PC said they got faster speeds on the 4500 (ie N900). Thoug it sounds as though the 3700 was their router of choice prior to this 4500 coming along. Review for reference: http://www.maximumpc.com/article/reviews/netgear_wndr4500_wi-fi_router_review

    That said, are the faster speeds and any other new features significant enough to warrant the much higher price? I don't mind future proofing myself to sme degree...just so long as there's actually something worth the extra money and not just a bunch of hype for something that's slightly newer.
  2. I have not seen to many wireless devices that can due 450Mb.

    also the slowest link to stream video from the internet is the internet connection and it works usually fine with a 300Mb wireless
  3. Emerald said:
    I have not seen to many wireless devices that can due 450Mb.

    also the slowest link to stream video from the internet is the internet connection and it works usually fine with a 300Mb wireless

    I'm not streaming over the internet, just on the LAN.
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