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HTPC serving multiple rooms

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September 13, 2009 3:28:56 PM

Hi All

Hope this is in the correct category please move if not...

I currently have a media centre in the front room which has all my movies and music and a blu ray drive (i dont use it for tv or recording). Then I have a low spec PC in the bedroom which I stream movies from the main media centre.

Basically i'm looking to upgrade and want to move to a central server solution, ideally with nothing(i.e. just send the image) or an extreemly low spec device at the "front end".

So far my idea is using a dual graphics card each with a HDMI to Cat5 adapter and run a lenght of cable to either room, however this wont allow me independant usage (i.e. what 2 movies at same time).

In addition I use XBMC with an IPod for remote control which allows me to control playback of music without the TV on and would like to retain that functionality which kind of outrules using a simple media streaming device (does it?)

Has anyone got any ideas on how to achieve this networked environment with a powerful central server and simple cheap front ends that are capable of playing back 1080p (not a requirement immediately but trying to future proof as I add more rooms). In an ideal world the transmission would be wireless to save running cable everywhere (I have 802.11n currently).

Thanks!
September 13, 2009 11:05:56 PM

Have you ever thought of N.A.S.?

The Dlink DNS-323 or DNS-321 are very good servers with DIR-655 router and up.

So check your router what works best with it.
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September 14, 2009 6:42:18 AM

Yes I was looking at a netgear readynas at one point however I would still need PC based "front ends" to play media and blu ray. I wanted to achieve a central place to do that and stream it to the PC's.

My router has gigabit ethernet.

Thanks for the reply though
September 14, 2009 6:42:49 AM

sorry I meant stream to the TV'S not PC's
September 14, 2009 11:01:27 PM

What kind of upgrading do you want to do, replace some parts or replace the whole Media PC?

When you say front room, you mean living room?


You can build a SFF or just stick a ps3 in there.
September 15, 2009 5:04:41 AM

If I have to replace it to make it powerful enough to become the "server" then so be it, but its not so much the spec that is my question more the infrastructure. Yes front room is living room (sorry UK speak!)

I wanted to steer away from a PC alltogether. PS3 is no good due to its poor format support (unless you know something I dont) and isnt a "cheap" front end.

Ideally I want a device that literally just relays the video over a wireless connection but it seems they are all £600+ for ones that support HD so was wondering if there was an alternative way of getting the "remote display" type set up.
September 22, 2009 11:45:47 PM

I use my PS3 to play music, watch pictures and movies and works just fine. Supports acc, atrac, wma, jpg, avi, mp3, and mp4 however I don't know the maximum bitrates for music it's capable of. Most cases I use my CD anyway.

Unfortunately, I don't know any wireless system that I'm comfortable of using, movie freeze very now and then, especially hi-def. And right now they're expensive.
September 22, 2009 11:54:43 PM

If you mean file server then it does not need to be powerful but you would need transmission speed, you need LAN not Wi-Fi.
September 23, 2009 11:24:36 AM

I have gigabit lan and wireless N everywhere which has so far been fine for HD...

I think I may have found what im after with an app called plugplayer on the ipod. It remotely controls where from and to upnp devices stream on the network. So a simple file server and media streamer would work, but i would have to get a dedicated blu ray player.
!