Best device for playback to replace my current setup? (New HTPC or NAS or Shield or?)


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Sep 10, 2013
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My current living room set up is:

HTPC (i5-6600k Geforce 1650 Super) - this is used to download, store and playback content upto HDR and Atmos via MadVR, MPC-HC.

The HTPC goes to my Denon 3200 and 2016 LG OLED, it also feeds an MSI Ultrawide Monitor and an LG 1080p monitor. Everything works fine - madVR turns on HDR automatically, refresh rate switches etc

I'm now working from home for foreseeable future and my home office desk is right next to the TV/HTPC. I have a Lenovo Legion laptop with Ryzen cpu and 1650 Nvidia - so the laptop is faster than my desktop. The laptop is also connected to the two monitors but doesn't have a way to connect it to the Denon (as far as I am aware). The laptop goes via USB-C to the MSI and HDMI to the LG 1080p monitor, audio is from the laptops internal speakers.

The PC is now 6 years old and is starting to have some hardware issues, I recently replaced the CPU fan and am tempted to buy a new PC/barebones bundle with a more modern CPU, slot the GPU in etc. That would cost me £500-600. The advantage of a newer PC would perhaps be using more quality features of MadVR (I'm not a gamer) HOWEVER, I'm also tempted by a new TV and feel like there'd be a bigger quality jump going from a 2016 OLED to a 2021 OLED.

However, if there was a way to connect the laptop to the AVR then I could replace the PC with the laptop which would require some kind of external storage solution because the laptop only has 250gb SSD. I currently have a 6tb and 4tb 3.5" SATA drives in the desktop PC.

I need the laptop-AVR connection in order to use the laptop as my daily machine, so that I can listen to music via my AVR etc. I'm not sure if a HDMI splitter would work to feed the laptops HDMI output to both the 1080p 120hz monitor and the Denon? Edit: apparently there are HDMI audio extractors that may do what I need?

Presumably the best solution would be a NAS, I've never owned or looked into these seriously. But presumably any files downloaded would be stored onto the NAS and the laptop would still play them back via MPC-HC/MadVR?

And then owning a NAS opens the door to buying a Shield Pro which presumably would offer 'simpler' full HDR playback without the need to configure madVR etc and potentially even Dolby Vision support?

I also recently got a Chromecast with Google TV via a Google Voucher - I did install Plex on both the HTPC (as server) and the CCGTV, it worked fine (apart from no Atmos) the first night but ever since playing back 4k stuff just buffers constantly. And it seems pointless streaming from a device which is next to and plugged into TV already.

Hopefully I've explained the current situation clearly, it makes my head hurt trying to write everything out
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On the Plex server end, see if you can "direct play" - I found it somewhere in settings.
If the computer is directly connected to the screen, I assume Plex will push the video through that instead of the lan.

This may get rid of juddering.

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