Best solution for sharing media files over network


Standard Member
Hello all,

I have a rather complicated question which I'm hoping can be solved with a rather simple answer.

I am wanting to share and play my media files (mainly films (HD and SD format), tv shows and music) over my wirelss network using a standard wireless cable router supplied by Virgin Media in the UK.

I want to be able to access a shared folder and stream content on 2 laptops (windows vista and xp), and on my Asus transformer android tablet and on be able to play media directly on my TV.

My TV is a Samsung with dlna but needs to be connected via ethernet cable (router is not likely to be nearby), it also has a usb port and can play files directly from an external harddrive. I also have a wireless xbox 360 which plas through an AV receiver, so would be best if I can use the xbox to play the files.

All my files are currently stored on 1 external 1tb harddrive, and there seems to be about 5 different options I could use, please can someone advise which is best, or offer a completely different solution.

1) Buy better router with as USB port to plug harddrives in and share across the network and be accessed by xbox - problem here means disabling old router's wireless cabability and just using it to pass the signal to the new router to transmit.

2) Buy a NAS device with 2tb internal hdd and copy files to this, this will then connect to the standard router by ethernet cable - fairly expensive option

3) Buy a NAS drive without internal hdd and plug current external hdd via usb - cheaper than option 2, but would this work without internal drives?

4) Buy a digital media streamer which would not only play media directly on tv via hdmi but will also allow access to files over wirelss network - again not sure if this is possible, and what kit would do it?

5) Buy a NAS adapter which will convert and connect my external hdd to the router and therefore wireless network - from reading reviews apparently these things are pretty poor and the speeds glacial, meaning no instant streaming of HD content to the TV/Xbox.

That's the 5 options I seem to have, please advise on the best or something I've missed. Just to add, it is likely my router and TV/Xbox will not be in the same room, so this needs to work wirelessly, obviously same with the laptops and android tablet.

I hope I've made this as clear as possible, any help with be much appreciated.



Distinguished Member
I wouldn't want to stream video over wi-fi if I could avoid it, especially to so many devices and using HD (which usually has higher bandwidth requirements.)

Streaming video wants as reliable a network transport as possible and "reliable" is something wi-fi defintely isn't. Of course, it's doable - I do it myself sometimes, but I know what's up with wifi and am prepared to put up with the glitches. Howver, for my "serious" TV watching, it's cables all the way.

Maybe you should have a look at the HomePlugs FAQ. I don't use them, but they are well spoken of here.

However, that's not what you asked about:

I'd avoid USB connected anything unless there was no other choice. Even then, I'd make sure it was USB 2 or 3. USB 1's data rate is very slow.

A "proper" ethernet (cable) connected NAS would be the best option. And it would be worth ensuring said NAS talks DLNA to keep your TV happy.

It may cost a bit more in the first instance but in the future, you're unlikely to find yourself lamenting that you opted for a cheap option in the frst instance only to spend even more money "fixing" it later on.

Sometimes in IT you just have to bite the bullet and go for a "forklift" upgrade as we know it, even though it seems wasteful in the moment.
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Standard Member
Thanks for the reply.

I am starting to think my old xbox 360 premium isn't goign to cope well and it would be better to use a media streamer. My TV does have dlna, but has to be connected by ethernet cable (would need 20 metres to reach router) and then won't go through my Onkyo AV receiver for the surround sound. So two good options I can see is either buying this:

or spending more and getting sperate devices such as:


Am guessing you would recommend option 2?


Distinguished Member
If your going to use the Sammy TV and x360 then it's best to stick with a PC acting as the server for content because you can use a transcoding DLNA server like Serviio or Mezzmo which will resolve any media compatibility issues automatically.

If your going with a NAS it's best to avoid DLNA altogether and get a network media player with extensive codec support, the WDTV Live or DuneTV are both good entry level models, something a little more high end is the Boxee Box. The Asus players are older generation and not as easy to use as the above ones.

niall campbell

Active Member
Get a NAS with an ethernet and get the TV connected either by CAT 6 cable or get a dongle

the xbox will play Divx and AVi all day long

DLNA is the way forward and you dont need a PC , and DLNA in everything from your TV to xbox, blu ray more and phones with Apps

just get Divx or AVi files

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