im not an expert, but rpping dvds to hdd disk and then installing dvd software on the mcahines that want to view it should work. would be interested how to get 5.1 mix around the house, or is it just a case of pluggin into a 5.1 amp from the digital outs on the pcs?
hopes this helps anyway!
It seems to come down to available bandwidth. On a fixed network (Cat 5 cable) set at 100Mbit/s I have no problem streaming a DVD from one machine to another, using either PowerDVD or the s/w player for the X-Card. Drop the bandwidth to 10Mbit/s and I've found that your more likely to see stuttering especially on high bit rate DVD's as the reduced bandwidth available struggles to cope with the traffic.
I haven't had chance to try a wireless network but I would expect you would need to use 802.11a/g (max 54Mbit/s) devices. The latest 802.11b D-Link kit that offers a max 22Mbit/s may work but only over short distances.
Check your network status. In XP open Network Connections and right click on the live network connection and select status.
If you using a hub or switch ensure it supports 100Mbit/s otherwise your network cards will drop back to 10Mbit/s.
I've been wanting to try this, but my laptop, where the drive i'd like to use is situated, it networked with a USB thingy, not enough bandwidth. What bandwidth is PCMCIA, anyone know? that would be the easy solution. Or else I suppose I could p2p network the laptop via it's firewire port.
IMO the easiest way to get your second PC to access the dvd drive in the first is to map it as a network drive. Then point your dvd software at the network drive.
To map a network drive:
Right click on network neighbourhood on the desktop and select Map network drive. Type the path as \\NAMEOFPC1\d\ replacing the d with the drive letter of the dvd drive in PC1 and the name part with the network name of PC1. Then select a drive letter for the network drive eg X: Now open your dvd software and set it up but when it asks you to give it the location of your dvd drive type X: (or whatever letter you assigned in the mapping process.
If you have any problems following this just ask - i'm not the best at explaining things clearly