Help....Recommend a Setup Please

Discussion in 'Video Streaming Boxes & Services' started by Barney McGrew, Aug 21, 2012.

  1. Barney McGrew

    Barney McGrew
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    Hi, fairly new to all this but am wanting to have a go at setting up some kind of home network. At present I have lots of music, photos and films stored on an external HDD. To access these on my TV, im currently connecting this to my laptop through USB then from laptop to TV via HDMI. I was previously using my PS3 and a USB stick but many of my files now are MKV and the PS3 does not recognise them.

    I was planning on purchasing another 2tb external drive to back everything up and continue to carry on the way I am but after looking around I feel i may be aswell trying to set up a home network.

    To try and keep things short, i would like to be able watch all my files on main TV but at some point in future be able to access these files on different tvs around the house. Would a WD Live Hub be suitable for this?

    Also, i would like to be able to access the HDD when away from home, for this I was thinking a WD My Book Live? Would this be do-able giving I dont have DLNA equipped TVs? Would Homeplugs be an alternative solution.

    Hopefully Im on the right track but any help greatly appreciated.
     
  2. next010

    next010
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    First off accessing video files remotely is a tricky thing to do, there are many factors in play that could make it not work unless you have very fast upload/download links on both ends. Speed issues aside simply setting it all up can also be complicated.

    The easy option - Plex.
    Plex is a media server which scans content and keeps track of across multiple clients, so you can pick up in one room where you left off which makes it ideal for multi-room setups. It also can transcode content so it is playable on any device and also acts as a DLNA server for devices without a Plex client. Lastly it also has a MyPlex service which can automatically make your media available over the internet from your local Plex server to your Plex client on your tablet/smartphone.

    Sounds pretty nifty but the catch is that to do transcoding you need a PC/Mac running the Plex server as transcoding video needs a powerful CPU, you can get Plex on select NAS from Synology or Netgear but it wont be able to transcode video. You will need to transcode video for using Plex on tablets or smartphones & internet remote access of such media.

    So this would be a very easy and very slick setup but a very expensive one, you'd need a PC or Mac running as the server (I'd lean towards a Mac Mini £530 for low noise and it has a good CPU) plus for Plex clients the GoogleTV Plex app is considered the best option as it does not need to transcode video & has fast GUI, the Sony NSZ-GS7 is £200. There is a cheaper option via a Roku set top box but the Plex app is much slower and basic on these plus needs to transcode video.

    The cheap option - stick with PS3.
    1) Use MKV2MP4 on MKV files, this will repackage (not convert) the video/audio into an MP4/M4V container which the PS3 can play.
    2) Purchase a basic NAS with remote access like the Western Digital My Book Live, this gives you;
    * A storage place for your media.
    * A DLNA server which the PS3 can access to play back the AVI/MP4 videos.
    * Remote access via Western Digital's own service which is not that difficult to setup compared to other solutions but it's reliant on WD own servers being online.
    * As your videos are MP4 files then should be playable on the WD iOS/Android remote apps that act as companion to the My Book Live (MKV can pose difficulties), though again depends largely on how fast your internet link is, with no transcoding to adapt to the conditions.

    You could also get WDTV Live's for the other rooms to access the media on the NAS or simply replace the PS3 too and drop the repackage to MP4 option.

    Playing MKV remotely could get complicated as I said earlier the optimal way would be XBMC plus WebDAV which means something like a QNAP, Synology NAS and an Android tablet (must be Amlogic based). There are more hacky ways of doing it via DLNA and FTP.
     
  3. Sy1441

    Sy1441
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    I can do all that stuff.

    3x WDTVlive's that I bought off here for around £60 each and a netgear stora NAS which again I got from here for £60 and added in 2x2tb hdd's from here for £120.

    This forum and Audi Glasgow are to blame for my financial ruin!
     
  4. Barney McGrew

    Barney McGrew
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    Alot of that is double dutch to me Next....!! I think a WD My Book Live for storage and a WD Live TV is probably the simplest solution for me. Playing files remotely is something that isnt likely to be done very often and if it is then at least I would still have the option to download a non MKV file to my ipad.

    This brings me to my next question. Would a WD Live TV be all i need in any room to pull files from My Book Live or would I need a WD Live Hub somewhere in my network?
     
  5. planthead

    planthead
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    A wdtv live smp will do..
     

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