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Discussion in 'Networking & NAS' started by m4rtyboy, Feb 9, 2014.

  1. m4rtyboy

    m4rtyboy
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    HI

    I have built a HTPC and run windows 7.

    When I renovate my new house I want to run cat 6 cable to each room. These cables will terminate at a central place where my HTPC will be.

    Couple of questions please. Should I bin windows 7 and install windows server instead? What are the benefits of this?

    Also what do I need to access the central server movies and content from a TV in each room. I like the way media centre does it via My Movies as it has a great UI, but my current PC is directly connected to my AMP and then TV. Do I need some kind of media player to attach to the network and this is then attached to each TV via HDMI? Is this right, meaning I need multiple media player type attachments and if so what are some good options out there with a good UI?

    All my DVDs are currently ripped with Any DVD in TS format.

    Thanks.
     
  2. next010

    next010
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    No, windows server is unnecessary. Plus current version of Windows server 2012 is overkill for your needs.

    VIDEO_TS is not the easiest of formats to deal with as those are disc images not digital videos which can be more tricky to integrate into a media server system. You can of course go standalone players in each room that point at network shares which will make your VIDEO_TS work but it also means setting up each player with it's own media library jukebox (e.g. WDTV Live) which is tedious.

    The easy thing to try first is Plex, install Plex media server on the Win7 HTPC then add your content into it, then install Plex Theatre on the HTPC and see how well things work from there.

    If happy with the results then simply putting another PC in the other rooms running Plex Theatre will give the same experience. However there are Plex clients for much cheaper platforms like Roku or Samsung BD players but this is where VIDEO_TS becomes a problem as these Plex clients don't work very well with VIDEO_TS. You might have to run MakeMKV on the VIDEO_TS folder to extract the main movie to a standalone movie.mkv file (theres no conversion so the process is quick) in order to get something playable.

    You could keep the mkv versions for the other rooms and the main HTPC for the full DVD menu which I think Plex Theatre supports.

    Another similar system to Plex is Media Browser with similar limitations but clones the Microsoft metro look.
     
  3. m4rtyboy

    m4rtyboy
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  4. m4rtyboy

    m4rtyboy
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    Thanks for the reply. The reason I went with TS is so I could direct copy and not lose any resolution. I didnt really want to go adding PCs in each of the rooms so stream the content. I was hoping that there was some media player I could add as long as this plays the format as you say. Does something like the ROKU 3 suit my needs if you have heard of it. Could I add one of these to each TV in the rooms that I want to stream to?
     
  5. next010

    next010
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    I double checked and Plex have removed VIDEO_TS support from Plex Theatre so thats a no go.

    If you don't care about menus or extras and just want the main feature in original quality then use MakeMKV or VOB2MPG on the VIDEO_TS folder, those programs will extract the video by copying it with no quality loss to an mkv or mpg container.

    The resulting movie.mkv or movie.mpg file will be usable in Plex and it can stream to the other Plex clients. The Roku is useless without Plex and wont play your media.

    An alternate option and a little better than the WDTV Live would be something running XBMC could be low cost, look pretty and jukebox is not too difficult to set up on each unit. This will give you the ability to play VIDEO_TS/ISO with full menu support.

    Get a Pivos xios, a micro SD card and flash the XBMC firmware to it, also create an xbmc-data folder on the SD card, this will hold all the cover artwork XBMC downloads, if you have a very large collection this is vital.

    In XBMC to to videos\files and add source, browse windows smb networks and add the top level movie folder that holds all your collection. Then XBMC will bring up a set content window, set the content type to movies and enable the option that says movies are in separate folders that have the movie title.

    XBMC will then scan the filenames which will take a while, for best results have accurate files names on the folders e.g. \The Thing (1982)\VIDEO_TS\

    After it is done there will be a movie section on the home screen that you can browse by cover artwork.

    To update the listings, all you do is go into video\files press the button on the remote that brings up context menu (on xios top right button) and select update library.

    You could buy one and see if happy with the results, as long as your library is accurately named then the process is pretty hands off. There are also alternate skins that make XBMC look like Microsoft metro stuff.

    Also forget to mention, MyMovies can generate XBMC compatible metadata/coverart that the set content scanning tool can use (instead of scanning content itself), whether you've done this or it does it by default I've no clue but it can be done.
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2014
  6. whitestar96

    whitestar96
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    Would a Raspberry Pi running XBMC not do the same job but at a much lower cost?
     
  7. next010

    next010
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    R-Pi comes with extra costs too, device, case, remote, SD card and codec license. Probably still about half or two thirds the price of the xios so yeah that could do too.

    Neither the R-Pi or the Xios are a super speedy solution compared to a PC though, there are some reasonably prices PC's out there (like Intel NUC) that would be a much better option combined with openelec linux xbmc OS.

    There are some better performing XBMC boxes coming using Intel chips but those may not show until March or later.
     

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