OK, decision time music or video more important?

hiwakey

Established Member
I'd consider myself reasonably tech savvy but the sheer plethora of choice is starting to overwhelm me! Especially as I already have some quite capable bits of kit that it would be quite handy to utilise in a home network.

The general plan is to NAS store the DVD and music (HQ rips) collection and use it around the house. So so far:-

Lounge:-
video: Yam YSP40D soundbar + 42" plasma+ sub, network media capable device is a PS3 and also a Wii, Sky+.
Q1 - Is the PS3 media player "good enough" to access/stream all sorts of media content from the NAS if I ripped DVDs etc?
Q1.1 - If the PS3 mediaplayer isn't up to the job am I looking at the Popcorn Hour? What's the audio on the PCH like for music?

Audio: Naim NAIT 3R + B&W floorstanders & a Rega Planet CD player. I plan to add something like a Sonos Zoneplayer to get at the NAS-stored music and listen to music on a high quality system - the soundbar isn't great with music tbh. Depends if the video source sounds any good?? I already know the PS3's music capability with 2ch music is a bit woeful compared to the Rega.

Kitchen:- Plan is to add something like a Sonos S5 that can double up as patio entertainment in the summer and do NAS music/internet radio. No plans for tv/video in here.

Office:- The NAS will be sited in this room. Laptops will be able to access the media content on the NAS or obviously anything else on t'interweb like music radio stations; so I will probably utilise what I've already got i.e. an Audica speaker system and/or the Aego 2.1 speakers I already have to provide suitable quality for any music being played. A little Pure Chronos provides instant backup of DAB radio if the laptops aren't switched on. Films and tv aren't a priority in the working environment!

Bedroom - we want tv in the bedroom (nothing OTT, will use a currently lounge based sony LCD 28"). I have a Pure Siesta for alarm clock duties that also does DAB/network music and radio and sounds fine when pushed into a suitable sound system from the headphone socket. The user interface is far from easy but at least gets me going without spending too much at this time.
Q2: this is the one giving me the headache! What would be best to do? I'll try and break down my thoughts...
Q2.1 Initially I could use the Aego M2.1 as a speaker system. Would present some difficulties attaching the tv/network video source AND the Pure network music player to it though!
Q2.2 I could plan to get another Sonos eventually (which would render the capabilities of the Siesta almost entirely redundant) and pipe the TV sound though it. Doesn't solve the video source problem though.
Q2.3 A spare sky box scrounged (or a new sky hd multi-room box inc 1yr subs paid from £60 worth of Tesco vouchers!) could be a source of video? Still doesn't give us access to the NAS video though...
Q2.4 I could get a slingbox and dispense with the idea of a second Sky box to access the video media. Would likely need some network plugs for stable enough video. Also allows handy remote access to home tv (not that this is an issue right now!) Still needs an audio system though...
Q2.5 Is it worth considering a DLNA TV as an investment to sort out the NAS video problem?

Any thoughts on suitable ways forward?
 
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next010

Distinguished Member
PS3 is good enough though your media will have to be in a compatible format that it can play.

A Popcornhour has much wider media compatibility so little need to convert anything. There are also PCH remotes on the iTunes store (assuming you have an iPod/iPhone) which would be useful for audio playback without having the TV on.

Though keep in mind these remotes are just using the DLNA push function, so its reading the DLNA server on the NAS and telling the PCH DLNA client to play that file.
 

nacmacfeegle

Distinguished Member
I'd break this down into bite sized chunks.

Media storage, NAS...get something that can run Squeezebox server, Readynas duo type price point and capabilities. Or get a dedicated server such as a Vortexbox, or similar low powered PC. Hook it into a switch, add your router, and connect up network to your viewing/listening/office rooms.

Music. Unless the movie streamer is fed into a decent DAC a movie streamer will disappoint you sonically. So its Sonos or Squeezebox. I use Squeezeboxes as they are way cheaper than Sonos, and I don't need the additional features of Sonos. Squeezebox boom is the equivalent of the S5, look into IPneg on Iphone to control these, or squeeze commander for android. Post a query on the music streaming forums, but be aware that the folks there are very tribal in their product loyalty.
Streamers & Network Music Players Forum at AVForums.com.

Video, I'd go for something like a WDTV Live, ACRyan etc to start with. Get one to get going and see if it floats your boat, then add more as you need them, maybe upgrading to PCH, Dune, etc and demoting the 'starter' box to the bedroom etc. Nowadays its cheaper to buy individual streamers than to try and distribute HDMI around the house.

Sky...do you need to watch different things in different rooms? I don't so send the sky signal around the house via its S-video output via a Keene S-video distribution amp over Cat5e
Keene Retail Ltd
The HDMI from the sky goes in to my lounge telly, s-video is fine for kitchen, bedroom, guest room, games room etc. This box has IR feedback so also solves remote control issues. Sky multiroom gets expensive quickly!

Finally, you are going to want to set some sort of budget, this will ultimately drive your hardware choice and phasing of the installation.

The above is just an example of my setup, there are many ways to skin a cat, depending your own circumstances.
 

hiwakey

Established Member
Crivens! :D

Thanks, had time for a bit more of a look at Squeezebox, NAS boxes and WDTV. The scraping abilities of the PCH are still appealing where the WDTV seems to need a bit more dedication but as you say it's cheap enough to get me into it.

The Squeezebox does sound quite appealing - upgrade option of a better DAC is always possible, though I did get sidetracked on the issue of whether either could pass through audio quality better than a certain sampling rate (round about CD quality it seems) - bloody forums. The Touch is still £210 (Richer Sounds) as compared to a ZP90 at £270ish. Either can be controlled with an Iphone (but not my Blackberry Torch I'm now stuck with for the next couple of years) :(). The Sonos controller is a bit eye-wateringly dear. But two Squeezebox Booms for the price of one S5 does sway it quite strongly in favour of the Squeeze bearing in mind it's for relatively uncritical listening in the kitchen/bedroom.

With a 5 year old in the house it looks likely my hours of watching bike racing may have to be done elsewhere in the house if her mother wants a quiet life! So yes, there is a requirement to watch something other than what's in the lounge. The Keene runs out at £270, which is great if you're piping it to several different places but not such a great deal for extending the lounge skybox to the bedroom.

Personally I'd probably want to stream using homeplugs rather than fiddling Cat5 around the house. So in the budget would have to go £90 or so for a pair of 200mbps plugs maybe? If I want to use NAS in the bedroom the homeplugs are going to be part of the deal anyway... But going back to the non network source, looking at the Tesco voucher scheme for multiroom I'd be stung for £60 of vouchers for year one, which would get me a new HD box, 1yr multiroom HD and a new run of twin satellite wire into the bedroom as well (currently a single run). I can always review the situation in a year's time and see how I'm faring with the new toys.

Right, the NAS then. What kind of storage capacity are we looking at for a couple of hundred DVDs and 300-odd CDs ripped to FLAC format, plus photos and office backup files? What sort of figure for a NAS (I had a budget of about £400 for this item - we can buy it through the company as it will be our work storage system too). Incidentally, where does FLAC leave you for transferring playlists to your MP3 player which is unlikely to be able to do FLAC?

cheers for the pointers.
 

next010

Distinguished Member
The max amount a DVD-9 can be is 8GB if ripping to a full ISO image of the disc however not all DVD's use that amount so it varies greatly.

If I were to take a guess ripping the main movie out on most DVD's I would say on average it seem like about 4-6GB the remainder on extras. If the DVD's are a 2 disc edition then usually the movie takes up the most of the 8GB.

Worst case scenario (and it wont be) you'd need like 2.4TB of room for 300 DVD's on the NAS which isn't a problem if you get a 2 bay NAS and two 2TB hard drives so you can load in the CD's too and have room to grow.

If looking for RAID 5 support (1 drives fails you can salvage the array by replacing the drive) get a 4 bay NAS and four 1TB hard drives so you get over 3TB of storage and have a redundancy option in place.

Anything from QNAP, Synology or Netgear will do, I'm partial to Synology the DS410 is a 4 bay unit but it costs quite a bit and comes with no HDD's so you'd need to supply those yourself. The upside is that Synology has a hybrid RAID mode so if you have any HDD's spare no matter the size or brand it can combine them into a RAID array with one large pool of storage available.

You can get 4TB NAS with a HDD pre-installed from the likes of Buffalo which are within your budget and they seem to be pretty decent. You dont necessarily need something special as a NAS when its acting as a media dump.
 
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hiwakey

Established Member
Thanks for the detailed info on servers. Was thinking along the lines of a 4 bay NAS.

Just to clarify - I've been thinking NAS as a low power option so no other computers have to be running to access the media. So what are the alternatives to NAS? And are they any cheaper?

And @nacmacfeegle, looking at the Squeeze options, is the Squeeze server software necessary on the server/NAS now that the Touch has a cutdown version built in? Or would the SB Booms fall over without the software on the server itself?
 

nacmacfeegle

Distinguished Member
The Touch server is fine for my 35,000 song library off a local drive.
TBH I prefer to run from a pc based server as it's a bit snappier and has more customisation options.
I have run 5 mp3 streams off the Touch server, including 1 boom, 3 SB3s, and Touch.
If your heart is set on a NAS, I'd get one with squeeze software preinstalled. Touch can't officially talk with a Nas at the moment. Edit to add, unless the NAS capable of running the Squeeze server software, IE Touch can't use the built in Touch server to access network files.

Pch will scrape better than wdtv, trade off is price vs faff.

Nas advice above looks sound. I only use very basic nas at the moment.
 
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next010

Distinguished Member
The Squeeze server software is available as an installable add-on for QNAP, Synology and Netgear NAS you can find it on their websites.
 

hiwakey

Established Member
Thanks for the help - looks like Squeeze are getting my dosh, and AC Ryan.

Amazon are doing the Synology 411 for £268, Tosh 2TB hard drives at £70 apiece. With the squeeze Touch taking USB HDD, the NAS can wait a while if need be anyway.

So under £1.1k to complete the 3-room project initially with plenty of upgrade potential in the future.

:clap:
 

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