• Welcome to AVForums running Xenforo 2.2. The upgrade from 2.1 was successful and finished in just 90 minutes, well before 8am. The most notable changes in 2.2 are listed in this post.

Suggestions for media streaming environment

NobleSX

Active Member
Hi all,

Apologies if this post is too long but I've been wracking my brain for a solution for a long time. I'm looking for some advice on what to do for a unified media centre environment.

What we have:
We all each have Apple iDevices – iPhone 5, iPod Touch, iPad 3rd/4th Gen.
Our main pc is a high power and high spec 6-core, RAID & SSD Windows 8 rig.
Apple TV 3 and Airport Express in both main rooms for audio and video from pc and AirPlay.
Also a first generation Xbox360 that hasn't been used in nearly a year and I very rarely get the time, or motivation, to play a 'serious' game these days. We tend to play casual games on our iPads these days instead.
We currently have Netflix.

About us:
Time is very precious – whilst I do love to mod and hack I simply no longer have the time to invest in getting complex systems set up and I appreciate reliability far more these days. That being said I am prepared to invest a little time in a one-off set up for the best system.
We've embraced the AirPlay functionality of our devices and would very much like to keep it.

I also recently bought an Android MK809IIB TV dongle out of curiosity to 'have a play', and I liked it. I loaded XBMC onto it and loved the UI but I also found it to be unnecessarily complicated for family use (e.g. hitting some on-screen buttons doesn't do what you think it might, etc).

The family want a simple but beautiful cover art UI environments for both music and movies (not necessarily the same solution).
The solution(s) should be the same for getting content onto iDevices for when out jogging or bluetoothing to car stereos (replacing CDs).
We want simplicity but still with high quality. I ripped a lot of my blurays/dvds/cd to HDD in uncompressed m2ts/vob/ALAC format respectively – retaining trhe highest audio streams like DTS-Master Audio, etc. I personally can tell the difference very quickly between sources – both audio and video.
I'm in a love-hate relationship with iTunes. I love it for cover art and music, but hate it when each update messes up my library.

I'm about to embark on a NAS and proper backup solution for my Terrabytes of photos, music and video. I'm strongly leaning towards the Synology DS213air but still have an open mind.

The solution(s) must:
be family friendly,
AirPlay compatible,
have a great looking and intuitive UI – we have been spoilt by the ATV3 and iOS in general,
preferably not rely on having my main pc switched on as it's a big rig, but I'm open to suggestions.

I'm willing to purchase new kit if necessary, but do not have a large budget to do so. The new NAS will eat a lot of the allocated budget.

Options I've researched are: Plex, XBMC, Raspberry Pi with AirPlay or stick with all Apple environment.

Thanks for reading.
 
Last edited:

limegreenzx

Banned
Hi all,

Apologies if this post is too long but I've been wracking my brain for a solution for a long time. I'm looking for some advice on what to do for a unified media centre environment.

What we have:
We all each have Apple iDevices – iPhone 5, iPod Touch, iPad 3rd/4th Gen.
Our main pc is a high power and high spec 6-core, RAID & SSD Windows 8 rig.
Apple TV 3 and Airport Express in both main rooms for audio and video from pc and AirPlay.
Also a first generation Xbox360 that hasn't been used in nearly a year and I very rarely get the time, or motivation, to play a 'serious' game these days. We tend to play casual games on our iPads these days instead.
We currently have Netflix.

About us:
Time is very precious – whilst I do love to mod and hack I simply no longer have the time to invest in getting complex systems set up and I appreciate reliability far more these days. That being said I am prepared to invest a little time in a one-off set up for the best system.
We've embraced the AirPlay functionality of our devices and would very much like to keep it.

I also recently bought an Android MK809IIB TV dongle out of curiosity to 'have a play', and I liked it. I loaded XBMC onto it and loved the UI but I also found it to be unnecessarily complicated for family use (e.g. hitting some on-screen buttons doesn't do what you think it might, etc).

The family want a simple but beautiful cover art UI environments for both music and movies (not necessarily the same solution).
The solution(s) should be the same for getting content onto iDevices for when out jogging or bluetoothing to car stereos (replacing CDs).
We want simplicity but still with high quality. I ripped a lot of my blurays/dvds/cd to HDD in uncompressed m2ts/vob/ALAC format respectively – retaining trhe highest audio streams like DTS-Master Audio, etc. I personally can tell the difference very quickly between sources – both audio and video.
I'm in a love-hate relationship with iTunes. I love it for cover art and music, but hate it when each update messes up my library.

I'm about to embark on a NAS and proper backup solution for my Terrabytes of photos, music and video. I'm strongly leaning towards the Synology DS213air but still have an open mind.

The solution(s) must:
be family friendly,
AirPlay compatible,
have a great looking and intuitive UI – we have been spoilt by the ATV3 and iOS in general,
preferably not rely on having my main pc switched on as it's a big rig, but I'm open to suggestions.

I'm willing to purchase new kit if necessary, but do not have a large budget to do so. The new NAS will eat a lot of the allocated budget.

Options I've researched are: Plex, XBMC, Raspberry Pi with AirPlay or stick with all Apple environment.

Thanks for reading.

IMO you will have to make some sacrifices. Having HD audio will be a problem with a tight budget and compatibility with all your devices. The obvious answer is to have plex server running on your main PC and buy the plex client for your other devices.
A NAS able to transcode video would be expensive.
 

next010

Distinguished Member
Plex is really what your looking for as a low maintenance system with nice UI. However you will need the PC running for the Plex server to transcode video/audio where necessary, there are Plex clients for iOS devices so those are all covered. You can also Airplay content playing in Plex to an AppleTV and the iOS version Plex can act as a remote to some other Plex clients.

Plex also offer a cloud streaming/remote access your Plex library service so you can get to it remotely.

However NAS cant transcode media so those are no good for Plex unless you either convert all media to be compatible - MP4/M4V would be best candidate or get Plex clients that can handle more codecs like a GoogleTV of which only we can get Sony GoogleTV devices here or the Rasplex for the Raspberry Pi.

There are some new NAS in the works with built in transcoding capabilities but they are still a few months away from being released. These are based on an new Intel Atom chip called the 5300 series. They would be the ideal option for your system with Plex in place.
 

NobleSX

Active Member
Thanks for the replies.

I did think about picking up an ordinary 2012 Mac Mini as I've heard they are low wattage and can wake, and shut down, on LAN (WOL). A small unit sipping just a little power might be more acceptable to the family than having my behemoth running and having to walk to my room to switch on/off after use.

I've just tried playing with Plex. It's not the easiest to get to grips with but I can see potential.

There really is a lot to think about and I've already spent a lot more time than I wanted on this. But thanks again for your input.
 

NobleSX

Active Member
I've come to the conclusion that Plex is just a little too much work. In the same amount of time that I had XBMC running sweetly, I have barely managed to get content onto Plex's library. Additionally the library contents weren't scraped with no cover art showing for videos and movies.
I've also done some more research into Synology DS Home apps. Whilst functional, I do not think they are as aesthetically pleasing and to use airplay with it is one workaround too much for the family.

In conclusion it's going to come down to either the dreaded iTunes or XBMC.
I know how to use XBMC so I've got a head start with it. I will give it another go and feedback here.
 

next010

Distinguished Member
I normally go with XBMC but it's interesting you had trouble with Plex as it's typically the other way around people find Plex a lot easier. It's very unusual it did not scrape your media, the setup wizard is usually very straight forward unless your files have an odd naming scheme. You add a section like movies then add folders into it and thats pretty much it, your Plex clients connect automatically.

XBMC doesnt have a central media library that can work across multiple clients at least not easily, there are long term plans for this which are due to begin development work on this year.

What XBMC does have is
1) maintain a library for each client separately.
2) simply stick to files browsing so no media library for coverart and such.
3) use the XBMC UPnP server on one XBMC platform and have other XBMC clients connect to this, can only be accessed in files mode but does display coverart/fanart of media library from source XBMC UPnP server.
4) mySQL, the most complicated one but the way to give each XBMC client the same media library.

There are also no light-XBMC clients like Plex is on iOS app store, you wont get XBMC on non-jailbroken iOS devices.

If your still interested in XBMC, the Pivos XIOS DS is a set top box that can run XBMC.
 

The latest video from AVForums

Podcast: Q Acoustics Q3030i, Humax Aura, Roku Streambar & WandaVision Reviews and more...
Top Bottom