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Thin Client Solutions for DVD, Audio

Discussion in 'Desktop & Laptop Computers Forum' started by AndyG2, Aug 24, 2004.

  1. AndyG2

    AndyG2
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    What would you recommend for a thin client solution for home use? I want to be able to plug multiple machines into LAN sockets around the house (kitchen, bedrooms etc.) and then be able to play DVDs from a server and audio media files to the client. Ideally the client is fanless, and just drives the audio and LCD screen.

    The full screen streamed DVDs appear to be the challenge in thin client technology - any ideas? Any IP based solutions out there?

    Business solutions I have come across include: ClearCube, Propero, Citrix, Tarantella, Avocent 2C, generic KVM solutions etc. Any more?
     
  2. alfaman

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    I've used clearcube for a customer, it's effectively a rack mounted PC with a KVM+audio remote capability, although you can switch which terminal sees a PC at a point in time, but each screen is a separate and not cheap pc in a blade rack. - not what you want.

    Citrix is the real mccoy and works really well, they have some really freaky things they can do with multimedia streams over IP in the new 8.0 clients - something you wouldn't have an issue with running a single stream @ DVD quality over a 100M switched lan. Not cheap though you will need to buy a minimum of 25 licences plus windows terminal server licences.. oh and you only get 2 channel audio.

    Tarantella works, but I wouldn't like to see what framerates you get.

    from a consumer point of view this looks interesting - my local PC world stocks them - not tried it but might be worth a look (pinnacle showcenter)
    http://www.pinnaclesys.com/ProductPage_n.asp?Product_ID=1481&Langue_ID=2

    Depending on how technical you are Why not look at something along the lines of MiniITX PC's in each location use the VIA chips so they are fanless, make them diskless and use PIX boot to run a linux image from ram and NFS. This was how we used to run sun boxes in the old days works really well. On the linux box you have a DVD player/mailclient/office/MP3 player all working from a central fileserver/DVD drive server. That way you can get the best of both worlds wihtout the commercial expense.....

    have a look @ www.videolan.org for client stuff
    and here's an aritcle on network boot of linux...
    http://www.linux-mag.com/2002-10/netbooting_01.html

    HTH,

    simon.
     
  3. ChrisAllenFiz

    ChrisAllenFiz
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    Isn`t the hauppauge Media MVP a cheaper version of the showcenter? I have seen them for 50 quid in some places
     
  4. David PluggedIn

    David PluggedIn
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    Hi alfaman, a great post, lots of good advice there.
    Chris, not quite, the MVP is a different beast. The pinnacle is very similar to this http://www.pluggedin.tv/item--Neuston-MC500-Media-Client--MC500 though not as nice :)

    The MC500 will do full screen streamed DVDs over CAT5, you need to have ripped them first to disc. Its a really nice, solid unit. The problem however is that DVD menu support isnt there yet.

    hth
     
  5. Branxx

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    I run two diskless HTPCs using BXP Remote Boot. It is fully Windows XP compatible and enables booting over the network. Streaming full DVDs over the network is not a particularly demanding task for either the server or 100mbps LAN and I have tested 3 simultaneous DVD from 1GHz server without any problems.
     
  6. drummerjohn

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    The MVP is currently £19.99 at PCworld and is a bargain.

    I have 2 of them - they allow me to play pictures\music\video\radio over lan on my TV.

    I have modded one for SPdif output - only managing to get PCM at the mo but guys at shspvr forums are working on it - however the resulting sound form the spdif out put is far superior to the onboard DACs.

    The MVP outputs RGB.

    Obviously you cant scale for a projector with this box.

    It wont play ripped DVD's unless you convert them (which is very simple) to MPEG2.

    Joveplayer is my favourite - or TVedia in its new carnation.
     
  7. drummerjohn

    drummerjohn
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    Branx - how did u get hold of BXP? I cant even see any dowloads for this not even evaluation. This looks fantastic.
     
  8. probedb

    probedb
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    I think the MC500 and Showcenter are actually based on pretty much the same technology. I just won a Showcenter on eBay.

    Basically it'll do:

    MP3s - will only output over analogue tho :(
    AVIs - Those not MPEG (1/2/4 - i.e. divx, xvid, 3vix) compatible are converted
    DVDs - Well if you rip the VOBs from a DVD it will stream them.

    DTS/DD audio streams in AVIs and MPEGs/VOBs are passed to the digital out.

    You can make playlists of anything it'll play on your PC, plus there's an open source version that people are working on...it's all PHP too so you can change it if you know how :)

    Also you can control Pinnacles range of PC TV cards with it. Plus they're always working on new software and firmware updates tho only once every couple of months. Looks promising for me who can't afford a full HTPC setup with LCD/Plasma yet :)
     
  9. drummerjohn

    drummerjohn
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    Must say that technically the MC500 looks to be the more capable machine. I reckon the DVI out is scalable - perfect for projector users. Will have to read up on this little beauty.
     
  10. Branxx

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    I got BXP about a year ago through a promotional power buy for AVSForum members. The package consisting one server and three client licenses was $315 (normal price was about $500).

    Check various posts on AVSForum for number of possible solutions.
     

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