What do I need?

Discussion in 'Desktop & Laptop Computers Forum' started by Unknown786, Feb 4, 2014.

  1. Unknown786

    Unknown786
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    Looking for a solution that will allow me to use my TV to stream football/films and use for the internet. Would also like something that will allow me to create a network (with a PC in another room and a laptop).

    The current set-up is:

    TV
    Onkyo 606 (unfortunately, it currently has a switching problem but will hopefully fix this soon!)
    Sky HD
    DVD player
    Jamo Surround Sound Speakers

    At the moment, I just connect a laptop to the TV (using a VGA cable). Hoping for a more permanent solution (and one that is fast enough to allow good quality streaming etc).

    The only other thing to note is that I also have CCTV so if possible would be great to have that running from here too!

    Is it a HTPC that I am after?
     
  2. next010

    next010
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    Maybe not right now but Google's Chromecast and a PC/tablet/phone should be the way to go for internet media and web browsing especially now that Google has opened it up to everybody.

    The Chromecast has no UI it's just a receiver that you cast content from using your PC or tablet which the Chromecast then plays. But it will probably take a while before support for it spreads to all services/websites. If you have CCTV via a NAS which has an Android app for instance (e.g Synology) they will likely also add support for Chromecast.

    Still though it is extremely cheap to buy and I would get one and see if it meets some of your needs, you will need to use Google Chrome on the laptop and install the Chromecast extension in it. Netflix and some other sites already support it.

    You can also display mirror Google Chrome tabs to the Chromecast for sites that dont support it.

    A HTPC is not a particularly optimal solution for Internet media, your meant to be close to the display like on a PC/laptop so it can be awkward to use.
     
  3. Unknown786

    Unknown786
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    Thanks for this - hadn't considered Chromecast.

    Only issue is that it wont really let me set up a network?
     
  4. next010

    next010
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    Yes but any PC can do that and you say have 2 already.

    I'm guessing what you mean to say was a NAS instead, something acting as the storage point for the media to be shared with the other PC's yes ?

    If so that can be done a in a few different ways,
    * Network shares - same as browsing PC folders, best used with a media player application e.g. XBMC or browsing via explorer.
    * UPnP/DLNA - easier than network shares but not very pretty.
    * Plex - combines ease of DLNA and prettiness, gives a coverart based GUI, is also compatible with Chromecast, you can cast content in Plex to the Chromecast though there are a bunch of variables that can make this work well or poorly.

    There are many Plex clients including desktop, mobile and even one for XBMC.

    Any basic NAS like a Zyxel or Western Digital will suffice for network shares and DLNA, Plex on the other hand requires something with a bit more kick in it's step & a compatible NAS. An Asustor AS202-TE would be a good candidate for Plex server but it also comes with a potential bonus, this model also runs XBMC and has a HDMI output so you can hook it up to the TV and work as a media player.

    Even if your not happy with the XBMC media player on the NAS it still provides network shares, DLNA and Plex as alternate ways of providing serving up media.

    Another option is an Intel NUC, install Windows and use Plex media server for serving up media but also install Plex theatre on the PC to act as HTPC front end, you can use USB drives with the NUC to provide storage.

    If none of that matters and you just want something basic go with Zyxel or WD NAS.
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2014

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