• New Patreon Tier and Early Access Content available. If you would like to support AVForums, we now have a new Patreon Tier which gives you access to selected news, reviews and articles before they are available to the public. Read more.

Which Media Server for an AV site? Axonix?

T

Telecom Andy

Guest
Hiya, I'm trying to source a Media Server for a client project where I've installed Systemline Modular AV. I'm going to cobble together Sky HD via dedicated HDMI cabling and the audio via the Sys Modular. The element missing is a decent Server to store customer DVDs. I've wired Coax, Cat5 and HDMI everywhere.

I could switch the DVD via SysMod, but it would be Composite Video which won't be good enough if they're using Sky HD. The best bet would be to find a video streamer such as <a href="http://www.axonix.com/mediamax/" target="new">MediaMax</a> but the price is a bit lumpy for 4 zones.

I won't touch networked MCE as my buggy Vista setup has been extremely painful to get stable.

Oh yeah, there's also a 5.1 Surround system in one zone so I'd need integral components if possible.

Anyone know any half decent Servers, pref ones that send Metadata (RS232) for audio and video? I know I'm not asking much!

Your thoughts appreciated. Cheers Andy :D
 

howardbowell

Standard Member
Andy

If you have installed Systemline Modular, then you can use the cat5 you have installed for the video runs to send component video.

We use the iDyl Multimedia Servers from DF Solutions. Cost effective and very reliable.

Regards
 
T

Telecom Andy

Guest
Cheers Howard, I've stopped using the Systemline Composite Video switch as it's rubbish - try Comp on a 65" screen!. All my clients are now taking HD services and I'm after an HD switch such as the Axonix. Andy
 

pigbite

Standard Member
Hi Andy,

I've played with MediaMax for a day at Armour, as along with Kaleidescape, there is not much else I have seen that offers proper HD output. I thought it was a pretty good product overall as it worked, has good integration features, was pretty simple to get going and straightforward to operate from a user perspective.

It ripped all manner of DVDs with no problem, was not too bad at picking the cover art and did all this without over-complicating it for the user.

Of course it might seem not much more than PC with some custom software on it and there are no doubt people that could put a similar system together more cheaply however in my view if you are putting in a system like this it needs to be as user friendly and reliable as possible. After all, as soon as you bring IT into an install the ongoing support potential jumps up.

It is not cheap and, in my opinion, the players could be more stylish and a little less box like. I also am pretty disappointed about the cost of the AudioDeck which is a Squeezebox with a bit of new firmware. Having said that, overall is not bad value for money when you consider the whole picture.

MCE does offer a cheaper alternative but I don't think you have as much scope for playing true HD content concurrently. I think there are far more support risks, not least becuase the chances are the clients will not be dedicated. Instead they will be a PC in the room used for all sorts of other things. It's horse for courses however and not everyone will be prepared or able to pay for a MediaMax/Kaleidascape solution.

Just my thoughts!

jez
 
T

Telecom Andy

Guest
Thanks Jez, I'll have a look at Kaleidoscope. I am a bit worried about the Axonix price as I see loads of kit that does the same job coming over from the US.

Without having seen the MediaMax first hand I see it as just a server with a few high-end audio bits - I got a shock when I found out it was a nailed up XP box! I plan to test these devices over a network use 3rd party NAS devices and look at adding a Sky HD interface if I can ever find one/cobble one together.

Cheers Andy
 

pigbite

Standard Member
Hi Andy,

If you are worried about the MediaMax price then don't worry about KS :) - if anything it's more - but a very nice product.

MediaMax is based on Windows but they have done alot of work to make the hardware all work together and be as reliable to use as possible. You would never expose a MM server for use as a general PC and Axonix don't even let you standard Windows updates etc so they can ensure the OS is in a known state. At the end of the day any media server is going to use some OS and Windows tends to get unreliable when it changes. Whilst I would much prefer to see a Linux or even OS X based embedded OS, I can live with a non changing Windows platform.

Don't forget as well that costing a solution is never as simple as such the hardware. Setup, control, usability, reliability, training, support etc. all have to be costed in and doing a self build MCE solution with proper redundant hardware is not cheap either.

An alternative is something like the iDyl servers mentioned by another poster. I don't think these support upscaling HD but I might be wrong. The benefits are that they are cheaper than MM, useable and a decent solution for those customers that want distributed DVDs without paying a 10-20k for a 4 room solution.

jez
 
T

Telecom Andy

Guest
[doing a self build MCE solution with proper redundant hardware is not cheap either.]

Too true as the MCE Vista box I built myself is now £300 over budget and I'm still struggling to sort the 'sleepy port' HDMI problem.

At least XP is now stable, the problem is justifying £5k+ on a server that a savvy buyer will know can be built for a grand (slight exageration).

I get the impression most installers are holding off for a while to see how the market develops (see other new thread). We see the unlimited potential of TCP/IP networks, the problem is proper AV integration.

Andy
 

pigbite

Standard Member
I think you are right about the market. Products are coming which will do similar things cheaper. They have to do it well though or they will be worthless. That's where the integration and control issues are paramount. Whilst products like MM and KS might seem expensive if you say "it's just a Windows box and I could build that for pennies", if you have to develop a easy to use GUI, have 99.9&#37; certainty the DVD will rip, be confident you will get the right cover art, provide APIs/interfaces for control systems, market, support and sell the product then it will cost more. The price of the kit also allows the installer, who is normally the first line of support for the client, to make some money to cover all their overheads.

If this technology becomes too commodotised without being plug and play and very robust then it's bad for everyone.

Anyway, that's probably going too off topic - I must look at the new thread!

jez
 

hornydragon

Distinguished Member
Andy have you considered running Panorama? it should integrate to Modular but works very well with digilinx it gives 4x4 COmponent video feeds and can be expanded
 
T

Telecom Andy

Guest
I've not heard of Panorama, let me do some research. Unfortunately my customer has decided Axonix is just too pricey for the install, so my quote has depleted by £9k :( . Cheers Andy
 

hornydragon

Distinguished Member
I've not heard of Panorama, let me do some research. Unfortunately my customer has decided Axonix is just too pricey for the install, so my quote has depleted by £9k :( . Cheers Andy

the problem is they are very expensive for what they do Kaleidescape is the same at the moment i think its only Kaleidescape and Axionix are the only HDD based severs that arent PC based and 1 zone is silly money 2 zones is better but still alot! Panorama is cheaper and you can do more with it there will be far more IP video solutions coming Escient have one launching but its more for web based TV content than stored DVD content as you can fit a Tosh EX-1 in every room for far less than a single server
 
T

Telecom Andy

Guest
As always the UK waits for the crumbs from the US table. Anyone with eyes in their head can see Media Servers will be ubiquitous and priced for the mainstream in a few years in one form or another. Register your TV Ethernet MAC and away you go!

I'm a bit surprised Media Centres haven't really exploded in the US and UK (to my knowledge). It seems to me the problem is the timing of XP being superceded by Vista. Once Vista gets stable and MCE gets some proper 3rd party killer apps we'll see some great kit.

I know I'd rather buy a PC networked device than some 3rd party Audiophile kit at 4x the price.

Cough*Soapbox*Cough :D
 
T

Telecom Andy

Guest
£9k for unpacking a box and plugging in an Ethernet cable? Surely that's not a day's work... hehe Point taken.
 

schillaci0

Established Member
Gefen should be releasing a 4 by 4 HDMI matrix switcher very soon if not already.
 

Audio Engineer

Standard Member
This might seem a bit rude and maybe un-geek! But i been doing this job along time... whats the problem with just popping a dvd into a player in the room? Surely you wont be watchin in all the rooms at the same time yourself will you? I fit intergrated systems all the time. And the stuff we fit is mad. When you go out, it will turn the heating down, and up when u enter. Learn your movement patterns so it can turn lights on and off when your not home to make it seem someone is there. Control your blinds, turn the oven on by dialling in. The audio can be linked into your mood lighting listen to music in every room independently, its all good obviously! But at some point there has to be a cut off point where it just logical to make it simple! You have to walk into the room and pick up the remote, so why not pop in the dvd while your there? Ill porb get a good kick in for the suggestion i know! I found the sound servers are great, but when it comes to video, with so many formats out there, its crazy. So stick to the thing you know that works, dvd or blue ray.
 

101music

Established Member
Agree with you there AE... whatever happened to Keep It Simple, Stupid!
 

SMCSI

Established Member
I'm finding theses old posts popping up again a bit weird! I take it you did a forum search and then replied to the threads. Maybe have a wee check of the last post date before replying.

It was interesting to read the posts and see how things have moved on ... HDMI still sucks for multi-room video.
 

NonPayingMember

Previously Liam @ Prog AV
This might seem a bit rude and maybe un-geek! But i been doing this job along time... whats the problem with just popping a dvd into a player in the room? Surely you wont be watchin in all the rooms at the same time yourself will you? I fit intergrated systems all the time. And the stuff we fit is mad. When you go out, it will turn the heating down, and up when u enter. Learn your movement patterns so it can turn lights on and off when your not home to make it seem someone is there. Control your blinds, turn the oven on by dialling in. The audio can be linked into your mood lighting listen to music in every room independently, its all good obviously! But at some point there has to be a cut off point where it just logical to make it simple! You have to walk into the room and pick up the remote, so why not pop in the dvd while your there? Ill porb get a good kick in for the suggestion i know! I found the sound servers are great, but when it comes to video, with so many formats out there, its crazy. So stick to the thing you know that works, dvd or blue ray.

Same reason you don't just stick a CD player in each room.
 

Wezst

Standard Member
This might seem a bit rude and maybe un-geek! But i been doing this job along time... whats the problem with just popping a dvd into a player in the room?

Because if you have someone with a lot of rooms in a big house, no matter where the DVD's/Blu-Ray's are kept they are never where you want them, and chances are the customer has paid money to not have products in each room anyway! If you suggest the video storage on top of the music storage they've already asked for, with a system that already has distributed video specified, then it does make sense. Especially if they have a lot of films...
 

SMCSI

Established Member
Well I'd also like to pipe in here ... everyone is wrong!! If the customer wants a DVD in every room then that is the right way to do it. If the customer wants a server for AV then thats the right way to do it. If the customer wants both .... I think you see where I'm going here.

Ah, but what if the customer asks for you opinion Steve??? Well it would be job dependant, but the main TV viewing area and home cinema would have independent Blu-Ray players. The player from the main TV area would also be fed into the AV distribution ... Kids areas - stand alone DVD every time.

My reasons:

If you are watching a film in the living room (main TV viewing) then want to continue watching it in master bed then it's simple to do. I've also noticed a few clients have Love Film accounts, and quite frankly I couldn't be bothered ripping a Blu-Ray when I can just pop it in the player and watch it.

I'm not sure how much life is left in movie servers, maybe 2 years. If we are looking at the Paris model for integrated services then full HD movies on demand should see off being able to sell movie servers in major cities. Music is a different story, I use my system all the time for music. I can't remember the last time I put a CD in a CD player!!

Right, back to some work.
 

Wezst

Standard Member
Ah, but what if the customer asks for you opinion Steve??? Well it would be job dependant, but the main TV viewing area and home cinema would have independent Blu-Ray players. The player from the main TV area would also be fed into the AV distribution ... Kids areas - stand alone DVD every time.

My reasons:

If you are watching a film in the living room (main TV viewing) then want to continue watching it in master bed then it's simple to do. I've also noticed a few clients have Love Film accounts, and quite frankly I couldn't be bothered ripping a Blu-Ray when I can just pop it in the player and watch it.

Don't get me wrong Steve, I agree with you that every job must be taken on it's own merits, but I do think that video servers currently have a place where the situation demands it. Granted I have only ever installed one, but it had two independent streams feeding 15 rooms of HD distributed video, including a dedicated home cinema. The house was over four floors and the client had a lot of films on DVD and Blu-Ray. Believe me, he was pleased not to have to go to one point, load in a disc, to then go back to where he was to watch it.

Saying that the last job I did had one Blu-Ray player in the main Living Room feeding the other four AV zones, as the client didn't want to have to go upstairs to the Hub everytime he wanted to load a film.

Every job is different...
 

hornydragon

Distinguished Member
Media servers make far more sense away from the main residence holiday homes, weekend retreats, city crash pads, they are also perfect where space (for media disks) costs more than servers (Yachts, Planes, Cars etc) in main residences they make sense if the client wants them.

As someone who often works beyond the reach of high speed data links (i have clients using sat broadband getting 0.5 Mbps 20 miles from a major city!) and many who get 1Mbps at best far too slow for streaming media. Oddly the server market has seen little development in the last couple of years, Cheaper yes, bigger drives but thats about it there still isnt a proper BD server. The industry devotation to HDMI, and lack of a unified IP interface is strangling distributed video development.
 

The latest video from AVForums

Spielberg, Shyamalan, Aronofsky, Chazelle, Eddie Murphy and Mel Gibson - all the latest movies
Subscribe to our YouTube channel

Full fat HDMI teeshirts

Support AVForums with Patreon

Top Bottom