Good Afternoon All -
Being in the IT field, I am big into gadgets, but media too. I am about to outfit my house with full media capabilities, but have been out of the scene for a while so wanted to get some suggestions as to what would be the best / most awesome solution.
I currently have 3 TVs in the house which are each connected to the same DISH receiver. On the main TV, I had a Boxee Box, but it died. I used it to play my +6tb of media - mostly MKV. After the Boxee Box died, I've been using my XBOX + PS3 media center to transcode and stream media to the TV, but am now looking for a solution which I can use on every TV in the house. If I could pause a show on one and resume it on another TV, then that would be great, but not neccesary.
I don't have a big budget, but if I could also find a solution to integrate TV with it (with a DVR, perhaps), where I could cancel satellite, then I'm sure I'd get a bit more $ to work with. I'm trying out an app now which automatically downloads my (free&legal) shows soon after they air. If all of this could be integrated, then great!
My Current Gear
- 60" 1080p HDTV
- XBOX 360
- DISH VIP 622 (Secondary output for TV2 (coax) is run downstairs & spliced between the 2 TVs down there - All 3 TVs share same DVR)
- Media Server - On 24/7 - Runs Win7 and has all my +6tb of media in file shares. Use PS3 Media Center to host
- x2 Workstations which I would consider standard (Dual Core Proc, 4gb RAM, standard video, 250gb HDD, etc)
- I run ESX on one (yes, even with 4gb of RAM, but it does have 2 HDDs) to host my DC and SCCM 2012
- The other is my standard workstation running Windows 7. Really only use it to burn discs.
- x2 Older workstations - Tried installing the XBMC integrated Linux on one of these, but despite trying a few things never got the video working correctly as I don't think it ever got above 640x480 or 800x600 res.
- D-Link DIR-855 Media Router - Simulatious 2.4Ghz / 5Ghz - 4 10/100/1000 ports on back
Even though the computer room is across the hall from the Main TV Room, I couldn't get cat5 run to it without it being exposed (weird design) which my wife freaked over so I have been using a pair of powerline adapters for about 6 months. They advertised up to gb speeds. I can successfully stream a 720p movie over them (when I had the Boxee Box), but it flutters on 1080p.
Features I Am Looking For
- Each TV in house have access to all of my local network's media
- Optional - Ability to pause media on one TV and resume on different one
- Possibly integrated TV Tuner (for air based TV)
- Have DVR option for TV
- Each of the TVs to have a wireless remote (not talking about a w/l keyboard & mouse )
- Most Important - Easy enough for my non-tech wife to use without complaining after I set it up
1. Would XBMC be a good solution for this? Is there a different / additional MC you suggest?
2. Given the scenario, would Media Center software would be the best bet for this? I assume I'll have dedicated workstations on each TV if needed.
3. I'd like to use as much of my existing hardware as possible, but would need at least 1 of the TVs to have the smallest hardware possible. For whatever version I need to use, does anyone know the smallest workstation / thin client avalible which is 100% compatible (and on the cheap side)
4. As mentioned, I currently have my media all on one server, but spread out over 5 physical hard drives. I have Win 7 x64 on it simply because I do run a few other apps on it too and at the time seemed a better choice than 2008R2. The files are basic folder shares with NTFS permissions. Is there a preferred way to connect to these files with any media center? I have always used SMB, but know that other options are out there. I'd think FTP wouldn't allow as many features, but may be faster. What's preferred?
I think that's it. If you read this whole thing, then sorry for typing so much. I would really appreciate any suggestions. Thanks!
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Look into it if you are still searching for a good option.
Nice necro posting, but I'll join in anyway.
You love JRiver some reason, which is fine, but I wouldn't call it the standard. Most people who use media center software use something else.
For PVR use, Windows Media Center has the best TV tuner support and is easy to set up, but NextPVR is close in both respects. Media Portal and XBMC are free, highly customizable, and can use NextPVR or Argus TV for recording TV, but are more challenging to set up. MythTV is still a very popular choice for Linux users.
I would suggest a gadget lover should look at a gadget-based solution too, although it is still in the early adopter phase. A Nuvyyo Tablo for recording OTA TV from an antenna, plus a Roku for each TV with tablets as the remote controls (or additional viewing devices), plus Plex for accessing the media server. The guide service for the Tablo is $4.99/month. Some apps for the other devices will be paid. Of course Netflix, Hulu Plus, etc will also require paying a fee if you use them as many cord cutters find they want to do.