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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