I was wondering if anyone know of a product out there that would be ideal to use in integrating my computer (which is loaded with music, movies, pictures, etc..) into my home entertainment system. I have several hundred dvd movies backed-up on hard drives connected to my computer, I have several thousand mp3 music files, and several thousand photographs that I would love to be able to have access to on the various TV's around my home...
Basically, I am searching for a way in which I could stream all of this media (wired or wirelessly) to be able to gain access to it from my home AV system...and ideally, whatever solution might be available, it would be great if there was some sort of a menu/guide system available with it that would allow me to browse through a media type heirarchy to more quickly and easily locate whatever I happen to be looking for (such as with Windows Media Center Edition, or Front Row for the Macintosh)...
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windows media center edition for the menus, just get a remote or a wireless mouse. for the audio, connect a 3.5mm plug into your soun cards output or speaker port, and the other end of the cable would have two rca plugs to plug into your tv or stereo system. for the video, you need a video card with video output, most have an s-video out, but some have an rca out. just connect that to your tv
I use a video sender, which is a wireless 5.8 GHz transmitter receiver combo. Works great. Cost me about $100.00. You can buy 2.4 GHz models pretty cheap, but they will interfere with a wireless router.
I use a LAN connection from a server computer in the other room. I select the video from my HTPC computer and it plays them from the server over the LAN through the HTPC to a video projector. Very simple and easy to set up. The HTPC sends a signal to the server to turn it on or off, so it's not running all the time.
No extra programs are required, I just used the XP Network Wizard to set it up, and enable sharing the server drives. You can use any player for playback, it justs sees the file, even if it is on a different computer and starts playing it. All the player controls are on the HTPC, so I only need access the the server hard drives. The videos are sorted by genre on the server drives, so no menu really needed. Cost=$0, as the LAN wiring was already in place.