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Best multimedia + home network setup

bluechair84bluechair84 Posts: 4,352
edited January 2011 in The Crudcatcher
OK - I'm asking about AVRs in another thread, and I'm after your experiences with the best way to set up a home network, sound system etc.
The aim is to get all digital media, movies music etc to the TV and have the folders accessibly to any computer that comes into wireless connection so anyone can add/retrieve files. Music from my phone, TV and multimedia to go through the one sound system....

My intention, on a £400 odd budget is;
Computer = PVR, DVD/DC player, sharing folders -> TV
Both attached to AVR and 2.1 sound to fit budget
bluetooth adaptor to AVR
PS2 to AVR

Problem 1 - any media being played from the computer cannot be remotely controlled. It can be worked around by streaming from my phone via bluetooth, but not movies so it isn't ideal.

How else do you lot build your multimedia systems into your home network?
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  • nicklousenicklouse Posts: 81,520 Lives Here
    what phone.

    anything can be controlled.

    I have a self build Media PC and a NAS and some media streamers for Music and Net radio.

    anything is possible.
    "Do not follow where the path may lead, Go instead where there is no path, and Leave a Trail."
    Parktools :?:SheldonBrown
  • bluechair84bluechair84 Posts: 4,352
    nokia 5800. I'll use the pc as a server and media player. I thought about a network attached media player but for their price you can get a pc that wont have file conflicts and will get full internet content to the tv.
  • Should these questions be in a place like AVforums or something? Not slating the folk here that know what they're on about but that place has a lot more people who are clued up
    Formally known as Coatbridgeguy
  • bluechair84bluechair84 Posts: 4,352
    yup. Asked on av forums, av review and tech radar. I'm not a frequent contributor to any of those though... I got nill responses and i know that if i dont get any helpful advice here, at least i'll get some abuse from sheeps or yee :wink:
  • I use a mac.

    Ditto!
  • AnonymousAnonymous Posts: 79,692
    If you have a media centre PC, you don't need a DVD or CD player.
  • Problem 1 - any media being played from the computer cannot be remotely controlled. It can be worked around by streaming from my phone via bluetooth, but not movies so it isn't ideal.

    Not sure if this will help but I use a DLNA media server program linked to my PS3 to control the folders on my TV which lets me watch films, listen to music or look at photos which are stored on my PC over the wireless network. I have used Tversity and now use Twonky Media Server and both seem to work pretty well although Twonky is more reliable. There are some issues with some file formats but mainly the newer ones like certain HD formats.

    They also apparently work with the Xbox, or you can use Windows Media Player 11 to do it somehow, but I havent been able to figure that out so far :?

    If you havent got a PS3 or Xbox 360 you could try this - http://www.dabs.com/products/storex-sli ... -786L.html or something similar, relatively cheap for what it is.

    Sorry if I have got this wrong, I dont post often and currently have jetlag so am trying to avoid actual work :wink:
  • AnonymousAnonymous Posts: 79,692
    You're WAY overthinking things. Get a remote control for your media center PC. Problem solved. Unless I'm actually sat at my computer doing some work, or typing, it works just like having a TV, except it also has all my music and videos on it.
  • Good point, thought I may have been wrong :oops:

    Mine is set up this way as the Pc is upstairs and TV & PS3 are downstairs so the media centre remote doesnt work for me but if its all in the same room the remote is definately the easiest way
  • AnonymousAnonymous Posts: 79,692
    Media centre is the absolute nuts. I just wish there was a Sky Digital reveicer card. It works far more reliably than my Sky+ box does. It loses recordings less often (not once, yet, in fact), crashes less often, and is slicker, faster, and easier to use.

    I also have a Logitech bluetooth keyboard next to my LaZ boy chair, so you can search for films and programs by name. Bloody brilliant, one of those few fricking amazing things that MS makes, but completely forgets to push in any reasonable way.
  • nicklousenicklouse Posts: 81,520 Lives Here
    shame it cant handle ISO files though.

    Binned the Logitec keyboard for the logitech touch mouse (with keyboard) app for the iPhone. still needs an esc button.
    "Do not follow where the path may lead, Go instead where there is no path, and Leave a Trail."
    Parktools :?:SheldonBrown
  • bluechair84bluechair84 Posts: 4,352
    Media centre is the absolute nuts. I just wish there was a Sky Digital reveicer card. It works far more reliably than my Sky+ box does. It loses recordings less often (not once, yet, in fact), crashes less often, and is slicker, faster, and easier to use.

    I also have a Logitech bluetooth keyboard next to my LaZ boy chair, so you can search for films and programs by name. Bloody brilliant, one of those few fricking amazing things that MS makes, but completely forgets to push in any reasonable way.

    Yup, so I'll be getting a remote for the PC then censored is your Uncle's Richard, full media and browsing to the TV :)
    Is this XP Media Centre you're using? Wasn't there a Vista version?
  • AnonymousAnonymous Posts: 79,692
    I used vista media center, which was great, but now I'm on windows 7.
    All the home premium and professional versions of 7 have the media centre built in.
  • nicklouse wrote:
    shame it cant handle ISO files though.

    Binned the Logitec keyboard for the logitech touch mouse (with keyboard) app for the iPhone. still needs an esc button.

    I use this one
    http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/mobile-m ... 16509?mt=8
  • Daz555Daz555 Posts: 4,040
    I run a NAS and Media Centre, both self-built.

    NAS is a 2x1.5TB disk system running on Intel Atom hardware and Ubuntu Server. Server boots from USB key and disks are used only for data - this allows them both to spin down when not in use and saves a lot of power.

    Media Centre is an old Athlon 64, 2GB RAM, running Windows XP. I use MediaPortal for my Media Centre requirements - excellent bit of software.
    You only need two tools: WD40 and Duck Tape.
    If it doesn't move and should, use the WD40.
    If it shouldn't move and does, use the tape.
  • supersonicsupersonic Posts: 82,708 Lives Here
    What is the sound quality like with these media centres ie the DACs?
  • projectsomeprojectsome Posts: 4,478
    You're WAY overthinking things. Get a remote control for your media center PC. Problem solved. Unless I'm actually sat at my computer doing some work, or typing, it works just like having a TV, except it also has all my music and videos on it.

    this, I used to have a similar setup which included, 360, sky box, and pc. I was able to use a media centre type remote to control everyhting.

    alternatively use a wifi based remote app on your phone, i know they do symbian and android based ones.
    FARKBOOK TWATTER Happiness is my censored mood!
  • AnonymousAnonymous Posts: 79,692
    supersonic wrote:
    What is the sound quality like with these media centres ie the DACs?
    Mine's pretty damned good, since it's also my studio PC, I have balanced outputs on XLRs, so it's all at 24-bit, and decent quality.
    Television sound is shocking when you listen to it on a good hifi though!
  • supersonicsupersonic Posts: 82,708 Lives Here
    Might overhaul my system in the new year depending on fincances. Is very bulky, so a new computer doubled as a Media Centre may be a good start.
  • bluechair84bluechair84 Posts: 4,352
    seems to be the obvious solution - from what I've read, media streamers can have conflicts with some files types, new TVs with browsers can't actually access the entire web, PVR, torrents, access content over the web... the only issue I've had with computers as media solutions is they hang on DVDs occasionally. They don't always like CDs too as they are recognised as protected.

    Just trying to nib the urge to buy a big flatscreen in the sales.... don't need it... don't need it...
  • AnonymousAnonymous Posts: 79,692
    For the record, I've never had an issue with a DVD hanging, or a CD not playing for any reason.
    CDs aren't protected. Apart from one album released by sony with a rather questionable anti-piracy tactic.
  • nicklousenicklouse Posts: 81,520 Lives Here
    Yeeha, what is good BD playback soft ware?

    not liking cyberlink PowerDVD8
    "Do not follow where the path may lead, Go instead where there is no path, and Leave a Trail."
    Parktools :?:SheldonBrown
  • AnonymousAnonymous Posts: 79,692
    I don't actually have a BD drive myself, I've only used Cyberlink stuff at work.
    I think, but I'm not certain, that if you've got something like the cyberlink software, then Media centre will use the codecs too, so it gains BD playback.
    On the other hand, I'm sure I read somewhere that Win7 has all the BD stuff built in.
  • i use xbox and router
    hates dog walkers
  • bluechair84bluechair84 Posts: 4,352
    I've had a few CDs in the past that wouldn't play on the PC and a few that needed to have their own player installed - The Cooper Temple Clause for instance. Thinking about it... that was probably the last album I had problems with...
    Still, no major issues or improvements upon a network attached HTPC and AVR then.

    Xbox... I'm not really a gamer, only just finished Tomb Raider 2 (last level was awesome!) and mucking about on GT4 on PS2. What benefits are there to having an Xbox as your media/cinema/theatre system?
  • AnonymousAnonymous Posts: 79,692
    What benefits are there to having an Xbox as your media/cinema/theatre system?
    Compared to what?
  • bluechair84bluechair84 Posts: 4,352
    What benefits are there to having an Xbox as your media/cinema/theatre system?
    Compared to what?

    An always-on PC on the wireless network with sharing folders running all media to the AVR and TV - pretty much what you have by the sounds of it. Someone asked why I didn't just get an Xbox and my first thought was he was the one missing the tricks - but here is the suggestion again. Am i missing something other than gaming?
  • AnonymousAnonymous Posts: 79,692
    An always-on PC on the wireless network with sharing folders running all media to the AVR and TV - pretty much what you have by the sounds of it.
    No, my computer IS my TV receiver. It is connected directly to my screen, and records freeview, plays back DVDs, CDs, and my music library etc. It is also on the house network, but that is not needed for playing anything back.

    With my Xbox 360, however, being on the house wifi, I can duplicate the PC's capabilities over wifi to any other telly in the house. But, to do that, I need a media centre PC first, then the xbox works as a repeater.
  • bluechair84bluechair84 Posts: 4,352
    No, my computer IS my TV receiver. It is connected directly to my screen, and records freeview,
    This too. The network will allow me to access the movies etc from the laptops.
    The xbox sounds like an interesting idea to get stuff to another tv... Though if i was to go down that route i think i'd pick up a media streamer - cheaper option.
    Just waiting the final few days for a media pc to end on fleabay then if it goes for a descent price, the fun begins.
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