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Hardware Thread, Home Media Server in Technical; Following on from my recent query about a media delivery type box, subsequent research has led me to believe that ...
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    LeMarchand's Avatar
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    Home Media Server

    Following on from my recent query about a media delivery type box, subsequent research has led me to believe that a NAS box may not be the best solution as it appears that the DLNA software they use isnít always compatible with various TV sets (particularly the Samsung I have). Of course, if you spend a couple of hundred or more, you may have better luck Ė but for that sort of price, you could build your own deviceÖ

    So, as thatís not something Iíve done before, Iím considering giving it a go. What Iíd like to do is have an ďalways onĒ box with the primary function of serving media via DLNA (but with the possibility of later using HDMI) that looks OK in the TV cabinet, doesnít burn up too much electricity/make too much noise and doesnít cost too much! (Iíd also like word peace, equality for all and Megan Foxís phone number).

    Iím OK with some of the choices, but any comments/criticisms/improvements/cost-cutting tips on the below gratefully received.

    OS: Windows Home Server is cheap but no longer being developed. I did read an article suggesting Windows 8 could probably do everything needed (and more). I also have a spare Windows 7 licence. Iím leaning towards Windows 8 as itís probably easiest for other users (and I can crib from the site linked above), but have also considered FreeNAS and Ubuntu Server though I suspect that they may not be as easy to map to for others Ė or for me to get to grips with!

    Mobo/CPU: MSI E350IS-E45 M1 with E350 Processor SATA6 VGA HDMI.. | Ebuyer.com or Gigabyte GA-D525TUD iNM10 Onboard Intel Dualcore Atom.. | Ebuyer.com (low power requirements and cost, though unsure whether they would be up to the task) or Intel Core i3 2100 3.10GHz Socket 1155 3MB L3 Cache.. | Ebuyer.com + Asrock H61M/U3S3 H61 1155 Socket 6 Channel HD Audio.. | Ebuyer.com or AMD Athlon II X4 651K Black Edition 3GHz Socket FM1.. | Ebuyer.com + Asrock A75M-HVS AMD A75 Socket FM1 5.1 Channel HD.. | Ebuyer.com .

    + Case, 1*2 or 3 TB HDD (will probably get another and RAID it later and would put in a SSD boot drive if space permits) + 4GB RAM. Planning to back up to an external USB HDD with additional cloud backups for ďpermanentĒ files (music, photos).

    + anything Iíve forgotten!

    Total cost so far starts around £250, Iíd like to keep it under £300 if possible - £350 tops.

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    LeMarchand's Avatar
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    Just a little bump before the weekend, as if I order the kit over the weekend I can get it delivered to school ready for assembly over the holidays - so I'm trying to avoid buying something that won't do...

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    LeMarchand (13th July 2012)

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    LeMarchand's Avatar
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    I looked at those, but haven't got the time/willpower to cable the house and I don't think Mme LeMarchand would like that sat in the front room. I realise they're not as big as the picture makes it look, but they are kinda fugly.

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    accura2000's Avatar
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    I have a 37" Samsung TV and just plug a 1TB External HHD into the side of it, the built in software in the TV plays everything including MKV files

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    Mcshammer_dj's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LeMarchand View Post
    I looked at those, but haven't got the time/willpower to cable the house and I don't think Mme LeMarchand would like that sat in the front room. I realise they're not as big as the picture makes it look, but they are kinda fugly.
    powerline?

    I just got 4 netgear 200 plugs which will be used for each of the samsung smart tv's and to act as a bridge. I also have the app on my tablet to allow me to control each of the tv's from anywhere in the house

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    LeMarchand (16th July 2012)

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    Quote Originally Posted by accura2000 View Post
    I have a 37" Samsung TV and just plug a 1TB External HHD into the side of it, the built in software in the TV plays everything including MKV files
    Using USB does seem to be a lot more stable than DLNA, but it means that only one client - TV, PC, or laptop - can access the media at a time, and tablets/phones may well be SOL. Plus it means plugging/unplugging the drive when you want to add media.

    Further to my list above, it's looking likely that it will be an AMD-based board.

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    LeMarchand's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mcshammer_dj View Post
    powerline?

    I just got 4 netgear 200 plugs which will be used for each of the samsung smart tv's and to act as a bridge. I also have the app on my tablet to allow me to control each of the tv's from anywhere in the house
    I'm a bit leery of those in our house, though I might look into it. I'd still rather have something more attractive that could be left in the front room as I might add in an optical drive and almost certainly a card reader (to view photos after a trip) at a later date. Plus there's no spare cupboard or loft space, so the ugly box would still be on show somewhere!

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    Mcshammer_dj's Avatar
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    Depends, you could look at a router with USB support and connect an EXT HDD direct to the network

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    LeMarchand (16th July 2012)

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    Ric_'s Avatar
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    I was toying with building a box using Open Media Vault (see OpenMediaVault - Home ). Plugins are available for all manner of things (including DNLA - see Open Media Vault – Plug ins ę A Kentish Man, XMBC & OMV ).

    You then just need to find a wife-friendly PC case or use some powerline adapters (Netgear make an attractive black one for the living room - XAV1004 ) to hide the box elsewhere.

    I would also try to use some kind of Atom-based mini-ITX board to keep the power consumption and noise down.

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    LeMarchand (16th July 2012)

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    LeMarchand's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mcshammer_dj View Post
    Depends, you could look at a router with USB support and connect an EXT HDD direct to the network
    Good point, though adds expense. As rubbish as it is, I'm trying to avoid adding another router to my (not so) Superhub, especially as I bought one (without USB support) not long before it was installed.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ric_ View Post
    I was toying with building a box using Open Media Vault (see OpenMediaVault - Home ). Plugins are available for all manner of things (including DNLA - see Open Media Vault Ė Plug ins ę A Kentish Man, XMBC & OMV ).

    You then just need to find a wife-friendly PC case or use some powerline adapters (Netgear make an attractive black one for the living room - XAV1004 ) to hide the box elsewhere.

    I would also try to use some kind of Atom-based mini-ITX board to keep the power consumption and noise down.
    Thanks for the MediaVault link. I'd also seen OpenELEC. The thing that worries me about Linux distros is that I have very little experience with them and find that the forums are full of such help as "SIMPLY type blah backslash blahdeeblah space sudo blahblah apt blah blahblah from blahblahblah" .

    Current mobo favourites are: this from Asrock and this from Sapphire. Both should have low power consumption and are around £80-£90, and have HDMI out along with USB3, eSATA out and SATA3 inside. The Asrock seems to fare better in tests, but isn't as power-efficient as far as I could tell.

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    LeMarchand (16th July 2012)

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    Looks cool, but I would still need somewhere to store a couple of TB's worth of media.

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