Home Network help needed
So I have a variety of dilms etc on a variety of devices about my home and I am tired of having to watching things in certain places, or copying them about etc.
Hoping someone can offer good advise on connecting everything up.
We have 2 Windows 7 PC's, a Vista Laptop, iPad, Smart TV, Sky router and couple of external hard-drives.
I finally got around to connecting the TV to the router last week only to discover it isn't that 'smart' - it's a Sony TV, about 3 years old and doesn't have Netflix as one of it's apps (which is the reason I connected it) and apparently Sony don't offer any way to update them so it is what it is.
I don't really know where to start with all of this but would particularly like to be able to watch films off my PC on the TV, along with things such as Netflix, without having to control via the PC.
Please tell me it's simpler than it sounds? Haha, thanks!
Ok off the top of my head: you could store all your media on one machine and install Plex to manage it. Grab a Roku and plug it into your TV; the Roku has a Plex channel so you can stream stuff from the Plex server to the TV (its what I do) and Netflix channel.
If you need to watch stuff on the iPad then there's an app: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/plex/id383457673?mt=8
+1 for a plex media server and roku
Originally Posted by sparkeh
You can sideload the Plex app onto the NowTV box, but the Roku gives you more options like Netflix etc. it's about the most open system there is (Android tv is meant to be coming soon too..)
I use mediabrowser over the top of Windows MediaCenter, although there is a standalone version if you're not using any tv functionality. Mediabrowser has a server/client setup, so you can either have all your media on one server and then stream it out to multiple clients (which is what I do) or just install everything onto one box and connect that to your tv.
Then buy a MediaCenter remote to control your computer as though it was a telly - works pretty much seamlessly.
If you're happy to install from scratch, then my setup:
All my media on one server, with Mediabrowser server component installed.
One reasonably lightweight PC under my telly. Mine has a satellite card in so I can watch tv.
Set the PC up as a windows media center tv. Use an SSD as your primary drive so it starts up and gets to WMC in about 9 seconds or so. You can install Mediabrowser as a plugin/button in the WMC menu.
Then I use the really cheap thin client boxes on my other Tvs or 42" monitors, and just install the standalone version of Mediabrowser (Theatre).
Use CAT5 for your server and main tv box, but I use the little Lenovo boxes with built in wireless for my other clients.
Mediabrowser is on version 3, and has got really good in the past year.
Thanks everyone - I will have a look at the Plex and Roku I think.
Do my files need to be in a particular format to play?
I've got a raspberry pi set up with RASPBMC as an alternative to Plex. It's not the quickest in terms of menu navigation (especially when compared to the speed on a OP) but it's fine for what I use and I've no real hurry to change it. I used to use the existing LG TV remote to control it, but as my remote seems to be dying after numerous drops and dog bites I've recently installed the remote app on my phone and it's does provide more control.
+1 to Plex Media
Alternatively look into XBMC or using an Xbox 360 (if you have one) and a Windows Media Center enabled PC hosting the films.
I've got one of these
similar to the Roku - all my films, photos and music sit on a PC share and I use the WD Live to view them - I'm very happy with it
One more question - which Roku should I get? There are 4 options...
Google chromecast is supported via the plex app, for £30 it's worth ago!!
Chromecast comes with £4.99 of Google Play credit if you buy from Amazon.
ooo! I looked at Chromecast but it said it had to just literally stream through an iPad or phone or something? So I thought I would be sitting there on charge to save battery then just displaying it on the screen? Or have I totally misunderstood?
I didn't realise it works with Plex though - you anyone recommend it over the Roku?
A good and cheap way is to invest in a Asus-DSL N55U router, i think Dave has a few of these cheap... not only will it upgrade the speed of your internal network and improve Wi-Fi coverage but it has an inbuilt server. So you can connect one of your external Hard Drives to it, invest in a decent HTPC and voila you just connect all your devices to the SMB share hosted by the Asus Router. This will hold all your music and videos just stream to your devices from this!
You don't stream from the iDevice or Android exactly, all it does it act as a gloried remote control for it. The device tells the ChromeCast the URL to stream from, the ChromeCast then streams directly from the URL without going through the device. Therefore you can turn the device off, close the application, do something else with the device or whatever.
Originally Posted by Novalee
The disadvantage of this is that you need a device of some description to work it whereas with a Roku or similar appliance it is at least a standalone appliance and can be used without a phone.