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Old Jan 9, 2013, 06:46 PM   #1
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Lightbulb Need Info on setting up Home Network for Media

I know very little about setting up home networks and what not but I recently have decided to switch from DSL to Cable internet and had to get a new modem. Here is what I have:

-Motorola Surfboard SB6121 Modem
-Netgear WND 3800 N600 Dual Band Premium Edition Router (with Readyshare USB Storage Access and DLNA Media Streaming and Time Machine Compatable)
-(2) HDTV's
-(1) MacBook Pro
-(2) External Hard Drives 759MB
-(1) Panasonic BMP-BD60 BluRay Player (can connect to internet but not wirelessly)
-(1) wii that is rarely used
-(1+) iPhone
-(1) iPad Mini

I am wanting to be able to watch or stream movies that are stored on my laptop and/or external hard drives on my two tvs (ideally without the computer being on). Do I have what is needed or what do I need to buy for the TV's to have the ability to connect to movies stored on computer/hard drive?

I am also interested in streaming from the internet (hulu, netflix, etc) although this is not as important as I can already access netflix through the wii.

Will I need to purchase something like a Roku, WDLive, Apple TV, Fetch TV, Boxee, etc? What do you suggest? I'm not partial to Apple products and prefer to go in the way that provides the best value for the money.
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Old Jan 10, 2013, 06:19 AM   #2
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What about Xbox 360 or PS3
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Old Jan 12, 2013, 02:26 PM   #3
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DLNA could work, but it's very flaky and hard to get setup between manufacturers, it will work ok if you have the right media in the right format otherwise you'd need a transcoding dlna server (like ps3mediaserver) to play black from the ps3.

Personally I have a hp server running iTunes and I recode everything to mp4 using handbrake, I ditched the ps3 / Xbox media for apple tv's it's an investment to re-encode everything and get it in iTunes but its so much better.

We have 4 apple tv's and the ability to just "throw" music or movies or screen sharing or photos from anyone's iPad or iPhone to the screen is just frankly awesome, at Christmas we had Christmas music going whilst the family were eating. I'd actually say that Apple TV / airport express is frankly apples best value products if you have an iPhone / iPad for the money.
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Old Jan 14, 2013, 06:20 AM   #4
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Thanks for your input. I may try to go that route. I just hate the thought of needing to convert everything.
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Old Jan 14, 2013, 07:07 AM   #5
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I'm not sure I'd go either for the 360 or PS3. In my experience they're not ideal media centres: louder than an ATV, very slow to start up (and too power hungry to leave on), and with awkward, slow UIs for browsing large collections.

Using an iPad & the Remote app for selecting music off a Home Sharing server is a much nicer way of doing it (provided you have no problem with leaving a PC/Mac always on) when you have a lot of media to browse.

There are probably many media streamers/extenders out there; I'd take a look at those before using any games console.

Though the 'push' capability of Airplay is very nice. Does anyone else offer that yet?
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Old Jan 14, 2013, 07:12 AM   #6
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DLNA is fine but depends on your TV as some can have Plex on them but this does mean keeping your computer on but this isn't an issue as you can just set your computer to wake for network access.

I use ATV2 myself as i have all my films stored on a back up network drive so my computer doesn't need to be on but this is possible as my atv is jailbroken.
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Old Jan 14, 2013, 08:32 AM   #7
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To do what you're asking, going the Apple TV route is probably the least expensive and least painful way of making it happen.

As whooleytoo said earlier, the biggest caveat is that a computer running iTunes has to be up all of the time to act as the media server. But if you want to be able to take a show or movie and watch it on one of your TVs or Apple devices, there really aren't many better off-the-shelf solutions.

I'm sure other folks on the forum can offer solutions with hacked ATVs or what not, but I like the out-of-the-box simplicity of the Apple ecosystem.

I personally use an old Mac Mini with an external drive as the house's media server, which works fabulously. You can pick up a refurbished Mac Mini directly from Apple for less than $500 and even cheaper on eBay. It's a bit more expensive, but in my opinion well worth it. The nice thing is that you don't need the latest and greatest to get it done. My Mini is running the current iTunes on Snow Leopard and works just fine. I would think an old Windows PC running iTunes should work as well.

I know that Boxee offers external storage, but I don't believe it can serve those digital files to other devices.
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Old Jan 14, 2013, 08:56 AM   #8
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I have recently moved all my content to a Lacie Cloudbox external drive and have all PC's and Macs pulling their libraries from it. I use AppleTV and things couldnt be smoother.
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Old Jan 17, 2013, 06:19 PM   #9
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Can you grab music, shows, and movies from the Lacie Cloudbox to the Apple TV?
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