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The Prophet

Media Server/Player & Hardware

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Well its been a long time since I've been on the Atomic forums, but I thought it was about time I came back.

 

So my first question is about Media Servers and Players.

 

I'm currently starting to look into replacing my current Home Media Setup with a new one. Its not going to happen over night, but I'm looking at a long term transition.

 

Currently I'm running a Thecus N7000+ NAS (14TB) running a DLNA server which my main tv is connected too (This isn't working very well, and I have no back up process in place) and an old Windows XP box that is slowing dying connected to a second tv.

 

What I'm currently thinking of setting up.

Server/PC running some kind of Media Server software (currently looking at:

http://xbmc.org/

https://plex.tv/features

http://www.mediabrowser3.com/server/ )

 

a small PC connected to each tv, eg something like these: http://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/nuc/overview.html which would run client software built for the matching media server.

 

The Server would be setup to record any TV needed, and I would have my DVD/Blu Ray collection stored on the server as well.

 

The current NAS would be setup as a backup device for all devices connected to the network instead of being an active server.

 

So with the above in mind,

  • has anyone had any dealings with Media Server Software?
  • has any had any dealings with Small PC's like the Intel one?
  • Does anyone have any other suggestions I should look into?

Thanks in advance for you help.

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Why not have one box with DLNA over WiFi then minimise the client side.

 

If the TV does DLNA then job done. If not, maybe a low-cost BluRay player.

 

I just use my computer as the server. Found Mezzmo and Serviio to be good servers. Serviio is given away as HomeStream by Sony, you should be able to download it from them.

Usually some playing around with the server side is required. My BluRay is Sony but it plays back the most types if I ID it at the server side as being a "Bravia TV".

 

If that's not to your liking, then there's Android boxes that are USB powered and plug into the HDMI port. Don't have one here, but I've found that even with my phone that isn't exactly high-range that the DLNA performance seems to be fine.

 

In theory you could even use a cheap Android box as the server. Main concern of course is getting it to access the HDD.

 

There's all sorts of combinations that are possible. I think these days, integration of mulitple functions is a must - for me an ideal setup would be a box that has low power needs, can talk to plenty of storage, can tolerate being left on for days on end and can act as a normal network as well as DLNA server.

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I have a Windows Server box as a media server. It's been running ps3 media server software which is freeware and been working well. About 6 months ago I started looking at plex as it's support for portable devices is good. Hell there is even a free app for my Samsung TV!

 

However, it seems to have problems streaming my HD home movies - there are obvious 'progressive' lines on moderate/fast scenes. This is something the ps3 server software didn't have a problem with.

 

The ps3 software also supports a wider number of file formats and isn't as particular about folder/file naming.

 

Both these solutions are good and which one you use will depend on what's more important to you. I'd strongly suggest you play with both before deciding.

 

As for what to run at the TV end, I don't know as our TVs/audio systems pick up the DLNA feed directly from the server.

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I am a big fan of Plex generally.

 

Clients are found now on smart TVs, IOS, Android and media players like the Roku.

 

My server runs on a linux box, samba provides access on the local network and Transmission is my centralised BT client of choice. There are various NASs that also work with plex server.

 

The Server would be setup to record any TV needed,

That would be the only thing I would be unsure of. Plex doesn't do it but with support for OSX, Linux and Windows, you could work that part out with other software/ hardware I guess.

Edited by The Tick

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Hi Rybags,

I did think about just setting up a proper DLNA server, but only 1 of my TV's is a smart TV and I haven't been too pleased with the built in browser it has. it seems very cumbersome and can take a while to find the shows I want to watch. But that might be just the way I have my current system set up. (my NAS is using Twonky as the DLNA Server)

 

Also I want to be able to browse the Internet and/or Stream iView or TenPlay from the TV's which was another reason to go small PC/ Though I do like the idea of maybe using a small android box. These would be cheaper and probably serve my needs.

 

Mac Dude,

I hadn't looked into the ps3 media server. I'll have a look this weekend at that.

 

Thanks guys

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How's it going Prophet, any update on your experiences?

 

I small update on my plex usage. The Samsung TV app now crashes on all movies, but if you access the plex server using plain old DLNA on the same TV it's fine. From my brief googling it appears a few of the plex clients have intermittent problems. Updated the server software but no change...

Edited by Mac Dude

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I run Serviio on my WHSv1 boxen, and use various things to play the media (usually a DLNA client on whatever deivce I have handy)

 

I'd really like to find a nice DLNA media player (esp Audio) for Android 2.2.2, as I have my old Tablet plugged into my stereo. As I haven't found one yet which was nice, free, and could add whole folders to a playlist, I've had to download all the music files and drop them on the SD card to play them locally (With Google Music Player)

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I used to just run XBMC and then reference my PC to get the data files. Then I started using Plex and it has changed my life. Highly recommended if you run Plex Media Server.

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Then I started using Plex and it has changed my life.

:O

 

Wow.

 

I'm beginning to wonder if some of my plex problems are due to the load it places on the server while transcoding. The HP Microserver I'm running (N36L) only has an Athlon II 1.3 dual core that get's around 90% busy on playback.

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I've used Serviio and DLNA on my TV.

 

Then I got a Chromecast and started using Plex and it's soooooo much better.

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Then I started using Plex and it has changed my life.

:O

 

Wow.

 

I'm beginning to wonder if some of my plex problems are due to the load it places on the server while transcoding. The HP Microserver I'm running (N36L) only has an Athlon II 1.3 dual core that get's around 90% busy on playback.

 

 

If you are using the HP Microserver for heavy transcoding then yes, it is under powered. If you are leaving the transcoding duties to the local device (smart TV, media player) then the N36L will be fine.

 

If you want something better to handle server side transcoding, you would be looking at one of the newer Microservers which have the option for a faster CPU. Plex recommends a dual core 2.2Ghz or better I believe (too lazy to look up the exact requirements) for server side transcoding and I don't believe that includes the generally gutless atom (or equivalent) CPUs.

 

I have mine running on the N54L but leave transcoding to each of my Samsung Smart TVs and a HTPC built for Plex Playback (crappy 1.3Ghz CPU but with an onboard AMD video card). the N54L handles the transcoding functions fine to the iOS devices and the Samsung Android tablet I have.

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Then I started using Plex and it has changed my life.

:O

 

Wow.

 

I'm beginning to wonder if some of my plex problems are due to the load it places on the server while transcoding. The HP Microserver I'm running (N36L) only has an Athlon II 1.3 dual core that get's around 90% busy on playback.

 

 

If you are using the HP Microserver for heavy transcoding then yes, it is under powered. If you are leaving the transcoding duties to the local device (smart TV, media player) then the N36L will be fine.

 

Yep, I'm tossing up building a transcoding box and leaving the server as a NAS, etc. Though the unreliability of the samsung TV app has me hesitating.

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Then I started using Plex and it has changed my life.

:O

 

Wow.

 

I'm beginning to wonder if some of my plex problems are due to the load it places on the server while transcoding. The HP Microserver I'm running (N36L) only has an Athlon II 1.3 dual core that get's around 90% busy on playback.

 

 

If you are using the HP Microserver for heavy transcoding then yes, it is under powered. If you are leaving the transcoding duties to the local device (smart TV, media player) then the N36L will be fine.

 

Yep, I'm tossing up building a transcoding box and leaving the server as a NAS, etc. Though the unreliability of the samsung TV app has me hesitating.

 

It's quite odd you are having issues with the Samsung App.

 

I have two Samsung smart TVs - a 32" in the bedroom and a 55" in the lounge room. The bedroom one works over wireless while the lounge one is wired. Both are handling the transcoding locally on the TV itself.

 

Besides a really annoying change made on the recent update which makes you skip rather than FFW or RWD, I haven't had a problem with either TV. It might be worth checking the transcode settings in the App itself.

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I use a HP Proliant Micro server running Windows Home Server 2011 and using Mezzmo to stream movies to all TVs, Sony Blu ray players, WD TV live, Xbo360 and PS3 - works a treat!

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I'm not a fan of transcoding... but my Sony BluRay supports most of the common types. The proprierary container/codecs I avoid anyway.

If you must use transcoding then the option to pre-encode part of the file in advance will come in handy. But still, there's always the chance the playback will catch up which is obviously a big annoyance.

 

I did find that with Serviio/Homestream that the device type you choose can adversely affect what types will work - for whatever reason my BluRay player works best if I identify it as a generic Sony Bravia.

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It's quite odd you are having issues with the Samsung App.

 

I have two Samsung smart TVs - a 32" in the bedroom and a 55" in the lounge room. The bedroom one works over wireless while the lounge one is wired. Both are handling the transcoding locally on the TV itself.

Mine is a 55" job.

 

even with 'force local transcoding' set to on it would pause every 10 seconds. If I set it to off the screen goes blank but nothing plays.

 

I haven't started to play with the buffer sizes yet...

Edited by Mac Dude

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It's quite odd you are having issues with the Samsung App.

 

I have two Samsung smart TVs - a 32" in the bedroom and a 55" in the lounge room. The bedroom one works over wireless while the lounge one is wired. Both are handling the transcoding locally on the TV itself.

Mine is a 55" job.

 

even with 'force local transcoding' set to on it would pause every 10 seconds. If I set it to off the screen goes blank but nothing plays.

 

I haven't started to play with the buffer sizes yet...

 

Playing with the buffers does help quite a bit with large files. If it's 55" I am guessing they would be :D

 

Are you connecting over wireless or LAN?

 

FWIW, my brother (same micro server as you w/ samsung 55" as well - his was the reason I bought mine) went through the same teething issues with Plex. He found a workable balance but is looking at the price VS power consumption of a G8 microserver with a gutsier CPU.

 

I haven't tried to adjust my settings with my G8 yet (its a 2.3Ghz Celeron). I really should give it a go though.

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Wired. I gave up on HD via wireless :)

 

I'm tossing up whether or not it's cheaper to build a HTPC for rendering or buy a new lappy for the missus and use here current lappy as a HTPC :)

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i now have a chromecast, time to explore the possibilities!!

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i now have a chromecast, time to explore the possibilities!!

They work really well with Plex, especially when using my phone as a remote.

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