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Thread: windows home server or htpc

  1. #1
    Automated Home Guru Wexfordman's Avatar
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    Default windows home server or htpc

    Hi,

    Looking for some advice re which is the best bang for buck for christmas pressy!

    At the moment, I have mainly sonos and xbox360 with a nas as my main audio/video servers (bass is buffaloe linkstation 250g hard drive and full!!), so it is in need of some updating.

    Here is a wish list of what I want to be able to do

    1) Stream media from storage to my main tv.
    2) Add additional devices later to allow me to stream to other tv's
    3) Control devices remotely via iphone etc

    At the moment, I can use xbox360 to stream media from NAS, but need to turn on my windows pc to do so.

    Here are a couple of options/solutions that I was thinking of

    1) Windows home server. Will allow me to store and stream to xbox360 and other devices as I add them to the network.
    2) A higher spec NAS box that will allow me stream from it to the xbox
    3) A htpc such as the acer revo3610 or dell zino!


    Option 3 i think may be preferrable as it is maybe more flexible an optiion ? I als have comfort with cwm, so was thinking that a htpc could host an easier home control solution with comfort etc.


    For iphone control, was looking at one of the keene electornins ethernet/ir devices in addition to one of the 3 options above!

    My budget is max 500 euro.

    or I could get an ipad :-)

    Really appreciate some assitance/advice/pros/cons etc

  2. #2
    Moderator toscal's Avatar
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    I use the XBMC software on a Linux box I built from spare parts. Linux version is 10.04LTS.
    This streams films, audio and photos from a NAS. I am also working on streaming live TV via the XBMC but the USB TDT dongle I bought isn't talking with the version of Linux I have.
    I believe there is a SONOS plugin for XBMC as well.
    The XBMC is easy to use, but can be hard to set up. originally I had the Live version of XBMC,this can be booted from a CD, USB stick as well as the hard drive. I installed it on a hard drive. This saw my NAS once I told it where to look. I then upgraded to a full blown Linux install and installed XMBC. Live installs just enough Linux stuff to run XBMC. I then had to manually set up the location for the NAS.
    TV streaming can be done via something called TVHeadend this has the ability to stream TV from one machine to others via a web interface. This would be setup on your XBMC box. And all other PCs etc would just login to the relevant ip address and port to be able to view the TV streams. There is also an app for the iPhone/iTouch as well.
    As for type of PC to use then have a look at the XBMC forums for advice.
    IF YOU CAN'T FIX IT WITH A HAMMER, YOU'VE GOT AN ELECTRICAL PROBLEM.
    www.casatech.eu Renovation Spain Blog

  3. #3
    Kemik
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    Not sure there is such a straightforward simple answer to your question but here's my thoughts...

    I use WHS currently as my main repository for pics, movies, etc. An iPhone/iPad application exists called WHS Mobile which I have running on my iPhone which works great

    WHS is more than just a NAS its a server product and therefore more extensible in terms of applications for example go check out the WHS add-ins that are available so its a more than adequate 'NAS' but given that its much more than a NAS it would cost a lot more to build/purchase a PC then buy and install WHS than just getting a newer NAS appliance if its really just additional hard disk space you require.

  4. #4
    Kemik
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    Quote Originally Posted by toscal View Post
    I use the XBMC software on a Linux box I built from spare parts. Linux version is 10.04LTS.
    This streams films, audio and photos from a NAS. I am also working on streaming live TV via the XBMC but the USB TDT dongle I bought isn't talking with the version of Linux I have.
    I believe there is a SONOS plugin for XBMC as well.
    The XBMC is easy to use, but can be hard to set up. originally I had the Live version of XBMC,this can be booted from a CD, USB stick as well as the hard drive. I installed it on a hard drive. This saw my NAS once I told it where to look. I then upgraded to a full blown Linux install and installed XMBC. Live installs just enough Linux stuff to run XBMC. I then had to manually set up the location for the NAS.
    TV streaming can be done via something called TVHeadend this has the ability to stream TV from one machine to others via a web interface. This would be setup on your XBMC box. And all other PCs etc would just login to the relevant ip address and port to be able to view the TV streams. There is also an app for the iPhone/iTouch as well.
    As for type of PC to use then have a look at the XBMC forums for advice.
    Toscal,

    Although I use WHS as my server I also prefer XBMC as the software for playback due to its extensibility and also the vast support for different file formats.

    FYI I also have a Dreambox which of course is linux based and stream live content from that which is awesome

  5. #5
    Automated Home Guru Wexfordman's Avatar
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    Hi
    Thanks for the replies so far! Been doing a bit of research and was thinking of adding these to my Christmas list:-

    http://www.ebuyer.com/product/236577

    And

    http://www.keene.co.uk/electronic/ke...)/KIRA128.html

    An external blue ray drive perhaps added later, and a larger Nas or windiws home server!

    Any thoughts/ advice appreciated!

    Regards
    Eamon

  6. #6
    Moderator toscal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wexfordman View Post
    Hi
    Thanks for the replies so far! Been doing a bit of research and was thinking of adding these to my Christmas list:-

    http://www.ebuyer.com/product/236577

    And

    http://www.keene.co.uk/electronic/ke...)/KIRA128.html

    An external blue ray drive perhaps added later, and a larger Nas or windiws home server!

    Any thoughts/ advice appreciated!

    Regards
    Eamon
    I think the PC may not be able to cope, as it looks like its single core, I would at least go for a dual core for your media box.
    For the NAS have a look at Server Elements. I use an old version of their NAS Lite software. Easy to use. The hardest part was trying to find a floppy, but now you don't even need one of them. You can now boot off a variety of things.
    IF YOU CAN'T FIX IT WITH A HAMMER, YOU'VE GOT AN ELECTRICAL PROBLEM.
    www.casatech.eu Renovation Spain Blog

  7. #7
    Automated Home Guru Wexfordman's Avatar
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    THnaks toscal, and apologies ofr lack of response.

    I went in the end for a revo3610 with linux mint and xbmc installed. Very happy with it!! Splashed out on an ipad too, and was using it to control xbmc, but its a bit cumbersome to be honest, so might just go and get a universal remote solution.

    Regards,
    Eamon

  8. #8
    Moderator toscal's Avatar
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    For control I use one of these
    Its OK, and the range is very good. It gets a bit fiddly if you need to do a lot of typing with it, and the touchpad is quite sensitive, but you get used to it.
    A client of mine bought one of these. But haven't heard how he is getting on.
    IF YOU CAN'T FIX IT WITH A HAMMER, YOU'VE GOT AN ELECTRICAL PROBLEM.
    www.casatech.eu Renovation Spain Blog

  9. #9
    Automated Home Jr Member i-Home's Avatar
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    For control of my 2 mac mini's running Plex I use ....

    1 of these - Logitech diNovo Mini

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Logitech-920...1518993&sr=8-1
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/13478181@N00/5131469713/

    and 1 of these -> Lenovo cheap unit costing about 24 from Deal Extreme. It's ok but not nearly as good as the Logitech unit.

    http://www.dealextreme.com/p/lenovo-...se-2-aaa-35909
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/1347818...n/photostream/

    IMO if u need wireless control of a PC/Mac with mouse and keyboard go for the Logitech. It's well built, has a backlight & rechargeable battery.

    Stephen

  10. #10
    Automated Home Sr Member wywywywy's Avatar
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    Hi. Be careful with option 3. I have an Atom PC (Zotac ION), and it struggles with transcoding HD content.

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