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Setting up home networking for music & video

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BillyB
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Setting up home networking for music & video

Postby BillyB » Mon, 12 Dec 2011 11:42 am

Guys,

Can anyone point me in the direction of someone reputable, or give me first-hand advice, on how to set-up a home network to allow me to transfer everything media related off my laptop and onto a dedicated hard drive - which will play the content through my amplifier, and allow me to sync other devices to it to transfer content if required.

I know I will have to buy a dedicated network drive and it's usually plug and play, but being a bit of a donut in this area I expect to encounter problems if I do this myself!

At the moment I simply HDMI my laptop to my amp which isn't convenient because of cables, and it's getting cluttered so running a bit slow too.

Thanks in advance.

Billy

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Postby nakatago » Mon, 12 Dec 2011 11:45 am

Have you looked into DLNA? Lots of systems seem to support it now, although I haven't tried it as I don't have the infrastructure for it.

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Postby BillyB » Mon, 12 Dec 2011 11:54 am

Looked into it? I don't even know what it stands for!

As per my post - I'm an IT novice and usually make a balls-up of things like this so I'm happy to pay someone to do it for me.

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Postby nakatago » Mon, 12 Dec 2011 11:58 am

The short, super-simplified version of it is, as long as the media is somewhere in the network and your player has software that can fetch media off the network, you're good to go! There are caveats of course, but this should get you started on some research.

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Postby BillyB » Mon, 12 Dec 2011 12:03 pm

My amp is DNLA certified - I guess that must be a good starting point?!

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Postby nakatago » Mon, 12 Dec 2011 1:17 pm

BillyB wrote:My amp is DNLA certified - I guess that must be a good starting point?!


Yup. :cool:

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Postby ksl » Mon, 12 Dec 2011 1:35 pm

I use the iPod 160gb works just fine with amp and you can also use it while on the move without amp. I play it through an amp at exhibitions.

Can also use through TV, I'm using the Pioneer PSX-LX50

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Postby nakatago » Mon, 12 Dec 2011 2:17 pm

Oh wait. I just realized that you said network, not necessarily wireless network.

:???:

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Postby BillyB » Mon, 12 Dec 2011 2:24 pm

nakatago wrote:Oh wait. I just realized that you said network, not necessarily wireless network.

:???:


Yes, I'd like to have a separate physical network drive that is connected to my amp - that my amp recognises and plays the content via the TV and is hard-wired. But I'd also like to be able to send the content from the networking drive via streaming to other devices connected by wireless such as laptops etc.

Make sense?

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Postby nakatago » Mon, 12 Dec 2011 2:56 pm

Ah ok. DLNA is mostly for wireless. For wired, there may be several options but haven't tried them (straightforward LAN?). :P

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Postby curiousgeorge » Tue, 13 Dec 2011 12:33 am

Firstly...an amp won't play anything. An amplifier simply...amplifies!

Now, you might have an integrated amplifier, which has additional features, such as audio playback...although off the top of my head I cant think of any decent amps that have integrated video playback as well. At the moment you're using your laptop as the media player, via your amp which distributes the video to your TV and audio to your speakers.

So, based on what you said you need, this is the geek translation:

1) A media player
2) Storage for your media
3) All networked, so you can access the media from your media player or your laptop etc

OK this is pretty simple to do with a few $$$ in challenger:

1) Go and buy http://www.amazon.com/Western-Digital-L ... 245&sr=8-1 - a Western Digital TV Live Hub. Make sure it is the LIVE HUB version with 1 TB of hard drive on it (there are versions with NO storage). This is a Media Player AND storage in one box.

2) Plug it into your amp via HDMI.
3) Also connect it to your router (you do have a router, right? Let's hope it has several ethernet cable holes, cos you will need them...in this instance your router also acts as a hub, or central point of your network)
4) Also connect your laptop to your router (either wired or wireless, but wired will be quicker)
5) Run the software on your laptop - you can select "watch" folders on your laptop, and any media in them will be transferred to your WD LIVE HUB.
6) The LIVE HUB will show up as a network drive on your laptop - so you can either copy straight across, or access the drive to watch your media on your laptop as well as your TV.
7) When you select the right input on your amp, you will see the WD LIVE HUB on your TV, and it works like a DVD player - browse to the folder with your media and press play!

That is about as simple as it gets - several non-IT friends of mine have managed it.

There are two other add-on options you might consider:

A) If you router is not near your TV, then you will have no network connection for your LIVE HUB. So how? Either buy a long ethernet cable to run between the two devices, OR:

Go to challenger again and buy a pair of these: http://www.aztech.com/sg/homeplug_hl115ep.html

You connect one to the power outlet near your router, and the other one to a power outlet near your LIVE HUB, and connect with the included cables. This basically runs network cabling through your power cables. Great if your router and TV are in different rooms.

B) GO to challenger (again) and buy any hard drive with "NAS" and "DLNA" on the packaging...this will have a ethernet port to connect it to your router also. This will then show up as a hard drive on your network, and you can drop your media onto it. If you have a media player (like the LIVE HUB, or possibly your amp) then you will be able to see the media on the NAS (network attached storage). Something like this: http://www.buffalotech.com/products/net ... ive-ls-xl/ would do the job. THis isn't a media player, just additional storage for your media if you need it. You could get one of these and a WD LIVE player (not the hub version - without the hard drive it is cheaper, but then you MUST have storage somewhere else, like on a NAS).


***
I do not represent any manufacturer or retailer, I just mention those products because they are simple and do the job. Other retailers other than Challenger will also sell similar products, however I know you can get these items at challenger).


Finally, if you give me more details of your equipment, I might be able to give you better advice:
- Make/Model of TV
- Make/Model of amp
- Make/model of router (that is your internet box)
- Make/model of your wireless router, if it isn't the same as your router. Basically, list all the details of all your "internet boxes" that plug into your starhub/singtel socket!

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Postby curiousgeorge » Tue, 13 Dec 2011 12:42 am

nakatago wrote:Ah ok. DLNA is mostly for wireless. For wired, there may be several options but haven't tried them (straightforward LAN?). :P


Sorry to correct that point, but DLNA is for any kind of network, wired or wireless. Its just a communication protocol that is agnostic to the kind of network. In most implementations you will be mixing both - i.e. a wired media server and a wireless tablet to view the media. It doesn't matter, they all go through a hub on the same network.

How the signal travels between points on the hub is mostly irrelevant, except that for HD video you will get better results over wired networks.

IN fact, my home network has two TVs, a BD player, NAS, two PCs, two tablets and three phones that are all DLNA compliant, so they can share media between them. Most of the time it is PC > NAS > TV, so no wireless components are used.

One word of warning - DLNA certification doesn't neccessarily mean that it will do what you want it to do. THe Digital Living Nework Alliance has different standards i.e. DLNA server, DLNA viewer, DLNA router etc. So on some phones, for instance, you can view the media from your network but you cannot stream to the network.

(For those Apple fans out there, AirPlay is basically Apple's version of DLNA - but only works with apple devices. DLNA is an open/licensed standard).

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Postby nakatago » Tue, 13 Dec 2011 8:41 am

Just checked. You're right.

I still don't have the infrastructure/equipment to try it so...shrug. We thought of getting a NAS for our flat but we're too lazy to actually go through with it. We have two TVs, a playstation, a desktop, three laptops, two tablets, five smartphones, four calling birds, three French hens, two turtle doves, and a partridge in a pear tree.

(see what I did there? :P)

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Postby QRM » Tue, 13 Dec 2011 9:29 am

I am just getting to grips with the video side of things, for music I bought a Sonos set works very well in all the rooms. Just have the music stored on a Hard drive and the sonos system will pump it wired or wireless to any room that has a sonos receiver.

Now for video, all the latest TVs, and DVD players can access video info stored on a hard drive. I bought a Synology network attached storage (it was highly recommended) with 2TB worth of storage, I ripped all my movies on to it using a software called DVDfab.

Plug your latest TV, DVD, receiver even a playstation3 into the network and da dah it can see and play all the videos.

My one gripe is ripping bluerays is very slow, and so far I cannot get the same video-sound quality as the original disk.

Been told to rip bluerays into mkv format but this is still a relatively new file format and a number of players cannot read it.

Still experimenting you can go down the http://www.techfresh.net/kaleidoscope-f ... e-players/ route but that crazy money.

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Postby curiousgeorge » Tue, 13 Dec 2011 9:51 am

QRM wrote:
Been told to rip bluerays into mkv format but this is still a relatively new file format and a number of players cannot read it.

Still experimenting you can go down the http://www.techfresh.net/kaleidoscope-f ... e-players/ route but that crazy money.


The above-mentioned WD LIVE series players are all full 1080p and will handle mkv files no problems (whereas your average TV or BD player may not). And they are not crazy money... <$200.


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