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Setting up home networking for music & video

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QRM
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Postby QRM » Tue, 13 Dec 2011 10:08 am

What's the quality like? I know you are a bit of a AV buff, I just spent a small fortune on an emotiva setup, with oppo blueray player video coming through a Panasonic 4000 projector.

Seems a bit daft to go through all the trouble to have a decent picture and sound only to degrade it all via ripping?

I just rip the kids movies so its easy to take with me on my travels.

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Postby BillyB » Tue, 13 Dec 2011 1:08 pm

curiousgeorge wrote: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!


Think you've nailed it - thanks CG! I've spoke to a few people and they all recommended a combined player and storage.

Know where I can buy one in SG?

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Postby curiousgeorge » Tue, 13 Dec 2011 9:56 pm

BillyB wrote:
...OK this is pretty simple to do with a few $$$ in challenger:...
...Go to challenger again...

...Go to challenger (again) ...
...Other retailers other than Challenger will also sell similar products, however I know you can get these items at challenger)....


Think you've nailed it - thanks CG! I've spoke to a few people and they all recommended a combined player and storage.

Know where I can buy one in SG?[/quote]

Did you miss my subtle references to Challenger?

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Postby curiousgeorge » Tue, 13 Dec 2011 10:01 pm

QRM wrote:What's the quality like? I know you are a bit of a AV buff, I just spent a small fortune on an emotiva setup, with oppo blueray player video coming through a Panasonic 4000 projector.

Seems a bit daft to go through all the trouble to have a decent picture and sound only to degrade it all via ripping?

I just rip the kids movies so its easy to take with me on my travels.


Depends on what you rip as! With MKV its possible to rip as near to lossless as to be indistinguishable...but your average movie will run about 16GB+

Most people rip to store movies in less space, so are happy to sacrifice quality for size and speed of rip.

But for myself, I have FULL HD capable media player and TV, so will always use the highest possible quality to make use of the features.

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Postby QRM » Wed, 14 Dec 2011 12:56 pm

Challenger are having some sort of road show at the bottom level of ION (next to Muji) and has the whole WD tv set up on demo.

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Postby BillyB » Wed, 14 Dec 2011 1:06 pm

I've finishing setting everything up - got the live hub (spotted a bargain in Funan and it was 30% off) and set it up in 5 mins. Took a few hours to transfer all the media - but it's now nicely ordered and filed. The software and player are great.

I also got a wireless powerpoint extender and set-up a new wireless network which is much quicker and gives full coverage all over the condo. The media streams very well.

Thanks for your help and suggestions. I'm now a network pragmatist...

Just one final question; I now have two wireless networks - one my starhub router spits out, and a new one that works off the router connection but has its own credentials. Is there a simple way to merge them into one (they both have separate SSID's), or is that going to involve changing gateways, settings and some very techy stuff?!

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Postby curiousgeorge » Wed, 14 Dec 2011 10:01 pm

BillyB wrote:I've finishing setting everything up - got the live hub (spotted a bargain in Funan and it was 30% off) and set it up in 5 mins. Took a few hours to transfer all the media - but it's now nicely ordered and filed. The software and player are great.

I also got a wireless powerpoint extender and set-up a new wireless network which is much quicker and gives full coverage all over the condo. The media streams very well.

Thanks for your help and suggestions. I'm now a network pragmatist...

Just one final question; I now have two wireless networks - one my starhub router spits out, and a new one that works off the router connection but has its own credentials. Is there a simple way to merge them into one (they both have separate SSID's), or is that going to involve changing gateways, settings and some very techy stuff?!


Hahah glad it was so easy for you. I dun even charge for my advice ;)

There isn't an easy way to merge the two wireless networks, and typically, extended wireless networks function at reduced speed. If you are proficient with settings you can go to the settings of the Router and disable wireless if you really want to (usually by typing the IP address of your router, sometimes shown on a label or in the documentation, something like http://192.168.0.1/ or similar. Then you have to know the default login (usually admin/password, but sometimes also on a label on the underside of the router.)

But if your laptops/tablets have password for both networks, and everything is on the network it shouldn't really matter much which one they connect to, usually they will negotiate with strongest signal.

On windows PCs you can select to "forget" a particular wireless network also, if you prefer just to use the new one.

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Postby chuckd » Thu, 15 Dec 2011 2:01 pm

You'd probably want to make sure the different SSIDs are on different channels. And ones that are reasonably far apart, e.g channels 1 and 6 (channels that are adjacent have overlapping frequencies....unless you're using 5Ghz)
--
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Postby RimBlock » Thu, 05 Jan 2012 2:08 pm

Just to add to this discussion.

Another option would have been to get something like the WD Live TV and an external hard drive. Plug the hard drive in to the laptop and transfer the media, pug in to the Live TV and it will find the media and let you play. Leave it connected to the WD unit. The advantage of this is not having to play with lan connections, pure plug and play and having a spare external drive that can be used for other things in a pinch.

The other big name for media players with a fairly good reputation is AC Ryan. The HD2 and HD2 mini are both pretty good products.

A third option is to get an all-in-one mini-PC although most of these are based around Atom processors and won't generally be able to handle full HD movies. They are small and usually fairly easy to set-up and can run Windows so you can do some web browsing and basic computer tasks as well.

Last option, in this post from me at least, is building a full fledged HTPC. They can be small enough to to be easily hidden or a bit bigger (around shoebox size) for a bit more functionality or storage. They usually use mITX based motherboards and something like a i3-2100 or i3-2125T (low power) CPU. The cost is higher than the other options above but you are getting a full PC at the end of the day. Pair it with an Antec ISK100-90 or ISK310-150 case and you have a small but powerful machine for just over S$500 excluding hard drive. The smaller cases take 2.5" hard drives (usually used in laptops at a consumer level) or a SSD drive.

Moving from the Media player storing the media files to having centralized storage, the all-in-one NAS units that can be bought are generally pretty good for starter home use but they are also usually built on a tight budget and quite a few have less than optimum networking (the same is sometimes true for media players so check on-line reviews before buying). My D-Link DNS-323 was great until it came to big HD video files. An Atom based custom NAS is really not so pricey and can be much cheaper than the higher end all-in-one units.

I have had a HD Ryan HD mini and D-Link DNS323 and currently have 2xWD Live TVs, 1x AC Ryan HD2, A HTPC and a custom Virtulization server running ESXi with a Windows Home Server 2011 virtual machine (currently in the process of downgrading from a 4U 20drive rack mount chassis to a more wife friendly desktop case :wink: ).


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Postby BillyB » Mon, 27 Feb 2012 9:48 pm

Gents,

Hope you can help, as I have a further question on this networking malarkey.

I'm running a WD Live TV hub in the lounge which is HDMI'd into my Amp and and subsequently the TV, and it also streams the media to laptop and ipad if required.

Now, I want to add another of these WD units in the bedroom as the Mrs isn't happy watching on a laptop or ipad, and/or hooking up HDMI wires to the TV.

Is it as easy as buying another WD Hub, plugging it in and hey presto it will automatically work on the existing network and detect all media on the existing WD Hub, and thus play it seamlessly on the TV in the bedroom? Or is it easier to copy files across to the new Hub in the bedroom so it plays locally i.e. direct into the TV off that WD unit rather than over the network?

Thanks in advance.

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Postby RimBlock » Tue, 28 Feb 2012 9:26 am

BillyB wrote:Gents,

Hope you can help, as I have a further question on this networking malarkey.

I'm running a WD Live TV hub in the lounge which is HDMI'd into my Amp and and subsequently the TV, and it also streams the media to laptop and ipad if required.

Now, I want to add another of these WD units in the bedroom as the Mrs isn't happy watching on a laptop or ipad, and/or hooking up HDMI wires to the TV.

Is it as easy as buying another WD Hub, plugging it in and hey presto it will automatically work on the existing network and detect all media on the existing WD Hub, and thus play it seamlessly on the TV in the bedroom? Or is it easier to copy files across to the new Hub in the bedroom so it plays locally i.e. direct into the TV off that WD unit rather than over the network?

Thanks in advance.


Hi Billy,

The WD Live TV Hub acts as a NAS (Network Attached Storage) unit and therefore shares your media stored on it to other devices on your network. If you added a WD Live TV (no need for another hub) then you can utilise the storage on your hub and stream the media via the live TV and straight on to the TV.

The only cavet to this is that the ability depends very much on your network. If you have a wired network then you should have no issues. A wireless network or a homeplug network may struggle a bit with big HD files like large Bluray quality movies.

If your network is unlikely to be able to stream with enough bandwidth (speed) then a WD Live TV and a USB drive would allow you to copy the files from your HUB and move them to your WD Live TV fairly easily. The USB drive and also be used for other tasks when not in use on the Live TV. Unless the gui has been updated then the look and feel of the hub is different from the Live TV. Both are fine but the hub gui looks nicer by all accounts.

My WD Live TV units have played just about anything I have thrown at them including 30GB bluray ISO files.

If yo wanted to go one step beyond then you could look at a small Windows Home Server machine. WHS 2011 allows you to stream remotely via a web interface, access all your stored files form the same web interface from anywhere in the world (if properly configured), everything is password protected, remote desktop to the server, automatic backups of the server and other windows machines on your network and a whole lot more. Great bit of software and cheaper than Windows 7. It would need a dedicated PC to run on but it does not have to be expensive or big. It could be the size of a shoe box.

RB
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Postby BillyB » Tue, 28 Feb 2012 10:02 am

RimBlock wrote:
BillyB wrote:Gents,

Hope you can help, as I have a further question on this networking malarkey.

I'm running a WD Live TV hub in the lounge which is HDMI'd into my Amp and and subsequently the TV, and it also streams the media to laptop and ipad if required.

Now, I want to add another of these WD units in the bedroom as the Mrs isn't happy watching on a laptop or ipad, and/or hooking up HDMI wires to the TV.

Is it as easy as buying another WD Hub, plugging it in and hey presto it will automatically work on the existing network and detect all media on the existing WD Hub, and thus play it seamlessly on the TV in the bedroom? Or is it easier to copy files across to the new Hub in the bedroom so it plays locally i.e. direct into the TV off that WD unit rather than over the network?

Thanks in advance.


Hi Billy,

The WD Live TV Hub acts as a NAS (Network Attached Storage) unit and therefore shares your media stored on it to other devices on your network. If you added a WD Live TV (no need for another hub) then you can utilise the storage on your hub and stream the media via the live TV and straight on to the TV.

The only cavet to this is that the ability depends very much on your network. If you have a wired network then you should have no issues. A wireless network or a homeplug network may struggle a bit with big HD files like large Bluray quality movies.

If your network is unlikely to be able to stream with enough bandwidth (speed) then a WD Live TV and a USB drive would allow you to copy the files from your HUB and move them to your WD Live TV fairly easily. The USB drive and also be used for other tasks when not in use on the Live TV. Unless the gui has been updated then the look and feel of the hub is different from the Live TV. Both are fine but the hub gui looks nicer by all accounts.

My WD Live TV units have played just about anything I have thrown at them including 30GB bluray ISO files.

If yo wanted to go one step beyond then you could look at a small Windows Home Server machine. WHS 2011 allows you to stream remotely via a web interface, access all your stored files form the same web interface from anywhere in the world (if properly configured), everything is password protected, remote desktop to the server, automatic backups of the server and other windows machines on your network and a whole lot more. Great bit of software and cheaper than Windows 7. It would need a dedicated PC to run on but it does not have to be expensive or big. It could be the size of a shoe box.

RB


Thanks, RB.

I do use a homeplug network in the bedroom - usually gets around 8-10 mbs wireless, and between 10-25 wired. Never had major issues with streaming, although most of my media are DVD quality rips.

I'm thinking about another hub mainly for future proofing some additional storage, as I imagine you can simply drag and drop files between the two storage devices on the network, and like you said, larger files will run better if they are physically on the bedroom hub rather than being streamed.

Adding a physical PC is too complicated for me!

Thanks

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Postby RimBlock » Tue, 28 Feb 2012 10:35 am

BillyB wrote:
RimBlock wrote:
BillyB wrote:Gents,

Hope you can help, as I have a further question on this networking malarkey.

I'm running a WD Live TV hub in the lounge which is HDMI'd into my Amp and and subsequently the TV, and it also streams the media to laptop and ipad if required.

Now, I want to add another of these WD units in the bedroom as the Mrs isn't happy watching on a laptop or ipad, and/or hooking up HDMI wires to the TV.

Is it as easy as buying another WD Hub, plugging it in and hey presto it will automatically work on the existing network and detect all media on the existing WD Hub, and thus play it seamlessly on the TV in the bedroom? Or is it easier to copy files across to the new Hub in the bedroom so it plays locally i.e. direct into the TV off that WD unit rather than over the network?

Thanks in advance.


Hi Billy,

The WD Live TV Hub acts as a NAS (Network Attached Storage) unit and therefore shares your media stored on it to other devices on your network. If you added a WD Live TV (no need for another hub) then you can utilise the storage on your hub and stream the media via the live TV and straight on to the TV.

The only cavet to this is that the ability depends very much on your network. If you have a wired network then you should have no issues. A wireless network or a homeplug network may struggle a bit with big HD files like large Bluray quality movies.

If your network is unlikely to be able to stream with enough bandwidth (speed) then a WD Live TV and a USB drive would allow you to copy the files from your HUB and move them to your WD Live TV fairly easily. The USB drive and also be used for other tasks when not in use on the Live TV. Unless the gui has been updated then the look and feel of the hub is different from the Live TV. Both are fine but the hub gui looks nicer by all accounts.

My WD Live TV units have played just about anything I have thrown at them including 30GB bluray ISO files.

If yo wanted to go one step beyond then you could look at a small Windows Home Server machine. WHS 2011 allows you to stream remotely via a web interface, access all your stored files form the same web interface from anywhere in the world (if properly configured), everything is password protected, remote desktop to the server, automatic backups of the server and other windows machines on your network and a whole lot more. Great bit of software and cheaper than Windows 7. It would need a dedicated PC to run on but it does not have to be expensive or big. It could be the size of a shoe box.

RB


Thanks, RB.

I do use a homeplug network in the bedroom - usually gets around 8-10 mbs wireless, and between 10-25 wired. Never had major issues with streaming, although most of my media are DVD quality rips.

I'm thinking about another hub mainly for future proofing some additional storage, as I imagine you can simply drag and drop files between the two storage devices on the network, and like you said, larger files will run better if they are physically on the bedroom hub rather than being streamed.

Adding a physical PC is too complicated for me!

Thanks


Np,

Homeplugs are fine for DVD stuff. I used to use them. It is only when moving up to Bluray / HD material that they can start to lag behind.

Copying the movies from one hub to another would work but at 8-10mbps you are looking at 1MB/s so a single movie would take around 12 minutes+ to copy over. If you have 100 movies then you would be looking at 1200 minutes or 20 hours. Add a usb drive in to the mix and you can use it to copy back and forth 40+ times the speed. Just makes life a lot quicker for a small outlay :D.

As for the PC, there are people who can do that for you :wink: .

RB
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Postby BillyB » Tue, 28 Feb 2012 12:52 pm

RimBlock wrote:
BillyB wrote:
RimBlock wrote:
BillyB wrote:Gents,

Hope you can help, as I have a further question on this networking malarkey.

I'm running a WD Live TV hub in the lounge which is HDMI'd into my Amp and and subsequently the TV, and it also streams the media to laptop and ipad if required.

Now, I want to add another of these WD units in the bedroom as the Mrs isn't happy watching on a laptop or ipad, and/or hooking up HDMI wires to the TV.

Is it as easy as buying another WD Hub, plugging it in and hey presto it will automatically work on the existing network and detect all media on the existing WD Hub, and thus play it seamlessly on the TV in the bedroom? Or is it easier to copy files across to the new Hub in the bedroom so it plays locally i.e. direct into the TV off that WD unit rather than over the network?

Thanks in advance.


Hi Billy,

The WD Live TV Hub acts as a NAS (Network Attached Storage) unit and therefore shares your media stored on it to other devices on your network. If you added a WD Live TV (no need for another hub) then you can utilise the storage on your hub and stream the media via the live TV and straight on to the TV.

The only cavet to this is that the ability depends very much on your network. If you have a wired network then you should have no issues. A wireless network or a homeplug network may struggle a bit with big HD files like large Bluray quality movies.

If your network is unlikely to be able to stream with enough bandwidth (speed) then a WD Live TV and a USB drive would allow you to copy the files from your HUB and move them to your WD Live TV fairly easily. The USB drive and also be used for other tasks when not in use on the Live TV. Unless the gui has been updated then the look and feel of the hub is different from the Live TV. Both are fine but the hub gui looks nicer by all accounts.

My WD Live TV units have played just about anything I have thrown at them including 30GB bluray ISO files.

If yo wanted to go one step beyond then you could look at a small Windows Home Server machine. WHS 2011 allows you to stream remotely via a web interface, access all your stored files form the same web interface from anywhere in the world (if properly configured), everything is password protected, remote desktop to the server, automatic backups of the server and other windows machines on your network and a whole lot more. Great bit of software and cheaper than Windows 7. It would need a dedicated PC to run on but it does not have to be expensive or big. It could be the size of a shoe box.

RB


Thanks, RB.

I do use a homeplug network in the bedroom - usually gets around 8-10 mbs wireless, and between 10-25 wired. Never had major issues with streaming, although most of my media are DVD quality rips.

I'm thinking about another hub mainly for future proofing some additional storage, as I imagine you can simply drag and drop files between the two storage devices on the network, and like you said, larger files will run better if they are physically on the bedroom hub rather than being streamed.

Adding a physical PC is too complicated for me!

Thanks


Np,

Homeplugs are fine for DVD stuff. I used to use them. It is only when moving up to Bluray / HD material that they can start to lag behind.

Copying the movies from one hub to another would work but at 8-10mbps you are looking at 1MB/s so a single movie would take around 12 minutes+ to copy over. If you have 100 movies then you would be looking at 1200 minutes or 20 hours. Add a usb drive in to the mix and you can use it to copy back and forth 40+ times the speed. Just makes life a lot quicker for a small outlay :D.

As for the PC, there are people who can do that for you :wink: .

RB


I'm not fussed about copying stuff - it will only be TV series and a few films every week, and I can let that run overnight if required.

I just want something that is easily integrated and is easy to use.

I think I'll get another WD Hub.

Thanks for the info - appreciated.

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Postby zzm9980 » Tue, 28 Feb 2012 1:48 pm

Let me know where you find it and for how much. I was looking for something similar too.


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