Planning media server, which media player? - Home Theater Forum and Systems -

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post #1 of 7 Old 12-20-10, 02:09 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 4
Planning media server, which media player?


Found the Home Theater Shack last week and have been pouring over forums since. I have a decent main floor set up but would like to take advantage of my hard wired home network (2 year old house) as well as plan for future theater in the basement. I currently have a WD HDTV with several HD that I can play my movies and music off of anywhere on my main floor on this ssytem. I love the little black box but want to get away from moving hard drives and also I want to try some of the newer options with better functionality and cleaner UI. My current plan is to build a media server to tuck away in my office closet and eventually in a media closet in the basement. Looking for thoughts on how to procede and which units folks have used in similar was.

Current system:
Harman Kardon AVR 247 - Main tuner for living room/TV/movies etc (all video goes through to TV)
Harman Kardon HK 3385 - Rest of main floor and outside deck audio
Motorola DVR/HD - cable box, audio to both amps
Sony RDR-GX257 - DVD/CD player, audio feeds to both amps
WD HDTV - MP3 library and my DVD collection (I have several 500GB drives that I rotate), feeds both amps
Access to 2 cat5 Drops in the cabinet

What I want to add:
A media server as yet to be built (likely based on Windows Home Server, and in basic planning stage now)
Network capable replacement for the WD HDTV to play audio and video media from server (also will add one for my bedroom, network drop already there)

My questions:
Really like the Playon! mini. Is it the most capable for this use? Any limitations it has?
How does Popcorn A210 compare? Any advantages or disadvantages compared to Playon!?
Definite nube so am I missing any other great options?
Are there better options than Windows Home Server fro compatibility with media players?

Thanks for any thoughts folks!

neeric2010 is offline  
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post #2 of 7 Old 12-20-10, 03:12 PM
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Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 73
Why replace the wdtv? It is has nice UI and very capable. Maybe you just need movie sheet type update . What is it missing that could be addressed by another play

How many gigs are you up to? This could be a simple as adding a drink dns 323 or better.

Last edited by tonydp; 12-20-10 at 03:19 PM.
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post #3 of 7 Old 12-20-10, 04:02 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 4
Re: Planning media server, which media player?

I think I used the wrong WD name. Mine is the old version without network ability. I will move it to my brief case for business trips!

Thinking of building something in the 4 TB range to start. Picked a good server case that can take up to 10 total 3.5 inch drives. Could get to 20 TB easily. 5000 Plus songs and literally thousands of pics. Over 150 DVDs that I would like at my fingertips. That is expanding quickly too. Also will likely start Blue Ray collection once the Home theater gets built so I am planning for the next 5 years and really want the ability to expand and change easily. I also had a major drive failure fiasco a few years back. I am now an official double redundancy advocate whenever possible so want on or two drives on the network for everything else related to my work and the kids school stuff.


Last edited by neeric2010; 12-20-10 at 04:11 PM.
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post #4 of 7 Old 12-21-10, 09:40 AM
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 3,807
Re: Planning media server, which media player?

For a networked player, I like the popcorn hour but would consider WD Live Plus if you need netflix support.
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post #5 of 7 Old 12-21-10, 02:39 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 4
Re: Planning media server, which media player?

Which popcorn hour? I really do not know their products well. How is the UI and jukebox capability? Are they out of the box stable?

Just spent an hour reading up on Playon HD, Xstreamer and Mede8er. I have the old version of WD. It works great but I have had issues with HDMI out being flaky. That prompted me to look further than the new version of WD. Of course they all look uber cool but seem to have issues (doesn't every cool toy).

My server parts are already arriving. Will concentrate on that build next week on vacation. Once it is up and running I will start getting serious about the media player. I have about $200 to spend. Of course less is better but I don't want to buy cheap and then buy right which is always more expensive.

Very interested in opinions on devices that are actually owned and are working in similar set ups.

It is official.

In case anyone cares or it makes a difference,
Server Specs:
Windows Home Server
AMD Phenom II X3 715 Black Edition Heka 2.8GHz
ASUS M4A785-M Mobo (no video or audio cards, just the onboard chips)
2 WD Caviar Blue 1TB drives to start ( hope to be in the 10TB range in a few months)
(all done for under $400 with case and 750W power, gotta LOVE coupons, combos and discounts!!!!)
This will be a hard wired connection

This is meant to be a solid base, no frills server with room to grow. I will not even use it to rip my collection. Just store it and serve it up for my late night viewing pleasure.

Thanks all!


Last edited by neeric2010; 12-21-10 at 02:49 PM.
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post #6 of 7 Old 12-22-10, 04:47 PM
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 3,807
Re: Planning media server, which media player?

I've used the A100 and 110. The interface is barebones, but I know they've worked to change that with the new devices. I always found them rock solid stable with the latest firmware.
eugovector is offline  
post #7 of 7 Old 01-04-11, 04:22 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 4
Re: Planning media server, which media player?

Happy New Year!!!

The Server is built and humming along. Also switched to a gigabyte switch and router. Slowly migrating all of my drives and data to it. Streams extremely well to the PCs so far. The real test will be getting to my TV. Anyway, back to the topic.

Has anyone used the Diamond MP1000? Seems to be a rebranded ACRyan unit.

How about the Sony SMP-N100?

Thanks folks!

neeric2010 is offline  


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