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Discussion Starter #1
Hey guys,
i am looking to purchase something where I can play my music/photos and videos from my computer to any tv in the house using an ethernet connection. I've been looking around and found a few products like the helios x5000 or the haupage media player but I wanted your opinions on which ones out there are the best ones and still look nice too. I am looking for something with high definition audio and hd video support.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
hey,
so now i'm ready to buy my wireless digital media player,
i want it to be able to play mp3s/photos/videos, but it should have a decent player... i'm also looking at hd players with hdmi output, i've looked at dlink 520 it doesnt look too shabby... any suggestions... i know you mentioned apple tv but i find apple tries to control too many things, it's more for people that dont know how to use things and they need somthing to do it for them
 

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hey,
so now i'm ready to buy my wireless digital media player,
i want it to be able to play mp3s/photos/videos, but it should have a decent player... i'm also looking at hd players with hdmi output, i've looked at dlink 520 it doesnt look too shabby... any suggestions... i know you mentioned apple tv but i find apple tries to control too many things, it's more for people that dont know how to use things and they need somthing to do it for them
I'm intrigued by the Popcorn Hour product, but I have to partially disagree with your analysis of the AppleTV. Check out Boxee and XBMC to see how the platform can be opened up with little effort. Gives the best of both worlds... my wife is perfectly happy to live within the brain dead-simple Apple walled garden, while I simply select "Boxee" off the menu when I want to access content that goes beyond their preferred format, be it Hulu, CBS, misc downloaded videos, etc.

It's quite nice to have a couple hundred movies at your fingertips at all times, streamed wirelessly into the bedroom from the home office PC, which has a couple of large USB hard drives hanging off it.
 

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Popcorn Hour is totally awesome. The Apple TV is a really great product too, but do understand that it's kinda limited when it comes to loading videos on it (you can only setup a sync transfer to one computer at a time). You can share media to it from multiple computers running iTunes, though.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
eheh i must admit apple tv does look slick, thanks for the feedback, so from what you are saying and my early research it looks like those software can enhance the potential of appletv then? that would be neat, and like you said my wife could use the apple menus while i can go and use the more advanced software... very smart... i haven't looked into your ideas in too much details yet since i'm at work and i'm "working" but thanks
 

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eheh i must admit apple tv does look slick, thanks for the feedback, so from what you are saying and my early research it looks like those software can enhance the potential of appletv then? that would be neat, and like you said my wife could use the apple menus while i can go and use the more advanced software... very smart... i haven't looked into your ideas in too much details yet since i'm at work and i'm "working" but thanks
I'll be the first to admit AppleTV isn't for everyone. There are definitely some limitations to using it.

But it has worked out unexpectedly well for my wife and I. She=non-technical user, wants things brain-dead simple. Me=technical user without excessive spare time, so I'll do what it takes, within reason.

AppleTV CAN be used very simply, all within Apple's "walled garden". I've been surprised at how convenient the movie rentals have turned out to be... I never would have expected that, but the convenience factor is fabulous, and the economics actually work out in it's favor when you factor in gas to the video store and the two trips it takes to rent one movie.

I rip my DVD movies using Handbrake (free software), using the AppleTV preset. Ultra-simple, two or three clicks. Add cover art and tags easily with MetaX, drop it on my external hard drive (connected to my computer), and then drop it on iTunes. AppleTV then shows it as an available movie to watch under "My Movies". That's it. Nearly 200 movies (and TV shows) from my collection converted to date. They all stream perfectly over my wireless network (802.11n)... no shows are physically located on my ATV's hard drive at all, so the small size (I picked up the cheap 40gb unit) doesn't matter.

Handbrake can also convert many (but not all) films I've downloaded from various corners of the internet into the ATV preferred format. I only bother for things I want to make a permanent part of my collection... if I simply want to watch it once and delete, I fire up Boxee on the AppleTV and watch it in the original format (DIVX, MKV, etc.).

Note that there is one significant limitation to the ATV that's a hardware issue: It can't handle 1080p content. The processor is simply underpowered. It can also have issues with 720p MKV files (which are fairly processor-intensive to decode) playing via Boxee, although if you transcode the files into the AppleTV format with Handbrake, there's no problem playing them. These issues don't exist with Popcorn Hour. But, Popcorn Hour is not as spouse-friendly, so there are trade-offs no matter where you go.
 

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Good summaries all around. Boxee has worked wonders for Apple TV, and Apple TV is the best networked music player I've seen (if you don't need a seperate built in display a la the Roku Soundbridge), but if you don't mind the interface, I still consider the Popcorn Hour (and other NMT devices like the Elektron EHP-606) the best video players available today. Every format up to 1080p no questions asked with Dolby TrueHD passthrough...hard to argue with the feature set for the $$.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
thanks for the feedback guys, i was wondering would you guys know if either the apple tv or the popcorn hour work with my harman kardon avr254 ? i was thinkin i'd plug it to the receiver so i can get my music to play on the 5.1 system
 

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thanks for the feedback guys, i was wondering would you guys know if either the apple tv or the popcorn hour work with my harman kardon avr254 ? i was thinkin i'd plug it to the receiver so i can get my music to play on the 5.1 system
The Apple TV has HDMI to carry both video and audio, or Component video, or optical audio (toslink). Plus old-school analog audio. The Popcorn Hour A-110 has the same, as far as I know. Popcorn Hour supports more audio formats via HDMI 1.3a, however... not sure what version the ATV has, but I don't think it takes more than DD 5.1. I don't have the hardware to test that aspect beyond DD anyway, on the simpler system in my master bedroom, where my ATV is.

The PH system is sweet for video. Not as cheap, though, since it doesn't include wireless connectivity (without a higher cost bundle) or hard drive by default, while ATV does.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
hey, i just found out my ps3 plays media on the network, how's that compared to the atv or ph?
 
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