New project! Home media system - any ideas?

Discussion in 'General Hardware' started by ray_gillespie, Feb 12, 2008.

  1. ray_gillespie

    ray_gillespie Moderator Staff Member Political User

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    Hello guys and gals,

    In an unprecedented move to combat my dissapointment of not being able to receive Sky, Freeview or indeed analogue terrestrial TV in my new house, I am going to build a media centre so I can listen to music, watch DVDs as well as downloaded movies and broadband TV and possibly browse the internet from my living room using a PC as the central hub.

    At this stage I'm just looking for some initial ideas so I know what kind of money this is going to cost me. Then I'll be back with my suggested hardware and go from there.

    Essentially, I have a PC upstairs in the spare room which has all of my ripped music on it (in .aac format, through iTunes) and a whole host of legally downloaded and ripped films/TV shows. What I want is access to all of this downstairs, hopefully without having to have my upstairs PC on all the time. My idea is to have a seperate media centre PC downstairs which shares a folder via WLAN on my upstairs PC - is it possible to 'sync' a folder so whenever both PCs are on, any new data will be copied to the downstairs PC? If not I will just have to use the downstairs PC as the main storage for my music, but I'd rather keep this upstairs for a variety of reasons.

    The sound system will be a standard (but good) 5.1 surround system.

    I'm not sure of the control system - I'm not bothered about having the internet downstairs so would a remote control be ok for all this?

    Also, with the right connections should I be able to use my standard 16:9 CRT television? I don't know if I can afford an LCD screen as well, though I might be able to get my hands on one.

    Am I looking at this the right way? Is there anything I am missing? Reps for any help. :)

    EDIT: WOW! Is this going to solve many problems in one? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_Media_Center_Extender

    EDIT 2: See http://www.amazon.co.uk/D-Link-DSM-...-Player/dp/tech-data/B000X4F7RO/ref=de_a_smtd - is this the best thing to get? Can I play my aac/mp4 files from iTunes?
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2008
  2. Dark Atheist

    Dark Atheist Moderator Political User Folding Team

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    comp i just go my new quad system from was cheap 800£ came with dual nvidia 8600gt 2x250GB hdds (i had to add an 80 for sys) 7.1 onboard hideff card (with optical and coax outputs) cd/dvd writer dvd rom drive 4gb ram and 2.4 quad, and that should do all what you want and then some :)
     
  3. epk

    epk Moderator Political User Folding Team

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    well, urs would be much cheaper ray, cos u dont need a quad core and a single decent ati card is great for video playback :]
    well, most cards come with different outputs, and usually u can buy more adapters (so i wouldnt be that big of a deal connecting ur crt tv). of course is way easier if u get an lcd, cos lots have vga inputs and almost all new ones have hdmi ones.

    as for the synching, im sure there are programs that can do it automatically, but i dont know about them. im sure someone else here can recommend something :]
    what u can do is, share the media folder and just copy the new files to ur downstairs pc (or use dvds to back stuff up and move data around)


    oh, also... unless i got it wrong, keep in mind that media center extenders just stream data from ur media center pc, so u'll have to leave it on whenever u wanna use it. keep in mind this.
     
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  4. Dark Atheist

    Dark Atheist Moderator Political User Folding Team

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    allwaysync-6-8-2
     
  5. ray_gillespie

    ray_gillespie Moderator Staff Member Political User

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    Have you ever used one of those media centre extenders? I can't seem to find much available in the UK and there are concerns about how quickly they can stream HD and other video content over WLAN. I wouldn't like to have to wire this baby up unless I absolutely had to!
     
  6. Dark Atheist

    Dark Atheist Moderator Political User Folding Team

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    my xbox 360 works just fine and hat has a 100mb port on it
     
  7. ray_gillespie

    ray_gillespie Moderator Staff Member Political User

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    Are you connecting that wirelessly?
     
  8. Dark Atheist

    Dark Atheist Moderator Political User Folding Team

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    nah wired although you cant see the wire
     
  9. ray_gillespie

    ray_gillespie Moderator Staff Member Political User

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    What seems crazy is that I can bypass all of my expensive media centre ideas and just buy this:

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/D-Link-DSM-...-Player/dp/tech-data/B000X4F7RO/ref=de_a_smtd

    Now that looks perfect, apart from the fact that I don't think it supports AAC/mp4 out of the box. I've looked for confirmation that a plugin will solve this problem but I can't seem to find any. Does anyone know if this will work with my iTunes files?
     
  10. Dark Atheist

    Dark Atheist Moderator Political User Folding Team

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    don't think divx/xvid container supports aac
     
  11. ray_gillespie

    ray_gillespie Moderator Staff Member Political User

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    This device supports more than just DivX though, including .wma files. I think it's going to be better to wait a little but I'm quite excited by the prospects of such a device!
     
  12. Dark Atheist

    Dark Atheist Moderator Political User Folding Team

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    can it do ac3 ?
     
  13. ray_gillespie

    ray_gillespie Moderator Staff Member Political User

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    Not out of the box - but I think there is a plugin somewhere...
     
  14. Dark Atheist

    Dark Atheist Moderator Political User Folding Team

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    well if it cant you wont be able to stream any dvd or avi's with Dolby sound in them