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Confusion about HTPC

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madhurkishore

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Hi,
I am totally confused about new inclusions in my Home Theatre.
My basic requirement is 1 single storage (2-3 TB should suffice) where I store all my movies and music files (around 120 GB and expanding) along with around 67 GB of photos. This storage is available over the WiFi throughout and can be accessed through any device available over the WiFi.

Second and important requirement is that I want to use my Macbook Pro (mid 2010 model) to mirror on my Samsung Smart TV (UA40D5500) already connected to my Home Theatre system so that the laptop is free from any HDMI cable requirement to mirror content on TV. Basically I'd be accessing the Single storage content through my Macbook and mirror it on the TV.

The simplest solution could have been a combination of Apple TV and Times Capsule, but my mid 2010 Mac does not support Airplay.

I have read quite a bit on Network Access Storage, HTPC (not really sure if I need this) and Time Capsule and am totally confused.

Please help out in which direction should I start researching.

Thanks in advance.
 

sam9s

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Yes NAS is one time solution for people with huge storage, typically > 3-4TB. You did not mention about the budget, depending on we can suggest a DIY NAS or pre built. You might not necessarily be comfortable with a DIY, so a pre built is recommended. I have convinced quite a few people on this forum to go for Synology NAS if budget is not of too much constraint, but with your precious data like photos, its always advisable to spend a bit more but get a decent NAS, and synology is no exception. There is a complete guide in my signature for synology 4 bay NAS, which will give you an idea what will it offer. You can also go for a 2 bay NAS with 2x2 TB HDD if 4 bay goes out of budget, but trust me others will vouch when it comes to NAS synology does not disappoint on any ground.

I also have an HTPC thread that is pretty popular among HTPC and XBMC enthus, you might wanna give it a read as well......

http://www.hifivision.com/home-theater-pc-htpc-media-pc/18571-sam9s-htpc-project-powered-xbmc.html
 
Last edited:

musicbee

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HTPC only if you want to use it to actually play movies, music, see photos, etc. Otherwise you only need a NAS.

Now I don't always see the need for a NAS (at least not in the traditional sense of the word) so here are a few options to consider...
1. If you have a PC (even an old one) that's always on and on the network (connected to a router) then share an existing HDD or add a new HDD (3 TB or more) and share it. Objective met.
2. Buy an external HDD with ethernet port (or at least USB 3.0) and connect to a router. You will need to add this external HDD as a network location (from within the router interface). Objective met.

Now for playing content off the shared HDD and on the Samsung TV, you can do it as long as your Samsung is DLNA enabled or you will need to add something like Chromecast. You can use your Macbook Pro or any other smartphone or tablet, as long as they are all on the same network and file sharing is enabled (Windows calls this HomeGroup) and this is for when you are using the HDD in a PC/HTPC. If HDD is connected to the router then that will take care of it, but you will need a smart router and the advantage is you can even access files outside of home by setting up an FTP/Media Server.
 

madhurkishore

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HTPC only if you want to use it to actually play movies, music, see photos, etc. Otherwise you only need a NAS.

Now I don't always see the need for a NAS (at least not in the traditional sense of the word) so here are a few options to consider...
1. If you have a PC (even an old one) that's always on and on the network (connected to a router) then share an existing HDD or add a new HDD (3 TB or more) and share it. Objective met.
2. Buy an external HDD with ethernet port (or at least USB 3.0) and connect to a router. You will need to add this external HDD as a network location (from within the router interface). Objective met.

Now for playing content off the shared HDD and on the Samsung TV, you can do it as long as your Samsung is DLNA enabled or you will need to add something like Chromecast. You can use your Macbook Pro or any other smartphone or tablet, as long as they are all on the same network and file sharing is enabled (Windows calls this HomeGroup) and this is for when you are using the HDD in a PC/HTPC. If HDD is connected to the router then that will take care of it, but you will need a smart router and the advantage is you can even access files outside of home by setting up an FTP/Media Server.
Thanks. that clears a lot of things. So correct me if I am wrong-
My Samsung TV is DLNA enabled, which means, I can connect it to the WiFi Router via ethernet. The external storage connected to the router through a USB would also be available on the WiFi network.
So I would be able to play music, movies and view photos on the Samsung TV, all residing in this external storage by accessing it from my Macbook.

Is this the situation how it might work?

My queries-
1. How stable is an external storage connected to the router model vs storing everything on a NAS? I have lost around 1 Tb of important data previously when my Portable Hard Disc crashed. This time I'd be transferring my photos in this setup. So kinda concerned about the stability.

2. Would be great if you can suggest some models for
a. the external storage (the regular portable hard disk or something like WD Live)
b. A smart router- what specific features should I look for?


I am willing to spend around 20k max on the whole setup, and the storage space required is not more than 2-3 TB out of which I already have a portable storage of around 1.5 TB.

TIA.
 

neel

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I have been using WD My Cloud (it comes in 2, 3 or 4TB storage) acting as NAS, connected to a gigabit router through network port. The router can hand shake with a smart tv, or a TV connected to Raspberry Pi or HTPC as the case may be and you have instant access to your media. On your queries: (1) Nearly 3 months usage on continuous basis, I find WDMyCloud rock solid. I could achieve read/write speed in excess of 70MBps (read capital B) which is amazing. (2)a -for a 4TB WDMyCloud I spent 13.5K after 10% hdfc discount in amazon.in. (2)b - I have a cheap 5port TPlink router costing about 2K, doing a great job.
 

musicbee

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Thanks. that clears a lot of things. So correct me if I am wrong-
My Samsung TV is DLNA enabled, which means, I can connect it to the WiFi Router via ethernet. The external storage connected to the router through a USB would also be available on the WiFi network.
So I would be able to play music, movies and view photos on the Samsung TV, all residing in this external storage by accessing it from my Macbook.

Is this the situation how it might work?
Access can be from multiple points. I prefer Android + BubbleUPnP. iOS will need paid apps. Even from within the Samsung TV interface depending on the OS.

My queries-
1. How stable is an external storage connected to the router model vs storing everything on a NAS? I have lost around 1 Tb of important data previously when my Portable Hard Disc crashed. This time I'd be transferring my photos in this setup. So kinda concerned about the stability.
You can always rip CDs and DVDs/Blu-rays in the event of a HDD crash, but photos are another matter and your 67 GB will have lots of memories, so I'd highly recommend an offline and an online backup. Use something like DropBox or Flickr to backup your photos online. I use both, DropBox is paid, Flickr is free for non-commercial use so only use it to backup and not share. Also use an external HDD for offline backup too (separate from the NAS).

2. Would be great if you can suggest some models for
a. the external storage (the regular portable hard disk or something like WD Live)
b. A smart router- what specific features should I look for?

I am willing to spend around 20k max on the whole setup, and the storage space required is not more than 2-3 TB out of which I already have a portable storage of around 1.5 TB.

TIA.
Already answered by @neel. Lots of solutions abound, go with internal HDD if using an old PC, or an external HDD with ethernet (or wifi, which is preferable) or at the very least USB 3.0 in which case the router too will need USB 3.0 inputs.

If you have the budget go for an AC router with 5 GHz frequency band, otherwise an N300 will suffice. TP-Link is an excellent suggestion, though I prefer Netgear. Go for a router with gigabit ethernet, transfers/access will be better. For HDDs Seagate and Western Digital are recommended.
 

sam9s

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1. How stable is an external storage connected to the router model vs storing everything on a NAS? I have lost around 1 Tb of important data previously when my Portable Hard Disc crashed. This time I'd be transferring my photos in this setup. So kinda concerned about the stability.
That is the reason I trust a dedicated NAS over any other kind of storage, certainly not a portable hard drive. I have 183 GB of snaps, collected over years and NAS with its solid raid setup gives the actual much needed security and backup. I also have a drop box cloud account but since that is paid I only have limited very important snaps backed up there.
 

madhurkishore

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Hi,
So I have decided on the NAS- It would be WD My Cloud 4 TB. Found another WiFi Media streamer called Teewe that I can use instead of Chromecast. Now what I wanted to know is -
1. The Router type- I have a Macbook mid 2010 which would not support 5GHz frequency WiFi, an iPhone 6 which would support the same. I would be using my Macbook to mirror on TV through Teewe. This mirroring doesnt use Internet, but does the kind of router affect the streaming process. For seamless mirroring, what specifications should I look for in the router (considering I have a 1 Mbps Internet connection)?
2. Will my Macbook connect with a 5Ghz Router if it does not support this frequency, but a lower frequency (2.4 Ghz)?
3. If I connect a HDMI streamer dongle like Teewe to the Home Theatre system, where should this be connected to? The TV or the AV receiver? Will the streaming work if I connect it to the TV and would want the sound from the Home Theater to be in place?
TIA
 

sam9s

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1. Internal lan speed does effect the streaming obviously, better the LAN speed better the streaming, with ethernet a gigabit network is advised if you wanna stream as high as an ISO. When it comes to wifi, In my experience wi fi n fell short when streaming ISO, it stuttered, rest files as big as 10-15mbps bit rate streamed fine ......

2. your mac book should connect to 2.5 ghz if your router does not have 5 Ghz option.

3. Ideally the dongle should be connected to the TV and sound from TV should be fed to AV receiver (if) you tv has such kind of audio out option. A plain AUX out should work
 
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