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Setting up Win XP laptop as a media server/media-sharing rig.

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TheSeeker

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Hello!

i have an old laptop (HP DV6114TX) that i 'revived' sometime back. i have been using it for browsing and downloading purposes since some time. it has Win XP SP3 as the OS. for its config, i won't upgrade it to Win 7/8. i wish to share the content that i download on it, with my other devices, like desktop PC, NAS (and router), a media player, a music streamer. i wish to know what all softwares (preferably free) would i be needing for that purpose. currently i just copy the contents onto a flash-drive and move it around across various devices, but want to limit it to minimum.

i have a router (with optware, transmission, samba) and 2 NAS (a Seagate Goflex Home with Debian, and a Pogoplug Pro) placed centrally at home. i can stream movies from the NAS/router to my media player placed in the hall, connected via LAN (ethernet) to the network. the desktop PC is also connected to the network via ethernet. the laptop however is connected via WiFi. what i wish to do mainly is:

1. share small and large files from my laptop with the PC and NAS (to-and-fro). i guess i will need to have a wifi adapter connected to my PC then?! and what about router/NAS?

2. stream music from my laptop to logitech squeezebox classic placed in hall. presently i do so via the logitech media server installed on my PC and GFH. the classic is connected to the network via a gigabit switch.

3. stream movies (if possible) to my media player, but i guess it won't be possible without an ethernet connection, if i want to have a stutter-free playback, isn't it? still looking for suggestion. if i can atleast send the movies to the NAS, to be streamed from there, that would also do.

4. basically turn the laptop into a home media server...whatever else that entails.

please suggest the applications i need to install to accomplish this.

P.S. - although am going to do a fresh install of XP in some time, formatting the HDD, but don't wish to install any Linux distro, as am not very comfortable at it, and want ease of use and familiarity, instead of googling everytime am stuck at some point.

TIA!
 
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sam9s

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I would have suggested Linux seriously lots of options to run an old PC as an Linux Headless Media server, nothing can beat linux when it comes to running a 24x7 headless media server ..... ..... but your last line suggest something else so I wont go in that direction.

Considering windows, well you already have LMS installed on your other PC , so that PC is somewhat acting as a Media server. Anyway ....Firstly I would suggest go for Win7. Its a dual core laptop as far as I can google and can easily run Win7. Then shift LMS from your other PC to this one, so that this one acts as you single main media server. Point LMS to your NAS where all your songs are stored and thats it .... this takes care of the audio part.

For video go for PLEX simple plain and best, install PLEX on it and you can stream movies from any PC Browser, a mobile (with plex app) or a media player which has plex on it. Nice interface and does transcoding as well. Personally tested and works great. Does Audio as well, if for some reason you do not want to use LMS.

What else??? I guess Audio Video is all you have in mind for your media server to serve. :)

Finally I am assuming all this would be done with your laptop connected to your home network via LAN (if not wifi n)

YOu can also shift your torrent activities from your router on to this machine since it will be on 27x7 .........
 

TheSeeker

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thanks for the reply, htpc-expert! :)

I would have suggested Linux seriously lots of options to run an old PC as an Linux Headless Media server, nothing can beat linux when it comes to running a 24x7 headless media server ..... ..... but your last line suggest something else so I wont go in that direction.
i had earlier thought of choosing that as an option. i had very much liked to read everything and experiment with stuff while installing debian on my NAS (through quite a few nights), and do like exploring and hunting for info.
but i doubt that i would be able to spend much time doing a similar thing in the near-future. plus, this laptop i would be carrying to work at times, i have notes stored on onenote in it and many other documents, etc., which i will need there, and there i won't be having much of net-access to look into any issue which i may run into, or even to just read about any day-to-day operation to be done on Linux. hence the familiarity-factor is important for me. at best, i can either run the laptop in dual-OS/dual-boot method, or use either Linux or Win on virtual machine, if any of these would helpful (i run Ubuntu on my desktop on a virtual machine), though i doubt whether my laptop's config would allow a smooth running of that. please let me know if that'll help in any way, so that i will then install Linux too in the coming days. will be looking forward to your suggestion.


Considering windows, well you already have LMS installed on your other PC , so that PC is somewhat acting as a Media server. Anyway ....Firstly I would suggest go for Win7. Its a dual core laptop as far as I can google and can easily run Win7. Then shift LMS from your other PC to this one, so that this one acts as you single main media server. Point LMS to your NAS where all your songs are stored and thats it .... this takes care of the audio part.
i had used Win 7 a long time back. earlier it used to run fine, but with time, the performance deteriorated. i pinned the blame on my lap's low config, but on the inside i've had this hunch that reckless use and stuffing the laptop with too much stuff was to be blamed. i was contemplating whether i should reinstall Win 7 and see again. using Win 8 on my PC, and then using Win XP on this laptop, quite a few usual things seemed amiss/inconvenient on this. you echoed my thoughts. i think i should install Win 7 then. i just sincerely hope it doesn't bog down the machine though.


For video go for PLEX simple plain and best, install PLEX on it and you can stream movies from any PC Browser, a mobile (with plex app) or a media player which has plex on it. Nice interface and does transcoding as well. Personally tested and works great. Does Audio as well, if for some reason you do not want to use LMS.
Plex! have heard a lot about it, and was on the verge of installing it some months back on my PC, but discarded the idea (don't remember why). will give it a try.


What else??? I guess Audio Video is all you have in mind for your media server to serve. :)
yes, add to it some documents, but i suppose file-sharing wares like filezilla, winscp, or/and similar softwares would do i guess?!


Finally I am assuming all this would be done with your laptop connected to your home network via LAN (if not wifi n)
via wifi, preferably, as otherwise, for an ethernet connection, i'll have to place it on my PC table, which will look very messy and will be inconvenient.


YOu can also shift your torrent activities from your router on to this machine since it will be on 24x7 .........
did already! the router and NAS seem to be crying for my attention for downloading-activities. :eek:hyeah:

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also, for file-sharing between PC and laptop, i will need to buy a wifi adapter for the PC (as laptop's on wifi), correct?! or should i do it centrally, via NAS? though i think that would be slower.
 
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sam9s

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i had earlier thought of choosing that as an option. i had very much liked to read everything and experiment with stuff while installing debian on my NAS (through quite a few nights), and do like exploring and hunting for info.
but i doubt that i would be able to spend much time doing a similar thing in the near-future. plus, this laptop i would be carrying to work at times, i have notes stored on onenote in it and many other documents, etc., which i will need there, and there i won't be having much of net-access to look into any issue which i may run into, or even to just read about any day-to-day operation to be done on Linux. hence the familiarity-factor is important for me. at best, i can either run the laptop in dual-OS/dual-boot method, or use either Linux or Win on virtual machine, if any of these would helpful (i run Ubuntu on my desktop on a virtual machine), though i doubt whether my laptop's config would allow a smooth running of that. please let me know if that'll help in any way, so that i will then install Linux too in the coming days. will be looking forward to your suggestion.
No No No!!! I am talking about Headless Linux server, you would not be able to do a thing on the machine itself, (dual boot is out of question),its all gonna be browser based, if at all you decide to go the way I suggest. I was also assuming that you would not be using the machine for any activity on the machine itself (since its a server, which by definition just sits in one corner 24x7) to be accessed by all peripherals connected via home LAN.

But I guess you are planning to use the machine for some documentation and other stuff ...... so that changes things I suppose ......

i had used Win 7 a long time back. earlier it used to run fine, but with time, the performance deteriorated. i pinned the blame on my lap's low config, but on the inside i've had this hunch that reckless use and stuffing the laptop with too much stuff was to be blamed. i was contemplating whether i should reinstall Win 7 and see again. using Win 8 on my PC, and then using Win XP on this laptop, quite a few usual things seemed amiss/inconvenient on this. you echoed my thoughts. i think i should install Win 7 then. i just sincerely hope it doesn't bog down the machine though.
Again my assumption was you would not be using the machine for any other activity except as a server, so its performance will not degrade over time, which happens with all of us as well do all sorts of things surfing and all which slow down our PCs over time .....

If you just install win 7 the required applications like LMS, PLEX, torrent client, FTP server or webDAV ..... and just leave it running you will not degrade it over time since you would be using all its features over LAN and not on the machine itself ...... getting my point ... :) (that why headless works best)

Plex! have heard a lot about it, and was on the verge of installing it some months back on my PC, but discarded the idea (don't remember why). will give it a try.
Go! for it .....

yes, add to it some documents, but i suppose file-sharing wares like filezilla, winscp, or/and similar softwares would do i guess?!
WebDAV my brother the best file server protocol ..... win7 has a built in webDAV server called webDAV publishing .... just need to enable it and then you can use any other PC or mobile on the same network to access files stored over it just like a local drive using a webdav client or simple browser .....google for more details .....

also, for file-sharing between PC and laptop, i will need to buy a wifi adapter for the PC (as laptop's on wifi), correct?! or should i do it centrally, via NAS? though i think that would be slower.
[/quote]

Not sure what you mean here, if your laptop has built in wifi,(which all laptops have since ages) why would you need an adapter ??? or maybe I am not able to get what you trying to say here ....
All you need to make sure is that your PC and laptop are connected to same home LAN.

Finally dont forget to hit thanks if you like my post ... :) :D
 

TheSeeker

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oh yes! how in the world did i forget such an important button here! :D

1. correct! i overlooked the term 'headless'. yes, i need to use note-making tools on the laptop, as its easier to just start it up from hibernation whenever i want, and start punching the keyboard to make notes and documents, than with the PC. will also be used to be taken to places, until i buy a newer laptop and relegate this one for full-time home-server functions. so then i guess dual-boot/virtual machine don't make sense.

2. since win 7 has more of an 'intuitive' interface than xp, and several functions that are probably missing in the latter (like the webDAV you wrote about), i think i will go ahead with the installation of win 7 itself. the laptop is labelled as 'vista ready' too, so i think if i keep it clean and use it only for the purposes i need the laptop for, then it should work fine; else, will reformat it later on i find the performance dwindling heavily and install xp again. :D
i also have a tips, tricks and what-have-you sort-of manual for win 7, will make use of it to extract better performance out of the OS!

3. wifi-adapter for PC i meant. my PC is connected to the network by ethernet, while the laptop is connected to the network by wifi. so if i want to transfer some files between the PC and the laptop, then do i need to use a USB wifi-adapter with the PC, since i don't want to use an ethernet cable for the laptop? or can it be done centrally via the router? i mean, i want the PC to detect my laptop for file-transfer. i presume that can be done without the PC requiring a wifi-adapter, as both the machines are in the same network.

P.S. - i think i got the answer to the last point here:

http://superuser.com/questions/801651/file-sharing-from-a-cable-connected-pc-to-wifi-connected-laptop-windows-7-ultim

P.S. 2 - since the PC is having win 8 and the laptop would be having win 7, i think there will be a better mutual interaction between the two and no/less compatibility issues; plus, webDAV will be there on both!
 
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sam9s

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3. wifi-adapter for PC i meant. my PC is connected to the network by ethernet, while the laptop is connected to the network by wifi. so if i want to transfer some files between the PC and the laptop, then do i need to use a USB wifi-adapter with the PC, since i don't want to use an ethernet cable for the laptop? or can it be done centrally via the router? i mean, i want the PC to detect my laptop for file-transfer. i presume that can be done without the PC requiring a wifi-adapter, as both the machines are in the same network.
No you do not need a wifi adapter for PC, does not make any difference if one PC is connected via wifi and other via LAN (ethernet) as long as both belong to the same network ..... your laptop on wifi will be able to share files with PC on ethernet and vice versa as long as both are connected to the same router (meaning same LAN)
 

musicbee

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Never did like Plex, the PQ was average at best, did not do Netflix and they keep pitching the premium service.

Kodi is better, is free, and does work with Netflix, but PQ is still a limitation.

PS - Not against paid apps or services, in fact I pay for both JRiver and Subsonic, but at least they do deliver.

Not a fan of media servers though... at least most of them suck.

For the media player itself, give me PotPlayer anyday... but that's me.

Coming to sharing and network access... I'd say go with Windows 7, 8 sucks and does not offer any improvement over 7, and with 7 sharing is much better/easier than with XP. You can simply share an entire drive or folders and easily access it from any device, even cut, copy, paste, etc. depending on the file/folder permissions. You can also convert those shared folders into DLNA media simply by adding them into Windows Media Player and enabling access and never go back to using WMP again. Simply put saves you the hassle of Plex and Kodi. Additionally, you can d/l content/torrents directly into the shared folders and they are immediately available on the entire network.

As long as all devices share the same network, i.e. use the same router (wired and wireless), and folders are shared, they can easily access content across all devices. Setup internet access (via the media server or even via FTP and smart router) and you can access the data even out of home via the internet.

Now the limitation is going to be the device accessing the network. If its Apple then you have to fork around $5 or more for an app that will let you access the network, with Android its free with something like ES File Explorer. For smart TVs, it depends on their OS and apps. Also, all smartphones and tablets have apps that let you access the network especially if you use a media server like Plex or Kodi... but then you have to pay for that app.

I'd simply setup file sharing and then go from there depending on the usage and needs. As it is a laptop or PC work the best in this regard. Smart routers and media players like WDTV have both the main functions of downloading content and media sharing/streaming, but are painfully slow or limited... but with a laptop or a PC you have the best of both for downloading and streaming/sharing and nothing beats the PQ and SQ they offer.

Do keep in mind that all media servers transcode on the fly and this results in a substantial drop in quality even over the local network. Plex (IIRC) offers only 4 or 6 mbps and that defeats the purpose of media streaming over a local network that starts from 60-70 mbps (entry level routers) and goes all the way to gigabit speeds, speeds which will let you stream HD movies and even 4K content without buffering. Ditto for music, media servers transcode to either mp3 or ogg even over local networks, again very silly when it hardly takes any b/w to stream FLAC or WAV content within the home.

So my recommendation is go with Windows 7, setup drive/folder sharing and then take it from there depending on the devices you want to stream your content on or the devices that will be accessing the shared drive/folder. Media servers are a hit and a miss, sure they are convenient and easy to setup, but not worth it when you have to pay for apps, when content is downsampled on the fly and when they insist on taking over your system and downloading album art and caching content (I think Plex added something like 8 or 10 GB to my OS).

Simply sharing a folder or drive on the laptop will save you all these hassles, let you access all content over the local network without a media server transcoding anything, and you can then tweak or add apps and services depending on what's being shared and who is accessing it.
 

TheSeeker

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No you do not need a wifi adapter for PC, does not make any difference if one PC is connected via wifi and other via LAN (ethernet) as long as both belong to the same network ..... your laptop on wifi will be able to share files with PC on ethernet and vice versa as long as both are connected to the same router (meaning same LAN)
:thumbsup:
exactly what i read in that linked-page!
 

TheSeeker

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Never did like Plex, the PQ was average at best, did not do Netflix and they keep pitching the premium service.

Kodi is better, is free, and does work with Netflix, but PQ is still a limitation.

PS - Not against paid apps or services, in fact I pay for both JRiver and Subsonic, but at least they do deliver.

Not a fan of media servers though... at least most of them suck.

For the media player itself, give me PotPlayer anyday... but that's me.
but i will be watching/listening to the media on TV and speakers in my living-room, using a HiMedia player and logitech squeezebox classic. potplayer is a software for PC. is there an alternative to logitech media server, that can stream music to my SBC? LMS is very slow in scanning the media-folder, when used from my NAS. thought of using something else (ie, on debian on the NAS, if there's something. else, will stream from my laptop only).


Coming to sharing and network access... I'd say go with Windows 7, 8 sucks and does not offer any improvement over 7, and with 7 sharing is much better/easier than with XP. You can simply share an entire drive or folders and easily access it from any device, even cut, copy, paste, etc. depending on the file/folder permissions. You can also convert those shared folders into DLNA media simply by adding them into Windows Media Player and enabling access and never go back to using WMP again. Simply put saves you the hassle of Plex and Kodi. Additionally, you can d/l content/torrents directly into the shared folders and they are immediately available on the entire network.

As long as all devices share the same network, i.e. use the same router (wired and wireless), and folders are shared, they can easily access content across all devices. Setup internet access (via the media server or even via FTP and smart router) and you can access the data even out of home via the internet.
yes, no win 8 for my laptop. it wont be able to handle it i guess. its already there on my PC anyway. win 7 it is for the laptop! and yes, sharing is very simple on win 7/8. that's also what i meant by 'intuitive' OS in my last post. will try all these things.


Now the limitation is going to be the device accessing the network. If its Apple then you have to fork around $5 or more for an app that will let you access the network, with Android its free with something like ES File Explorer. For smart TVs, it depends on their OS and apps. Also, all smartphones and tablets have apps that let you access the network especially if you use a media server like Plex or Kodi... but then you have to pay for that app.

I'd simply setup file sharing and then go from there depending on the usage and needs. As it is a laptop or PC work the best in this regard. Smart routers and media players like WDTV have both the main functions of downloading content and media sharing/streaming, but are painfully slow or limited... but with a laptop or a PC you have the best of both for downloading and streaming/sharing and nothing beats the PQ and SQ they offer.
only android devices with me. so i will be able to stream a movie directly from laptop then, instead of streaming from the router/NAS (extra load on them)? that would be good!


Do keep in mind that all media servers transcode on the fly and this results in a substantial drop in quality even over the local network. Plex (IIRC) offers only 4 or 6 mbps and that defeats the purpose of media streaming over a local network that starts from 60-70 mbps (entry level routers) and goes all the way to gigabit speeds, speeds which will let you stream HD movies and even 4K content without buffering. Ditto for music, media servers transcode to either mp3 or ogg even over local networks, again very silly when it hardly takes any b/w to stream FLAC or WAV content within the home.

So my recommendation is go with Windows 7, setup drive/folder sharing and then take it from there depending on the devices you want to stream your content on or the devices that will be accessing the shared drive/folder. Media servers are a hit and a miss, sure they are convenient and easy to setup, but not worth it when you have to pay for apps, when content is downsampled on the fly and when they insist on taking over your system and downloading album art and caching content (I think Plex added something like 8 or 10 GB to my OS).

Simply sharing a folder or drive on the laptop will save you all these hassles, let you access all content over the local network without a media server transcoding anything, and you can then tweak or add apps and services depending on what's being shared and who is accessing it.
so i get that ultimately you are suggesting to use win 7 functions for sharing and streaming content, correct? will give it a try!
 
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Not sure about Plex but the two DLNA servers I have used (a variant of Serviio for video and Minimserver for music) both have an option somewhere in there to turn off transcoding. I've streamed 192-bit audio and can confirm that it is not transcoded by Minimserver. I don't recall if I tried streaming 1080p video though, I've seen the option to not transcode in the software interface.
 
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sam9s

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is there an alternative to logitech media server, that can stream music to my SBC? LMS is very slow in scanning the media-folder, when used from my NAS. thought of using something else (ie, on debian on the NAS, if there's something. else, will stream from my laptop only).
Substitute to LMS my recommendation SubSonic, though I prefer the Linux variant .........but personalty I just love LMS. (Specially coz of the FLAC to MP3 transcoding, as it makes it easier for me to listen to my library on my mobile over 3G) it was a bit slow when it scanned the first time my library of around 15000 songs, but after that its absolute instant, here I upload a new song and by the time I open the LMS client to listen to it, its available there.
 
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TheSeeker

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Substitute to LMS my recommendation SubSonic, though I prefer the Linux variant .........but personalty I just love LMS. it was a bit slow when it scanned the first time my library of around 15000 songs, but after that its absolute instant, here I upload a new song and by the time I open the LMS client to listen to it, its available there.
thanks a bunch! i will try its debian version. the LMS that i have on the debian NAS is painfully slow in scanning the media. had read on googling that for many, downgrading the version had helped. i will try that too, as well as upgrading (i do not have the latest version).
 

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I agree with musicbee, smb sharing (file share access) rocks both in terms of simplicity and throughput. The only case (for LAN) where UPnP media servers pitch in is if the target playback device does not support all the format or more importantly does not support playback of networked device shared content directly from file system of network drives. Sometimes your target device (may be a low config mobile phone) is unable to handle the high resolution or it is over 3g (streaming from home media server to your smart device over 3g outside home), this is where media server will be handy as they can downscale and down-size bitrate to accommodate the target device.

As for me, my Pana plasma supports upnp playback only so I use that only for casual TV Serial viewing but for serious viewing it is always KODI (XBMC) on HTPC.
 

musicbee

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but i will be watching/listening to the media on TV and speakers in my living-room, using a HiMedia player and logitech squeezebox classic. potplayer is a software for PC. is there an alternative to logitech media server, that can stream music to my SBC? LMS is very slow in scanning the media-folder, when used from my NAS. thought of using something else (ie, on debian on the NAS, if there's something. else, will stream from my laptop only).
Never used LMS, but I'm sure any media server should do the same.

yes, no win 8 for my laptop. it wont be able to handle it i guess. its already there on my PC anyway. win 7 it is for the laptop! and yes, sharing is very simple on win 7/8. that's also what i meant by 'intuitive' OS in my last post. will try all these things.
Intuitive, easy on the eye thanks to the GUI and we all have grown up on Windows. +1 in my book to using Windows for pretty much everything.

only android devices with me. so i will be able to stream a movie directly from laptop then, instead of streaming from the router/NAS (extra load on them)? that would be good!
Yup, simply access the shared folder or drive and play on the Android device itself (get ES File Explorer, its free) or cast to a smart TV. Works every way. Router works too... but I find it slower if its connected to the external HDD via USB. If the router connects to the HDD via ethernet then its faster and the same as using a PC or laptop.

so i get that ultimately you are suggesting to use win 7 functions for sharing and streaming content, correct? will give it a try!
Yes and yes. I've 2 PCs and both share folders and drives this way. One is exclusive to music and even streams over the internet when I'm out of home or even overseas. Works flawlessly. Most usage though is within home and over wifi and even works when there is no ISP (rarely happens though).

Not sure about Plex but the two DLNA servers I have used (a variant of Serviio for video and Minimserver for music) both have an option somewhere in there to turn off transcoding. I've streamed 192-bit audio and can confirm that it is not transcoded by Minimserver. I don't recall if I tried streaming 1080p video though, I've seen the option to not transcode in the software interface.
Thanks! Will check out Minimserver. I use Subsonic and it allows for transcoding to be turned off... but I don't think that was an option with Plex. Only options it gave were to choose the mbps size for streaming... which kind of sucked for the local gigabit wifi network that I have.

Substitute to LMS my recommendation SubSonic, though I prefer the Linux variant .........but personalty I just love LMS. (Specially coz of the FLAC to MP3 transcoding, as it makes it easier for me to listen to my library on my mobile over 3G) it was a bit slow when it scanned the first time my library of around 15000 songs, but after that its absolute instant, here I upload a new song and by the time I open the LMS client to listen to it, its available there.
A huge +1 to Subsonic. Its the best I've used and I like it so much that I pay for it. Its cheap like $1 pm though there are free forks of it (Madsonic for one), I simply love the way Subsonic works. Transcodes on the fly, its superfast, the interface is zippy and never lags and I get access to my entire music collection of nearly 1TB pretty much everywhere including both on 2G and 3G connections. Its app also works great (but needs a paid subscription to work), though you can use anything like BubbleUPnP for free and still run the Subsonic server for free. Its the best I've used for music streaming and I highly recommend it.
 

sam9s

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The only issue I had with subsonic (and that can be just an isolated case with me) was that the transcoding was not happening correctly for what ever reason and my songs used to stutter occasionally when listening on my mobile over 3G. With LMS I never had a problem, all smooth. Plus the multi audio streaming feature of LMS is just kickass, love LMS for it .....
 

sam9s

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I agree with musicbee, smb sharing (file share access) rocks both in terms of simplicity and throughput. The only case (for LAN) where UPnP media servers pitch in is if the target playback device does not support all the format or more importantly does not support playback of networked device shared content directly from file system of network drives. Sometimes your target device (may be a low config mobile phone) is unable to handle the high resolution or it is over 3g (streaming from home media server to your smart device over 3g outside home), this is where media server will be handy as they can downscale and down-size bitrate to accommodate the target device.
I differ to an extent .......smb file sharing and a media server are two completely different aspects, and cannot/should not be compared .... a media server performs much more than just an SMB sharing ..... ......... you can not replace one with the other just on the criteria of simplicity and throughput .... just my
 

TheSeeker

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I agree with musicbee, smb sharing (file share access) rocks both in terms of simplicity and throughput. The only case (for LAN) where UPnP media servers pitch in is if the target playback device does not support all the format or more importantly does not support playback of networked device shared content directly from file system of network drives. Sometimes your target device (may be a low config mobile phone) is unable to handle the high resolution or it is over 3g (streaming from home media server to your smart device over 3g outside home), this is where media server will be handy as they can downscale and down-size bitrate to accommodate the target device.

As for me, my Pana plasma supports upnp playback only so I use that only for casual TV Serial viewing but for serious viewing it is always KODI (XBMC) on HTPC.
in my case, the target device is an android media player, namely, HiMedia HD900B, a quite capable player. my TV is a similar one as yours, Viera 50VT20D. due to it, i dont watch movies on my PC. just some documentaries on my tab.
 

TheSeeker

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alright. so after taking back-up of everything, i will proceed to install Win 7 on my laptop soon, and set up everything as suggested. in case i get stuck somewhere or have a doubt, i will write back. thanks a lot everyone for the helpful replies!
 

haisaikat

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in my case, the target device is an android media player, namely, HiMedia HD900B, a quite capable player. my TV is a similar one as yours, Viera 50VT20D. due to it, i dont watch movies on my PC. just some documentaries on my tab.
Mine is V20D the 2D version, I guess VT was for 3D right and also above my budget at that time. Serviio works like a charm for Panasonic TVs as it has default profiles for Pana series TVs, just mentioned if in-case you want to give a try anyway to media servers at some point of time in future.
 

haisaikat

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I differ to an extent .......smb file sharing and a media server are two completely different aspects, and cannot/should not be compared .... a media server performs much more than just an SMB sharing ..... ......... you can not replace one with the other just on the criteria of simplicity and throughput .... just my
I agree, not complaining against media servers but from my observation for media playback if the target device (like HTPC or even a Full blown Android Media Player) supports the various formats and the resolutions / bit rates, I would any day opt for the SMB sharing over introducing an additional complexity of a media server in between. Unless of course if we have special needs like 3G playback, target device limitation, multiple client synchronized playback, control client from server to name a few and there can be many more specialized requirements.
 
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