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ndboarder

Media Server

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Anyone use anything for serving any/all media needs? The Windows Media Center works great for TV and also does music/images/etc, but it's limited to either the monitor connected to the PC or local media center extender devices.

I've been looking into options for maintaining my video/audio/image libraries and am a bit intrigued by Plex.

I'm intrigued by the UI, which looks decent, meta data work they seem to do, and possibility of looking at ripping my BD and DVD down to a digital format and having it capable of streaming them locally or to my devices on the go.

The one concern I have is that to handle on the go would require transcoding. When I built my media center I have plenty of HDD space and memory, but went with a slower and low powered CPU since it doesn't take a lot just to stream video out to the extender devices, or record shows to disk. If I suddenly have a need to have it transcoding HD video on the fly I don't know that it will keep up well. I suppose the upload speed of my internet would be the next (or maybe first) bottleneck to the whole idea though...

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Lol before I even read inside the post I was going to mention Plex. I haven't personally used it before, but it does seem to be what everyone is using. My Drobo can enable it and then I could store my movies on it and it would push it out everywhere. I haven't used it yet. but heard it works quite well. You might be ok I know my Dobo isn't a power house and apparently can handle it. It's worth a shot.

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Well, put the server piece on my Media Center earlier, just haven't had a lot of time to play. I saw they support some equipment like Drobo, but I would bet you may be limited. In fact I think I read a bit on their site to some degree about transcoding and capabilities.

In the little playing I've done I did see noticeable lag when trying to play an episode of Revolution or White Collar from my recorded TV (was a nice surprise that it could handle .wtv files). Then again, with those recordings your talking pretty high quality recordings at around 3-4GB per hour of show, so it's probably a pretty big transcoding job to get down to a MP4 type quality that can be streamed

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It's funny your Ps3 can actually become quite the media player, it by default will see a dlna server out of the box, I use to stream video hosted on my WHS straight to it. There is also aftermarket software that can do the transcoding then push out to the ps3. But again I think Plex is what everyone is using today now.

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It's funny your Ps3 can actually become quite the media player, it by default will see a dlna server out of the box, I use to stream video hosted on my WHS straight to it. There is also aftermarket software that can do the transcoding then push out to the ps3. But again I think Plex is what everyone is using today now.

Yeah, the 360 does DLNA pretty easily as well and is what I have on all TVs to act as media center extenders. The my media center PC is the only thing connected to cable in the house. Has one InfiniTV 4 tuner card (4 digital channels from one cable connection) and a Hauppage dual tuner card for analog, so with the right channel combinations it can be streaming/recording 6 channels simultaneously and just streams the live/recorded feed requested to any of the extenders.

DLNA is kind of a mess though. Yes you can find things, but Plex seems to do a pretty nice job of grouping things, getting meta data for them and allowing you to browse your content. Examples: I have a number of shows that record every episode. I rarely watch, so when I do it's a bit of a binge thing like most on Netflix when a new season of a show comes out, then I archive the season in another folder. It did a nice job of pulling in art for shows like White Collar or Arrow for each episode, lets me browse by season, etc. I have one MP4, that I think I ripped from a DVD when I was testing some other software and it just found it, brought in some box art and all the data you'd want.

Plex seems pretty powerful for what it is, but just wondered if someone here might have other suggestions/preferences, or experience with Plex and some good starter tips.

Oh well, I bought the $4.99 universal app for my Win 8 PCs and my Window Phone so I can play with it a little more. I'll just have to get a few more movies on it so I can really get some idea how well it scales. Good thing the media center also has 4 x 2TB drives in a raid 5 config to handle plenty of video content...

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