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AcidReflux

Original Poster:

2,193 posts

140 months

[news] 
Tuesday 18th October 2011 quote quote all
Following the show off your gadget integration thread, I'm after some advice about improving my current home media integration set-up.

Currently:
- Office: workstation PC (WinXP) with about 500GB of music and AVI media and standard PC speakers.
- Lounge: Acer Revo R3610 running Ubuntu manually switched to either a 15" monitor or a DLP projector and wired to 5.1 DVD/amp + speakers. (We don't have TV in the house.)
- Android phone x 2 (Desire HD + Desire).
- Android tablet (Honeycomb). Docked to speakers in the kitchen.
- network is gigabit within the office and Solwise 500AV homeplugs to the lounge, with wifi for the Androids.

Currently we watch iPlayer/4oD on the workstation or the tablet. We watch AVIs on the workstation, Revo and the tablet (in bed). We don't play a lot of music but when we do it tends to be from the tablet on the speakers in the kitchen.

I think I want to buy a NAS so that the workstation doesn't need to be switched on all the time and so that automatic backups are easy. The Synology ones seem to have a useful interface. Currently I download torrents with Transmission on the Revo in the lounge and ideally the NAS could do this instead if it provides this service. Any NAS recommendations based on this?

I'm considering installing XBMC on the Revo - from the XMBC forums it looks as though I could remote-control this with Android. Has anybody got this working successfully themselves?

Streaming video from a network share to the Androids already works OK with Moboplayer and ES File Explorer. It's a bit clunky so if there's a neater solution to this then I'm all ears.

I don't think the default music player on the tablet can stream music from a network share and anyway, in a perfect world the tablet would simply be a remote control for a central music server that could stream music to the speakers both in the lounge and the kitchen. Should I do this with something like a Squeezebox or Sonos? Seems like overkill in the lounge when I've already got a perfectly good computer sitting there that could receive a stream and play it to the amp.

I've probably forgotten some vital piece of info but if anybody can offer me some advice (other than replace all this gear with Apple wink ) then I'd welcome the input.

JulianHJ

7,081 posts

148 months

[news] 
Tuesday 18th October 2011 quote quote all
QNAP often comes up as a recommended option.

Melvin Udall

73,668 posts

141 months

[news] 
Tuesday 18th October 2011 quote quote all
You can control transmission through your browser as well, which is a handy little addition.

M@verick

976 posts

97 months

[news] 
Tuesday 18th October 2011 quote quote all
Im in the process of doing something very similar to you.

I have just bought the Synology DS411j, but as a previous poster has said QNAP seem to get good reviews also - I went with synology as they have reviewed well for speed and the interfaces look easy enough for me to follow.

When you say "we watch Iplayer or 4oD on the tablet" - have you tried tvcatchup ? (www.tvcatchup.com) It runs all the freeview channels in one place, and they are looped circa 2 seconds behind live. I find this very useful for using on the Iphone when bathroom surfing or indeed over 3g (which works remarkably well to be honest) when im working away from home. It seems to be optimised for either Laptop or Ipad/Iphone, not sure about HTC - give it a go though.

I am thinking that combining Itunes server from the NAS (you can insert any non-apple tunes server here) with these: http://www.novatech.co.uk/pc/range/nboxhd.html as media extenders/surfing points/tvcatchup/docs/pics/etc will cover pretty much all the bases I have currently thought of. Probably going to use those on 18 inch touchscreens running the Win7 touch thingy.

However - most of the above is still in my head, and I have probably not thought everything through properly yet.

R.

Nimbus

1,163 posts

114 months

[news] 
Tuesday 18th October 2011 quote quote all
Normally I'd recommend a QNAP too, been using one for years and never had any issues. Its the simple and easy solution.

It will also run its own bit torrent client, and SABNZBD for even faster downloading smile

But... if you dont mind getting your hands a little dirty, I'd look at the HP ProLiant N36L MicroServer, I'm pretty sure they are still available for about ~£140, then stick in a couple of 2Tb disks, Raided of course, and a USB stick running Freenas.

It will still have 2 caddies left for future disk expansion, and should be able to do all you want.

There's plenty of guides out there on how to set this up, and its very easy.

Currently I have one of these running a version of ubuntu so it does the SABNZBD and Raid thing, ( thus being my NAS ), and runs as my MYTHTV backend, so its recording Freesat 24/7 for me.. works a treat and is 'almost' silent.

I then have an atom based box in the lounge ( same as your revo ), which will stream all my recordings and live tv even HD smile

Soo... I'd start by looking at Freenas, and also at the qnap products..
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Nimbus

1,163 posts

114 months

[news] 
Tuesday 18th October 2011 quote quote all
Oh, reminds me.. are you running xmbc on your Revo ? and if not.. why not ? smile

scovette

296 posts

94 months

[news] 
Tuesday 18th October 2011 quote quote all
Got a couple of Revos with XBMC - one is Windows for general PC work, the other boots directly into XBMC live. Media is on a QNAP NAS.

(XBMC also has addons for tvcatchup and iplayer.)

The android remote control works fine, just follow the instructions and you'll be up an running in a minute.

You can also stream music to your tablet from the cloud via the Google Music beta - it might take a while to upload all your songs first though.

RameshUK

589 posts

148 months

[news] 
Tuesday 18th October 2011 quote quote all
another Synology user here.

Setup is easy. Been using their products for 2+ years.
(after a recommendation here )

The more pro Synology products have better upload speeds

Even have the ability to send an SMS (we used clickatell.com) or an email when backups work ...or don't work.

Also check their compatibility list for the Hard drives your using.
(most popular drives are there I believe, but its always worth checking)

I'm in London, not sure where you are but several of my mates have them in their businesses.
Happy to demo - so if you want a look over a cup of coffee or tea feel free to send me a msg.

forgot to add: Will work with iphone, Andriod and Symbian S60 based phones.

AcidReflux

Original Poster:

2,193 posts

140 months

[news] 
Tuesday 18th October 2011 quote quote all
Thank you all for your replies.

Nimbus said:
Normally I'd recommend a QNAP too, been using one for years and never had any issues. Its the simple and easy solution.
I'll investigate QNAP then. A neighbour just bought Synology and is v.pleased with the interface which is the only reason I'm leaning towards them.

Nimbus said:
But... if you dont mind getting your hands a little dirty, I'd look at the HP ProLiant N36L MicroServer, I'm pretty sure they are still available for about ~£140, then stick in a couple of 2Tb disks, Raided of course, and a USB stick running Freenas.

It will still have 2 caddies left for future disk expansion, and should be able to do all you want.

There's plenty of guides out there on how to set this up, and its very easy.

Currently I have one of these running a version of ubuntu so it does the SABNZBD and Raid thing, ( thus being my NAS ), and runs as my MYTHTV backend, so its recording Freesat 24/7 for me.. works a treat and is 'almost' silent.
Although it's technically superior, I don't think I've got the time or the energy to start trying to get a box like this set up. I nearly gave up trying to get the Revo set up and debugged a couple of years ago, and even now trying to install XBMC this evening I got irritated with the need to piss about with apt-get, dependencies and so on in the terminal. Life's too short. smile The simplicity of a NAS device appeals at the moment.

M@verick said:
When you say "we watch Iplayer or 4oD on the tablet" - have you tried tvcatchup ? (www.tvcatchup.com) It runs all the freeview channels in one place, and they are looped circa 2 seconds behind live.
Haven't tried anything like that because I assume I'd need a TV licence to use it, and we don't have one.

M@verick said:
I am thinking that combining Itunes server from the NAS (you can insert any non-apple tunes server here)
I definitely don't want to install iTunes because of what I perceive to be its proprietary limitations, bloat, and lack of compatibility with Android. Suggestions would be welcome for other music servers that either the NAS could handle or some other mechanism (Sonos/Squeezebox) would distribute.

smile

scovette

296 posts

94 months

[news] 
Tuesday 18th October 2011 quote quote all
A QNAP NAS can run Squeezecenter, and then a Squeeze device as a player? Or for a budget route to good sound, a Joggler running Squeezeplay (£50 secondhand) and a USB DAC.

Or install XBMC for Windows on your current computer, and map it to run on a function key. Then use an Android device as a remote and you won't need a screen.

AcidReflux

Original Poster:

2,193 posts

140 months

[news] 
Tuesday 18th October 2011 quote quote all
Thanks scovette for the ideas. I'll check them out.

In the meantime I've been playing with XBMC on my WinXP workstation and using Android as the remote. It works really well. If I can get XBMC running on the Ubuntu box in the lounge then I could use that as my music player for the lounge + kitchen as well as the video player for the lounge. (There's an audio wire running under the floor from kitchen to lounge.) I could control it with either the tablet or the phones, which would make it fine for parties. The only thing I'd struggle with is playing videos on the docked tablet, because that needs an audio connection to the speakers, which would have to be dedicated to the XBMC player. Hmm.

Hooli

27,979 posts

86 months

[news] 
Tuesday 18th October 2011 quote quote all
AcidReflux said:
M@verick said:
When you say "we watch Iplayer or 4oD on the tablet" - have you tried tvcatchup ? (www.tvcatchup.com) It runs all the freeview channels in one place, and they are looped circa 2 seconds behind live.
Haven't tried anything like that because I assume I'd need a TV licence to use it, and we don't have one.
I think not. I believe the TV licence is for live broadcasts, ie watching them as they broadcast them. So the 2sec delay on that service means they aren't being watched live & don't need a licence.
Check over in SP&L but that seems to be the normal answer if I've read things right in the past.

AcidReflux

Original Poster:

2,193 posts

140 months

[news] 
Tuesday 18th October 2011 quote quote all
Hooli said:
I think not. I believe the TV licence is for live broadcasts, ie watching them as they broadcast them. So the 2sec delay on that service means they aren't being watched live & don't need a licence.
Check over in SP&L but that seems to be the normal answer if I've read things right in the past.
Ah. Interesting. Thanks for the info. If this is a feature of the tvcatchup service I expect it'll be on their own site somewhere.
It sounds like a bit of a technicality though. I don't fancy getting into any arguments with the TV Licencing people about it. smile

AcidReflux

Original Poster:

2,193 posts

140 months

[news] 
Wednesday 19th October 2011 quote quote all
Just been looking at the QNAP website and it's giving me a headache. Long on marketing fluff and short on facts. But they do look like flexible machines and get good reviews. The Android app gets v.poor reviews though and seems to lag behind the iOS version. Anybody know whether any other apps could be used instead of QNAP's own app?

I'll investigate the SqueezeBox route too - thanks again scovette.

rsv gone!

11,042 posts

127 months

[news] 
Wednesday 19th October 2011 quote quote all
AcidReflux said:
Thank you all for your replies.

Nimbus said:
Normally I'd recommend a QNAP too, been using one for years and never had any issues. Its the simple and easy solution.
I'll investigate QNAP then. A neighbour just bought Synology and is v.pleased with the interface which is the only reason I'm leaning towards them.
I have two Synology NAS drives. (one single drive and a raid one added afterwards).

They are excellent and at time of buying them, reviewers preferred the functionality of them to QNAP. But now there really is nothing between them.

The interface on the Synology drives gets updated regularly. Latest update it like a GUI OS. You can road-test it here;

http://www.synology.com/products/dsm_livedemo.php?...

HellDiver

5,708 posts

68 months

[news] 
Wednesday 19th October 2011 quote quote all
I use one of the HP Microservers. It boots FreeNAS 7 off a USB stick (that fits on the dedicated USB socket inside the case). It's currently got two 1TB Samsung drives in RAIDZ1, soon to be upgraded. It runs Transmission, has an iTunes server, web server, SQL server that has the XBMC machines linked to it, so you can see what stuff you've watched no matter what XBMC machine you look at. You can even pause a video downstairs, go upstairs and start playing the same video from the same point.

I run a PC in the living room, a jailbroken AppleTV2 in the bedroom, an Airport Express in the kitchen, and two laptops.

The Microserver only uses about 30W idle with 2 drives in it. I got it for £99 when HP were doing their £100 rebate about 6 months ago.

JimboM3

229 posts

96 months

[news] 
Wednesday 19th October 2011 quote quote all
I've been using XBMC for a while (also on a Revo) with the Android remote both on a phone and tablet. I think I had to get the remote software for the tablet from the google source page as it was not on the market. I have also just set up voice control using voxcommando which whilst a bit gimmicky seems to work well. Google voxcommando videos to see what it can do.

ZesPak

14,137 posts

82 months

[news] 
Wednesday 19th October 2011 quote quote all
My 2 cents:

Get a NAS, anything will do, get a big enough one so you don't have to upgrade next year.

As said, QNAP is great with loads of functionality but a price to match it.
I have good experiences with iOmega NAS products, offer decent functionality (all that you need) without the extra price.

Then, for your android phone, download iMediaShare http://www.appbrain.com/app/imediashare/com.bianor..., it's a great app that works best for playing videos over the network. Also combines a couple of great channels (break, TED, engadget,...).

For your tv you can get what you want, modern tvs support DLNA, otherwise get something like a popbox V8 http://www.popbox.com/onlinestore/

GhostDriver

770 posts

78 months

[news] 
Wednesday 19th October 2011 quote quote all
WHS 2011,

Dedicated machine to do all you need, expandable just by adding drives whenever you need, remote connection over the net, auto backups and more

Liszt

4,147 posts

156 months

[news] 
Wednesday 19th October 2011 quote quote all
I have a QNAP Nas. Dropped my music, photos and films in the right directories and I can now see them on my PS3 and iphone/iPad which I can either plug into speakers or the ipad to a telly with the video out dohickey. All out of the box functionality
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