Serving media since a few weeks from now.
July 24, 2012 11:51 AM Subscribe
If you could start your HTPC set up all over again, what would you choose? I'm gifting everything (from tv to htpc to router) to my partner and starting from scratch. Tips and suggestions are welcome!
I built my current htpc setup in 2009 to replace an aging XBOX1 with XBMC. I'm now gifting all of it to my partner who is taking a job in another city. So I get to start from scratch. New TV, new HPTC and/or server, new router. Been doing a lot of reading and have some ideas, but would love other people's insight since the last time I looked into this was 2009....
Currently I have an old 720p HDTV w/ a mini ITX, Intel core 2 duo (e7200), 2 GB of ram and 2TB of storage which I regularly rsync to an external 2TB USB drive (I never learnt RAID). Running XBMC under Win 7. Originally built it as an HTPC for watching movies and light couch web surfing. Tablet has utterly replaced the couch web surfing so now it just plays media. I recently tried Plex on it and am impressed with the media server side (having access to all my media on the ipad is great) but find the client is of lower quality than XBMC. Still, I like the convenience.
So, hive mind. I now have the option to start over. Completely. What would you do if you could rebuild it all?
I'm currently considering a NAS as server (probably Synology 4bay Diskstation) and a separate HTPC running Plex server to serve media from the NAS. Upside: separate NAS allowing for smaller HTPC. Downside: 2 devices that must be on 24/7 (maybe some WOL options here).
Other option is a single HTPC with 4 bays (I'd like the option of up to 8TB) which serves media via Plex but also acts as media client for the TV. Downside: big, possibly louder box. Harder to manage than a NAS. Upside: Only one box has to be always on, can choose any TV I want (doesn't have to have a Plex client).
And a final option. Single headless media server computer which I stuff in a closet and buy a HDTV which supports Plex (Samsung has a plex client, Any TV with Google TV should have a plex app) or get a Roku box with plex channel. Downside: requires a TV that has a Plex app or some kind of Plex box. Upside: Seperate server, but can do lots more than a NAS. Bonus points: Could turn it into my primary desktop and set it up with wake on lan so tablets and phones can wake the server if the computer is off.
If I go the full hog media server computer (either as an HTPC or in a closet), I was thinking of an Intel I3 instead of any Atom based computer. I'd like to keep it low power since it will be always on but worry that Atom won't cut it for Plex if I'm away and require transcoding for my mobile devices. If I built it so that it's both media server, NAS and desktop then I could put a more powerful CPU in it and worry less about power, especially if I get wake on lan working.
Open to any suggestions (OS, RAID suggestions, TVs w/ apps vs seperate box for client) or any experience with the single media server (either headless in a closet or as daily desktop) vs. media server and HTPC in one (too loud?) vs NAS plus seperate Plex server. Basically, what would you do if you could redesign? Budget is moderate, but I'd like to avoid 600$ NAS boxes.