Advice needed: is this an easy setup for a home media server so anyone can watch movies and listen to music anywhere in the house?
Please help me put together a home media server so my wife and I can listen to music or watch movies from any room in the house.
My wife and I are expecting our first child at the end of February. I'd like to put together a home media server so either of us can listen to relaxing music or watch a relaxing movie from anywhere in the house.
Over the New Year holiday, my wife's parents came up to stay with us. They ended up giving us an old Dell Inspiron 1525
laptop. That's what made me think it's time to setup a home media server. It's got a 300GB hard drive, so there's plenty of space for our 20,000 music files and a bunch of movies. I'm not looking to have this replace our TV (we currently have DirecTV and sometimes watch movies via Amazon Prime Instant).
Here are some of the particulars:
- With the baby coming, money is tight. That means no pre-packaged hardware like Sonos, Bose, et al.
- No tablets are in our immediate future.
- I would prefer to stay Windows-only (no Linux or Mac, please).
- Wires drive my wife crazy. This has to be wireless.
Available equipment includes:
- The Insprion 1525 laptop (I envision this as the server)
- Two other laptops that we use as "home" laptops: photo album, word processor, browser, email, recipe book, etc. I envision these as clients.
- A 250GB USB external hard drive from Maxtor (BlackArmor).
- I just bought an iPhone 5 and my wife has an Android phone from HTC (I forget which). We'd like to use these as remotes and listening devices.
- I actually got rid of all my old stereo equipment last year (amp, CD player, etc.). We have some very good Klipsch computer speakers that function as our TV's speakers. A friend is going to give us some old computer speakers for the baby's room.
I've never done this before, so I've done some searching around the Web for a solution. Here's how I'm thinking this will work:
1. Plug the Inspiron directly into the wireless router (the router has four available Ethernet ports and the Inspiron has one)
2. Install Plex
on the Inspiron.
3. Use Plex to serve music and movies to my wife's Android, my iPhone, other laptops, etc.
4. All my music and movie files currently live on the external hard drive, so I will probably have to buy a NAS adapter and plug my portable external hard drive into it so all those files are available, too. I'm thinking this might do the trick
Does this sound right? Any other advice or ideas? Pointers to any easy setups on the Web?
Again, I'm still learning as I go, so I'm not looking for an audiophile's dream setup. Something easy, relatively DIY, and cheap is the goal.