Networked Media Player?
February 6, 2012 1:14 PM   Subscribe

Wireless drive? Media Player? What's the best solution for watching dl and ripped media on my home theatre?

I'm totally green when it comes to this stuff and am not even sure what questions to ask.

The end goal is that I would like to have any downloaded or seeding torrented media on one drive (or more) which is accessible by each of my computers as well as my Blu-Ray Player.

Here is the equipment I own:

Macbook Air
Oppo bp-93 Blu Ray Player (with wifi and connection for "self powered eSATA drive")
Wifi Router
Multiple Goflex drives (which are not self-powered)

What's the best way to do this? What hardware or software do I use? Should I get a Goflex Media Player? A Goflex Network Adaptor? Ignore the Goflex and go with something else?

Thank you.
posted by You Should See the Other Guy to Technology (13 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Sounds like you need a Network Attached Storage (NAS) device.

To actually play it on your tv.. i'd suggest something like Boxee.
posted by royalsong at 1:17 PM on February 6, 2012

A PS3 and a computer running PS3 Media Server (which also hosts the hard drive the data is on) works great for me.
posted by griphus at 1:17 PM on February 6, 2012

NAS for storage and download and XBMC for viewing. Depending on how adventurous you are you could possibly (?) buy some NAS solution or make one yourself from an old PC and one or more large HD('s).
I have an ATOM motherboard in an old cabinet with a bunch of >TB drives running Ubuntu for NAS, torrents and the like. It rules. I VNC into it for routine tasks from whatever device I'm at, and my XBMC PC sucks the movies from it when I watch movies.
posted by Thug at 1:30 PM on February 6, 2012

Personally I use a cheap nettop PC running Ubuntu Server with a few external hard drives connected for the making media accessible on the network part. I used FreeNAS on an old computer before the current setup, but it felt like a waste having a dedicated computer just for NAS when I could do other stuff with it. The Ubuntu Server setup does require a decent amount of linux command line work to get things running though, so if you're not comfortable with that you should probably use something with less configuration needed.
posted by burnmp3s at 1:32 PM on February 6, 2012

A cheaper version of. NAS is to get an Apple Airport Extreme and plug a USB hard drive into the back, which contains all your media files. Then your Bluray player can hook into the network and just watch files from there whenever needed,
posted by Effigy2000 at 2:22 PM on February 6, 2012

Ive recently become a WD TV evangelist. That device is awesome. HDMI, Network Connectivity, USB Ports. You can plug in external Devices and share to the network to allow your computers access also. 1080p support, Beautiful interface. Plays everything you throw at it
posted by edman at 2:26 PM on February 6, 2012

Response by poster: edman, is there a restriction on what format drives plugged into the WD TV have to be? And, am I able to seed files from those drives via bittorrent while they're attached?
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 3:18 PM on February 6, 2012

Response by poster: And those of you who recommended a PS3, are all these possible:

- copy media to it from a computer
- seed to torrents from the enclosed drive (with a bittorrent client on a Mac)
- play MKV and AVI files

Also, unrelated to my initia question: can a PS3 play Blu Rays from all regions?

posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 9:59 PM on February 6, 2012

RE: PS3 questions

With the PS3 Media Server, you don't need to bother having the media on your PS3 (which is the point). You can direct the server to monitor multiple drives, and it will play just about anything you throw at it (particularly .mkv files...even the 1080p 15GB Blu-Ray rips).

I'm assuming that you're seeding the RAR'd files of these .avi/.mkv videos, so you should create a folder for just the unRAR'd video files and have the media server pull from there.
posted by kuanes at 4:32 AM on February 7, 2012

The WD TV can also play media from your network shares, so if your torrent machine is sharing on the network, no problem.

If I had your requirements, I'd get a WD TV.

Boxee is interesting, but I'd give them some more time to make it bulletproof. Plus, I don't like all the social network stuff built in. Is it able to be disabled?

If you want a NAS, get a Synology. They have units at various price points, built in torrent clients, and a lot of other cool features.

Also, I find network media appliances much better than hooking a computer to the TV: lower power draw, TV optimized interface, simpler, more reliable, cheaper, quieter, etc.
posted by reddot at 6:03 AM on February 7, 2012

Just a note, the PS3 Media Server works with renderers other than the PS3, too. I have PS3 Media Server running on my computer in my office, and I can watch shows from it on the PS3 in one room or my webapp-enabled Samsung TV in another. I couldn't find anything with a quick look at your specific model number, but people have had luck with other Oppo players, and it is possible it can be made to work with a little configuration if it doesn't work out of the box. If you aren't tech-savvy, then this may be an issue since it involves editting conf files, but the people on the PMS forums can be pretty helpful.
posted by mysterpigg at 8:15 AM on February 7, 2012

On further review, you probably meant the BDP-93, which appears to have some support.
posted by mysterpigg at 8:21 AM on February 7, 2012

- copy media to it from a computer

You can play directly off a USB device plugged into a PS3 (or media transferred onto the PS3's hard drive) but only if the PS3 supports the format. The better option is to leave the media on the host computer as the PS3 Media Server is also a transcoder for nearly any video format you can think of.
posted by griphus at 8:43 AM on February 7, 2012

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