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jesseliz

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#73580 16-Dec-2010 13:35
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Hi everyone,
i have reached a point where I have the opportunity to set up some kind of new entertainment system, and am trying to get my hea around the options.
So here goes-
I watch some TV but I'm not really interested in Sky. Mostly I watch tv shows online, both on youtube and tvnz/tv3 on demand.
We are at a stage where we can/will -
buy an imac
get a wireless internet connection (we are no longer bound by our broadband contract
possibly get a gaming system.
find some way to watch online stuff on tv
Is tivo the way to go?
should we get a ps3 to watch on demand stuff on?
is there a better way to do this - considering we can kind of start from scratch?

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freitasm
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  #418103 16-Dec-2010 13:47
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I've moved this discussion to our Home Theatre forum.

TiVo is a Digital Video Recorder. It records video from our FTA (Free to air TV, HD digital broadcast in New Zealand known as Freeview|HD). It requires an Internet connection to download the EPG (Electronic Program Guide).

TiVo has an option to rent movies and some other content, called CASPA. It requires an Internet connection, but the number of titles is not great.

TiVo does not give access to any on demand TV shows.

PS3 has PlayTV which transforsm it on a Digital Video Recorder as well. Like TiVo it records from our FTA. The PS3 also has access to TVNZ On Demand.

Wireless Internet connections (3G or otherwise) will never give you the quality and speed you get from a wired option (DSL or cable).

In you internal network always use ethernet, because WiFi is not good enough for moving HD inside your home.

An iMac (or a Windows Media Center) will require a few more "hacking" to get it working as a media center than a DVR (Tivo, PS3 or MyFreeview boxes).

Out of topic, it always strikes me when someone says "Mostly I watch tv shows online, both on youtube and tvnz/tv3 on demand." I understand you can get TV shows on TVNZ/TV3 On Demand sites. But YouTube? That's not a TV channel, and doesn't even have TV episodes in there...






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jesseliz

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  #418105 16-Dec-2010 13:51
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there is some, the only trouble is that you have to watch it ten minute slots lol. I mean things like destination truth and one off things like the royal gala show and documentaries

timmmay
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  #418112 16-Dec-2010 14:10
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There are websites that let you download a whole series of pretty much any TV show you like. You can put them on your computer, then stream them to the TV via a PS3 or some receivers. I use my PS3 and the free "PS3 media server" to play content from my PC. It runs from the PS3 to the Onkyo receiver via HDMI, then to the TV and speakers. The PS3 also does TVNZ on demand, but doesn't do youtube. My Samsung LCD does youtube directly, but if you want it to go out the speakers you need an optical cable between the the TV out and the reciever optical in.

If you buy a good enough receiver you don't need the PS3 for streaming, i'm pretty sure the higher up Onkyo amps will play from media servers themselves. The PS3 works well though, but it's ugly.

I've found wired to be much much more reliable than wireless. I was tearing my hair out over wireless connections, bridged Wifi connections, etc, and it only cost $160 to get ethernet installed between my office, my lounge, and my hallway (hallway is for voip phone one day).



jesseliz

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  #418190 16-Dec-2010 17:34
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thanks for your responses, this is starting to become clearer.
What I'm hearing is that


  • wireless is next to useless (I am glad I am not the only one who has had this problem - I much prefer to plug things in but hadn't thought about ethernets)

  • If you get a good enough receiver, you don't need much else. Pardon my ignorance, but when you say receiver, do you mean like a freeview receiver? we don't have one of those yet - any reccomendations?

  • If all else fails, make sure your nice big screen mac is viewing distance from your lounge suite. ( we currently doing this but involves bringing my tiny laptop to the edge of the desk and moving the armchairs lol)


does that sound about right?

timmmay
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  #418208 16-Dec-2010 18:19
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A receiver is like a junction box for all your sources and amplifier all rolled into one. Some have extra features like DLNA, which lets you play things from the PC over a network really easily. I got an Onkyo TX-SR508 which doesn't do network, but a higher model like this one will. Mine cost about $650 from JB, some can cost a few grand.

You have to buy speakers too. I got Wharfdale Vardus speakers, they sound awesome to me even though they're entry level. $1200 less 20% on sale.

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  #418209 16-Dec-2010 18:24
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It's about how much you want to spend. You can have a Media Centre PC directly connected to your TV. Best results would be via HDMI to have video and audio through a single cable.

The Media Centre PC, when properly configured, can be used as a recorder, exactly like TiVo or MyFreeview - I use a Dell Zino HD in the lounge, because it's small and Windows Media Center works really well with New Zealand's Freeview broadcast. Mac OS will work, but you will have a bit of a problem finding media centre software.

Once you have a Media Centre PC (with an appropriate TV card or in my case an HDHomeRun connected to my network) then you can have a wireless keyboard and a media remote control and have everything in a single box.

If you want better sound then a receive will be required - but then you will need speakers as suggested.

An alternative is having a video recorder - TiVo or MyFreeview|HD. But those are limited in features, don't have Internet access and all you can get on a media centre PC. Obviously they are a lot easier to use too...





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Dunnersfella
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  #418313 16-Dec-2010 23:57
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Okay - so here's my take on things...

As you seem to be heading towards an Apple PC, try an Apple Mac Mini, plug it directly into your TV via an HDMI cable. Then connect a wireless keyboard to operate it... as well as an Apple remote control.
Why the remote control?
Well, all you need to do is download a free content server called PLEX. This allows you to access all the music / videos / photos on your home network from one piece of attractive software AND control it via a very simple, easy to use Apple remote (the same type that comes with an Apple TV, check it out on-line, very basic).
PLEX also allows you to subscribe to 'on-line channels' like Revision 3, Freecaster, YouTube, Vimeo etc. Sure it's not necessarily TVNZ on Demand... but frankly, it's actually better!

On top of this, you can rip all your movies / CD's to the Mac Mini, meaning this small white box will hold all your media - and be easy to access.

A PS3 certainly wouldn't hurt, and as other people have said, don't connect it wirelessly to your network if you can help it, as video streaming is pretty poor over 802.11g.

My $0.02.

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