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66 posts

Master Geek
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Topic # 128588 15-Aug-2013 16:39
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I'm currently running the following at home:


  • Bravia TV

  • Sony Home Theatre

  • Netgear Media Player

  • MyDish Freeview Box

  • Playstation 3

  • ReadyNAS Duo Media Server (DLNA)


This gets quite messy to control and even though the Bravia sync between the Sony products helps there's still a hell of a lot of remotes for a toddler to hide.

Lately I've been getting into Mixcloud/ Soundcloud/ Spotify and would like to play them through the home theatre. The PS3 has a good Youtube app but I can't access other video services like Vimeo, BBC iPlayer or Netflix etc. (geo block aside).

To complicate matters the thousands of MP3s and hundreds of videos on the media server mean navigating audio is close to impossible and even video is becoming a headache. Both the Netgear and the Playstation 3 us DLNA folder structures to access media, which leads to wading through a lot of menus/ lists to get to the file you want (with no searching available on either).

The MyDish Freeview Box is just a cheapy and while it can record onto an external hard drive the interface isn't user friendly and the remote isn't 100% reliable either.

I don't want to end up adding yet another box/ remote control and wondered if there's a good way of tying a lot of these things together? Maybe an Android media player like this one: http://www.ascent.co.nz/productspecification.aspx?ItemID=403103 ?

Another idea that crossed my mind is using a smartphone and a charging dock for the Mixcloud/ Soundcloud/ Spotify end of things. However using my personal phone is out as I need it to make/ receive calls/TXTs etc. and for general internet access. Buying a smartphone and a dock just to play Spotify seems like a waste of money.

If there is a solution that can do all these things, and not trap the user in a walled garden I'm very interested to hear it. I've got enough technical experience to build something (Linux server etc.) but surely there must be an out of the box solution?

Thank you in advance.

 

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Banana?
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  Reply # 878952 15-Aug-2013 16:50
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I feel your pain.

First, get a Logitech harmony Remote. Best. Investment. Ever.

Then, If you need to consolidate your devices, think about something like Plex.

I used to have a WDTV Live, which played all my digital contect no problems, and playback worked really well, it just had rather clunky ugly menus, and wouldn't do metadata/scraping of IMDB etc.

I bought an AppleTV and installed PlexConnect on my PC and pointed the AppleTV Trailers app to PlexConnect and it works great - fast, fluid and pretty.

Now I have a Samsung Smart TV, with the Samsung Plex App, and it works even better. I have setup the Watch Plex activity on the Logitech remote, and the Wife has no problems driving it. I know Plex has a Spotify channel (haven't used it), plus lots of other channels.

You can setup Plex Media Server on a ReadyNAS I believe.

If you aren't looking to buy a new TV, consider a Samsung Smart Bluray player and get the Plex App.

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  Reply # 879227 16-Aug-2013 07:41
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They're all walled gardens to some degree.

About the only way to have a truly open system is a PC and use a mouse/keyboard. That will give you spotify, hulu, netflix, tvnz on demand, playback of most media, vudu, itunes etc. But you essentially put up with using a browser/computer from a distance.

So for an Apple TV...
PLexConnect is great for your media collection, and you get youtube, vimeo, itunes, netflix hulu plus. Spotify/pandora/rdio etc you can get via airplay from an ipad/iphone and you can also airplay plex and a couple of other apps (also I note some TVNZ news based video will also airplay).

A Roku 3, you get amazon instant, vudu, netflix, hulu, redbox, spotify, plex and a few others I've not investigated. No youtube, not sure about rdio or pandora. THe plex implementation on the roku is pretty good and fairly well supported. But a roku can be hard to get over here.

Smart TVs, some of these are doing pretty well now, the samsung one in particular seems to be one of the most feature packed. You can generally with some fiddling get netflix, hulu etc on them and they're pretty tolerant of video formats natvely - moreso if plex is installed.

But apart from the pet peeve I have about interface design of using a PC from 6m away, the PC is your best bet for all video formats, and almost all streaming services.




Previously known as psycik

NextPVR: 
Gigabyte AMD A8 Brix --> Samsung LA46A650D via HDMI, NextPVR,
OpenHAB: ODroid C2 eMMC DriveOpenHAB with Aeotech ZWave Controller, Raspberry PI, Wemos D1 Mini, Zwave and Bluetooth LE Sensors
Media:Chromecast v2, ATV4, Roku3, HDHomeRun Dual
Windows 2012 
Host (Plex Server/Crashplan): 2x2TB, 2x3TB, 1x4TB using DriveBender, Samsung 850 evo 512 GB SSD, Hyper-V Server with 1xW10, 1xW2k8, 2xUbuntu 16.04 LTS, Crashplan, NextPVR channel for Plex,NextPVR Metadata Agent and Scanner for Plex




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Master Geek
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  Reply # 879311 16-Aug-2013 09:51
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Thank you trig and David.

From what I can tell all of my gear is about 1 generation too old to truly dance together. The ReadyNAS Duo is SPARC based so won't do Plex, the Netgear Neo TV is a basic model (NTV350) and my Bravia is a W series without internet connectivity.

It's one of those frustrating situations that if I was going to do my whole home network (Router/NAS/VOIP etc.) I'd do it differently with lots of the newer devices that are available now. However that'd cost thousands of dollars, and probably be obsolete in 12 months.

Something I'm thinking about is going for a Linux box running Plex which can hook into the ReadyNAS Duo via Samba or similar. That way the Linux box does the indexing/ Plex plugin side of things and I could retire the Neo TV and play Spotify etc.

Building up a Linux box that has the power to display video properly and has a decent remote control might be a bit of a struggle though. Although I have heard of people running a Raspberry Pi as a media player, so maybe that's possible?

Thanks again.

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  Reply # 879317 16-Aug-2013 09:57
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But again if you ran a pc, the PC could run plex media server (getting content from the NAS) and plex home theatre - the client.

Otherwise you'd be up for replacing your NAS as well.....but probably a better solution would be XBMC for you with the library pointed at your nas. And personally I find the online components on XBMC much better than plex....but not as good as just a straight broswer.

The advantage of plex is that once you've installed PMS, you can get a IOS/Android client and watch on those, and if you persist on using plex (or plex + trakt) then you have all your watch history kept. With XBMC you have to sort out keeping the XBMC library in sync if you have mulitple clients (although hooking to trakt does make this somewhat easier)




Previously known as psycik

NextPVR: 
Gigabyte AMD A8 Brix --> Samsung LA46A650D via HDMI, NextPVR,
OpenHAB: ODroid C2 eMMC DriveOpenHAB with Aeotech ZWave Controller, Raspberry PI, Wemos D1 Mini, Zwave and Bluetooth LE Sensors
Media:Chromecast v2, ATV4, Roku3, HDHomeRun Dual
Windows 2012 
Host (Plex Server/Crashplan): 2x2TB, 2x3TB, 1x4TB using DriveBender, Samsung 850 evo 512 GB SSD, Hyper-V Server with 1xW10, 1xW2k8, 2xUbuntu 16.04 LTS, Crashplan, NextPVR channel for Plex,NextPVR Metadata Agent and Scanner for Plex


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  Reply # 879336 16-Aug-2013 10:16
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loving my current setup.

1 windows server running
Plex Media Server
NextPVR


3 Samsung TVs around the house running
Plex
NextPVR for Samsung (im currently writing this, shameless plug)
Nextflix
Hulu

Basically i have the one server in the garage, and then each tv (also have a smart bluray player) doesnt need any additional device, its all built into the tv. I can play pretty much anything I want (plex for samsung is great), my nextpvr app lets me record shows/watch live tv (some tvs dont have access to a tv aerial, so watching over network from server), netflix is really good (pretty much same as PS3 version).

For music, i mostly just use pandora, and have a pandora app running on my windows server which i can control via android tablets i have around the house, that music is then airplayed to my receiver in the lounge.

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  Reply # 879367 16-Aug-2013 10:53
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+1 for logitech harmony.

Replaced 5 remotes for us - even got the wife approval factor.



Banana?
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  Reply # 879375 16-Aug-2013 11:03
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reven: loving my current setup.

1 windows server running
Plex Media Server
NextPVR


3 Samsung TVs around the house running
Plex
NextPVR for Samsung (im currently writing this, shameless plug)
Nextflix
Hulu

Basically i have the one server in the garage, and then each tv (also have a smart bluray player) doesnt need any additional device, its all built into the tv. I can play pretty much anything I want (plex for samsung is great), my nextpvr app lets me record shows/watch live tv (some tvs dont have access to a tv aerial, so watching over network from server), netflix is really good (pretty much same as PS3 version).

For music, i mostly just use pandora, and have a pandora app running on my windows server which i can control via android tablets i have around the house, that music is then airplayed to my receiver in the lounge.

Nice one on writing NextPVR for Samsung. Will really make it a complete AiO solution.

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Vocus

  Reply # 879382 16-Aug-2013 11:12
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Has anyone used Plex for Android?  Any good?  I looked at XBMC on Android but it's still a bit rubbish (720p only, poor performance)

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  Reply # 879383 16-Aug-2013 11:14
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used plex for android on ouya, was really really good.

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  Reply # 879384 16-Aug-2013 11:18
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reven: used plex for android on ouya, was really really good.


Good to know... it's kind of a shame they don't do a free version that you can try out before buying

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  Reply # 879388 16-Aug-2013 11:23
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theres plex on android and plex pass android, i thought one was free.

tbh, i have no problem subscribing for plexpass. its something I use a lot, they should get my money.

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  Reply # 879400 16-Aug-2013 11:28
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reven: theres plex on android and plex pass android, i thought one was free.

tbh, i have no problem subscribing for plexpass. its something I use a lot, they should get my money.


On IOS the Plex client is $6 then you can either use the free plex or pay for plex pass.  I've paid for both since I'm heavily invested in plex at the moment. With Plex on Apple TV, Roku, IOS and a Plex Plugin for NextPVR




Previously known as psycik

NextPVR: 
Gigabyte AMD A8 Brix --> Samsung LA46A650D via HDMI, NextPVR,
OpenHAB: ODroid C2 eMMC DriveOpenHAB with Aeotech ZWave Controller, Raspberry PI, Wemos D1 Mini, Zwave and Bluetooth LE Sensors
Media:Chromecast v2, ATV4, Roku3, HDHomeRun Dual
Windows 2012 
Host (Plex Server/Crashplan): 2x2TB, 2x3TB, 1x4TB using DriveBender, Samsung 850 evo 512 GB SSD, Hyper-V Server with 1xW10, 1xW2k8, 2xUbuntu 16.04 LTS, Crashplan, NextPVR channel for Plex,NextPVR Metadata Agent and Scanner for Plex


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  Reply # 879850 16-Aug-2013 22:45
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Plex is running on my MacMini, I'm controlling it with a Harmony One (and an Ultimate... just 'cos) in conjunction with Remote Buddy.
Remote Buddy means I can press 'Plex' on my remote and it turns off any other programme I may have open on Mac, and lunches Plex Home Theatre (Beta to give me Airplay audio and video). Or, if I press 'iTunes' on the remote, iTunes will launch on the screen. The only reason I want iTunes on the MacMini is to delete VidCasts I've already watched, but hey, you know... why not.

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  Reply # 879873 16-Aug-2013 23:14
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Tried Plex after I got my Synology DS412+, didn't work well on anything. Crashed my TV, buggy as hell on my phone, not even that good on my PC with the library failing to refresh properly. Will try again at some point I suppose, since others seem to have had a good time of it, but for now I'm not enthused.

Right now just using the inbuilt media server on the NAS it just works with everything. TV, Android devices, PCs.

If I wanted Spotify as well I would probably just get a second hand Note 2 and plug it into my Smart Dock, would be perfectly fine for video also and could be controlled from the couch via USB or BT mouse/keyboard at a pinch. Having it set up all the time like that I would probably get a fair amount of use out of it for gaming as well between PSX/N64/NDS emulation and games that can use controllers like Riptide 2. In fact now that I think of it that may be the fate of my S4 once the Note 3 comes out... Hacking a Chromecast to mirror everything might be another option.

Bubble UPnP is also worth a shout, I use the Android app a fair amount and its great, and from the reviews it looks like a lot of people are using it to unify all their stuff.




Twitter: @nztechfreak
Blogs: HeadphoNZ.org


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  Reply # 880162 17-Aug-2013 16:53
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I'm running Plex on my synology 412+ which streams to an ipad and HTC One. I've also got a wired raspberry pi running Rasplex to a old 46" sony bravia.

Its all pretty much seamless. I havent tried 1080 as I dont have any such content on my NAS yet.  But ran Big Buck Bunny at 720p fine.

I love using the Plex app on my HTC as a remote.

After playing with plex alot the last few months I bought the yearly plex subscription as a way of thanking the developers and then found the "Sync" feature which has been very useful. I just click on the content I am interested and it will send it to my Phone or Ipad wirelessly (in various definitions) and I can then play them on those devices when I am not at home. Was very useful the other day to send 4 hrs of various tv shows to the Pad to watch on a plane.

A.

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