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155 posts

Master Geek


Topic # 128687 20-Aug-2013 08:37
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Hi All, been a while since I posted here...

So after moving up to Auckland after the Canterbury earthquakes a couple of years back we've been hit by another disaster. This time, a blender (switched off, jug disconnected, but plugged in) failed and filled the entire house with smoke. And this only a few months after we cancelled our contents insurance because it was too expensive following the earthquakes!

I've fired up my air compressor and blown off as much soot as I can (I even went over all the PCBs in my HTPC with cotton buds and iso and replaced all thermal paste afterwards, just to be sure), but I'm still pretty dubious about bringing all this kit back into the house. I'm not sure if it's a fire hazard (I don't think so but after having an appliance fire once, it still makes me feel uneasy), but there are probably traces of (plastic fire, so very toxic) soot, and we have a toddler. If it was just one piece of equipment I wouldn't be too worried, but bringing back a large LCD screen, computer, AV receiver, not to mention couch, bed, etc, all at once seems a bit dodgy. And frankly, I've been moving/cleaning sooty crap for almost a month now and I'm pretty tired of it. It'd be nice to get rid of it.

Anyone here have any experience/advice with dealing with sooty electronics? How salvageable/dangerous/toxic is this stuff likely to be?

I'm sort of considering selling much of my old stuff more or less as is (give it a quick clean, ensure it's currently working, and make sure to make the buyer aware of the gadget's history), and then just replacing it. Anyway, here's what I have:

Phillips 47" LCD TV (1080p)
LG 23" IPS234 display
HTPC I built (gigabyte mobo, Hauppauge DVB-T card, radeon 4870, 1.5 + 2 TB HDDs, intel i5-760, 8gb 1333mhz ddr3)
onkyo tx-sr575
Monitor audio speakers x5 (bronze range, baby centre, etc)
time capsule (1tb, wireless-n)

So I've already bought a Seagate expansion 3TB and backed up all my data. My iphone 3gs died a couple of days before the fire, and I mistakenly thought the HTPC was completely ruined (it actually boots OK, at least for now) so I bought a Surface Pro 128mb as a replacement for both.

The only thing the surface pro doesn't do is act as a TV tuner. With windows 8.1, though, it does support miracast. I'm thinking I could pretty well replace most of the above stuff by just getting a smart tv. I've got my eyes on the 42" LG LA6620.

I went into Harvey Norman and the rep let my try screen sharing via miracast. It wasn't too tough to set up, though I did notice a pretty hefty latency - perhaps using the release version of 8.1, or a firmware update for the TV would improve this. In any event, it happily streamed a movie over an ad hoc wifi connection in the store. I wonder whether it would benefit from wireless AC (and whether it's even possible to get the TV to use a router's wireless AC for miracast instead of its own wireless-n)

I've been out of the loop with TVs. If I plug my Seagate expansion drive into the USB port on the LA6620, will the hdd be shared with other devices on the network (just as if it was connected to a router or PC)? Or would I need to attach the HDD to a router/PC/NAS to accomplish this? (Unfortunately, my bloody time capsule won't read/write exfat so is pretty useless in this regard. I don't want to format my usb 3.0 drive HFS+ as I don't actually use any apple computers these days!) Also, will the TV record to a network drive? Will those recordings be in a format that is readable by a windows PC (i.e. will they just be mkv or something?)

Perhaps it would be worth getting a wireless AC/gigabit/USB3.0 router then. It would allow my to share my exfat HDD over the network - both to the TV and to the surface pro. Obviously I'd need to pick up a wireless AC dongle for the pro to benefit (and I was thinking of holding out a bit longer to see if they start making combo 11.ac + NFC dongles - it seems Marvell might be heading in that direction anyway and it'd be nice to be able to add NFC to my tablet). Very few wireless AC routers seem to actually have usb 3.0 so far though, which strikes me as very odd. All I could find was a Linksys model.

In terms of audio, I was thinking that's something I can do without for now. The budget is tight, really tight.

So yeah, that's the plan at this stage:

Pawn off old crap after quick clean, test it goes, and disclaimer (that it might have reduced lifespan thanks to soot)
LG 42LA6620 <- tv, tuner, wireless monitor for tablet
Linksys EA6700
Plus my surface pro (with eventual wireless AC dongle)

Any suggestions?

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Uber Geek
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  Reply # 881426 20-Aug-2013 10:35
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A few quick answers...
No, TV's can't record to network drives at this stage. Even if it could, you can only play back any recorded content on the TV you did the actual recording on (it's encrypted).
I have used a TV that can access a pendrive that was plugged into another TV in the house (LG).
The Time Capsule won't share to the LG to my knowledge.
Miracast is only 'okay' at this stage, Apple TV and Airplay seems to be the best solution I've played with... but as you know, it requires an Apple eco system.

Keep the speakers though, they 'should' be fine... surely?



155 posts

Master Geek


  Reply # 881446 20-Aug-2013 10:53
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Ah, right. So id probably need a dedicated hard disk attached to the TV itself. Which is certainly doable. I have a spare 1, 1.5, and 2 Tb disk. They were all in the fire though the 1 GB drive was inside the time capsule and appears to have avoided any visible soot (I don't think the fan was running).

I've been wondering what to do with those drives. I wouldn't rely on them, but losing my recorded TV (in the event of disk failure) wouldn't be such a big deal.

I guess id need to get an enclosure though. Not sure what the best option there is. Its 3.5" so I guess it'll need a power source.

Regarding the speakers. Hopefully they're ok. I might give them a more thorough clean out. They look to be pretty much sealed units so I'm not sure how to get the soot out from inside. You should see my Mitsubishi oasis dehumidifier. Yuck.



155 posts

Master Geek


  Reply # 881767 20-Aug-2013 20:02
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Hmm, will a router like the Linksys happily chug away as a home media server? What benefit would a relatively cheap NAS enclosure (such as a readynas) provide?

I get the feeling that if I just hold off a little longer there will be much better wireless ac routers out there. Ideally, a wireless ac router with hdmi out, miracast, and nas capabilities would be nice. Though I don really know what that sort of product would even be called.



155 posts

Master Geek


  Reply # 882088 21-Aug-2013 11:32
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The more research I do on a good setup for a home network, the more confused I get. Here's what I'd ideally like to have on the network:


Wireless ac router

A media player of some kind (be it the integrated one in the tv, a dedicated media box, one of those fancy Panasonic Blu-ray /freeview tuners, or maybe even an Xbox One) - needs to decode (and preferably record) freeview and play streamed content from a network drive/internet.

Some kind of NAS - I'm tempted by the ~$500 dual bay NAS options, especially if they can transcode video (this is a good thing to have, right?) and having 2 HDDs in RAID-0 (with usb backup drive) seems nice. Apparently there's a new Synology soon to be released (called the DS 214+) which looks like it might be good for a home media server, without breaking the bank TOO badly. But again, I can't help wondering, is this overkill? Would a modern router happily stream full hd video to my tv through an attached usb HDD?


New TV (looking at LG 42LA6620, but perhaps smart and 3d aren't worth the extra money? Perhaps a 5400 model is enough? It's like $700 cheaper)

Maybe new audio receiver/amplifier (I'm humming and ahhing about replacing this one, which I haven't actually yet tested since the fire)

Maybe a Blu Ray player (I have kinda stopped watching these because my HTPC's old LG drive stopped getting firmware updates, and the link to download my powerDVD install has expired - so I can't reinstall even though I own a licence! This peeved me off and I stopped buying blu rays or dvds, but with a 3d TV I might conceivably start again)

I'm pretty noob-ish when it comes to NAS drives. I've googled for information on choosing the right NAS, but don't feel that I've really learned much yet. I am also super noobish when it comes to smart TVs/DVD players, etc. There seems to be so much convergence between devices - you can get a NAS with hdmi output (but it doesn't play blu ray disk), a blu ray player with freeview tuners and hdd recording, a game console with a BR player and a fancy tv overlay (but no tuners, and it doesn't record), but I'm damned if I can tell what a good way to get all these functions is without having unnecessary overlap between devices! The last dedicated disk player I bought was about 2001. And I've never bought a freeview box - I've only ever gone the HTPC route. So... any suggestions/help/link to good guides on setting up a home/media network in 2013 would be most appreciated!

In any event it seems I can tick most of those boxes simply by getting the TV, and add things slowly over time.

Banana?
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  Reply # 882094 21-Aug-2013 11:39
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Seriously, check out a Samsung Smart TV, they seem to have better playback support (plus you get TVNZ ondemand and Plex)



155 posts

Master Geek


  Reply # 882127 21-Aug-2013 12:22
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They look good. Its a bit of a tough call. I could get a 40" f6400, though its almost $200 more. Is it better than the 42la6620? I think the LG has passive 3d glasses, which are supposed to be better, right? Then again, the Samsung has a bonus keyboard and Skype camera at the moment. Might go into a store and take a look.

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  Reply # 882182 21-Aug-2013 14:00
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What type/age and brand of blender was it? Surely you could go back to the manufacturer about that, it maybe a manufacturering problem.



155 posts

Master Geek


  Reply # 882260 21-Aug-2013 16:21
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Kenwood. It was only 3.5 years old or so. A local lawyer has generously offered to write a stroppy letter on my behalf. It does seem pretty straightforwardly covered by the consumer guarantees act, but I'm trying not to count my chickens ;)

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Uber Geek
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  Reply # 882382 21-Aug-2013 20:01
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You'll be getting overlap no matter what you do...
Unless, you go for a non-3D /smart TV, non-3D BluRay player, a network media player and a recorder like a Dish TV or MagicTV Freeview recorder.

HOWEVER, a Panasonic BluRay recorder (DMR-PWT530) is a well featured unit that allows you to stream live TV and recorder content to your iOS / Android device, which, frankly, I find to be pretty cool!
It's network connected, so you'll get constant updates to ensure you can play whatever discs you bring home. The reduction of devices / remotes is a good thing IMHO.

OR, a PS3 with the recording PlayTV add on... to record Freeview... It'll be a console, a BluRay player, streamer... but I don't believe it'll stream recorded TV to any other devices.

Add in a Apple TV 3 / Roku 3 or similar... and a TV that offers a good picture + decent motion performance and you should be away and laughing.



155 posts

Master Geek


  Reply # 882456 21-Aug-2013 22:00
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Thanks a lot for the input guys.

I'm somewhat drawn to the smart TV because although some features might become redundant as I add devices, it should provide a pretty good stopgap in the meanwhile. This fire hit us at a bad time, financially. So there's a certain appeal to doing something like:

1) get good smart TV - covers tuner/dvr/extra browser roles well enough that if/when my htpc dies I won't miss it too much (will just lose Br disc and games)

2) add components 1 by 1. In no particular order, new router (+ 11.ac dongle), nas, blue ray player, gaming machine (maybe console to cover games and blue ray playback, and possibly playing other media if it does it better than the TV). By that point id be more or less set, I think.

By the way, it looks like the Samsung 6400 doesn't support miracast. On the other hand, the 2013 LG TVs don't support Plex (which I gather is invaluable though I've never used it!) I guess that might be a potential benefit of having more than one smart device - greater choice of apps/features even if their feature sets overlap a lot.



155 posts

Master Geek


  Reply # 882460 21-Aug-2013 22:09
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Another question... is anybody familiar with the kinds of promotions that tend to be offered by LG and Samsung? At the moment I could get a free keyboard/camera with the Samsung or in house training (which I don't want) and 4 extra passive glasses (inexpensive anyway) from LG. Have there been better promotions that anyone knows of? And do they essentially just run promotions back to back, like (for instance) dell?

I see that Noel Leeming has a trade in offer for plasma screens at the moment. I'm considering telling them my sob story and seeing if they'd let me swap my LCD for a Samsung LCD. Unlikely, I'm thinking. But does anyone know if NL have run Samsung LCD trade in promotions before? I think my 6 year old Philips 47" TV was probably worth 400, maybe less, before the fire. Its not worth taking to an electrician for assessment, I dont think. (and im not sure I want to open it up and clean it myself) So even getting $200 for it via a trade in might be a good option. Beats throwing it in the dump ;)



155 posts

Master Geek


  Reply # 882657 22-Aug-2013 11:12
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Does anybody have ay experience dealing with Noel Leeming, Kenwood (or others) with this kind of thing? Its a bit complicated because our losses have been somewhat substantial (<10k certainly) so its not just a matter of replacing the appliance, and if we were to go to court it'd be too big for the small claims court. Which means lawyers, etc. It'd be nice to be able to avoid that, but I have no idea how combative they'll get once they hear from me.

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Ultimate Geek
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Technical Solutions Aust

  Reply # 882706 22-Aug-2013 12:08
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You can claim up to $15,000 at the disputes tribunal:

http://www.justice.govt.nz/tribunals/disputes-tribunal



155 posts

Master Geek


  Reply # 882723 22-Aug-2013 12:40
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Oh, right, thanks! I thought it was 5/10 with both parties' agreement, not 15/20.

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