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#372190 - 04/05/12 06:52 PM [HOW TO] Stream Music and Video around the house
Mad Beggar Offline
Big Kahuna
frequent flier

Registered: 02/28/06
Posts: 10
Loc: Montreal,QC,Canada
Good Evening Everyone,

A rare occurrence in these busy times : I actually have a few minutes to start a thread I've been meaning to start a long time ago !

While I like the purity and crispness of sounds of certain types of media as much as the next man, I do have, like many of you I am sure, an extensive collection of "legally" downloaded media.

Whether its movies, series, video clips or simply music, I soon realized that without a nice centralized infrastructure or at least some scaffolding around it all, I would end up having duplicate stuff all around the household and never find what I need when I need it.

Being of a tinkering nature, I have spent the past 10 years fine tuning what I call my "Ultimate Home Entertainment Network".

With the latest changes I've applied to it, I believe the setup to be mature enough for me to share with you all.

It is mostly composed of 2 parts :

1 -> Media Storage
These are usually your computer (or anyone elses in the house) if you have some sort of iTunes library or similar content you wish to share.
Or simple network storage devices (shared drives or network attached boxes... these now retail for ridiculously cheap and their capacity keeps growing)

2 -> Media Set Top Boxes
Small and Quiet devices that are connected to you receiver and/or TV... a bit like the infamous AppleTV or Boxee boxes... but with more features.

Here are the primary scenarios I want my infrastructure to support :

- Play any audio media (MP3, AAC, FLAC, MP4A etc) from anywhere and to anywhere in the house.
- Play any video media (AVI, DiVX, XviD, x264, DVD, HDDVD, BluRay .... 480i/p, 720i/p, 1080i/p) from anywhere and to anywhere in the house.
- Playback should not be impacted by any quality loss beyond what is already on the media itself.
- Playback should support all surround configurations.
- Transfer playback of any media on my iDevice (iPhone, iPod, iPad) to any TV/Room in the house on the go.
- Play internet media (YouTube, Hulu, etc) from any location.

Optional Features:
- Browse the web on any TV
- Skype on any TV
- Play games (Emulators and Native Games)

Experimenta Features (Still tinkering with those):
- Record any TV show and play it back in any room.
- Play 2k/4k video

Appart from the Experimental Features which are a bit more complex, the above can all be achieved with minimal effort :

As far as media storage goes, I wont go into the details of iTunes libraries and so forth. I'd like to talk about network storage and bandwidth for a minute.

In order to properly stream 1080p content, be advised that a minimum of 100mbits full duplex may be needed (I know, I know, a lot of things use way less, particularly if you use x264 compression). You will be able to work with slower networks since the set top box will buffer for you and take care of spikes but given the price of Gigabit Wireless N routers today, I dont think you should bother with anything less. If you still have a old Wireless B/G 10/100 router, here's a excuse to upgrade :-)

Storing files for this setup is easy : Most Network Hard drives out there use the CIFS(SAMBA) Windows Share protocol out of the box. Simply plug, store, and play any time you want.
Most routers today actually come with USB ports you can attach a USB hard drive too. That will work just as well.

If you wish to stream/share contents from your computer, simply enable file sharing on the folder in question and you're set.

The set top box is part I spent most time on as I wanted something quiet but powerfull enough to process and decode any type of media.

My solution right now is to use MiniITX or NanoITX boards equiped with Intel Atom CPUs and NVIDIA ION chipsets.
The important thing here being the NVIDIA ION. Why ? Because it does hardware video decoding and handles x264 !

The board must obviously have an HDMI output and dedicated video memory.

Add to that a small laptop size hard drive (ssd if you have the mula) and 2 gigs of RAM for good measure.

The optical drive is up to you. You can go from none to blu-ray and anything else in between. It'll support them all.

The network connection is important. Most of these boards come with a built-in Gigabit port but dont be affraid to add a Wireless N card if you dont feel like running wires... its not much harder to configure.

The remote control part is also important. You'll want something that is able to turn the device ON when completely powered off. This is achieved via ACPI S5... look it up and you'll find some remotes and remote receivers that support it.
A lot of boards support it by default via CIR interfaces too.

Last but not least, the software :
Here's the image I have on mine :
- Ubuntu 11.10 or Debian 6.0 (Linux)
- XBMC Eden
- Avahi (for AirPlay support)
- VLC
- LibAACS (for BluRay support)

And that's pretty much it !

Network playback can be achieved through any protocol (Samba, FTP, ZeroConf, Bonjour, AppleShare, NFS)
The box will behave as an AirPlay endpoint to play any audio/video from iTunes,iPod,iPad and iPhones.

I know these fuel lines are a bit quick and vague but going into the full details of each part could be endless.

If anyone is interested in playing around in this field, feel free to drop your questions here. I'll do my best to help.

Cheers,

MadBeggar.


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#372199 - 04/06/12 08:06 AM Re: The wonders of streaming and technology [Re: Mad Beggar]
cb919 Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 02/17/09
Posts: 1041
Loc: Ottawa, Canada
Hi MadBeggar,
Maybe I missed it in some of those acronyms, but what are you using as a client for playback? Is it different clients at different sites? e.g. a ps3 in one room, the networked TV in another room, media capable AVR in the HT....

Have you given any thought to be playing the same source material in multiple locations? Like if having a house party and playing a common playlist everywhere so people can move room to room without any music interruptions or changes? If so, how do you do that?

Cheers,
_________________________
Dan
In/On Wall 500 w M2 Center Channel

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#372200 - 04/06/12 09:02 AM Re: The wonders of streaming and technology [Re: Mad Beggar]
Ken.C Online   content
shareholder in the making

Registered: 05/03/03
Posts: 17782
Loc: NoVA
This sounds great to me. It's not likely to be something I'm going to do myself very quickly, as the set top boxes sounds fairly expensive to put together, but bravo! Sounds like you've managed to figure out something the industry's been incapable of figuring out itself for years.

I assume handbrake and the like come into it somewhere.
_________________________
I am the Doctor, and THIS... is my SPOON!

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#372208 - 04/06/12 02:32 PM Re: The wonders of streaming and technology [Re: Mad Beggar]
INANE Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 02/04/04
Posts: 1668
Loc: Omaha, Nebraska
It's a lot of work to do all of that, but I'm one that enjoys the journey and reading about others as well. Thanks for sharing!
_________________________
-Ben
HT v2.0 !
HT v1.0

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#372246 - 04/06/12 03:37 PM Re: [HOW TO] Stream Music and Video around the hou [Re: Mad Beggar]
Mad Beggar Offline
Big Kahuna
frequent flier

Registered: 02/28/06
Posts: 10
Loc: Montreal,QC,Canada
Hi cb919,

The actual player is XBMC (www.xbmc.org)... Its pretty much all the set top boxes run.
And yes, I actually do sometimes play things in multiple locations at once :-)
I have a couple of ways of doing it depending on what I'm looking to do.
I have a little box in the basement that acts as an Airplay Receiver and does 2 things with the audio :
1-> It relays it to a 5W FM PLC Modulator (25$ off of ebay)
2-> Broadcasts it as an MP3 Multicast Stream on the network (Using Shoutcast) using LiveCaster : http://www.live555.com/liveCaster/).

That allows you to pickup the boardcast anywhere around the network (watch for delay/lag on Wifi, you may have to play with buffering to keep all players in sync) or with my old 1973 Panasonic FM receiver in the yard.

Ken C, you'd be very surprised at the cost of it all. My set top boxes currently cost me less than 500$ per unit... and it gets cheaper or more powerfull every year.

Inane : It is some work when you start it off, yes :-) But now that I've got most of the grunt work done, I've actually set it up at a few friends houses in less than an hour ! ... Assuming they have a home wifi network already in place, I just install my premade image on a set-top box, configure a couple of parameters and that's it :-)

M. B.




Edited by Mad Beggar (04/06/12 03:42 PM)
Edit Reason: PS : I changed the thread name to be less cryptic

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#372365 - 04/07/12 03:48 AM Re: [HOW TO] Stream Music and Video around the hou [Re: Mad Beggar]
CV Offline
Founder, Axiom Upgrade Club
shareholder in the making

Registered: 07/20/06
Posts: 11208
Loc: Richland, WA, USA
I may need to call on your expertise at some point....

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#372434 - 04/07/12 06:51 PM Re: [HOW TO] Stream Music and Video around the hou [Re: Mad Beggar]
Mad Beggar Offline
Big Kahuna
frequent flier

Registered: 02/28/06
Posts: 10
Loc: Montreal,QC,Canada
I'd be happy to help ! Let me know how I can be of assistance.

M.B.

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#372437 - 04/07/12 07:12 PM Re: [HOW TO] Stream Music and Video around the hou [Re: Mad Beggar]
CV Offline
Founder, Axiom Upgrade Club
shareholder in the making

Registered: 07/20/06
Posts: 11208
Loc: Richland, WA, USA
One thing I'm interested in is ripping Blu-rays at full audio and video quality for demo purposes. What I'd like to be able to do is either rip specific scenes or, better yet, make bookmarks with start and stop times which I can then put in a playlist so it will cycle through these scenes even though they'll be in different files. Then I could have playlists for bass demos, surround demos, etc. Is something like this possible yet?

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#372438 - 04/07/12 07:20 PM Re: [HOW TO] Stream Music and Video around the hou [Re: CV]
solarrdadd Offline
local

Registered: 05/04/10
Posts: 278
Loc: Alexandria, VA
Originally Posted By: CV
One thing I'm interested in is ripping Blu-rays at full audio and video quality for demo purposes. What I'd like to be able to do is either rip specific scenes or, better yet, make bookmarks with start and stop times which I can then put in a playlist so it will cycle through these scenes even though they'll be in different files. Then I could have playlists for bass demos, surround demos, etc. Is something like this possible yet?


given the nature of the disc, i would say there is no legal commercial way to do this. if there was, you could go to the store and legally buy it or download it.

of course, that would defeat the purpose of what the blu-ray folks want; to fight stealing and black marketing of their property.
_________________________
SonySXRD55"
OnkyoPR-SC5507P pre-amp
Emotiva XPA-5,UPA-2amps,
14 Speakers, All Axiom
Oppo 105D&93

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#372458 - 04/07/12 08:03 PM Re: [HOW TO] Stream Music and Video around the hou [Re: solarrdadd]
CV Offline
Founder, Axiom Upgrade Club
shareholder in the making

Registered: 07/20/06
Posts: 11208
Loc: Richland, WA, USA
I haven't kept up on the legality, but I do know people are ripping full Blu-rays. I own all of the Blu-rays I would be ripping for this purpose. I simply want the convenience of being able to make my own demo reel. Just wondering if the software for this kind of thing is that far along.

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#372459 - 04/07/12 08:04 PM Re: [HOW TO] Stream Music and Video around the hou [Re: solarrdadd]
fredk Offline
axiomite

Registered: 12/06/07
Posts: 7047
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: solarrdadd
...of course, that would defeat the purpose of what the blu-ray folks want; to fight stealing and black marketing of their property squeezing every last penny they can out of the buying public.


Fixed it for ya.
_________________________
Fred

-------
Blujays1: Spending Fred's money one bottle at a time, no two... Oh crap!

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#372505 - 04/08/12 12:10 AM Re: [HOW TO] Stream Music and Video around the hou [Re: CV]
INANE Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 02/04/04
Posts: 1668
Loc: Omaha, Nebraska
Originally Posted By: CV
One thing I'm interested in is ripping Blu-rays at full audio and video quality for demo purposes. What I'd like to be able to do is either rip specific scenes or, better yet, make bookmarks with start and stop times which I can then put in a playlist so it will cycle through these scenes even though they'll be in different files. Then I could have playlists for bass demos, surround demos, etc. Is something like this possible yet?


AnyDVD to rip the copy protection off the disk then you can chop it up with Handbrake .
_________________________
-Ben
HT v2.0 !
HT v1.0

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#372645 - 04/09/12 08:27 AM Re: [HOW TO] Stream Music and Video around the hou [Re: Mad Beggar]
Murph Offline
axiomite

Registered: 10/05/06
Posts: 6833
Loc: PEI, Canada
Yes, I use the above to rip my BRs to my HTPC. You will pay a fee for ANYDVD but it is well worth it if you plan on doing a lot of them. Small note: You need ANYDVDHD for BRs. Obvious from the web page, but just in case.

It is also useful if your PC's video card (or any device in the middle) is not HDCP compliant. Otherwise, even if you try to watch a BR that you own and even if you try to play it from the original disk, you get an error accusing you of stealing it and you can't watch it. ANYDVD works in the background as soon as you insert the disk to remove this stupid form of copy protection.

I made sure I bought a HDCP video card in my last build but it seems that when I add my receiver to the middle I get the error. It's only HDMI 1.0 so I suspect that might be the issue. In any case, ANYDVDHD gets rid of this issue at the source.

I have no moral issue using software that allows me to watch something I paid for. My issue is in being forced to use it in the first place.
_________________________
With great power comes Awesome irresponsibility.

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#372678 - 04/09/12 03:40 PM Re: [HOW TO] Stream Music and Video around the hou [Re: Mad Beggar]
Mad Beggar Offline
Big Kahuna
frequent flier

Registered: 02/28/06
Posts: 10
Loc: Montreal,QC,Canada
CV : I think MakeMKV will be your friend there (http://makemkv.com/).

Blu-Rays have several accepted codecs for both Video and Audio.
Video is one of MPG2,H264,MP4 or VC1.
Audio is one of AC3,DTS or LPCM

In any combination, MakeMKV will extract the tracks from the BluRay and store them into an MKV file without tampering with the original content (it will just decrypt the AACS stuff on the BluRay if there is any).

Once you've got the MKV file(s), you can pretty much cut/chop/join/reencode/compress any which way (you'll probably want to use VirtualDub at that point).

"Backing Up" media you own is perfectly legal :-)

Let me know if you need any help with that.

Murph : If you use VLC version 2.x+ and add libaacs (google is your friend there), you'll be able to play any Blu Ray natively anywhere and on any ouput.

In fact, CV, you'll probably want to use VLC to playback your MKV files as you can create playlists with them.

Mad Beggar.

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#372679 - 04/09/12 04:09 PM Re: [HOW TO] Stream Music and Video around the hou [Re: Mad Beggar]
oldskoolboarder Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 05/25/03
Posts: 2181
Loc: Menlo Park, CA
Have you guys give Plex a try? I run the server on my Mac Mini and use the clients on my Roku, iPhones, iPads, etc. LOVE it.

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#372704 - 04/10/12 03:40 AM Re: [HOW TO] Stream Music and Video around the hou [Re: Mad Beggar]
CV Offline
Founder, Axiom Upgrade Club
shareholder in the making

Registered: 07/20/06
Posts: 11208
Loc: Richland, WA, USA
Thanks for the tips, guys. I'll check out the recommended software sometime. I may be slow with that, but I'll get to it. I've been lacking motivation lately. My NAS started giving me some kind of error beeping a couple of weeks ago, and I still haven't gotten around to figuring out exactly what the problem is. I imagine it's some kind of drive failure, but I haven't done ANY troubleshooting. Probably because I can't spend the money to replace drives right now. In the meantime, I do worry about the media drive in my computer going belly up and me not having a backup.

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#372708 - 04/10/12 08:37 AM Re: [HOW TO] Stream Music and Video around the hou [Re: Mad Beggar]
Mad Beggar Offline
Big Kahuna
frequent flier

Registered: 02/28/06
Posts: 10
Loc: Montreal,QC,Canada
CV : If you can gather up about 55 bucks in loose change, I would suggest looking at Carbonite... for that amount, you get a full year's worth of unlimited backups.

Now of course, the other issue is : How much media do you actually have. Uploading that much data could be a painfully slow process and costly if your ISP has data transmission quotas.

99 bucks will give get you a 1TB or 1.5TB drive pretty much anywhere these days.

If you really want to get fancy, 120 bucks will give you a couple of 500GB drives you can use in Raid 1 (Mirror) to be on the safe side :-)

Mad Beggar

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#372709 - 04/10/12 08:42 AM Re: [HOW TO] Stream Music and Video around the hou [Re: Mad Beggar]
Ken.C Online   content
shareholder in the making

Registered: 05/03/03
Posts: 17782
Loc: NoVA
I use Crashplan. ~$100/yr for unlimited online storage.
_________________________
I am the Doctor, and THIS... is my SPOON!

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