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Best "Media Extender"?

Old 11-19-12, 02:05 AM
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Best "Media Extender"?

I have a TON of video on my desktop PC. I'd like to buy some kind of box which would allow me to wirelessly stream those videos from my computer to my older HDTV downstairs (IMPORTANT: the HDTV is from 2005 and only has 1 HDMI input).

I've seen plenty of ads for Roku devices, but it seems like those mostly stream from "official" sites like YouTube, Netflix and Hulu. To do local media, you need to install Plex on both the "server" and the device, which less than optimal, IMHO.

I saw the WD Play at a local store and have looked at the user manual online. It seems like just the thing I want: it claims to play almost any type of AVI, MP4 and MKV file, and setting it up to stream from a standard Windows share looks really simple. However, I'm not sure how many Internet services it has, and it only has a single HDMI port, so I'd have to get a splitter.

I'd forgotten about Vizio's Co-Star until I saw an ad for it yesterday. It runs on Google TV, and I can download apps for it, and even browse the 'Net. Even better, it has an HDMI "pass-through" so I won't need the splitter, and I can simultaneously access all the features of my standard TWC DVR (for example, it does PIP, so I can have a live TV channel in one box and an app in another). I really like what I see, but there's not a lot of info in the user manual or in their FAQ about setting it up to stream from shares (their FAQ just says "Yes, you can stream content from any DLNA-capable device"). Would I have to find an app from Play to do this? Or does it have a built-in app to do this? I can't find a solid answer on this...

Which would would you guys prefer, keeping in mind that my main concern is playing "local" media? Is there some other device I should be looking at? One last thing: the device needs to have built-in Wi-Fi, as there's no way to have an Ethernet hookup at the TV.

Thanks in advance for your answers!

Rex
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Old 11-19-12, 08:09 AM
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Re: Best "Media Extender"?

I'd get the WD. You can also hook an external HDD to it if you don't want to keep your computer on all the time. No matter what you get, you will need to get an HDMI switch. You can pick one up on Amazon for around $10.
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Old 11-19-12, 08:35 AM
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Re: Best "Media Extender"?

Originally Posted by Rex Fenestrarum View Post
I really like what I see, but there's not a lot of info in the user manual or in their FAQ about setting it up to stream from shares (their FAQ just says "Yes, you can stream content from any DLNA-capable device"). Would I have to find an app from Play to do this? Or does it have a built-in app to do this? I can't find a solid answer on this...
According to this page, it uses the built in PlayPoint App for streaming from a DLNA server, and has instructions for setting this up:
https://vizio.custhelp.com/app/answe...-my-co-star%3F



Originally Posted by orangecrush View Post
No matter what you get, you will need to get an HDMI switch.
Nope, the Vizio Co-Star has an HDMI passthrough for a cable/satellite box. So if that's the only other thing Rex has plugged into the TV, he wouldn't need an HDMI switch.
http://www.vizio.com/costar/features#features-setup
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Old 11-19-12, 12:27 PM
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Re: Best "Media Extender"?

Originally Posted by Jay G. View Post
According to this page, it uses the built in PlayPoint App for streaming from a DLNA server, and has instructions for setting this up:
https://vizio.custhelp.com/app/answe...-my-co-star%3F




Nope, the Vizio Co-Star has an HDMI passthrough for a cable/satellite box. So if that's the only other thing Rex has plugged into the TV, he wouldn't need an HDMI switch.
http://www.vizio.com/costar/features#features-setup
I stand corrected.
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Old 11-19-12, 01:13 PM
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Re: Best "Media Extender"?

My Roku 2 HD has flash drive support but if I recall correctly supports very few formats.
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Old 11-19-12, 11:58 PM
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Re: Best "Media Extender"?

Thanks for that, Jay G.. Somehow I missed that page.

A follow-up question, if I may: what, exactly is a DLNA server? This page shows how to do it in Windows 7. It requires changing some HomeGroup settings (no problem) and some settings in Windows Media Player (huh?). I don't use the "Video" portion of Windows 7's libraries feature... but I guess I will need to for the Co-Star to work? Does a DLNA server HAVE TO transcode video?
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Old 11-20-12, 07:09 AM
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Re: Best "Media Extender"?

Originally Posted by Rex Fenestrarum View Post
what, exactly is a DLNA server? ...Does a DLNA server HAVE TO transcode video?
DLNA is basically a standard that allows any DLNA player to connect to any DLNA server. It specifies the network requirements as well as required (and optional) file/codec support:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital...twork_Alliance

DLNA servers should transcode video, but they don't have to.
http://www.dlna.org/dlna-for-industr...nical-overview
Any DMP, M-DMP, DMR, M-DMD and DMPr device must be able to receive content from any DMS or M-DMS device. A DMS or M-DMS device may stream content in its native format if the receiving device supports such native format. Otherwise, that DMS or M-DMS device should transcode the native format to one of the applicable required formats or to a format understood by the rendering device.
Windows 7 has transcoding built into its DLNA server:
http://blogs.msdn.com/b/e7/archive/2...windows-7.aspx
In Windows 7 we... also ensure that the content will play on devices that may not support the codec, bit rate, container, or format of that content. We accomplish this by using the new transcoding support in Windows 7.

...The general rule of thumb is: if Windows Media Player can play the content on the PC then the content will almost always play back on the network connected device.
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Old 11-20-12, 10:29 AM
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Re: Best "Media Extender"?

The Roku player is on sale at Best Buy for Black Friday for $40. It streams media from your PC using the Plex program. Anybody use it and if so, how is it?
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