I have had in mind for a while now that I would like to centralise the media in the house. I would like to digitise all my DVD’s onto a huge hard drive and have them available from both the TV downstairs and the TV in the bedroom.
I have been weighing up the options over the past week or so, ahead of the 50Mb broadband being installed. I have also run CAT6 cable from the attic (where the media server will be) down to the living room.
Looking at the options it seems there are a few issues to consider:
- The living room TV currently is CRT and doesn’t have HDMI input
- Do I want a central media centre that outputs to two TV’s, or two media centres?
- Do I use a PC with a media centre OS or a dedicated solution?
With these issues in mind I have decided to take the somewhat baby step of buying an xtreamer system. This little box will sit near to the bedroom TV and connect via HDMI to the TV and by ethernet cable (down through the ceiling) or by wireless to the media server.
The cost of the unit is £107 delivered so I think it is a relatively cheap way of serving media to the bedroom TV, although the interface does not look as snazzy as the XBMC or Windows 7 MC systems. When it comes to upgrading the TV downstairs I think we may go for a bit more of a “grown-up” solution.
So, hopefully it will be delivered this week and I can get it in place. I don’t have massively high hopes of an all singing all dancing solution in the xtreamer, but as far as this piece of kit goes all it needs to do is stream hi-def video smoothly and consistently and I will be happy.
It also has a cute little iPhone interface for controlling it. I may try converting it into a proper app, as at the moment it is just a web page, but it does look cool.