Returning the Favor and other Slices of Life

Returning the Favor
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Sunday, January 25, 2009

Media Management

There will be a poker post coming about my trip West by God Virginia. For now, suffice to say that I need to learn when to get up and put money in my pocket. It suck to be up $750 in four hours and still finish -$100 on a two-day trip. It sucks more when it's against players that suck. I am becoming a big fan of West Virginia poker.

But anyway - here's a question for my geek friends (and you know who you are). I have a shitload of music, movies, TV shows, stuff like that. I live off my laptop, so I store all my stuff on a 500GB external drive. I would like to be able to easily view those TV shows, play that music, etc. on my TV. I have an Xbox 360 and a PS3, both of which can do something like this. But the networking is what is giving me issues.

Is my life going to be easier if I just set up a PC somewhere that is hard-wired on a network to my 360 and store all my media on that PC?Or is there a solution I don't know about?

What about an Apple TV? Can I play stuff on there that I don't buy off iTunes?

And what about stuff I download via BitTorrent? What do I have to do to get one of these devices to play unprotected avi and mpg files?

I'm obviously not averse to spending money on this shit (note ridiculously large TV in my den), but I'd like something that's at least a little bit seamless on the execution side of things.

4 comments:

theAxeman said...

I've heard rave reviews on this:
http://tr.im/cnl2

Astin said...

There are some apps/hacks for the 360 that allow Divx/Xvid (generally Bittorrent files encoding) playback. The PS3 runs Divx out of the box, but I'm not sure if it streams it or not it or not. Both probably require Windows Media Player 11 on the PC side to stream.

AppleTV should allow streaming from a PC as well, but again, Divx playback requires some third-party software. There are other Media Centre PC's available too.

I use an Archos with a DVR station, but the newer versions of the Archos require additional codec purchases to work properly.

Lots of options out there. If you wanted, you could just build a low-end PC with proper video and audio outs and add it to your home theatre setup.

As for a seperate PC, that shouldn't be necessary. The laptop should work fine. Alternately, you MIGHT be able to hook up the external hard drive as an NFS (networked file system) directly to a router, but it's iffy if a streaming device would be able to read from it.

KenP said...

What outlets are on your 'ridiculous' TV? What connectors does your video card have? What version of Windows do you have? If you have Vista Premium, you have a somewhat seamless interface to tie all that together called Windows Media Center. It is a bit clunky but integrates PC and TV.

Microsoft's overly modest ad agency puts it thus: Enjoy your entire digital entertainment library in full glory on your PC or even on your TV with Windows Media Center.

cheer_dad said...

Which of the West By God Virginia poker rooms did you go to? Inquiring Mountaineers want to know!?!

Regards,

cheer_dad