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Windows 7: Whole House Media Centre

23 Nov 2009   #1

Whole House Media Centre

Hi. I've been reading this forum for a while, and thought I'd ask for some help.
I have searched as much as I can, but am still quite confused. I can put together PCs no probs, but when it gets to networking it leaves me hot and bothered like a schoolboy at a wet t-shirt contest.

Here's what I want to achieve.

I have a study with all the foxtel/digital TV splitters, Patch panel and cat 6 feeds housed. I'd like to have a serve in there that holds all my ripped DVDs, MP3s, stored recorded TV.

Then in each bedroom and family room, I would like a LCD panel to be able to access this content, as well as record live TV.

I realise there are a multitude of options. Linux/NAS/Windows Home server etc..
What I am looking for is one that is reasonably simple, and cost effective. I don't want to have to put $800 PCs in every room.

I plan on using Windows 7 media centre as a frontend.
I am a little confused as to whether each PC (quasi extender) will require 2 tuners, or just the serve to contain 2 or more (assuming that won't be doing more than 2 tasks at once).

Can anyone suggest how I would go about this, and what type of hardware I'd need for the server and slaves?

My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 Nov 2009   #2

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1

In each room you will need some sort of "brain" that can access the content you want. That will either be a computer, a media extender, or a smart TV. There are plenty of options out there - I suggest doing a lot of looking around to find something that will meet your needs. I've heard good things about the Popcorn Hour devices; they have a fairly low cost and can integrate with WHS.

I suggest using WHS (Windows Home Server) as the storage device. It can easily hold all of the content you want, and with Power Pack 3 it will integrate with all Windows 7 computers. It also integrates into Media Center, and does all kinds of cool things with it. For example, you can set the WHS to store all of your recorded TV shows, and it will automatically add them to your Media Center in the correct locations. Check out - there have been some very good posts recently about Windows 7, Power Pack 3, and the latest and greatest Windows 7 item: using cable cards with DCTs!

If you want to record TV in each room, you'll probably want a computer in each room. You can have all of the TV saved on the WHS, and then everyone can view the recorded TV. Your WHS will probably need a lot of storage, so don't skimp on the 1TB drives!

Don't forget that wireless speakers can be used with Windows 7 to stream audio anywhere you want it. Just think - each Media Center could control speakers anywhere in the house. You could stream jazz to the patio and stream rock to the kitchen!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
24 Nov 2009   #3


Thanks for that. Will check out the other forum too.
I have already pre wired speakers into every room, but with their own inputs. Ie you'll need to plug in a radio, tv, stereo etc to work in each room.
I suppose I could add a wireless receiver to the rooms I don't have anything in, and project whole house audio as well.
Good food for thought, cheers
My System SpecsSystem Spec


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