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Television Media Networking Technology

A Cheap and Easy Network Digital Media Player? 59

hethatishere asks: "Does such a thing exist? Better yet, is it easy enough for my parents to use? PRISMIQ seems to offer a pretty good one, but it has very limited codec support. D-Link also offers a wireless Media player, but it too struggles with the copious number of codecs available. So is there a cheap and affordable Wireless Networked Media Player, that supports most if not all common and advanced codecs (DivX, XviD, and various wrappers like MKV and OGG, etc), or is this still a pipe dream?"
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A Cheap and Easy Network Digital Media Player?

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  • MediaMVP (Score:5, Informative)

    by Jjeff1 ( 636051 ) on Tuesday May 31, 2005 @08:45PM (#12689851)
    I hear the MediaMVP [] from hauppauge is really nice, especially for 99$ US. A friend of mine has one and streams all his movies from a PC in his house. It does music, video (including divx) and stills. You can skin the interface if you don't like the canned one.
    On the downside, it requires you to install software on your PC, which I think is windows only, don't know if there is a OSS server yet for it. Also, if you intend to watch divx movies, you'll need a 1.8 Ghz CPU or better. Apparently the box is some type of VNC client, and the software turns your PC into a VNC server.
    • Re:MediaMVP (Score:3, Informative)

      by rusty0101 ( 565565 )
      There are instructions for how to get it running as a front end for MythTV.

      First up is to set up a tftp server on your dhcp server. You might be able to do this with software for a Linksys 54g firewall/router, but you would probably be better off running both on a dedicated server behind your firewall, rather than on it.

      On the server you will need to have available the appropriate client image for the MVP to load up. That includes pre-configuring that image with the information on how to connect to your M
    • Re:MediaMVP (Score:3, Informative)

      The mediamvp is pretty cool... I believe there's a lot of MediaMVP linux hacking [] at SHSpvr forum []

      It playsback primarily mpeg2 but there are little transcode on the fly utilities that allow it to push divx/etc through it's mpeg2 decoder.

      howto use MediaMVP, PVR250, GBPVR make cheap/easy PVR []

      There are "client" replacments for SageTV and GBPVR that allow you to extend the full functionality of your PC PVR to these little quiet clients over your wired network (a wireless version is in the works... some wir
      • They claim that the MediaMVP is a linux box running with an IBM PowerPC. Wouldn't there be enough power on the PowerPC to decode MPEG-4 in realtime, or is it a really slow PPC?
    • How well does it work over a 802.11g wireless LAN with XviDs ?
  • Squeeze Box (Score:3, Interesting)

    by MJArrison ( 154721 ) * on Tuesday May 31, 2005 @08:48PM (#12689875) Homepage
    A Squeeze Box [] is exactly what you're looking for. I got one a few months ago. It is a god send. Both wired and wireless versions are available. It's a little more expensive than the major brand counterparts that you mentioned, but it is:
    • totally open sourced
    • served with perl
    • capable of every codec imaginary
    • capable of digital and analog output

    I love it!
    • capable of every codec imaginary

      Damn, I've got to get me some of that.

    • Any chance this thing would be compatible with a MythTV backend and use the squeeze-box just for playback? Haven't heard of it before, so I'll do some reading myself, but just for the benefit of the /. crowd (yeah, that's it...;)

      Tired of the Slashdot Effect and stories full of broken links? I think I may have a real solution to the problem. []
        • Ack, ignore that. That's totally backwards to what I'm looking for. Here's what I'm looking for:

          [nfs server w/myth backend]------[mythtv box recording hdtv]

          So I record on the myth box, it saves the file to the nfs server, and squeezebox is able to play it back. Make sense?
      • The squeezebox is not compatible with the MythTV backend. However, they coexist.

        You put all your music in a folder on your Myth PC, and then have both Myth serve it to MythFrontEnds, and SlimServer serve it to Squeezeboxen.

        Its very cool and works well - I am doing exactly this with myth and 2x squeezeboxes.
        • So, let me make sure I understand.

          MythTV records, stores data on nfs server running mythbackend.

          Slimserver can read the mythtv data files and serve them to squeezebox?
          • The sqeezebox does not 'do' video. Hence your confusion. He's talking about strictly music, and you're asking (I presume) about mythtv-recorded television. So, no, it does not do what you want. Sorry :-(

    • Re:Squeeze Box (Score:3, Interesting)

      Looks awesome - except, what about video? I can imagine video codecs, the site doesn't even mention video.
    • Re:Squeeze Box (Score:3, Informative)

      I totally agree. I have been down the Netgear MP101 and can I say that the box is a big load of rubbish. It continually skips. Netgear keep releasing patches, and keep saying "on the next release we promise to fix streaming problems" (see here []). But they dont (at least not yet).

      I tried using their own software - XP based. rubbish. I tried the twonkyvision [] server. Nope.

      There's lots [] of [] unhappy [] MP101 [] users [] out [] there [].

      Then I bought a squeezebox. What a joy. The server runs on anything (perl). The box is relia
  • xbox of course! (Score:2, Informative)

    by sycotic ( 26352 )
    I'm not so sure it is the cheapest solution, but it sure is the most flexible!

    An xbox coupled with xbmc (xbox media center) is the shizznizzle!

    URL: []

    (I just _know_ that any geek thats used xbmc will concur)
    • Re:xbox of course! (Score:3, Informative)

      by Jherico ( 39763 )
      I concur. The XMBC app plays just about everything I throw at it, with the exception of some of the newer QuickTime codecs. The only downside I've had is that the XBox isn't powerful enough to render anything higher than 720p and sometimes not even that. I've got a number of movies that are encoded in HD and the XBox will sometimes stutter while rendering them during action scenes or if there's too much motion on the screen. You can also set up XBMC to play itunes media streamed from an itunes server so
    • I can neither confirm or deny that the xbox+xbmc is a sweet, sweet media center.

    • I have to agree, this is the best choice.

      If you have the dvd package, it doesn't get any simplier either.
    • XBMC will be the best you can find. It plays every format you can throw at it ('cause it's based on mPlayer).

      It's got a great interface, that's completely skinable, it can run python scripts, it shows stills, plays audio (mp3 ogg ape flac ...), plays movies (mpeg 1 2 mpeg4 divx xvid).
      One of it's best features is its networkinterface; you can listen to webradio's, watch internet streams, watch apple quicktime trailers, monitor rss streams. To stream files over a network they've developed their own proto
  • I currently have the Qcast [] player sold by GameShark [] (not bad for $8, I think the shipping was free even). Unfortunately the PS2 does not have enough juice to decode HDTV files ganked from the net, but it does support DivX.

    However XBMC [] looks promising, since it's OSS it's extensible and supports a lot of stuff. I may have to spring for a used x-box so I can play Dr. Who on my TV and not have it be choppy.

    • I had QCast early on before they started selling (out) under the GameShark logo. I was disappointed. As you said, the PS2 just doesn't have enough oompf behind it to do decent resolution videos. Neat idea if only they had better hardware. Switching over to XBMP and later to XBMC made me much happier.
  • DLINK DSM320 (Score:3, Interesting)

    by szyzyg ( 7313 ) on Tuesday May 31, 2005 @08:56PM (#12689943)
    Is a PoS 90% of users won't get much use from it.... but as a hacker I've got it doing exactly what I want - it's a linux system so it's possible to get your own apps onto the firmware and customize it in ways that Dlink never intended.
    It does have a lot of things going for it
    1) Ogg/Vorbis support - as an early contributer I'm happy to play my ogg collect - but the metadata support sucks
    2) XviD support - again, my codec of choice for video.... except that it has a lot of sync problems and drops a lot of frames/freezes up randomly.
    3) Wireless G by default - 802.11b is nmo good for video.
    4) Every connector on the backplane you'd ever need.

    It's frustrating, since I can dig around I can see how easy it would be to make this thing absolutely rock, but dlink just isn't supporting it. This may be because it's a repackaged Redsonic player....

    Anyway... time to get imeem [] running on this creature ;-)
    • While I agree the the DSM320 is not-yet-ready-for-prime-time (yes... I own one) I *can* tell you that it's not terrible either. It plays music well, has both analog and digital outputs, and supports (pay special attention to my word choice) VOB files, so theoretically I can rip DVD's to my PC and serve them up across the network. Your observations about sync problems, lockups, etc., are correct. However I think the problem is at the server rather than the remote unit. Because the DSM320 feeds from a UPn
  • VLC (Score:3, Informative)

    by Leroy_Brown242 ( 683141 ) on Tuesday May 31, 2005 @09:11PM (#12690037) Homepage Journal
    • As an Aside, I'm currently working on a set of pages using the vlc plugin for FireFox to do pretty much what the article wants... Open Source OC, and currently pre-beta, but check it out: p [] (note: requires FireFox, Vlc and *nux to run... currently *REALLY* pre-beta)
    • Let's not moderate too quickly here. The submitter is looking for a hardware solution. Right now, VLC is a multiplatform media player, and not a hardware solution. So VLC by itself is not the answer .... yet. I hope someday someone could design a DVD player with an Ethernet/WiFi connection using VLC (or something similar) as a means to play networked or streaming media.
  • Buy a used xbox Install a cheap mod chip Install xbox media center It is great.
  • by grub ( 11606 )

    An Xbox with modchip and Xbox Media Center (based on mplayer if memory serves) It's played everything I've thrown at it and can take VLC streams or files on a server.
  • Sigh Xbox...

    Unless you need PVR (Which would be very very nice...

    These will be really really cheap if the 360 has backwards compatibility...

    Just mod it install whatever codecs you want comes with ethernet and everything else you want... and you can change the gui...
    • Yep Xbox+XBMC

      I absolutely love it! ( softmodded [] mine, so didn't even have to buy a modchip)

      But as you state: Unless you need PVR...

      Which is exactly what I want next ;-) So allow me to go a slightly bit off-topic (actually not exactly off-topic, more like an out-of-the-box view on topic)

      Because I partly blame this story for the rejection of my own, as it happensed exactly half an hour ago:

      I'm planning to assemble, install and configure a Mediaportal [] or MythTv [] box. I'm mainly interested in the TV-rela
  • I was looking at this [] for my needs, but I no experience with it, does anyone else?
    • I got one about a month ago.
      Works good for me. I've got a wide variety of xvid/divx/mpeg files and it handles all of them fine. The remote can be a little unresponsive occasionally though.

      Theres a good community over at the AVS forum site and one other web site, I think.
  • So is there a cheap and affordable Wireless Networked Media Player, that supports most if not all common and advanced codecs (DivX, XviD, and various wrappers like MKV and OGG, etc), or is this still a pipe dream?

    Well, my laptop is more than capable of doing all of that and it wasn't real expensive. I'm sure a second-hand laptop from Ebay or somewhere similar would do the trick just nicely. Whack in a wireless G network card, a remote control connected to the serial/parallel/USB port and install Linu

  • Get a Xbox off eBay for 25 bucks, toss in a modchip, boom instant streaming media for about 75+shipping costs. The newest Xbox Media Center is sweet.
    • You're making this harder than it is. Forget the modchip, and softmod. XBMC will still run superbly. And, since it's video system is built off of MPlayer, you'll have practically every codec known to Man (and some super-inteligent shades of blue) available for use, including containers.
  • I just bought this DVD player at Amazon [], and I'm really happy with it.

    It plays nearly everything; DVDs, CDs, DIVX, XVID, MP3s, Don't think it plays Ogg though. All you need to do is burn it to some CD-R or DVD+-R and put it in, just like a regular DVD.

    No need try to teach someone the intricacy of a networked home theater system, that's still more of a geek project right now, and costly to boot. Far easier it is to just burn it and tell your wife/mother to put in the DVD player.

    I used to have to s-video
    • Don't think it plays Ogg though

      With the free XVID codecs, VirtuaDub and AVISynth, anything can be converted over to something that plays in the DVP642. It plays some WMVs, and raw MPEG1 or MPEG2 files as well.

      The caveats (there's always a catch!):
      Sometimes DIVX/XVID come out garbled, the workaround is to hit the System menu key twice, it does a kind of 'soft-reset' of the decoder that cleans it up.
      There's about a 50ms delay between the analog and bitstream outputs, I have to turn down off of the tw

  • Beware of prismiq - It had a lot of promise when it first came out (over 2 years ago), but the firmware hasn't been updated in well over a year, there are a lot of bugs and incompatibilities (it's very bad at playing DivX files), and the interface for music playback is not very good at all. They've been putting all their resources into their player/recorder, which is now way overdue, and they've been completely ignoring the existing customer base which they've pretty much given the shaft.
  • I've been wanting a good media player for my home entertainment system for a long time now. I'm convinced a good solution will appear in the next year or so but my advice for the moment is to wait.

    The most exciting development is that companies have started supporting the UPnP Media Server standard. The idea is that any UPnP media client can automatically detect every UPnP media server that's on the local network and automatically play the shared media - video and audio. What makes UPnP Media superior

An elephant is a mouse with an operating system.