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Old October 5, 2008, 08:04 PM
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Default I need a good media center extender

I have a 40" TV upstairs, that I connect to my brothers laptop to watch videos from my external HDD (podcasts and stuff). These are all stored on a 1TB external that is connected to my computer, shared over the network. So what would be the cheapest way of watching those videos on my TV over the network (wireless) without having to use my brothers laptop?

I've heard of many different things, such as AppleTV, modded xbox or x360, etc. But I personally don't know anything about these and have no idea which one would be the best for what I want to do.

I just want something simple that connects to my tv and reads videos over wireless from my external.
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Old October 5, 2008, 08:21 PM
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360 is probably the cheapest and "best bang for your buck" right now. You can pick one up for $300.
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Old October 5, 2008, 08:23 PM
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Personally I like using my xbox to play movies over the network.. downfall is it doesn't do very good surround.

Best bet.. buy a SFF :P
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Old October 5, 2008, 08:24 PM
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Isn't the Xbox 360 just 199.99 now? But yeah, the 360 would be the best. Another option would to be get an Eee, but its more expensive than the 360, so yeah.
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Old October 5, 2008, 08:29 PM
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the $200 xbox 360 doesnt have a hard drive i dont think. lol
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Old October 5, 2008, 08:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by enaberif View Post
Personally I like using my xbox to play movies over the network.. downfall is it doesn't do very good surround.

Best bet.. buy a SFF :P
Whaaat? The original Xbox has the single most advanced consumer surround sound audio processing unit ever made (nForce 2 has it as well). Its only downfall is the lack of memory and processing power for 720p and 1080i -- though it can do 540p, best way to do so would be to stream with TVersity and downsample it. Still doesn't quite compare to HD.

Xbox 360 is the best bet to use as a media center extender. PS3 would be the ultimate home theatre solution, with its legal Linux ability, it's just that people have not been able to produce the appropriate drivers/software on Linux to use it as a media player.

@CMetaphor:
He doesn't need the hard drive if he wants to use it as a media extender, everything would be streamed by a networked computer. Also, it was the Xbox Pro (20GB) that was on sale for $200 this past week, although $200 seems to be the going rate for the Arcade.
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Old October 5, 2008, 08:57 PM
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yea that's what I was going to say. I don't need any hard-drive at all, since I'm going to use wireless connection. All my movies are stored on my external.

Well thanks guys, I guess lowest it can get is 200$. Well I'll maybe try to find someone who wants to sell his old 360 to buy a new 120gb or something, and buy his for ~100-150.

Hmm another thing I saw is, for $150 (well can't find this price in Canada.. but still), there's the linksys media center extender. Anyone has any experience with it? It looks pretty perfect to me, but then again, I don't know much in this area.

Linksys.com - Products/Wireless/Entertainment/Music, Picture, and Video Links/DMA2100

Newegg.com - LINKSYS DMA2100 Media Center Extender - Network Media Players
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Old October 6, 2008, 07:39 AM
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It really depends on the media files you want to play. If they're from not-so-legal sources these Media Center Extenders might not work.

Using a modified XBOX with XBMC would be the best bet for standard-def content and you can probably find a XBOX for cheap. Though HD content is a no-go.

Best way, IMO, is to get a PC for the TV and make a semi-HTPC. Then you know you can play everything without difficulties.

And wireless might not be the best idea especially if its just plain 54Mbps G.
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Old October 6, 2008, 08:29 AM
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I just got a xbox 360 and I installed the media extender plug in for my MCE 2005 computer and it works great. I can stream from the MCE computer with no trouble AND I also installed Tversity on my gaming rig so I can stream videos form that computer to the 360 as well. I also noticed that when I connect to the MCE computer using the xbox that I can also watch live TV streaming from the MCE computer (which has a TV tuner card in it). So I would like to thread jack and propose a question to everybody, is there a way for my laptop to act as a media extender (the same way my 360 can) that would allow me to watch live TV on it?
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Old October 6, 2008, 09:02 AM
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if you get this:
Future Shop: Computer Add-Ons: Networking: D-Link DivX Connected HD Media Player (DSM-330)

You can run a quick soft mod to get it to play all video types including MKV HD content.
I use it and am in love with it.
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