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PostPosted: Sat Jan 11, 2014 10:45 am 
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Hi,

At the moment I use my Sony Blu-Ray player to stream video from my laptop (Windows 8 & Windows Media Player 12) using DLNA, but I can only stream AVI files. I'd like to be able to play MKV and MP4 files.
I'm looking at setting up a home media server with Windows Server 2012 Essentials, but I'm not sure on the best way of streaming video to my TV. Do I need a separate media streamer box to connect to my TV & the server, or can I connect the TV directly to the media server using HDMI?

Any ideas would be much appreciated...


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 13, 2014 7:28 pm 
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That's actually a loaded question with many possibilities. This is not actually my area of expertise but I do stream content to my TV's from my servers within the house so I can get you thinking about which solution might work best for you.

There are 3 ways that come to mind immediately and I will briefly touch base on them. From there you can search the forums for additional information to help guide you in finding the perfect solution that meets your immediate needs.

DLNA TV's:

If you have software on your server which support DLNA Devices you can stream content from the server directly to your TV if the TV is a DLNA Device. However the TV may not support all the media formats you would like to use so you need to review what media formats the TV actually supports.

Media Extenders:

There are a ton of these available which support a wide range of video formats. Often the GUI is not the greatest but they do get the job done and do support a wide range of video format. Pay close attention to the network port as many only support 10/100 while other support 10/100/1000 which is really preferable for a good media streaming experience. Also pay close attention to the video connections they support so that you can easily connect them to your TV. These devices also have other feature sets that allow you to stream online content to your TV. I have a couple WDTV devices which work well, and get the job done, have options for external storage for content but these are not the worse nor are they the best they just work and like many offer a quick and easy solution for my personal needs.

HTPC:

This is where you actually connect a computer to your TV that's setup specifically for media streaming with various available software to enhance your media experience. This is not exactly an inexpensive solution but its a very cool solution that will certainly rock your world, impress your friends and family and offers up a lot of flexibility too because its also a full blown computer so it can be used as such.

Additional Things to Look For:

If you search the site you will find Damian has written quite a few articles on doing what your looking to do. Everything I know I have learned from him. In the forums his nick is dbone1026 and if you search out topics on media streaming you will find him guiding others with their needs. He has written about building HTPC's, Reviewed a great many Media Extenders and Written about software you can run on the server and client side to enhance your experience. Basically anything media related he is the sites resident expert on but their are many others here who share their knowledge with others. Me all I can do is point you in the right direction as I am just a person who keeps things simple. So for me just to get a movie to play on my devices within the home or online is good enough.

Good Luck on choosing a solution which will meet your needs and you do have a ton of options so take your time and explore the possibilities and I believe you will find a solution which works best for you and your family.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 17, 2014 3:04 pm 
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That's really helpful, cheers.

I think the media extender sounds like the way to go for me. I'll check out some of Damian's articles.


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