Advice for Newbie - WHS + Living Room? RRS feed

  • Question

  • I just recently WHS and I'm very happy with it from a storage and backup/recovery standpoint.  I'm struggling however to see how to fit it into my media life.  I'm trying to figure out how to get photos and music (and video as well) on my living room plasma, as well as some way to work with iTunes/iPod.  My priorities are this:

    • I have no wires available to my TV, so wireless is a must
    • I really want to consolidate the number of machines under my roof
      • If I could get HD off my DirecTV satellite with a PCI card or CableCard equivalent, I would definitely have a Vista Ultimate box running my house, but because I can't, I don't.  So, three (WHS + Media PC + DirecTV HD DVR) really is a crowd for me.
    • I'm not a gamer and really don't want a Xbox - again, hardware consolidation is one of my primary drivers. 
      • History: The wife is really not going to dig a gaming console in our house acting as nothing more than a media relay.  To that end, I'm not sure my conscious can handle yet another under utilized CPU and hard drive in my house
    • I need a way to get music and photos on my TV (Video would be a plus at this point) with a high Wife Acceptance Factor
    • A high Wife Acceptance factored solution for getting MP3's purchased from Amazon to and from the wife's iPod
      • WHS's integration with iTunes is cute and all, but what's keeping iTunes, iPod, and WHS all in sync unless I've got some kind of media PC in the mix?
    • I would like to minimize the number of places I have to have my rather large MP3 collection replicated

    Current gear:

    • HP EX475 MediaSmart
    • PANASONIC TH-50PZ700U Plasma
    • DirecTV HR20-700 HD DVR
    • Linksys WRT600N Router/WAP
    • Linksys DMA 2100 Media Center Extender
    • Logitech Harmony 880 Remote

    I really thought the Linksys DMA2100 was the answer to my prayers for the TV part, but literally cried when I discovered this required a Media Center PC.  Both the DMA2100 and my HR20-700 (surprise) love Vista Ultimate and work amazingly well with it, but neither seem to know the WHS exists.


    Is there any way to get what I want without an Xbox?


    Any help/tips/flames/links appreciated


    Cheers -kelly

    Thursday, May 29, 2008 3:25 AM

All replies

  • The recommended solution today for the home that wants to use Windows Home Server as a part of their media lifestyle is a "two box" solution, where the HTPC uses the Windows Home Server as additional storage.

    As for the Linksys device, it's a Media Center Extender, and the documentation doesn't say anything about any other way to get media to play on it. I'm not sure why you would expect it to work in your environment, which as described doesn't include a HTPC. In general, this market segment hasn't matured enough so that you can expect to throw components together and just have them work perfectly (or at all, sometimes). You have to study and make sure that each component you want to add supports, or is supported by, the components you already have.
    Thursday, May 29, 2008 11:31 AM
  • I agree with Ken.  You need to spend some quality time on TheGreenButton.com.  Without that forum and the great folks who populate it, you will never get all of this to work together.  With it...you will!



    Thursday, May 29, 2008 1:31 PM
  • Yeah, I certainly didn't do my homework thoroughly enough.  I think the confusion a lot of people have is they see Xbox live as a Extender, and think that if Xbox live integrates, that must mean WHS supports Extenders.


    Thanks for your replies guys - much appreciated.

    Friday, May 30, 2008 11:41 AM
  • The key for now is that any device you want to stream to must support Windows Media Connect 2.0, which is the streaming technology built in to Windows Home Server. In the case of the HP MediaSmart, you also have their iTunes server (which is actually Firefly) and when they release their next update package (which depends on Power Pack 1 for some of it's functionality, I believe, though none of that is related to media capabilities) there will be additional streaming features available. But it still won't be a Media Center PC, which is what a Media Center Extender requires.
    Friday, May 30, 2008 3:08 PM