0DVB LogicPlanning a new networked home media setup

In the com­ing months I will be buy­ing a new prop­erty, and to go with my new home, I’ve been read­ing up lots on how I might integ­rate a new home media setup.  In recent months sev­eral excit­ing new options have become avail­able, which finally makes the sort of setup I have always desired a real possibility.

Whilst this sys­tem is fine, and has served me well for a num­ber of years, I would like to find ways to also do the following

  • Man­age TV record­ings from my android phone, or via the web.
  • Store the recor­ded TV on the server auto­mat­ic­ally, rather than on the HTPC.
  • Record the TV in a way that makes it access­ible on other plat­forms or devices (i.e. not in WTV format)
  • Hook the bed­room TV into the net­work, so recor­ded TV and all my stored media can be watched in the bed­room — most likely by put­ting a second HTPC into the bedroom.
  • Carry out TV record­ing on the server, so the HTPC can be switched off, rather than left on standby, and also so that it can be smal­ler, lower powered, and quieter.
  • Replace the stor­age sys­tem in my server, which cur­rently uses hard­ware raid, which whilst fast, can only be expan­ded up to 8 drives, which proves very costly when it comes time to replace the whole array.  I also have prob­lems, doc­u­mented on another art­icle, where the raid array drops drives because the card expects enter­prise class drives, and desktop drives don’t have TLER / CCTL enabled.

My server already has mul­tiple roles, includ­ing web and FTP serv­ers as well as metadata man­age­ment and auto­mated down­load­ing of vari­ous media (e.g. pod­casts).  It runs win­dows, and many of the apps I run on it are win­dows only.  I can eas­ily put the TV cards I have in it, but Media Cen­ter isn’t avail­able on Win­dows Server 2008.  Due to the server roles I use it for, I don’t want to replace Server 2008 R2 with Win­dows 7 (which does include Media Cen­ter) so a solu­tion which provides TV record­ing without Media Centrer would be ideal.  This would also address the prob­lem of recor­ded files being in WTV format, which isn’t very com­pat­ible with other devices or plat­forms.  The second issue I have is that I would like to oper­ate a software-based raid-like stor­age sys­tem which is much more flex­ible and expand­able than hardware-raid.  The best solu­tion for this is UnRAID, but sadly this is a stan­dalone solu­tion, and wont run under Win­dows (without messy things like vir­tual machines which are too risky for the import­ance of my data).

The first pos­sib­il­ity I have iden­ti­fied for my stor­age needs is FlexRAID.  This is an UnRAID like sys­tem which runs on top of Win­dows.  It is still cur­rently in devel­op­ment, and vari­ous parts are either alpha or beta, but it appears to offer all the fea­tures I want, and is being act­ively developed and sup­por­ted.  I will be play­ing around with it in the upcom­ing weeks.

The solu­tion to the remain­ing issues is (hope­fully) all in 1.  DVBLogic’s DVBLink Con­nect Server provides a cent­ral­ised server record­ing sys­tem which shares TV cards via net­work to Media Cen­ter, Android, Boxee, DLNA devices and more.  It enables pooled-recording for Media Cen­ter, watch­ing TV on mobile devices (Win­dows Phone 7, Android, IOS), and remote man­age­ment of record­ings via web or mobile.  It will run on the server which can con­tain TV cards, and store recor­ded TV along with all other media.  Unsur­pris­ingly it isn’t free, but given the fea­ture list (and matur­ity) the price of €21 is very reasonable!

New Media Home Setup

Got some thoughts of your own? Indulge yourself below by commenting! If you would like to subscribe please use the subscribe link on the menu at the top right. You can also share this with your friends by using the social links below. Cheers.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: