Face it, we are living in a highly digital world, one that is ever increasing and growing. Media content is delivered in so many different ways. A while back I typed up a long post in an old thread about VHS being displaced by DVD's in stores (OLD THREAD). Unfortunately, the post did not take, as I encountered a log in error, but I digress.
The purpose of this thread is to talk about digital living. Ten years ago things were pretty simple, most of us had a computer, television, maybe a DVD player. Our computer probably had a bunch of MP3's and if we were really cutting edge a few ripped DVD's.
Today the world is very different, with desktops, laptops, HDTV's, Blu-Ray players, tablets, smart phones, iPods, game consoles, and more recently smart TV's, smart blu-ray players and e-readers.
Digital content has exploded as well, with streaming services provided from a dozen different companies, digital copies of movies, music and images...multiple formats avi, mkv, wmv, mp4, jpg, mp3, etc.
Some companies like iTunes allow you to download once and that's it, others like audible, B&N, Amazon allow you buy content and re-download as needed. I have downloaded most of my audible books at least twice and my wife has lost and re-downloaded more than a book or two for her nook. Regardless, back ups are always a good idea!
Then there is the issue of your home network! Are you wired or wireless, running high speed wireless...300Mbps, 450Mbps, a/b/g/n, dual band?!?!
The purpose of DLNA is to ensure that all our devices (and networks) play well together. So, for example, if you have a movie on your desktop and you want to watch it on your HDTV (or smart phone) from a remote location, you will have easy access.
The key is to develop a flexible network capable of streaming HD content. This requires 2 parts, first the hardware used (blu-ray player, smart TV, game console, PC, etc.) the second is the network itself (router, extender, adapters, etc).
I am currently in the process of upgrading my home network on both fronts.
I recently purchased a new blu-ray player that is DLNA compliant, a "smart blu-ray" player that has streaming built in but not wi-fi (I run a hard line to my router along with my desktop). We have a Nintendo Wii in the living room that is hooked up to the wi-fi network as are the laptops. Overall our home network is primitive, but functional.
My goal over the next 6 months is to spend around $2K-$3K on the home network. This includes the wireless network itself:
NETGEAR N900 wireless dual band gigabit router (450 + 450 high speed wi-fi)
NETGEAR dual band smart tv/blu-ray adapter
NETGEAR N600 wireless dual band adapter
The router has 2 USB 3.0 ports built in that allow you to hook up a printer and an external hard drive. This will allow me to print from any wireless device and access media files stored on the external drive. The smart tv/blu-ray adapter will allow me to hook up my blu-ray players to the wireless network. Finally the N600 adapter will allow me to hook up my desktop computer to the wireless network.
Total cost for the router and adapters will be $300-$400.
Next up are my game consoles. I currently have a Nintendo Wii, but the graphics are so weak that it looks horrible on anything other than a SDTV. My plan is to go with either a PS3 move or an Xbox 360 Kinect...possibly both. The upside to these devices are that they already contain wi-fi capabilities and with the new kinect/move accessories both machines are on par with, or better than, the Wii system. Ultimately my plan is to be able to stream and watch HD content, so the Wii just won't cut it, except in my daughter's room, where she still has our old SDTV (a 9 year old with a 32 inch TV in her room, do not feel bad for her ).
Total cost for PS3 move and Xbox 360 Kinect will be about $700-$750.
Next I am looking to buy a laptop for my daughter, something simple with a built in blu-ray drive and wi-fi.
Estimated cost under $500.
Finally, I am looking to build another computer for the house. I already have some of the components I need to build the system. The plan is to buy a few upgrade components for the current desktop and complete the second computer as a dual boot system running Windows 7 and Windows Home Server 2011. This will allow my wife to use the new computer to run as a regular computer when needed (which should be rarely) but also use it as the home server for most of the time. The purpose of the home server is to store most of our media and back up all the computers to the central system.
Estimated cost $1,000-$1,500.
That puts me at just over $3K for everything, though in all fairness the laptop for my daughter would be a birthday present. Also, I don't really need 2 new gaming consoles, so that could shave another $350-$400 off the total cost.
Anyway, after years of building an ad hoc home network, I have decided to get serious about building a powerful and useful home network that does everything I could possibly need or want.
On a side note I have collected so many hard drives over the years that I should be able to store and back up my entire media collection without any difficulty. Now all I have to do is clean up and organize my collection. Does anyone know of any good duplicate file finding/eliminating programs?