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EX495 - Just Installed, Need a Solid Media Server


dabretty
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Hi guys -

I finally just bought an EX495, to replace a refurbed EX485 (from Newegg) that I couldn't get working quite right. And most things seem to be working well, 18 hours or so after setting it up. I guess I'm officially a WHS owner!

I've got things all set up as far as I can tell, but am wondering if/what you guys recommend in the department of media server software? Until a useable CableCard solution comes into play, I'm bypassing the whole Media Center path and instead sticking to using my WDTV Live device. (If you haven't tried one of these, I very much recommend it)

Previously, my WDTV Live device was playing pretty much all file formats perfectly from a TVersity install on my desktop PC (up to and including 1080p MKVs, woot!). Those same files are now residing on this EX495. The WDTV Live box detects the EX495 fine (as a media server and DLNA compliant device) but somehow can't quite play all files. Basically a WMV HD file (1080p, v9?) and another MKV are giving it fits and I get messages indicating its not supported on the WDTV Live box ... when it seemed to fine just a few nights ago (prior to this EX495 showing up). I guess I am a bit confused as there is no transcoding going on at all, and the WDTV Live box seems to handle all codec issues on its end as the player (the WHS should just be spoon-feeding the bits, it doesn't care what the heck they look like). Maybe I've got a WDTV Live issue, I don't know, as I did just upgrade to "B-Rad"'s most recent firmware (b-rad.cc). So I don't necessarily mean to point the finger at the TwonkyMedia stuff, at least not yet. But ...

All of this being said, what is your guys' preferred media server? It seems like everybody hates Twonky, even though I vaguely recall seeing that it took some recent upgrades and fixes (if it did, I'm late to the party and can't tell the difference). CPU loading on my EX495 so far is very minimal ... 2% idling and maybe a max of 4% when it's dishing out video goodness to the WDTV Live box. It doesn't appear that there is any funny business going on. But should I still toss Twonky? I'd be willing to pay a few bucks for a capable media server if one exists.

Lastly, great site and great podcast ... I'm looking forward to diving into all of this stuff. I also do a lot of Windows-based software development at work (I'm an electrical engineer that spends most of my time in software now), so I hope to be able to contribute in the add-in department someday if I can find the time. I don't mean to splinter this post into a bunch of different topics, but are there any places/threads where people have certain needs/ideas in the add-in department? In a way I feel like this (WHS and its add-ins) is kind of an "unexplored" frontier that could be a pretty fun place to start developing in.

Thanks in advance -

Brett

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Hi Brett,
I don't have a WD Live, so my experience is limited there. Did you enable guest mode on your WHS ?

You also have the choice to run the built in Windows Media Connect service. Enable in the Console under Settings, Media Sharing and make sure they are set to ON.

As for addin development, try http://mswhs.com/2008/11/24/new-whs-add-in-development-website/
One neat project I saw was Al West modifying the free antivirus software to run as an addin,
http://mswhs.com/2010/01/06/exclusive-whsclamav-add-in-for-home-server/
Then there is some really nice work by WHS MVP Nigel Wilks, who created addins for MySQL and MyPHP and Wordpress, http://www.mediasmartserver.net/add-ins/

I'm sure if you wanted suggestions on creating a WHS addin, I/we would have lots of ideas. Just create a thread when your ready.

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dabretty,

I have done a setup at a friends house using WHS and two WD Lives, They are no media streamers running on his WHS, the software is the most recent posted on the WD site (1.01.24)it plays MKV's in both standard def as well as uncompressed 1080P blu-ray. The bottom line is you do not need twonky or any media streamer to use with the live and you should be able to serve up your content directly to your WD live. I would disable twonky, put you MKV into a separate share and call them up directly from your WD live. It will ask you for a user name and password which it will save and you should be good to go.

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Just to pick a nit, technically Blu-Ray is still compressed. If it were uncompressed, the file size would be in the terabyte range (1080p24 is 1.19 gigabits/sec, so a 2 hour movie would be 1.071 Terabytes).

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