This Old Nerd
November 25, 2010

11: Front-ends for your media server: Set-Top Boxes

You built your media server and now you want to access it in your living room? Do you buy another computer? Nope. Try a set-top box instead. In this episode, we look at three different set-top box solutions to access your media server.

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  • Matt Burley

    Great episode.

    I really think the Roku has potential as a device to access your home media server. If they added this feature in, the product would be killer!

    Does the WD Live have a WiFi connection? I like that device but the lack of podcast options is what makes it unsuitable for our household. We’re currently using a combination of Windows Media Center (for streaming pictures, DVDs, videos) and Boxee (for podcasts and other online media) because right now this is the only solution which does it well. I’m interested to see how the XBOX fares in the next episode.

    Keep up the good work!

    • This Old Nerd

      The WD TV Live plus doesn’t have Wi-Fi. For podcasts, you could probably have another machine get your podcasts and just access them through the WD.

      Thanks for watching!

    • Elj4176

      The WD Live Plus has Mediafly for podcasts. It works pretty well. I’m using a Trendnet USB N wireless adapter and it works without any issues.

  • Tang!

    I was surprised at how much you missed talking about on the WD! First you say that the Roku was the only one with a USB port (even if it was not turned on yet) – when the WD has TWO USB ports on it. Both of which are turned on by the way. You can use one for a WiFi USB connector and the other for a external HDD – or just use both for HDD’s AND be connected to the home Net at the same time.
    Then you talk about all the preloaded apps like Pandora and Netflix, on the Tivo.. but do not mention all of the apps the WD has. Here is the list on the WD: FLickr, FLingo, Deezer, Facebook, BLockbuster, Live 365, MediaFly and of course YouTube and Pandora. it even has the AccuWeather App.
    Now I know it has it’s limitations – don’t get me wrong, but you skipped a lot of the really handy stuff on this little box.

    I keep finding things out about this thing – like if you are a music nut, it even supports FLAC playback. I’m not that much of an audiophile.. but I know there are more and more people leaning in that direction these days.

    Now I just know this stuff because I have one of these handy things – and I have been eyeballing a few other media players. I’m a little disappointed that you missed so much on the WD – and wonder if you missed stuff on the other boxes now…

    • This Old Nerd

      The episode was focused on accessing our home media server and not on all the things each of the boxes could do. We had shot a bunch more on the WD, but for time, some of it had to get cut like the YouTube section and more.

      You’re right, the boxes have more functionality than we could cover in a 15 minute episode. We wanted to keep the ep focused on our media server and only our media server.

      I think there was a misunderstanding on the Roku – I thought I had said that the Roku XD | S is the only model of Roku with a USB port. I should have been more clear.

      • Tang!

        Maybe you could have had a preamble saying that you couldn’t get into ALL of the details of All of the boxes in the short time, but that you’d supply links to full specs and such? Bah! Hindsight is 20/20. Please take me with a grain of salt. It was a good episode that introduced people to these boxes. And it shows people there is an alternative to getting or building a HTPC. Then again, after a taste of having this ability on the living room TV.. it might just be a tease for having something more powerful. You know, it’s kind of an addiction :)
        I’m investigating Plastic Optical Fiber networking for instance to go back to a fully wired network… Crazy! .. or.. Is it?

        • This Old Nerd

          Good point. Good luck with that network! That sounds awesome – if you do set it up, shoot a vid. Maybe we can feature it sometime.

          Thanks for watching and participating. Feedback is always appreciated!

  • Dave Kilpatrick

    Thanks for this episode. We love Tivo in our house. Even though you couldn’t talk about long it was great to see. I wish I would have known about pyTivo sooner.

    Works very well. Look for the MetaGenerator program and you can add the metadata for the videos. A little more manual then the other set top boxes but it’s great to leverage the boxes I already have.


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