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Old 2009-06-30, 09:18 AM   #1
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Nova Scotia
Posts: 3,202
Default Advice on my Home Media Distribution

First off please excuse this longish post.

Currently I have 2 Mac's in the house:
iMac G5
Macbook Pro Core Duo - Connected to Westinghouse 32" LCD

Pioneer 5080HD
Samsung 42" Plasma
Westinghouse 32" LCD

Lately I have been struggling with the best way to start serving my media to my tv's in the house. Currently I use the PS3 hooked up to the Pioneer to watch media housed on a WD external HD hooked up to the MBP. I use PS3 media server and usually copy the files to my PS3 unless they are mkv files. I find i get tons of network issues when I try to stream avi's or mkv's from the drive.

I downloaded Plex 2 days ago and started to investigate it as a front end for media serving. I am enjoying it so far and it has led me to this crossroads. We just had a child about 4 months ago and I see the need for some educational dvd's in his future and as he grows the ability for him to watch things I want him to watch.

I have nothing connected to the Samsung and this will be his play area. I have toyed with the idea of a Mac Mini but they are kind of expensive. I have a Core 2 Duo 6400, 2gb of Ram and an Nvidia card laying around. Those parts are making me think of building a Hackintosh as a front end for Plex on the Samsung. I would then buy a couple of 1tb external USB drives and hook them up to the MBP (Intel) and serve my media through it. Does anyone have a hackintosh in this manner? Are you happy with it? Will those components play back 720p mkv files ok?

I am also going to attempt to rip my (70+) DVD's over the next couple of weeks using handbrake. Since I will be getting a couple of largish TB HD do you have any recommendations on rip settings through handbrake? I am not to concerned with quality since my sets are only 768p.

My final plan is to have everything available on all the tv's in the house. I know I will still have to use the PS3 or Xbox 360 on the Pioneer to get to my media but really I will be the only one using that system for the most part.

Once again sorry for the long post but being at this crossroads has my head spinning a bit.
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