Home theatre upgrades- two questions - Canadian TV, Computing and Home Theatre Forums
 
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 2008-01-08, 07:56 PM Thread Starter
 
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Home theatre upgrades- two questions

Two unrelated questions -

QUESTION 1 - SHARING MUSIC MEDIA FILES:

I have four rooms in the house in which I would ideally like to have seamless access to all my centrally stored music media files (stored in flac and mp3 format). Specifically, I have:

- a home office (which is the source of the media files on multiple 500GB drives)
- a home theatre (where I happen to have a spare PC, so I currrently easily share files)
- a den (where I would like to have access to music files - I have a modest AVR , but currently no internet access.
- a living room (where I would like to have access to music files - I have neither an AVR, nor internet)

Is a good approach here to purchase one of more Sqeezeboxes, and to add wireless internet access to the house?

QUESTION 2 - UPCONVERTING CONTENT

What options, if any, are there to upconvert standard outputs such as those from a VCR, or SD content from a cable box? Is the only option to purchase a relatively new AVR, that would for example take composite inputs and upscale to them to an HDMI output?


Here is an attempt at a logical picture/summary : http://ca.geocities.com/[email protected]_media.pdf
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 2008-01-08, 09:58 PM
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2. Most TVs already upconvert SD content to the native resolution of the TV. Many TVs do a good job of this. It's unlikely that an AVR will do a significantly better job. It's usually far more important to have the devices set up properly in terms of output formats, etc and to have the TV properly calibrated.

http://www.digitalhome.ca/forum/showthread.php?t=18580

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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 2008-01-09, 07:34 AM
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Multiple Squeezeboxes are one solution. Sonos is another solution. I believe Roku can also support multiple devices. Several of these solutions are discussed in threads in this forum.



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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 2008-01-10, 05:29 PM Thread Starter
 
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Connecting a USB drive to an AVR for music media playback

Pls forgive my ignorance here...I do have a lot to learn.

Newer AVRs, like the Denon 3808 have Squeezebox-like functionality, ie ethernet connectivity, ability to stream off the network, Internet Radio , ability to play music off a local USB hard drive, etc etc. While the above gives me pause before pluncking down $$$ into multiple Squeeeboxes ( as I will soon want to upgrade my AVR anyway), I have a general question:

If you have an existing AVR, and a spare external USB drive loaded with MP3 files, is there a device on the market that essentailly allows you to connect them ??

The AVR 3808 allows for this - so is there a 'component' one can buy for existing AVRs??

That is, is there a simple, poor-mans way to play those MP3s on an existing AVR? No streaming, no internet, no computer ---just play the files off the drive via a 'media device'. Does it exist?

I can connect an ipod to an AVR - why not a "simple device" + USB drive" ?
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 2008-01-11, 09:27 AM
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It needs the smarts to mount the drive and play it. Mind you, one of those things for the car may work. You plug it into a cigarette ligher and can play off a thumb drive or USB HDD, and it has controls on the front, and an FM trasnmitter. I don't know if they make home versions of them though.

Some DVD players have USB jacks that can do exactly what you want. Depending though, I'd just burn a DVD-R of the portion of my MP3 collection to play, with a playlist, or the palyer's shuffle feature.

Lastly, you could get one of those el-cheapo MP3 players, if you could be satisfied with the quality. They typically are USB flash drives you drag and drop files to play.
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 2008-01-12, 06:59 AM
 
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Agreed... the USB connectivity feature seems to be most common in DVD players that can read multiple formats. There are "component" AV modules by some of the big audio names that replace the require for same a HTPC, but they are limited and I wouldn't suggest any I've seen. For instance, hard drive based digital audio players that could easily be substituted with an HTPC for less money while offering more flexibility.

I think you're right to looking for a new AVR with network capability to replace the need for some of these add-in products which in my opinion will eventually not be needed at all because their functionality will be common in receivers and other multiroom products.

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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 2008-01-12, 07:22 PM
 
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I have seen some device that have a USB hosts, but then, you still need a way to serve them to your other rooms.
If you plan to mix and match AVR with other streaming devices, I would go with UPnP streamers. Most AVR only support this or some proprietary protocols.
I myself use Roku's ( HD1000, R1000 and 2 M1001 ) and been quite happy. But since September ( or rather RokuMike's departure for kaleidescape ), things have slowed and nothing much seems to be going on there
A NAS with integrated server which you could hook up your drive could be a easy, expandable and cheap solution. I have hacked a NSLU2 and a HP mediavault to achieve this myself.
Also, I highly recommend going wired if you can, it's much less a fuss to setup.

My 2 cents
Patrick S.

In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice, there is ...
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 2008-01-13, 12:48 AM Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Most TVs already upconvert SD content to the native resolution of the TV. Many TVs do a good job of this. It's unlikely that an AVR will do a significantly better job. It's usually far more important to have the devices set up properly in terms of output formats, etc
If in general the display device has the better upconverting ( relative to upconverting from say AVRs or DVD players or Digital boxes). then what is the attraction with the newer 'upconverting' DVD players?

In my case, in my main theatre room, I have:
- Sanyo FP projector (720P/1080i) on a 102" Carada screen
- Panasonic 480p progressive DVD (which then the projector upcoverts to 720p/1080i
- SA 3250HD (set for upconvert to 720p)

..so I am "assuming" there is ZERO benefit in getting any type of better DVD player, even one that claim to upconvert to 720p. Of course there may be other aspects that would give me a better picture quality, but if upscaling is done by my display then DVD upscaling doesnt matter - correct? On the 1080p front, again, if my display is only 720p, I assume again there is zero upscaling benefit from an upscaling 1080p player (once format wars are over)....UNLESS....the DVD scaling/upcoverting in that set is better than my projector .. thoughts?? Seems to me I should wait till the format wars are over, and then get the best 1080p DVD player I can afford (for reasons other than upscaling), even with a 720p projector.

In another room, I have:
- Toshiba RPTV (720P/1080i)
- LG (lo-end) 480p progresssive DVD ( which then the display upconverts to 720p/1080i
- SA 8000 (set to passthrough)

Here I figure its best to just wait for the Panasonic player from the other room to be freed up.
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 2008-01-13, 09:49 PM
 
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Well, all I can say is that is always dependent of the upconversion quality of your gear. A friend of mine bought a LCD TV that did upconvert, but the quality was so bad ( really bad ! ). To sum it up, the TV was defect and he returned it, since the model was out of stock, he upgraded. The upconversion quality went sky high. The Farouja (I think that's what it was) chip was light years ahead of the one in the other model.

To sum it up, it may be good to get a upconverting DVD player just to bypass the TV or AVR upconverting capabilities if they suck.

Patrick S.

In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice, there is ...
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