Streaming HD Movies from Hard Drive

Hartford

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I would like to set up a system that I can stream movies saved to a hard drive to 20 or more separate TV's. Wireless would be the best, but if it needed to be wired that could be done as well. Does anyone know where I would start with a system like this?
 

leo2kp

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Some routers allow you to plug in a USB HDD and set up a media server. This might be the cheapest solution, but keep in mind that performance using USB streaming from a router might not be as good as, say, from a dedicated server connected to gigabit ethernet. Also consider the performance of the drive itself. If you plan on streaming to those TVs simultaneously, you might want to consider a server with multi-disk array.
 

RealBeast

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I won't even discuss the copyright implications of your question, as you must be doing this in a business (like hotel) environment.

You are going to have a very difficult time using wireless to stream that much bandwidth without using commercial grade (i.e. very expensive) equipment. A gigabit wired connection to a high quality gigabit router would be the better approach. Another issue will be using a disk array that is fast enough to serve so many clients with video bandwidth, which is a lot of data.

What kind of video quality do you envision, HD? And as leo2kp says, if you will do simultaneous transfers of different movies you are talking about a not only a fast read from the disk array, but also the bottleneck at the interface of the NAS to the network.
 

Hartford

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I would be willing to use a dedicated server with a large HDD to store the movies. But what would I need at the TV end to connect to the ethernet ? is there anything like a "set top box" that I could use?
 

Hartford

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Thanks for the reply RealBeast. Actually the system is for use on a large container ship for the purpose of allowing the crew to watch the movies aboard. The movies sent to us have a multi-viewing license same as ones sent to the airlines.
I would like HD quality but that is not essential. As I mentioned I would also need a way to connect to the TV and if possible make it so the end user can select the movie from a simple menu on their TV.
 

RealBeast

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If they are not smart TVs, then the most economical solution would be to build a number of Raspberry Pi set top type boxes using a kit like THIS plus input devices.

Wireless definitely would be difficult with a large ship -- the metal walls are pretty much impervious to wireless networks.
 
I would suggest maybe using a Western Digital TV media box at each TV with a flash drive plugged into each one for storage. No wiring. Simple installation. Each TV can watch whatever they want. Might be less expensive and certainly much easier. Refurbished ones like this
http://www.overstock.com/Electronics/Western-Digital-WD-TV-HD-Media-Player-with-USB-HDMI-1080p-Refurbished/3959909/product.html
are $50 or so and the USB stick maybe $20. Buy an extra one or two as backups if you can. Don't need smart TVs either. Crew can play there own stuff as well.
 
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