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?
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.
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.
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?
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.