Video, Audio streaming network

  jonmaine 23:07 11 Jun 2006

Hello all, I wish to pick your brains please :)

I am wanting to set up a video and audio distribution network in the house.

I would like to have a central server with all the video and audio on which is accessible from may be as many as 10 or 12 seperate zone computers.

Will it be possible to employ a gigabite network and be able to listen and watch several films and sound tracks in different zones at the same time from the central server? Is this a matter of employing user friendly interface software which will enable you to scroll through menus on the zone computers to pick the tracks/ films from the server?

Obviously the hardware spec should be good to any suggestions for server and zone computer spec if its feasible.

If I wished to use each of the zone computers for surfing and normal pc word processing etc would it make sense to dual boot and partition them with say media centre for if you wish to use the entertainment network and maybe xp for surfing to try to avoid conflicts?

Please offer all advice possible I am sure this should be possible but would need to get a techy to help me set it up but am still a bit unsure if it would work or if their are other observations to be made.

  Danoh 00:18 13 Jun 2006

10 - 12 "zone"/client computers? Are you setting up a video-viewing shop?
The critical aspect will be your server's ability to service so many clients concurrently, with a worse case scenario of all of them wanting to access the same video or audio file/track.

Your client computers configuration can be standard; Media Centre is essentially XP Pro with extra GUI modules integrated, so either will do.
I don't know what exactly you would want such a setup for, but I can't see what extra benefits dual-boot capability will give your client PCs.

It depends what level of service you intend to provide each client computer ~ the optimum would be the ability to have separate partitions with server based software handling the load balancing and masses of memory so particular files which are in high demand are left resident in memory.

As you are struggling with XP/Media Centre for the client PCs already, the server side is going to be a lot more complex (and costly).
There simply will not be enough space even in this forum, to reasonably "offer all advice possible".

  jonmaine 13:05 13 Jun 2006

Its a large house with 6 bedrooms and 5 other areas which people could be listening to music or watching videos.

I would envisage that we would probably only be watching 2 or 3 films at the same time although this could ocassionally be more. I guess the same applies to the music but obviously this will involve less data and be a smaller problem.

There are bespoke solutions to this situation but from where I am stood they are nothing more than computers which have been tweaked put into nice boxes with special software and had a very heavy price tag added such as the kit on this site click here or click here.

If it were possible to achieve this with a fairly standard computer network then each room would have the benefit of an adsl connection and other computing capabilities. This is why i was wondering if having each machine dual boot that it would maybe keep the music/video system stable away from standard internet accessing computers.

I understand the cost will be high to achieve this but if say I can set it up for less than 10 k instead of 15 to 20 k with the bespoke solution it would be worth looking into.

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