Sunday, January 15, 2012

WK 3 - IN - Media Server

Every-time I go to Disneyland I walk through the aging Disney Dream Home for possible ideas to help make my girlfriend and I's life easier but making our home are Smart House. The first thing I needed to try was replicating a Media Server that stores all of my photos, movies, etc..... In the Smart House they use an HP Mediasmart Server EX495, for my build I decided to use a Mid 2010 Apple Mac-Mini Server.

The specs on HP Mediasmart Server EX495 were:
2.5 GHz Processor with 2GB RAM and a 1.5 TB Hard drive

The specs of my Mac Mini Server are:
2.66 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor with 4GB RAM and a 1 TB Hard drive

After I got my server setup I needed a way that I could stream my content to anywhere in the house and to any of my iOS devices. At our house we have two iPhone 4's, an iPod 1, and a Second Generation Apple TV in the bedroom. After doing a lot of research it seemed the best option was Plex. Plex takes all of my content and I can stream it from any of my devices anywhere over Wi-Fi or our Unlimited Data Plans on our phones.

For more information check out Plex:

Since my server is running 24/7 I also have it plugged into an APC Power-Saving Black UPS Pro 1300

This way if the power ever goes out my server will stay running and I can either turn it off manually or remotely from one of my iOS devices using Splashtop:

The next thing I wanted to get rid of was the gigantic ugly Comcast box. I purchased the Elegato EyeTV Hybrid HD which allows me to take the Comcast digital cable connection into a device the size of a flash/thumb drive into the back of the Mac Mini Server. This allows us to watch TV through the server and DVR whatever we want which then in turn is read with Plex allowing us to stream it from anywhere.

For more information on the Elgato EyeTV

The final part of my current Media Server Setup is my router. The Comcast router hooks into my AirPort Extreme which is duel band so all my devices go as fast as they can without slowing any part of my network down. You can see more information on that:

The only other piece of technology I have plugged into the setup right now is my original white Wii Gaming Console and I use an Apple SuperDrive when I need to put in a CD or DVD to my Server. The server is plugged into our 42" TV which is also plugged into the APC. I use the Apple Bluetooth Keyboard and Magic Trackpad to control the Server.

So thats a rough idea of how I am starting the media center in our home.

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