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I know that this is a basic question, and I'm aware of a similar one, but that answer does not appear to be evergreen - it's a simple link which says that VLC can do it, with no other explanation of the 'how'.

In short, I have a large collection of ripped DVDs on my desktop PC (stored in the living room). My wife has a laptop which she uses while taking care of the kids. We'd like to be able to stream some of the DVDs to the laptop when they're in the kid's room. We've found that when they're getting tired and cranky, but it's not yet naptime, a 20 minute Backyardigan's episode (or Barney, or Wonderpets, or whatever) can help keep the peace.

We'd like to be able to access our full library, but it doesn't seem to make sense to me to have that data duplicated to both machines, and the laptop's hard drive just doesn't have the same space the desktop does.

Can someone point me to a better resource than the other question provided? It's also worth noting that I would prefer a solution which can also stream subtitles for our ripped DVDs - my wife is slowly losing her hearing, and subtitles are a huge help for her.

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What operating systems do you have? –  Canadian Luke Aug 5 '11 at 16:03
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I'm running Windows 7 x64. I'd prefer to avoid WMP, unless it has improved GREATLY since the hideousness of the versions that shpped with XP and older systems. –  Jeff Aug 5 '11 at 17:32
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WMP has improved a lot. It also has default hardware acceleration. It's still not the best, VLC will play video with fewer stutters on a lower-powered machine. But the interface is clean and it loads fast, and with a good codec pack it can play most anything now. –  music2myear Aug 5 '11 at 17:50
    
Only thing I really don't like about WMP is that the spacebar doesn't pause playback. –  music2myear Aug 5 '11 at 17:50
    
Windows Media Player 12 is excellent. I used to use Winamp back in the XP days, where I'd agree, Windows Media Player just was not an application I'd use primarily. I rarely used it at all. But these days it has become my primary media player, since I got fed up with Winamp's instabilities. –  Ben Richards Aug 10 '11 at 3:30

4 Answers 4

up vote 3 down vote accepted
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If you have windows I'd use Windows Media Player upnp.

Everything is explained in Microsoft help:

http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows-vista/Sharing-media-on-a-network-using-Windows-Media-Player

It's really easy to set up and test. I've never tested subs but as soon as I'll have time during weekend I'll try it and I'll add details.

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Did you have a chance to do your test? –  Jeff Aug 9 '11 at 18:50
    
I stream content between my Windows 7 PCs using Windows Media Player UPNP and shared folders quite a bit (depending on what I feel like using at the time). I don't know about subtitles either though; I haven't tried that out. –  Ben Richards Aug 10 '11 at 3:28
    
Hi there! Sorry but had no time... Looks like DirectVobSub will do the job. –  Pitto Aug 11 '11 at 10:58

Any reason you can't just access the files directly via network share? This should work fine even over wireless (HD might stutter a bit though). You would have access to your subtitles just the same. Streaming solutions are only really needed when you have to provide the video to more than one device at a time or you need real-time down-sampling to fit over a smaller bandwidth pipe.

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I see now this was suggested in your linked question. Still, I would recommend at least trying it before looking for a more complex solution. –  XHR Aug 5 '11 at 16:00
    
I'd like a cohesive library, especially one that permitted tagging. File system navigation just doesn't cut it for us. It'll do if it has to, but a media library would be MUCH preferred. –  Jeff Aug 5 '11 at 17:45

A detailed presentation of VLC streaming can be found in VideoLAN Streaming Howto.

However, I agree with XHR that this approach is quite cumbersome, and using network shares is a much simpler solution.

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I would vote for Windows Media Center, and sharing with Libraries. Make sure she's attached to your "home group", then you can put your videos in the Videos folder and play them from any other Windows 7 machine in the network that has your Homegroup password. I can stream from my computer to my 360 AND to my gf's laptop without lag, with my computer running on 1.5GB RAM, on an old P4 at 2.8GHz

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The laptop runs XP, and probably can't handle 7. –  Jeff Aug 5 '11 at 17:47
    
Then my answer won't help, sorry –  Canadian Luke Aug 5 '11 at 17:53
    
While there may not be drivers for everything, a laptop that can handle XP is probably capable of handling 7. I ran 7 on a 7 year old laptop for a few years until the laptop died completely. 7 ran as fast as XP on the system. It was only a first gen Core proc with 2GB memory and onboard graphics. Only the graphics wouldn't support 7 at all so no acceleration. But 7's default graphics driver handled the native wide screen res of the laptop without issue so that wasn't much of a problem. Just couldn't game at all. –  music2myear Aug 5 '11 at 17:53

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