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Background:

I have a Dell Inspiron Zino HD that faithfully serves as my HTPC, running Windows 7 Media Center. I have a HD Home Run, connected via its Ethernet port, for watching local TV. The Zino is wirelessly connected to my Linksys WRT54G.

Problem:

I want to take my DVD and BluRay ISOs and stream them to my HTPC. I've been doing research to assess my options, specifically in terms of whether I should purchase a DLNA NAS (such as this) or just use a spare PC.

I've tried the spare PC option with some DVD ISOs and found it sufficient. I use a Windows Homegroup to connect the remote PC to my HTPC. MyMovies can see the ISOs over the network and seems to handle playback decently.

However, I keep reading about DLNA certified NAS devices and they seem to be popular. I understand they offer RAID but so does my PC. I realize they support wireless streaming, but so does my PC and router setup. Are there features that DLNA NAS devices offer that my PC can't replicate? Is using a DLNA NAS better, or does a PC approach have some advantages?

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2 Answers 2

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NAS is about doing one thing. Providing storage on the network. You PC can do this too, but NAS is supposed to be designed SPECIFICALLY for doing this. There are NAS that use stripped versions of Linux. In effect they are a computer with a hard drive. So why would someone want to use NAS on their network?

Whenever you are using your computer, you are using resources. Maybe you are watching a movie and running data through the bus to the video card as an example. When someone else tries to pull a file from your computer, that data also goes through the bus. You slow things down because of this. If I move my files to NAS, I'm not competing for the resources of the computer while it is in use.

With the information I've provided, I'll let you decide what the best solution to your problem is.

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So, you're saying that if I'm using a spare PC just for media streaming, then there's no point in purchasing a NAS since there'd be no other resource contention? And a DLNA NAS has no other advantages over a spare PC? –  Craig Jul 24 '12 at 6:15
    
I don't quite understand the answer. Anyway, the benefits of a NAS lie in power efficiency, its operating volume, out of the box RAID. The disadvantage is that some DLNA solutions might just not work.. You simply have less options for software @craig –  slhck Jul 24 '12 at 7:45
    
Thing is, any PC can be a DLNA streaming device. You don't have to have a NAS for that. –  slhck Jul 24 '12 at 7:48
    
None that I'm aware of Craig. Some may consider user interface and advantage, I'd say that's subjective (though not wrong), some may say physical size, or decreased power use may be an advantage. I can't guarantee that a DLNA NAS is going to use less power than a computer without knowing models to compare, and isn't really the point of your question, as far as I can tell. –  Everett Jul 24 '12 at 13:06
    
@Everett: I see some DLNA NAS devices provide smartphone apps. Generally, if I want to expand my streaming to other devices in the future, can a PC solution still handle that? –  Craig Jul 24 '12 at 18:40

To clarify, i use a readynas solution (netgear) this machine has a raid mirror option (only has space for 2 drives, there are other ready nas machines depending on how much you want to pay upto 6 sata drives) the power usage is only 25 watts peak which is way less than 10% of most PC Power supplies, it also has the option to stream music for itunes and a number of other programs which can be installed on it. It has a large community which have written ftp servers etc etc for it.

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You could provide more information about why you chose that device for your solution, you could also provide the model. Try to answer OP's questions directly with your reasoning for such choices as you have made for your own solution. –  HaydnWVN Jan 21 '13 at 10:31

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