Access your media around your house or when away

No house can be complete without having all those films (you clearly downloaded legally) available at the press of a button on your TV.

When I moved in to my own house, the first thing I did was investigate ways of streaming my films and music around the house. I’ve got to the point where I can now watch a film in my lounge, pause it and go to bed, once in the bedroom resume where I left off. This was one of my goals.

There are two main players in the home theater game. XBMC is a lovely piece of software which I started with, but slowly migrated to Plex.

XBMC

XBMC (Used to be called xbox media center, no guesses for why) can index all of your media in one easy to access location, with apps available for your iPhone / android / windows mobile device which let you control it, or you can use a keyboard or even the remotes you can buy for PCs.

The software will go online and get all the information for the film / tv show / song and give you a lovely display to impress all your friends.

It also runs as a DNLA server so you can view the films / tv shows etc from anywhere if you’ve setup the ports.

The downside to XBMC is it’s quite slow to index all the media and if you have multiple TVs and Media players like I do, you have to have an index on each machine. You can setup a shared database but it’s not great in my opinion.

Plex

Plex is the way I’ve decided to go, it’s separated out, you have a server which does all the indexing and looks after all your tv shows / films and gets all the information. And then you have a client, this is a ‘dumb’ bit of software which just connects to your network and looks for plex servers and lets you go from there.

Plex allows you to do all of the XBMC above but also when you pause / stop what you’re playing it remembers this and whatever device you next connect with it asks if you want to resume. Perfect! Lets me resume my TV shows from work on my iPad, amazing.

Unfortunately plex doesn’t do music at this point. But huzzah, theres another piece of software to do that, it even runs a basic personal spotify service for you. The softwares called Subsonic - I’ll add more on this in an blog post soon.

Theres a VERY brief update for you on how you can start your media centre PC :-).

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