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Experienced XBMC users, please
I've been doing some research on this myself - suffered some Sticker Shock on a some models (ReadyNAS looks nice but their feature rich Pro Pioneer is like 1,199.00 USD)

I found that QNAP has some nice NAS devices as well at about 1/2 the cost.

This one is very feature rich and you get a good bang for your buck.

Here in the USA NewEgg carries them.

turbodonkey Wrote:Also, the quoted bandwidth for those devices is a total bandwidth over your power lines, not bandwidth between two devices, so for an 85mbps powerline networking kit that's 85mbps total backbone, regardless of whether you install 2 or 16 of them, each additional device adds to the load on your 85mbps backbone. So you might find that the network load exceeds the capabilities of these devices if they are all used at a similar time, which they inevitably will be...

Just read this thread for the first time, and I have to say that my first thought was HOMPLUG. I use homeplug extensively, and I believe you could comfortably have 6 or 7 people streaming a DVD at the same time without network dropouts. The homeplug devices now go upto 200Mbps, which would obviously improve things further. yopur obviously not intending to stream any hi-def content, so I think the cost of the homeplugs will actually be cheaper than cabling (and less invasive).
Locating the Xbox's in a single place isn't really a viable option you're asking for even more problems.

Your original plan of an xbox in each guest room is the sensible option. That way you only need run one cable to each room. This would be Ethernet cable (cat5 or cat5e). Note that due to attenuation their is a physical limit of 100m or 370 something feet for a single piece of cable before it needs a repeater (not sure how big your Mansion is)

It would make sense to use 1000BaseT as your backbone given the cost differential is nothing these days.

A simple way to do this (given that you want to expand as you go) is run 2 cables from the the server room to the first floor. The 2nd cable is a hot spare. Connect this cable to a 1000BaseT Switch (not a hub this is important) with enough free ports for each room on that floor plus at least one other free port, so if you have 3 rooms you'd want a 5 port switch minimum.

The best way to cable rooms is to have an Ethernet port on the wall (just like a plug socket), the back of this port connects the room to the switch on that floor. Then you run a short cable from the wall socket to the xbox. The reason for this is that it protects your infrastructure from idiots. If they break the cable its easy to replace. If that is too expensive then run 2 cat5 cables to each room with one cable as a hot spare.

Now if you want to connect up another floor you just run 2 cables from the switch room on floor 1 to another switch on floor 2 (again 1 cable is a hot spare) and repeat the process.

The reason for a switch (not a hub) is that switches don't broadcast all traffic on all ports whereas hubs do (this is not the only reason but an important one).

Regarding your DVD's, as I understand it you have 1000+DVD's that you want to rip to a hard disk but keep things like subtitles etc.

When ripping DVD's your basic options are to either rip as

A) an iso (single file)
B) a .vob (typically multiple files, but can be a single file)
C) Convert to another format, eg. an .avi or .wmv (normally single file)

So far it sounds like you've been using A. My recommendation would be to do either A or B with CloneDVD. If I understand what you want correctly this will be you fastest/easiest option.

CloneDVD (about $30) does require a couple of clicks however, these can be done one after another (in seconds). You can choose a default compression level and importantly ripping preferences like rip 5.1 english audio and always rip english, french and german subtitles.

You set these by deselecting the things you don't normally want. It takes a couple of DVD's to get the preferences just right, but once sorted every DVD you rip will automatically use them. CloneDVD will rip to .iso or multiple .vob

For bandwidth you can use this calculator to work out how much you'll need.

Choose one link from this list to check/analyse what bandwidth you already have.

Regarding your skin, IMHO (only) Aeon is the best for visibility at a distance (720p+) but can be slow (never used it on an xbox, only PC and MAC)
seanrolsen Wrote:Hello again.

I have been pretty busy with work but had some time to tinker last night modding some of the xboxes. So, I am sorry for not keeping up on the responses. I never was the responsible type.

I appreciate everyone helping and giving advice. I has a few thoughts about making a separate wireless network for the 3 cottages only. These cottages would then have a NAS media drive with the movies. I would then copy that to perhaps a raid config (I like the 500GB option mentioned by prae) for use in the 8 rooms in the mansion. -Maybe.-

I put a few movies on our server (not media server) and connected an xbox wirelessly and was surprised that the .ISO image was still juuuust a little choppy during action scenes and smooth camera panning. Will converting to xvid or something similar help with that choppyness??

Speaking os such, I am sure you have heard of the one-click dvd macro helper program for DVD Shrink I mentioned earlier, right? Is there a program like that to somehow speed up the process of converting .ISO's to a compressed format?? I would image it would be tough since DVD's contain so much more than just a movie and english audio. For example I would want to have the option to turn subtitles on/off. That seems like too much to ask, tho. - I don't know what is the best format for my situation anyway. ??

When it comes to money, I like a plan that allows us to add/expand as we go. That way we are not wasting money, just some guests rooms might not be set up the same way.

Does anyone have any thoughts on video over cat5?? I seem to remember that you can pretty much run anything over cat 5. If I am going to wire (maybe just one floor at a time?) the rooms, why not run 2 cables per room. I considered having the xboxes somewhere else, like the basement. Then run the video over cat5 to the rooms, and the network cat 5 to the switch?? I don't know how expensive an adapter would be, or how much an IR blaster kit would be, tho.

I am really liking the MediaStream skin. I am not liking the super small font. Is there an easy way to change that?? Even in 'Massive' it doesn't get bigger. Something else might be wrong also, and the MC360 skin does not work for me. Is customizing a skin really that hard for a novice? I would want to change the font size, disable turning off from the GUI, and locking some settings with a password. I see something about "master lock" but haven't messed with it. Speaking of passwords... everytime I turn off the xbox, I have to go into videos, and re-enter my username and password. Is there an easy way to make it remember?? i must be missing something.

Oh, I almost forgot... is there a way to test the bandwidth that I have, am using, and will need somehow??

(The double ? is to help me keep things straight, sorry.)



There are video over network adapters.. but i wouldn't recommend it again for what you are doing.. I also wouldn't run cat5 cable.. i would go ahead and run cat5e or cat6... I also would not run the boxes in a basement and use IR-Blasters.. very unreliable through floors and other material...
Forget media stream.. you will freeze every box with that skin.. You can go with Media Stream Redux or Transperency if you want.. but the normal media stream does not work well on an xbox...

To test bandwidth you have/need/whatever.. you can do mathematical calculations... or you can get a router compatible with dd-wrt or another hacked firmware.. it has nice tools and graphs to tell you bandwidth and network status in realtime..
Phuqz Wrote:Regarding your skin, IMHO (only) Aeon is the best for visibility at a distance (720p+) but can be slow (never used it on an xbox, only PC and MAC)
Transperency is what i use on my HD tvs and my SD tvs... You can adjust the font easily and it doesn't bog down the xbox's memory..
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Hello again, all.

I had my fist test of running all 3 wireless xboxes simultaneously. The test was a success, and we are really getting excited about this project. The furthest cottage is about 350 feet away. It does crash every once in a while but I am not convinced it is a poor internet connection.

Here is the current setup. When I start adding rooms, we are going to go wired, no question about it.

• XBMC on XBOX using MediaStream skin
(Sorry Numus, I couldn't get Transparency to work for me)
• 1 TB Hard drive IOMEGA media drive NAS device connected to a…
• SonicWall tz170w with wireless disabled.
• Linksys Wireless N (business series) access point with…
• Hawking directional antenna using a…
• Hawking 500mW booster, and…
• Big 7dbi omni-directional antenna.
• Third antenna slot is currently the standard 2dbi antenna for now.
• WGA600N Wireless N gaming adapter from Linksys.
• Original XBMC remotes.
o The Logitech Harmony remotes have not been programmed.

Movies are burned with DVDShrink (AnyDVD used on Sony) with max compression allowed in ISO format.
With the ~115 moves burned so far, the average ISO is ~1.96GB in size, in case anyone was curious. That is lowest quality audio available (most is 5.1) English subs, and only the main movie.

Thanks to all so far who have helped me out so much!!!! Next step is the skin. Then writing instructions! Confused
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