Who shall control my media? Part 1

By | February 27, 2016

Over the last couple of years, the entire media landscape has changed. We were quite happy with MythTV, but its pretty limited in its scope, it can only handle TV, Recorded TV, Videos, Music and Pictures that are on its local drives. Now, add in the fact that we’ve had a Roku now for a while, as well as played with the Fire TV stick and set top box, and things get more messy. I’ve been exploring and trying out a bunch of different options, and have started to settle in on one.

So far, in addition to MythTV, I’ve tried out the Google Chromecast, the Roku 3, the Amazon Fire Stick, the Nvidia Shield Console, the Fire TV and our new Sony Smart TV running Android TV.  I also evaluated my parents Samsung Smart TV.  That may seem like a lot but that’s just a fraction of the choices out there. Right now there are many companies vying to control the living room. This doesn’t even look at the Smart TV offerings by Samsung, Visio or the Apple TV.

Each of them has as advantages and disadvantages. In this series of posts I’m going to explore each of them in just a little bit of detail. These won’t be in depth reviews but those from a consumer that wants access to their own media as well as online content.

For about a year and a half now, we’ve been using Plex for our movie collection.  Overall its been pretty good.  Good enough that I bought a lifetime Plex Pass.  It still has its issues, and I’ve worked a bit with Kodi and Emby.  I like Kodi quite a lot, it seems to have fewer issues with transcoding and audio than Plex has on the Android TV devices, but it too has its issues.  I stick with Plex primarily because it also works on the boys Fire tablets.

So, the requirements for our media are fairly broad.  It has to be able to delivery content to our TV, the boys tablets, my tablet, and our phones.  Ideally it will be able to manage our photos and music collection as well.  The perfect solution would also allow us to play our local music collection on our Amazon Echo as well, but that may never happen.

In part 2, I will outline the storage and network infrastructure that I am using to run all of this.

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