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How-To: Home Media Server
May 19, 2005
Author: Josh Manufacturer: N/A
Department: HTPC-SFF Model: N/A
Article Type: How-To Time Spent: N/A
 
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Introduction




Middle class American homes have, for the most part, had multiple computers, printers, scanners and other peripherals for several years now.  Shared broadband internet connections and some form of home networking have also become more and more prevalent.  The one network component that hasn’t seemed to catch on even in most SOHO’s is a dedicated file server.  Well, we think the next year or two will see that change.

For every new technology there is always at least one driving force for implementation.  For the home PC it has often been video games.  For the internet some think it was porn, others online games or e trading stocks.  The “killer app” that finally puts file servers into homes across the nation just might end up being the humble HTPC.  I know some of you will scoff at that notion, but consider some of the facts.  All the major PC builders like Dell and Gateway are pushing into the HTPC arena in a big way.  Microsoft is eying that market also with its HTPC version of XP, MCE 2005.  Those facts alone are a strong indicator of the direction the industry is heading in.

Consider the HTPC, a computer that generates a vast number of large files in the form of recorded TV shows and movies, and that has the almost magical ability to stream live TV to any and every PC in the house.  Beyond that, those very PC’s can perform all the functions of a PVR like pausing, scheduling recordings etc.  Your HTPC is a natural candidate to bridge the gap between the loosely cobbled together networks we find in the home now, and the more robust networks found in most business environments.

We like to think of it as a Home Media Server, or HMS for short.  This “How to” will cover the basics of converting and or maximizing a traditional HTPC so that it can also serve as an HMS.  First I will cover the elements needed to build an HTPC/HMS, and then networking Guru Josh Allen will cover setting that network up in step by step detail, and explain how he would approach security.


 
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For me, an HTPC case should be:
A stylish mid tower is fine.
It has to look like other home electronics equipment.
Looks? Big deal, it is all about performance.
Small, unobtrusive.
 
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