What You Said: Do You Stream Your Media?

By Jason Fitzpatrick on July 15th, 2011

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Earlier this week we asked you about your streaming habits  and now we’re back to highlight the trends, tips, and tricks from your responses.

Streaming to Mobile Devices

Streaming from the home network or cloud storage provides the oppurtunity to enjoy your media wherever you are. Niko runs a Subsonic server to stream his tunes wherever he is:

Subsonic… Ever since I installed it I haven’t looked back. I use it to stream my music at work, to my phone, at home, everywhere. As far as video is concerned, I usually stick to Netflix if I am streaming, other than that, I’m usually watching straight from the HTPC.

Niko wasn’t the only one that enjoyed Subsonic; Bemymonkey writes:

I stream nearly everything. Video comes off the NAS, and music is streamed from Subsonic directly to my Android phone when I’m out and about… streaming rocks.

If you’re noticing a trend here it’s that the majority of readers that are streaming from home servers or cloud storage are doing so to access music. Brian highlights one of the reasons:

I’ve never encountered a video stream in which there wasn’t some level of lag, which bothers me to no end. Given the choice, I’ll always download a video locally before playing it.

When streaming from home to a distant mobile device a little chop and buffering is usually unavoidable—we don’t know about you but we think there should be a specific word for the anxiety one feels when the play marker is creeping towards the unbuffered section of the video.

Streaming Across the Home Network

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Although we asked the question with an emphasis to streaming media from your home to remote devices (such as your smartphone) the majority of you indicated that you did most of your streaming in house and not out across the internet to your far flung devices. Dre writes:

I stream all local content through a wired Ethernet cable to a Boxee Box. I have never run into any problems playing anything. I’ve tried a few other media players back in the day, but this is by far the best I have used for the price. I try to avoid streaming anything of significant size or quality over the internet or WiFi, even with a 40 megabit connection. There always seems to be problems.

If I play anything through my iPhone, I re-encode it with free handbrake. Plays perfectly and doesn’t take too long.

Only kink was a bad switch in the wall for my home network. Once I switched that out with a new $25 TrendNet switch, I’ve never had a problem again. Local HD plays perfectly, even without a gigabit connection, so I will stick with my Boxee.

We had the same experience regarding the standard/gigabit dilemma; after testing everything out on our network we found that gigabit just wasn’t necessary for streaming even 1080p video. One trend that was prominent was that once a reader got into streaming media they went all out. Badfiddler’s response highlights this:

I stream everything. For regular TV, I record off the air with a SageTV server, then stream it to a mix of HD200 and HD300 clients. I watch Netflix and/or Amazon prime streams via Roku, Xbox 360, or GoogleTV, depending on my whim. I have a Bluray player connected to my main TV, but I watch less than one disc per month. Literally everything else is streamed either locally or over the internet.

Even readers with physical media usually rip the media to their servers to avoid the hassle of looking for discs and changing them out. Rick writes:

Of course! I have a 20TB WHS setup to stream both DVD & BluRay quality onto several home theatre PCs around the house. I also have the HD HomeRun turner setup on one machine and use it to record TV shows and stream as well. Music yes indeed. Lag absolutely NOT. I have a gigabit switch and all devices are Ethernet connected with CAT5e. This allows to stream HD content without any hiccups. At one point I had the server setup to stream audio, video and TV’s shows but that is no longer the case.

20TB you say? Be right back; upgrading! We kid (but not really, we’ll be at NewEgg if you need us).


For more streaming configurations and tips, hit up the original comment thread here. Have a setup you want to share? It’s not too late; sound off in the comments below.

Jason Fitzpatrick is a warranty-voiding DIYer who spends his days cracking opening cases and wrestling with code so you don't have to. If it can be modded, optimized, repurposed, or torn apart for fun he's interested (and probably already at the workbench taking it apart). You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 07/15/11
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