Posts Tagged ‘passmark’

Put simply, a media server is usually a PC which can store your various media files such as photos, music, home movies and purchased movies. You can also install software to manage your media. Media servers can also hold specialized software to allow you access to internet media content not normally available from a web browser.

A good example of the latter is a software package called Playon (www.playon.tv). Once installed on your media server, Playon allows you to access a host of cable channels including ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, Bravo, LMN and others. The ability to easily install plugins, allows to access channels like TVLand and NatGEO provided by third parties. Playon offers HD programming for a onetime cost. Playon transcodes (converts) your media at the media server, thus requiring a fairly high performance processor. CPU chips with a Passmark score over 2500 are recommended. Since Playon does not have a button available to tell you the Passmark score of your CPU, You have to find the chip information in Windows and look it up yourself. It is well worth the effort if you are building a server to have an idea of your server performance before you start buying components.

My favorite media server application is called Plex (https://plex.tv. It is an open source program that allows you to access your media content on tablets, smartphones, and PC’s from anywhere in the world. You can also share your media libraries with others very easily. There are also apps for Android, IOS and Roku.

These applications also have channels on the Roku devices. Allowing you to take your Roku box with you when you travel and watch your media content anywhere.

Homemediaguy

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Playon (playon.tv) makes a great product. It works all the time. The updates are automatic and seamless. The channel selection rivals cable TV. Oh, It’s also priced right (click on link at bottom of my blog). They also give you plenty of information under their support heading to let you know if your PC or laptop can run their software. Be sure you get the processor specs from windows and then go to www.passmark.org like they say on the site. When you match up your processor with the list they have, you will immediately know if you equipment is up to running the Playon software.

I am not a big advocate of repurposing older PC’s and laptops when it comes to video. That is why my friend Jim built me media PC from scratch so I could easily meet Playon’s requirements along with other software I run on my media server.

Listed below are some of the small form factor PC’s you could buy new today that meet the hardware requirements for Playon and other video/media tools for your media server.

  1. ASUS VivoPC VC60 Intel Core i5-3210M   3,803 (http://www.asus.com/us/ASUS_VivoPC/VivoPC_VM60/). A good review can be found at http://tech.firstpost.com/reviews/asus-vivopc-vc60-review-107177.html. The Asus VC60 sells for around $518.00.
  2. A Chinese company Eglobal sells a fanless mini pc (http://www.dhgate.com/store/product/fanless-computer-mini-pc-windows-with-intel/212423374.html#sd1-2-1|4245773825) for $389.46 which includes 4GB RAM, 16G SSD, 1TB HDD, 300M WIFI. Not a bad deal if you buy a lot online.

You wonder why I have not included many of the US brands you are used to seeing. First, I am looking for affordable devices. Second, many of the other brands use and Atom or Intel chip not listed by Passmark (http://www.cpubenchmark.net/common_cpus.html ). So take your time and look around.

What do you get for your $500-$600 PC purchase? Like the title says, you get Playon on a media server. So add up your monthly cable bill, and see how fast you get payback.

With Playon you get pretty much all your cable programming, and Hulu FREE, along with being able to send programs from your media server browser. And if you had a Roku box you can cast/mirror content from your tablet or smartphone.

Homemediaguy

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