media server solution

so i have finally decided what my media center solution is going to be after much head and heartache. it’s a little more complicated than i was really hoping for, but i guess that’s just the way that it goes.

at the heart of the media center is the PS3. and what really pushed me over the edge was really just the simplicity in the UI for the media center. to get to this point, i have tried:
1) windows media center
2) windows media center w/ media browser as the front end
3) xbmc
4) mediaportal
5) boxee

i had issues with all of the above. the grand idea was that the windows media center would be great to drive my content, but at the end of the day, i didn’t like the default video view of the media files and media browser was just too buggy for my tastes.

xbmc was familiar, but the UI experience in that and mediaportal (a derivative of xbmc) really just fell flat.

boxee actually looks fantastic. it’s alpha quality code, though, so i had a lot of crashes or other playback issues which ultimately made me shy away from it. it’s almost worth getting a mac for it.

in hindsight, the only other solution i wish i had tried out a bit is plex for mac.

but my complete solution is now:
PS3 + Windows-based Media Server.

i’m using ps3 media server available for linux, mac, or windows as my DLNA server. it is the most feature-rich DLNA server i’ve found to date and i absolutely love it. it makes using the PS3 a joy to use and is very easy to setup.

the windows media server will transcode content on the fly for you to handle those pesky .mkv files that the ps3 doesn’t know how to play.

after all is said and done, i’m really happy with the solution, it’s easy to setup, easy to use, and now there is no confusion on how to use the TV at home.

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