Thought I'd chuck this in here, save butchering any more of the RPi thread.
Something I've been meaning to do for a while, but time and cash haven't allowed, is to do a proper media server for everything I've got. Right now my setup looks like this:
Main PC upstairs has an external 2TB drive attached with all my music on. PC stays on 24/7
PC is wired to Netgear 10/100 switch, which in turn is wired to BT HomeHub
Airport Express is also on the switch, and has an optical connection to my AVR
I use Airplay to stream stuff from the PC to my AVR, using the Remote app on the iOS devices
iMac connects to the music wirelessly via the Home Hub.
This setup works a treat, however it's very limited. It will never play any video files as there's no way to get them to the TV, and as such I've had to re-plan everything. Going forward, this is what I propose to have running:
Main PC will separate from the 2TB drive
I will build a NAS that will remain upstairs
This will utilise UnRAID as the controller
An RPi running Raspbmc (XBMC from here on for brevity) will replace the Airport Express downstairs, and will connect straight to the AVR
XBMC will then take over the Airplay duties as it's built in, and will stream all films & TV series in 1080p with 5.1 sound
PC and iMac will have full access to everything on the NAS
There will be no compromise on the quality of the videos. If it's not as good as putting a BD in a drive, it's a pointless exercise.
So far, test results have been promising. A TestNAS running the same setup has been borrowed and integrated successfully, which proves the theory. I've managed to breathe new life into my old PC (i7 940 w/12GB RAM, somewhat overkill for a NAS box!) by replacing the cheapy PSU with a decent one, or at least it's running Ubuntu with success so far. I've got a couple of 3TB drives which will be installed once I'm happy with the stability of this rig, and UnRAID 5.xRC will be installed. I have to use a RC and not the proper 4.7 release as I'm running 3TB drives, and the older version won't see them which is a shame. That said, I've not checked if my old rig can see them either yet...
Eventually I'll be using my main PC to rip and convert my BDs, DVDs and I may re-rip my CDs too (they're 128 atm, would prefer lossless), then transfer them to the NAS. I'll need to shuffle a few files around as I'll want the full 500GB capacity of my spare internal drive on this to rip stuff to, and at the moment it's full up with other crap. They'll need to sit on the external 2TB drive, and be damned with the slight speed drop. All my good programs are on the SSD anyway.
I'm not entirely convinced the RPi will have enough grunt to pass the full BD rips on, as it's only got a 10/100 port and not gigabit sadly, however if it only buffers a bit at the start I can live with that. If not, then I'll bin it and build a new media box for the living room, and then I'll bin the PS3 as it won't be needed any more.
"Chav kids are like sand people. They're easily startled but they'll be back, and in greater numbers."