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Another alternative to the slug - $70 refurb WDTV Live

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  • montyny1
    Saw this
    Message 1 of 8 , Jan 28, 2011
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      Saw this http://www.meritline.com/western-digital-recertified-tv-live-hd-media-player---p-58149.aspx?source=nl110128&hq_e=el&hq_m=2131388&hq_l=45&hq_v=e8cbac4192 and caught my interest

      From wikipedia:
      WD TV Live

      Released in Fall 2009[7] with Full HD 1080p resolution. An updated device with 2-channel DTS, streaming and network support, which comes in the form of an Ethernet socket on the back. Also compatible with certain wireless USB adapters.[8] Connects to internet sites: YouTube, Flickr, Live365, Pandora, Mediafly, Flingo, AccuWeather, Facebook or stream content from a home network. Supports a wide variety of the most popular file formats. No need for transcoding. Mediafly and DVD menu support added in firmware update.

      The WD TV Live processor, on the other hand, features a 500MHz CPU, a 333MHz coprocessor, a 333MHz DSP, and up to 1 GB of 64-bit DDR-2 DRAM. The WD TV Live comes with 512MB of DRAM and 256MB of NAND Flash memory installed. Western Digital has tweaked the original Sigma SMP8600 Family design slightly by including 6 video Digital to Analog Converters (DACs) which should give it the ability to handle high-def content with ease.[9]

      Here's how to get optware access - http://forum.wdlxtv.com/viewtopic.php?f=40&t=2637&hilit=optware

      Tempted to try one - to run my openvpn, pytivo and other stuff that weighs my slug down.

      Bryan.
    • Urban Cubbage
      I have looked into getting one of these earlier but what stopped me was the NIC speed, only 100 Mbs not 1Gbs. I know that 100 will work for HD streaming as
      Message 2 of 8 , Jan 28, 2011
      • 0 Attachment
        I have looked into getting one of these earlier but what stopped me was the
        NIC speed, only 100 Mbs not 1Gbs. I know that 100 will work for HD
        streaming as long as nothing else is working on network then you can get
        studdering and pauses. My network is always doing something 24/7 so I
        refuse to go with slower speeds for streaming. Have retired the slug and at
        moment I am using an old PC with a 1 Gbs nic card in its place. With gig I
        get no studdering or pausing on network. I know people claim that 1 Gbs
        does not help your internet connection except that the internal network is
        at full speed now if only the isp's would get off of their rearends and
        provide decent connection speeds like rest of world has.

        -----Original Message-----
        From: nslu2-general@yahoogroups.com [mailto:nslu2-general@yahoogroups.com]
        On Behalf Of montyny1
        Sent: Friday, January 28, 2011 7:23 AM
        To: nslu2-general@yahoogroups.com
        Subject: [nslu2-general] Another alternative to the slug - $70 refurb WDTV
        Live

        Saw this
        http://www.meritline.com/western-digital-recertified-tv-live-hd-media-player
        ---p-58149.aspx?source=nl110128&hq_e=el&hq_m=2131388&hq_l=45&hq_v=e8cbac4192
        and caught my interest

        From wikipedia:
        WD TV Live

        Released in Fall 2009[7] with Full HD 1080p resolution. An updated device
        with 2-channel DTS, streaming and network support, which comes in the form
        of an Ethernet socket on the back. Also compatible with certain wireless USB
        adapters.[8] Connects to internet sites: YouTube, Flickr, Live365, Pandora,
        Mediafly, Flingo, AccuWeather, Facebook or stream content from a home
        network. Supports a wide variety of the most popular file formats. No need
        for transcoding. Mediafly and DVD menu support added in firmware update.

        The WD TV Live processor, on the other hand, features a 500MHz CPU, a 333MHz
        coprocessor, a 333MHz DSP, and up to 1 GB of 64-bit DDR-2 DRAM. The WD TV
        Live comes with 512MB of DRAM and 256MB of NAND Flash memory installed.
        Western Digital has tweaked the original Sigma SMP8600 Family design
        slightly by including 6 video Digital to Analog Converters (DACs) which
        should give it the ability to handle high-def content with ease.[9]

        Here's how to get optware access -
        http://forum.wdlxtv.com/viewtopic.php?f=40&t=2637&hilit=optware

        Tempted to try one - to run my openvpn, pytivo and other stuff that weighs
        my slug down.

        Bryan.



        ------------------------------------

        Yahoo! Groups Links
      • Bill
        With a proper switch, you should only see a difference based on 1 Gbs vs 100Mb networking, if rate you can actually access the data is higher than 100Mb. For
        Message 3 of 8 , Jan 28, 2011
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          With a proper switch, you should only see a difference based on 1 Gbs vs 100Mb networking, if rate you can actually access the data is higher than 100Mb. For most USB drives you are lucky to get 30Mb, which is plenty fast enough of 1080p.

          I find my NSLU2 is really only well suited for 480p. While I can regularly watch 720p content without stuttering, if I am doing any other drive access at the same time, the NSLU2 cannot stream the data fast enough. However, the bottleneck is not the network speed, but it is the cpu. I hadn't really thought about using a WDTV as an NSLU2 replacement, but I guess anything that can access multiple USB luns (my ASUS RT16 with DD-WRT cannot) and can run apache, it is a viable option.

          Bill
        • Doug
          Not sure I understand why 100mb is not enough for any HD streaming. Something wrong there. Perhaps the interface is not really running at that speed. You can
          Message 4 of 8 , Jan 28, 2011
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            Not sure I understand why 100mb is not enough for any HD streaming. Something
            wrong there. Perhaps the interface is not really running at that speed. You can
            also have a gigabit network with 10/100 devices connected and still utilize the
            added bandwidth between devices that are gigabit connected through a switch. HD
            is somewhere around 20mbit data rate and depending on format and could actually
            be compressed to less than that in many cases. see

            http://www.tomsguide.com/us/video-streaming-need-to-know-part-1,review-760-4.html






            ________________________________
            From: Urban Cubbage <cubbage@...>
            To: nslu2-general@yahoogroups.com
            Sent: Fri, January 28, 2011 2:21:12 PM
            Subject: RE: [nslu2-general] Another alternative to the slug - $70 refurb WDTV
            Live


            I have looked into getting one of these earlier but what stopped me was the
            NIC speed, only 100 Mbs not 1Gbs. I know that 100 will work for HD
            streaming as long as nothing else is working on network then you can get
            studdering and pauses. My network is always doing something 24/7 so I
            refuse to go with slower speeds for streaming. Have retired the slug and at
            moment I am using an old PC with a 1 Gbs nic card in its place. With gig I
            get no studdering or pausing on network. I know people claim that 1 Gbs
            does not help your internet connection except that the internal network is
            at full speed now if only the isp's would get off of their rearends and
            provide decent connection speeds like rest of world has.

            -----Original Message-----
            From: nslu2-general@yahoogroups.com [mailto:nslu2-general@yahoogroups.com]
            On Behalf Of montyny1
            Sent: Friday, January 28, 2011 7:23 AM
            To: nslu2-general@yahoogroups.com
            Subject: [nslu2-general] Another alternative to the slug - $70 refurb WDTV
            Live

            Saw this
            http://www.meritline.com/western-digital-recertified-tv-live-hd-media-player
            ---p-58149.aspx?source=nl110128&hq_e=el&hq_m=2131388&hq_l=45&hq_v=e8cbac4192
            and caught my interest

            From wikipedia:
            WD TV Live

            Released in Fall 2009[7] with Full HD 1080p resolution. An updated device
            with 2-channel DTS, streaming and network support, which comes in the form
            of an Ethernet socket on the back. Also compatible with certain wireless USB
            adapters.[8] Connects to internet sites: YouTube, Flickr, Live365, Pandora,
            Mediafly, Flingo, AccuWeather, Facebook or stream content from a home
            network. Supports a wide variety of the most popular file formats. No need
            for transcoding. Mediafly and DVD menu support added in firmware update.

            The WD TV Live processor, on the other hand, features a 500MHz CPU, a 333MHz
            coprocessor, a 333MHz DSP, and up to 1 GB of 64-bit DDR-2 DRAM. The WD TV
            Live comes with 512MB of DRAM and 256MB of NAND Flash memory installed.
            Western Digital has tweaked the original Sigma SMP8600 Family design
            slightly by including 6 video Digital to Analog Converters (DACs) which
            should give it the ability to handle high-def content with ease.[9]

            Here's how to get optware access -
            http://forum.wdlxtv.com/viewtopic.php?f=40&t=2637&hilit=optware

            Tempted to try one - to run my openvpn, pytivo and other stuff that weighs
            my slug down.

            Bryan.

            ------------------------------------

            Yahoo! Groups Links




            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • Harsh
            I had one of these and sold it off. The problem I saw with it was: The WTDV gets very (!) hot even when its switched off. This reduces its attractiveness of
            Message 5 of 8 , Jan 29, 2011
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              I had one of these and sold it off. The problem I saw with it was:
              The WTDV gets very (!) hot even when its switched off. This reduces its attractiveness of being an efficient low power solution. It even partly melted an HDMI cable plug socketed into the back!
              While the WDTV custom firmware has come a long way, it still didnt feel as "complete" as what we have for the NSLU2. I tried WDLXTV, perhaps there were others that were better?The remote control that comes with the device is a bit annoying due to slow response times on the menus. Add to that, it used to create a database of media files that had some sort of race condition that frequently corrupted the playlist. So many of the mp3s I have often never showed up on the menus at all.After a while, they disabled YouTube HD on the device. There were hacks around it but they werent as polished as the real deal.
              Live365 was nice and perhaps the main thing I used it for. I wonder if theres some way of making Live365 work on the slug ...hmmm...
              After a while I fast started to realize that outside of the net radio and faster CPU, there was no strong selling point for it. It just sat on my shelf idle for a good 6 months when I finally decided to sell it off.

              Now with my slug with USB sound, mpd + relaxx player, transmission and a host of php apps, I find it does most of what I need it to and doesnt heat up when its off. For the occasional video, I just attach my netbook and good just as good picture and sound as the WDTV and unrestricted YouTube HD. In fact these days with a lot of phones coming out with Full HD, I suspect the utility of the WDTV has fallen even further.



              --- On Sat, 29/1/11, Doug <dsc3507@...> wrote:

              From: Doug <dsc3507@...>
              Subject: Re: [nslu2-general] Another alternative to the slug - $70 refurb WDTV Live
              To: nslu2-general@yahoogroups.com
              Date: Saturday, 29 January, 2011, 10:00 AM







               









              Not sure I understand why 100mb is not enough for any HD streaming. Something

              wrong there. Perhaps the interface is not really running at that speed. You can

              also have a gigabit network with 10/100 devices connected and still utilize the

              added bandwidth between devices that are gigabit connected through a switch. HD

              is somewhere around 20mbit data rate and depending on format and could actually

              be compressed to less than that in many cases. see



              http://www.tomsguide.com/us/video-streaming-need-to-know-part-1,review-760-4.html



              ________________________________

              From: Urban Cubbage <cubbage@...>

              To: nslu2-general@yahoogroups.com

              Sent: Fri, January 28, 2011 2:21:12 PM

              Subject: RE: [nslu2-general] Another alternative to the slug - $70 refurb WDTV

              Live



              I have looked into getting one of these earlier but what stopped me was the

              NIC speed, only 100 Mbs not 1Gbs. I know that 100 will work for HD

              streaming as long as nothing else is working on network then you can get

              studdering and pauses. My network is always doing something 24/7 so I

              refuse to go with slower speeds for streaming. Have retired the slug and at

              moment I am using an old PC with a 1 Gbs nic card in its place. With gig I

              get no studdering or pausing on network. I know people claim that 1 Gbs

              does not help your internet connection except that the internal network is

              at full speed now if only the isp's would get off of their rearends and

              provide decent connection speeds like rest of world has.



              -----Original Message-----

              From: nslu2-general@yahoogroups.com [mailto:nslu2-general@yahoogroups.com]

              On Behalf Of montyny1

              Sent: Friday, January 28, 2011 7:23 AM

              To: nslu2-general@yahoogroups.com

              Subject: [nslu2-general] Another alternative to the slug - $70 refurb WDTV

              Live



              Saw this

              http://www.meritline.com/western-digital-recertified-tv-live-hd-media-player

              ---p-58149.aspx?source=nl110128&hq_e=el&hq_m=2131388&hq_l=45&hq_v=e8cbac4192

              and caught my interest



              From wikipedia:

              WD TV Live



              Released in Fall 2009[7] with Full HD 1080p resolution. An updated device

              with 2-channel DTS, streaming and network support, which comes in the form

              of an Ethernet socket on the back. Also compatible with certain wireless USB

              adapters.[8] Connects to internet sites: YouTube, Flickr, Live365, Pandora,

              Mediafly, Flingo, AccuWeather, Facebook or stream content from a home

              network. Supports a wide variety of the most popular file formats. No need

              for transcoding. Mediafly and DVD menu support added in firmware update.



              The WD TV Live processor, on the other hand, features a 500MHz CPU, a 333MHz

              coprocessor, a 333MHz DSP, and up to 1 GB of 64-bit DDR-2 DRAM. The WD TV

              Live comes with 512MB of DRAM and 256MB of NAND Flash memory installed.

              Western Digital has tweaked the original Sigma SMP8600 Family design

              slightly by including 6 video Digital to Analog Converters (DACs) which

              should give it the ability to handle high-def content with ease.[9]



              Here's how to get optware access -

              http://forum.wdlxtv.com/viewtopic.php?f=40&t=2637&hilit=optware



              Tempted to try one - to run my openvpn, pytivo and other stuff that weighs

              my slug down.



              Bryan.



              ------------------------------------



              Yahoo! Groups Links



              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
























              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • Urban Cubbage
              I have 8 pc s on network, three are servers, 5 are desktops and this does not include any laptops that may be turned on and in use or the two Tivo s I have. If
              Message 6 of 8 , Jan 29, 2011
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                I have 8 pc's on network, three are servers, 5 are desktops and this does not include any laptops that may be turned on and in use or the two Tivo's I have.

                If you look at my reply I indicated that 100 will work until one or two other processes kick off, then I will get chattering/slowing/halting of the HD content. Try streaming two different HD products to two separate pc's and watch what happens on a 100 net versus a 1G net.

                I have all 1G nic's/switches on my network now and very seldom see any problems streaming multiple HD streams while other processes are working. My next upgrade will be smart switches.

                If all you are doing is a single stream then 100 will work great but try 2 or more and see if your 100 can handle it.

                I also do online gaming and host lan parties at my home.


                -----Original Message-----
                From: nslu2-general@yahoogroups.com [mailto:nslu2-general@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Doug
                Sent: Friday, January 28, 2011 8:30 PM
                To: nslu2-general@yahoogroups.com
                Subject: Re: [nslu2-general] Another alternative to the slug - $70 refurb WDTV Live

                Not sure I understand why 100mb is not enough for any HD streaming. Something
                wrong there. Perhaps the interface is not really running at that speed. You can
                also have a gigabit network with 10/100 devices connected and still utilize the
                added bandwidth between devices that are gigabit connected through a switch. HD
                is somewhere around 20mbit data rate and depending on format and could actually
                be compressed to less than that in many cases. see

                http://www.tomsguide.com/us/video-streaming-need-to-know-part-1,review-760-4.html






                ________________________________
                From: Urban Cubbage <cubbage@...>
                To: nslu2-general@yahoogroups.com
                Sent: Fri, January 28, 2011 2:21:12 PM
                Subject: RE: [nslu2-general] Another alternative to the slug - $70 refurb WDTV
                Live


                I have looked into getting one of these earlier but what stopped me was the
                NIC speed, only 100 Mbs not 1Gbs. I know that 100 will work for HD
                streaming as long as nothing else is working on network then you can get
                studdering and pauses. My network is always doing something 24/7 so I
                refuse to go with slower speeds for streaming. Have retired the slug and at
                moment I am using an old PC with a 1 Gbs nic card in its place. With gig I
                get no studdering or pausing on network. I know people claim that 1 Gbs
                does not help your internet connection except that the internal network is
                at full speed now if only the isp's would get off of their rearends and
                provide decent connection speeds like rest of world has.

                -----Original Message-----
                From: nslu2-general@yahoogroups.com [mailto:nslu2-general@yahoogroups.com]
                On Behalf Of montyny1
                Sent: Friday, January 28, 2011 7:23 AM
                To: nslu2-general@yahoogroups.com
                Subject: [nslu2-general] Another alternative to the slug - $70 refurb WDTV
                Live

                Saw this
                http://www.meritline.com/western-digital-recertified-tv-live-hd-media-player
                ---p-58149.aspx?source=nl110128&hq_e=el&hq_m=2131388&hq_l=45&hq_v=e8cbac4192
                and caught my interest

                From wikipedia:
                WD TV Live

                Released in Fall 2009[7] with Full HD 1080p resolution. An updated device
                with 2-channel DTS, streaming and network support, which comes in the form
                of an Ethernet socket on the back. Also compatible with certain wireless USB
                adapters.[8] Connects to internet sites: YouTube, Flickr, Live365, Pandora,
                Mediafly, Flingo, AccuWeather, Facebook or stream content from a home
                network. Supports a wide variety of the most popular file formats. No need
                for transcoding. Mediafly and DVD menu support added in firmware update.

                The WD TV Live processor, on the other hand, features a 500MHz CPU, a 333MHz
                coprocessor, a 333MHz DSP, and up to 1 GB of 64-bit DDR-2 DRAM. The WD TV
                Live comes with 512MB of DRAM and 256MB of NAND Flash memory installed.
                Western Digital has tweaked the original Sigma SMP8600 Family design
                slightly by including 6 video Digital to Analog Converters (DACs) which
                should give it the ability to handle high-def content with ease.[9]

                Here's how to get optware access -
                http://forum.wdlxtv.com/viewtopic.php?f=40&t=2637&hilit=optware

                Tempted to try one - to run my openvpn, pytivo and other stuff that weighs
                my slug down.

                Bryan.

                ------------------------------------

                Yahoo! Groups Links




                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]



                ------------------------------------

                Yahoo! Groups Links
              • Bill
                Really, the network bandwidth you need depends on your encoding. I have about 2000 DVD s I encoded into AVI s (divx) at 1200 kbps + AUDIO, and I thought they
                Message 7 of 8 , Jan 31, 2011
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                  Really, the network bandwidth you need depends on your encoding. I have about 2000 DVD's I encoded into AVI's (divx) at 1200 kbps + AUDIO, and I thought they looked DVD quality. Then I purchased a better TV. Now I'm reconverting the ones I watch frequently with Handbrake into mp4's (h264) with a reasonable constant quality setting. I found for most movies my average rate was below 2000 kbps, but when you watch the rates they sometimes spike as high as 8000 kbps. My wireless network is normally 130 Mbps, so the bottleneck in the NSLU2. However, my maximum sustained speed from the NSLU2 is typically about 4 Mbps. So ever my 480p media would sometimes stutter during movies.

                  Now it turns out, there is the option in handbrake to use a constant quality, but also set a maximum bit rate. So I put the maximum bit rate as 2 Mbps. I cannot see the difference in my 480p videos, but it prevents the same stuttering.

                  One could extrapolate to what would happen with 1080p source. With the same quality settings I would expect an average of below 10 Mbps + audio but peaks as high as 40 Mbps. Some people with even better hardware, larger TV's with greater colour depth, might want a higher quality setting. So I can easily see them hitting peaks of 80 Mbps.

                  Now here is another big problem. Packet loss. If you have multiple things running on your network at the same time, it is possible for two devices to send there networks packets at the same time. Normally the result of this is a packet collision, the result of which is neither packet is received. Packet collisions are very common when you have two clients using more than 15% of your maximum network speed. So even your 20 Mbps example there would be a significant amount of packet loss. Some media players handle packet loss more gracefully than others. Even in the best players occasionally stutter from this.

                  So, I can definitely see why one would prefer 1 Gbps networking for video. However, as I said, a good switch can handle this problem for you. It will receive the 100 Mbps traffic from your server and pass it on as 1 Gbps to your media player. It can also queue up packets from multiple sources so they don't collide. So if you are using a high quality switch, packet collisions should only happen when you exceed the actual available bandwidth.



                  --- In nslu2-general@yahoogroups.com, Doug <dsc3507@...> wrote:
                  >
                  > Not sure I understand why 100mb is not enough for any HD streaming. Something
                  > wrong there. Perhaps the interface is not really running at that speed. You can
                  > also have a gigabit network with 10/100 devices connected and still utilize the
                  > added bandwidth between devices that are gigabit connected through a switch. HD
                  > is somewhere around 20mbit data rate and depending on format and could actually
                  > be compressed to less than that in many cases. see
                  >
                  > http://www.tomsguide.com/us/video-streaming-need-to-know-part-1,review-760-4.html
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > ________________________________
                  > From: Urban Cubbage <cubbage@...>
                  > To: nslu2-general@yahoogroups.com
                  > Sent: Fri, January 28, 2011 2:21:12 PM
                  > Subject: RE: [nslu2-general] Another alternative to the slug - $70 refurb WDTV
                  > Live
                  >
                  >
                  > I have looked into getting one of these earlier but what stopped me was the
                  > NIC speed, only 100 Mbs not 1Gbs. I know that 100 will work for HD
                  > streaming as long as nothing else is working on network then you can get
                  > studdering and pauses. My network is always doing something 24/7 so I
                  > refuse to go with slower speeds for streaming. Have retired the slug and at
                  > moment I am using an old PC with a 1 Gbs nic card in its place. With gig I
                  > get no studdering or pausing on network. I know people claim that 1 Gbs
                  > does not help your internet connection except that the internal network is
                  > at full speed now if only the isp's would get off of their rearends and
                  > provide decent connection speeds like rest of world has.
                  >
                  > -----Original Message-----
                  > From: nslu2-general@yahoogroups.com [mailto:nslu2-general@yahoogroups.com]
                  > On Behalf Of montyny1
                  > Sent: Friday, January 28, 2011 7:23 AM
                  > To: nslu2-general@yahoogroups.com
                  > Subject: [nslu2-general] Another alternative to the slug - $70 refurb WDTV
                  > Live
                  >
                  > Saw this
                  > http://www.meritline.com/western-digital-recertified-tv-live-hd-media-player
                  > ---p-58149.aspx?source=nl110128&hq_e=el&hq_m=2131388&hq_l=45&hq_v=e8cbac4192
                  > and caught my interest
                  >
                  > From wikipedia:
                  > WD TV Live
                  >
                  > Released in Fall 2009[7] with Full HD 1080p resolution. An updated device
                  > with 2-channel DTS, streaming and network support, which comes in the form
                  > of an Ethernet socket on the back. Also compatible with certain wireless USB
                  > adapters.[8] Connects to internet sites: YouTube, Flickr, Live365, Pandora,
                  > Mediafly, Flingo, AccuWeather, Facebook or stream content from a home
                  > network. Supports a wide variety of the most popular file formats. No need
                  > for transcoding. Mediafly and DVD menu support added in firmware update.
                  >
                  > The WD TV Live processor, on the other hand, features a 500MHz CPU, a 333MHz
                  > coprocessor, a 333MHz DSP, and up to 1 GB of 64-bit DDR-2 DRAM. The WD TV
                  > Live comes with 512MB of DRAM and 256MB of NAND Flash memory installed.
                  > Western Digital has tweaked the original Sigma SMP8600 Family design
                  > slightly by including 6 video Digital to Analog Converters (DACs) which
                  > should give it the ability to handle high-def content with ease.[9]
                  >
                  > Here's how to get optware access -
                  > http://forum.wdlxtv.com/viewtopic.php?f=40&t=2637&hilit=optware
                  >
                  > Tempted to try one - to run my openvpn, pytivo and other stuff that weighs
                  > my slug down.
                  >
                  > Bryan.
                  >
                  > ------------------------------------
                  >
                  > Yahoo! Groups Links
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  >
                • Mike Westerhof
                  ... Bill makes a great point here. I ll expand on that a bit for the benefit of those in the larger community that might be looking at re-doing their network.
                  Message 8 of 8 , Jan 31, 2011
                  • 0 Attachment
                    Bill wrote:
                    > ...
                    > So, I can definitely see why one would prefer 1 Gbps networking for video. However, as I said, a good switch can handle this problem for you. It will receive the 100 Mbps traffic from your server and pass it on as 1 Gbps to your media player. It can also queue up packets from multiple sources so they don't collide. So if you are using a high quality switch, packet collisions should only happen when you exceed the actual available bandwidth.
                    Bill makes a great point here. I'll expand on that a bit for the
                    benefit of those in the larger community that might be looking at
                    re-doing their network. If you've invested in high-end electronics, but
                    cable them all up to a $45 router, your performance is going to suck.
                    Upgrading to gigabit will mask the problem, but it's still the case that
                    a cheap switch is going to underperform -- there's a reason that
                    companies pay hundreds of dollars for switches. One of the key measures
                    is internal bandwidth of the switch, another is latency (one of the
                    considerations being how quickly can the switch figure out where to send
                    the incoming packet), and a killer for home use is the behavior of the
                    switch when presented with different speeds (and duplex settings) on the
                    various ports. My network includes a pair of Dell managed gigabit
                    switches for the big machines, with a scattering of consumer-grade
                    switches where performance is not at a premium -- such a mix keeps costs
                    low. And as for my router, it has 4 ports -- but only one is in use
                    (cabled to one of the bit gigabit switches), because like most routers
                    the switch inside it pretty much sucks. And wifi is barely used in my
                    network - the marketing hype around the speeds is all hype and no
                    substance, in real life, even a the "n" wifi connections don't work as
                    well as even a slow wired connection. Don't believe the hype...

                    There are plenty of reviews and performance test results just a quick
                    google away - I'd encourage folks to check those before buying. And if
                    you've never considered that thing you plug those cables into, perhaps
                    you might like to check out its performance and see if you lucked out
                    and bought a good one, or if the marketeers pulled one over on you! :-)

                    -Mike (mwester)
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