Compare Media Server Capabilities - PS3, Iomega Screenplay Pro HD, WD TV HD

Posted on 2009-02-23
Last Modified: 2013-12-07
I have a PS3 and am considering purchasing a media server -  Iomega Screenplay Pro HD or WD TV HD are a couple I'm looking at. Other suggestions would be considered. I wonder whether these other units would provide more capability, better menus, as good audio and video quality as the PS3, or whether I would be wasting my money.
Question by:rdperkins
    LVL 9

    Expert Comment

    Well for a "better" solution it mainly is all due to method of transfer, types of files you use, amount of space your media takes up, etc.

    So, what sort of audio files do you use (format/quality/file size for complete collection/DRM?)?
    What sort of video files (format/size of collection/DRM?)?
    Do you like the menu of the PS3? or do you need something more?
    Do you want to use your solution for displaying pictures?

    The reason for all those questions is EVERY home media player/display thing has some sort of limitation on something listed above. Most media players have a limitation of codecs or amount of backup room (heck the max you can do in the ps3 atm is 500GB due to using a laptop hard drive). As to the menu, some have a visual display like the ps3, but realistically it would just help to know a bit of what you find useful about the PS3 to know if you should upgrade (also which version of the ps3 you have as the 60GB one is more useful due to the media reader than the other ps3s).

    Author Comment

    I have the 80gb PS3, recently upgraded the firmware.
    Most of my music is non-DRM, ripped MP3s
    I have 80gb of pictures, mostly jpeg but some raw
    I plan on using an external usb hard drive (500gb) to store videos, which I plan to convert to MPEG-4
    I plan, within the next couple of months, extending the cat5 to reach my PS3 and could then stream music and pictures from my computer, but don't know how fast the video would be - it may work better from a directly attached usb drive.
    I think the PS3 music menu looks nice, but thinking of clicking through hundreds of albums - right below the MUSIC menu and not broken down by artist or genre - seems a bit much.
    LVL 9

    Expert Comment

    Well it seems the "non PS3" method is your best choice, though both of the Media "servers" you listed are quite... limited. Though both have a RJ-45 connector and a digitial optical they seem to do exactly what ANY computer does. If you just setup sharing correctly on your computer, it would be more useful than these limited boxes.

    If I HAD to choose between the three the WD TV HD is the best and seems to fit ALL of your needs.

    Author Comment

    KrazyRhino, I haven't bought anything besides the PS3 yet, so do you have other suggestions?
    LVL 9

    Accepted Solution

    Well as i said, if I had to choose, the WD TV HD is the best for your needs. My comment about them being limited is that you are basically asking for what an HTPC is supposed to do (but HTPCs are still in their infancy), so ALL the technology is new or new-ish. That being said, the WD TV HD does have useful features and the price point and availability is neat (heck you can get one from best buy).

    The other point I was trying to make is if you setup your computer right, and stream via windows media player or winamp, or whatever you choose as a media player software, you get all the functionality and skip the hassle of another box (also you save the 130 bucks).

    So, this is just my opinion, if you don't mind using another box, do the WD TV HD, if you want a more useful all around thing, stream via your computer with a cat5 cable), the third option is to replace out the hard drive on the ps3 with a bigger laptop hard drive (though the limits currently of laptop hard drives are 500GB), but that is only a partial solution and not really useful.

    Author Closing Comment

    I noticed that both the WD and Linksys have downsides currently. For the time being I will use the PS3, streaming from Windows Media Player, and attaching a large USB/FAT32 drive for my videos. Hopefully the next generation of players and/or a PS3 software/firmware update will improve things further. Thanks.

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