Jun 16, 2010

Quick and Dirty Media Server For Your Wii

My wife and I are in the market to save a few bucks. In this economy who isn't right? My buddy and fellow Bauer-Power contributor, Sundance, has been preaching up and down for the last few years how people should make the full switch from cable/satellite TV and move strictly to using Internet media. In fact, he was even interviewed by the New York Times about how he was able to do it. Going strictly Internet of course includes content from Hulu, downloads from Bittorrent, podcasts, etc.

Most of us don't want to stay huddled around a computer to watch TV though, and that is where media servers come in. Sundance has blogged in the past about using Tversity. I gave it a try, but found it froze up a lot, and was slow on my Nintendo Wii. Eventually I think I want to either get an Mvix Ultio or a WD Live TV Plus. I will probably go with the latter because it is cheaper. We'll see.

Anyhoo, in an effort to convince my wife that we can save money by ditching AT&T Uverse TV, and just keep the Internet I needed to setup a home media server. Since I don't have $120 of disposable income at the moment, I thought I would try turning my Wii into a media server. It turns out it is ridiculously easy!

Like I mentioned above, I tried Tversity, and didn't like it too much. You might have better luck. What I ended up going with is another free program called Orb. Orb installs as a service on your computer, and talks back to the Orb "MyCast" servers. This is pretty cool because it gives you access to your media anywhere in the world you have a browser handy without opening ports on your firewall. You can even stream media on your iPhone!

Setup is a quick exercise in "next, next next, done" and you are ready to watch Internet media on your TV using your Wii Internet Browser. To access Orb on your Wii just browse to http://mycast.orb.com and login using your Orb account. I recommend configuring the browser bar on the Wii to auto-hide, and to save Orb as a favorite.

That being said, getting media to your computer takes a little jerry rigging. Orb isn't as self contained as Tversity. I had to install Miro to download my favorite podcasts from sites like Revision3, and I had to add TV show bittorrent RSS feeds to my uTorrent client to get the TV shows. Once that was setup, all I had to do was share out my downloads directory. Also, video on the Wii over Orb is rather grainy, but it is still watchable. Like the title says, the setup is quick but dirty. I figure this setup will suffice until I can get my Mvix or my WD Live TV box.

Are you using a media center at home? Do you have an Mvix, or WD Live TV? Do you like them or dislike them? Let me know how you view your Internet content at home in the comments!

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