I forgot to post these last time.
For the most part my media server and recording box are just machines and parts I have retired. My media server is probably close to 6 years old, and the media capture is probably 3 years old. The only reason really my media capture pc is as powerful as it, is because I game on it from time to time. The server has onboard video but I haven't connected it to a monitor since I installed WHS2011, its really just headless and sits in a corner of my office. (I am in the process of moving nearly everything of mine into a server rack. I have close to 10 machines or so.)
As for the advantages of WHS2011 over NAS. Well there are quite a few really but none are necessary for media storage. It just makes life easier. I can say that my copy once premium recordings were playable on multiple machines when I was using the cable card setups. (I've since dropped paying for any cable whatsoever an just watch clear QAM stuff and online content.) The copy once flag still remained if I didn't re-encode it before it was moved to the WHS2011 with the built in WHS Connector software.
Now I can not confirm if that was just a fluke that it was working like or if something in my moving, transcoding, commercial stripping, meta-data updating, etc... happened to remove the flag. Entirely possible I suppose but something that happened unintentionally. Perhaps the WHS Connector software flagged the content as playable only from the WHS through another machine. The WHS box is a certified DLNA server device so that is possible.
There are ways to remove the copy once flag but I'll leave that to others to research as I haven't bothered with it much. If you go with a NAS solution then there are a couple things you will have to set up to move the files around and then share them again.
Any hardware should be able to handle this kind of stuff. If you doing any transcoding or similar then a more powerful machine is nice to have. The server or NAS should be a low power as possible as you will leave it on 24/7. Mine barely pulls more than 100w from the wall. The biggest expense here will be hard drives. I have several Tb's of just media. There are other members with 40+ Tb of media.
Originally Posted by Jeffwx7
The problem with using HTPCs on the other TVs is how to watch recorded premium content with the "copy once" flag. Another thing to keep in mind (which likely is not a problem for you but worth mentioning) is that your HTPC MUST be hooked up via HDMI or DVI to your TV. VGA and Display Port will not work.
These are very good points. Supposedly since displayport 1.1 is now HDCP compliant Microsoft is trying to add a fix into the W8 WMC for it to work. I have found no plans for them to do it for W7 though. Too few displayport only TVs and monitors for it to really be an issue. (I happen to own a monitor with displayport only and it can be a pain with things.)
I have to say that my setup is over the top for most people. I live by myself and have all this going on but I had the stuff to begin with and thought why not. My friends get a kick out of coming over and being able to find just about anything they can think of to watch or listen to. Start with a single PC and cable card tuner. If you find you like it then start building up from there. At the end of the day some people just don't care for it. They end up buying a couple of TiVos and move on.