Although there are some alternatives on the market, my favourite is still Plex. I have been using it at home for a few years now.
The solution includes:
- A Mac mini server with 6TB of external storage (to hold my movies and TV shows). The Mac mini runsthe Plex media server. This handles the streaming of all content to other devices in my home.
- An Apple TV as a Plex media client. After jail-breaking my Apple TV 2, I could get SSH access and then install the Plex client. Although a Mac mini would do the job (I actually started off with a Mac mini connected to a 42-inch Samsung TV), I have found the Apple TV far more convenient as an “appliance” (and the £99 price helped as well 😉
- The final piece of the puzzle was the Plex app for iOS. The iPhone and iPad apps can connect to the Plex server (after forwarding the necessary TCP ports) and play the media anywhere with an Internet connection. The apps have a really nice user interface. It even streams over 3G (although the monthly quotas could pose a problem).
Having everything connect back to the central Plex media server means that the status of any media files are updated seamlessly across all devices, including watched / unwatched status and even the last point I reached in a film. This means that I can stop a film on my Apple TV at home, pick up the iPad and be asked if I would like to start the movie from the beginning or carry on where I left off!