All Wires

May 3, 2017

I have a new policy in my home network and media center: more wires. My media set up used to be a Plex client on my PS4 (and previously an Apple TV) streaming data from a server on the wireless network from a server with external drives attached.

About half the time, it was fine. The other half was plagued with intermittent problems of various sorts. Video would stutter, stop partway through, or mysteriously fail to start until the second or third try. It was all very hard to diagnose. Maybe my wireless signal was too weak, my server underpowered for transcoding purposes, or Plex for PS4 too buggy; maybe all of the above.

A configuration that works some of the time is almost worse than one that works none of the time. Every time you turn it on is the likely start of a debugging odyssey involving restarting things, adjusting streaming configurations, and repositioning access points. All in all, there’s a reasonable chance that I spent more time playing with it throughout its lifetime than using it to watch movies and TV.

I recently tore it all down and replaced it with a new setup: a drive connected to an old Mac connected right into the TV. No more wireless. No more suspect software or operating systems. No more transcoding. No more APs. No more PS4 or Apple TV. When I play something now, it works, and it works the first time.

All Wires was published on May 3, 2017.

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