A media server is a dedicated computer appliance or application providing video on demand but can also be setup for dedicated storage of digital media. The media server can also allow users to access media from a remote location via the internet but can also be setup to host media for large websites.
Typically media servers require large amounts of RAM, a powerful mutlicore CPU and often very large amounts of storage provided by several RAID drives. Higher performance depends on being able to scale up the hardware to deal with changing requirements and can depend on the playback requirements of the video content.
Home Theater PC offerings with media server capabilities
- Cisco Video Portal
- Got All Media
- XBMC Media Center
- Xtream Media Servers
There are a number of related devices that are available that are a hybrid model designed for consumers that are lower spec and are offered in various pricing levels.
- Cross Platform – Boxee, Apple TV, PS3 Media Server, Xbox 360
- Set-top Boxes – DreamBox, HP MediaSmart, TiVo, Roku Digital Player, Telstra TBox, SageTV, Slingbox, Netgear Digital Entertainer, DBox2