Anyway I digress-I have more than one TV-the other main TV is in another room, away from the PC which has Serviio. I dont have direct Ethernet connectivity and the walls/floor prohibit me from running cables. I want to be able for my kids to watch films (or me) in this room. I have tried wireless but wireless, believe it or not, does not lend itself to media streaming, especially when you get onto the Blu-ray DVD's or HD. It just doesn't. When I say wireless, I mean taking a wireless router and popping on the likes of DD-WRT firmware-this extends the functionality with things like repeater functions. But what I found was that when you get to the 9-10Mb/secs rate (Fantastic Mr Fox is an example), you get stuttering/freezing etc-and then the cry from the kids comes up "Dad-the TV is preparing to play again"!
So I looked at Powerline-basically its a technology that has been about for years (I remember discussing it in 2000) which really should have beaten wireless hands down, in the home, but for some reason (regulation,standards bodies etc) it lagged and wireless filled the void. Wireless was going the same way but the vendors got sick of the regulators and just started launching products-consumers lapped it up and Wi-Fi was born.
Powerline uses the mains circuits in the home to tranfer Ethernet data-same idea as wireless (a conversion ) but not through the air.You need at least 2 adaptors-one connected usually to your home router (the assumption being your main PC is also connected to the router) and the other at the TV. Another reason Powerline has not flew are the prices-your still looking at £40-50 UK for just one circuit-this adds up for a big house and you dont get the conveince of wireless. And this only gets you the "basic" bandwidth model-I'll come onto that shortly. What also happens is that you take up a mains plug socket-so you really need a double socket next to the TV (one for your Powerline box and the other for your TV), or you get a passthru Powerline unit (more expense again). And guess what?-Powerline hates extension leads (I quote from the ZyXel website FAQ " It is not advised to use PowerLine HomePlug Adapters with an extension lead as this can lead to a degradation of throughput signal or in case stop the signal completely") Oh yes, they despise each other.So you can see the consumer barriers starting to come up here-price, functionality and ease of use. And for some reason, some companies think that electric blue is a nice colour to have sticking out of your sockets, rather than white-my wife particularly hates those ones! There are also security issues but unless your in a flat, you should be ok.
Perfromance wise-this does grate on me-you have 3 standards at the moment-by speed it is 14Mb/secs,85Mb/secs and 200Mb/secs. As with wireless, you will get nowhere near this speed.The 14M/secs I could manage 5Mb/secs throughput, the 85Mb/secs I could manage 25Mb/secs-I've not tried the 200Mb/secs because frankly, I'm not shelling out for a 3rd time to be dissapointed. And the above speeds were 2 laptops, on 2 Powerline adaptors, on the same wall socket-start going between rooms or different ring circuits and the speed drops dramatically.My house is only 10 years old so the electrics are fine. Its just not very good.
So I'll be using Powerline as a filler at the moment-dont be fooled by the claims. If you can run Ethernet cables, please do-it really is the only way.The other suggestion is you use a combination of wireless for low bandwidth/easy use/conveince with Powerline for point to point circuits. But dont depend on one of the two to fill all your needs as you'll be dissapointed. With the media home on its way, somebody better had come up with an alternative to wired Ethernet or plasterers will be in big demand shortly