OK, this is an incredibly noob question and you will all lose respect for me. But take this situation:
OK, I am streaming media from the server on the left to the PC on the left running XBMC at my TV. The data rate is slower than I would have thought over all gigabit lines. I know there are a jillion things that could be causing this, from software to drivers to, well, lots of stuff. I have one narrow question.
And this is the embarassingly noob part. I am presuming that all the data does not actually go through the router, that it can just go from server to switch to TV. The router is actually on the other side of the house connected by a long line across the roof of questionable quality. I know the router is involved - I picture small packets of data going to the switch with routing information.
So the question: is there any reason a bad cable from the router to the switch above -- one that still passes data but slower than gigabit speeds -- would slow down streaming from the server to the TV?
Update: Thanks for the help in the comments. I am increasingly suspicious I have a graphics driver problem that is causing stuttering on 1080p playback, and I will test that out this weekend. Turns out there are a lot of XBMC users in the group. I used to be a SageTV guy, and I still think their HD hardware streamers were a great solution. But after Google bought them a couple of years ago they went dark. There is still an active community but I was ready to move on. I have switched to XBMC and have been very happy (I never used the TV/recording functions in Sage so the fact XBMC does not have these was no problem, though the OpenElec variant does have them). I hope to put a post up with my experiences and observations. I have now done XBMC installations on Windows PCs, an Ubuntu box, using OpenElec (a linux variant), and on an old Apple TV2. As it turns out I still have not found the perfect installation, but with the right box I may find it with Openelec.