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NFT: Home Media Server Questions

ImThatGuy : 2/10/2019 6:11 pm
Whats your setup like? Any suggestions?

My plan is to run a plex server, problem is I don't have any old computers that I can use and don't want to keep any of the laptops on permanently. I have an old android phone that I could use but that obviously has some space limitations, and I have some external hard drives but none are wifi enabled so I think I'm stuck. I'm leaning towards getting a NAS system setup. Thoughts?

Primary uses are to stream to tv players (roku/amazon) and i want to be able to backup photos from cell phones to the server.

Can anyone recommend a good/reasonably priced NAS? Is there something else I should be considering?
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Mac Mini  
Ben in Tampa : 2/10/2019 6:22 pm : link
may be a good solution for you if you're willing to run a Mac server. Pricey though.
Yeah I'm at that point to where I have been...  
Johnny5 : 2/10/2019 8:14 pm : link
... starting to research. I'm thinking it may be cheaper to get a desktop and RAID out a few larger hard drives. Best Buy has some towers that aren't terribly expensive. I was thinking I might add gaming to it though as well, which blows that idea out of the water lol. Looking forward to seeing what other people have done here.
I have a Synology Diskstation  
Gary from The East End : Admin : 2/10/2019 10:52 pm : link
It has all the stuff you need baked in, plus you can leave it on all the time. Power consumption is a lot lower than a tower PC.
This depends on your budget  
jcn56 : 2/10/2019 11:16 pm : link
I'd second a Synology because they're as close to plug and play as humanly possible.

If you do, be sure to run some form of RAID as backup because today's drives run hot and aren't anywhere near as reliable as they used to be, and you want to be able to recover from one of them failing.

If that's outside the budget zone - you can run Plex full time on one of the cheaper Intel NUC offerings. That's more DIY - you'll have to buy a SSD and memory and install the OS and configure it yourself, but that'll fit in the palm of your hand, does second duty as a HTPC and is very low power consumption. You can stick it to the back of the TV you'll primarily be using.
Synology  
ImThatGuy : 2/11/2019 6:54 am : link
Thanks both - I like the idea of plug n play.

Honestly haven't thought of a budget but realistically what do you think a reasonable setup should cost? I'm probably going to start with 4TB but would like the option to expand later. Would need NAS + HDs - anything else I'm missing?
You can go with a  
D-Rod : 2/11/2019 7:22 am : link
Nvidia Shield as well to use as Plex server.
I run Plex on a...  
Vinny from Danbury : 2/11/2019 7:34 am : link
PC I basically built for it about 4 years ago. A Celeron FX8530 CPU, 16gb ram. SSD System drive, and I'm now up to 12TB of internal storage, and 8TB external. Mostly all for Plex media. And I need to get another harddrive soon. lol...
RE: I run Plex on a...  
Johnny5 : 2/11/2019 7:39 am : link
In comment 14292903 Vinny from Danbury said:
Quote:
PC I basically built for it about 4 years ago. A Celeron FX8530 CPU, 16gb ram. SSD System drive, and I'm now up to 12TB of internal storage, and 8TB external. Mostly all for Plex media. And I need to get another harddrive soon. lol...

This is the route I'm thinking about going because I am thinking to do an all in one... DAW, PLEX type media, and even a little gaming... lol. Not sure if it's realistic based on what I want to spend but I'll find out.
Emby  
Bockman : 2/11/2019 7:48 am : link
Way better than plex imo
I assume this synology  
I Love Clams Casino : 2/11/2019 8:27 am : link
is a solid state drive, yes?
I've been using windows home server since 2010  
Gordo : 2/11/2019 12:16 pm : link
Works amazingly well. Just ditched my HTPC for An Amazon Firestick 4k with Kodi side loaded. Much smaller footprint and no wires. The homeserver is basically acting like a network share now. I don't really like to keep too much local as the overhead is a pain. Now I just stream movies and tv through Kodi and forget trying to store them.

RE: I assume this synology  
Jim in Fairfax : 2/11/2019 1:52 pm : link
In comment 14292935 I Love Clams Casino said:
Quote:
is a solid state drive, yes?

Thatís up to you. Itís a NAS system with empty drive bays. The drives you put in is up to you.

Not an expert in this, but Iím doubtful itís a good idea to use SSDs. Not sure they will hold up or not. And I doubt you get any benefit as your network connection to the NAS will be slower than what conventional disk drives can output.
I had an old  
FranchiseQB : 2/11/2019 1:59 pm : link
NAS I was using and was never very happy with. Then I bought a DS418j by Synology. I love it.

For now I use it to stream movies to different boxes, cheap Android box, sometimes an old wdtv. The networking is simple and usually works flawlessly. I have not set up music with it yet but I intend to and expect it will be even smoother than movie files. For now I use plex to sonos for music with the files originating on a home computer. The Synology box I bought doesnt have a native plex app (they may now but not last I checked).

At some point I will migrate the music files over to the synology and set up plex server on the box. From my experience I would expect it to be 95% reliable.

Though you can set it up as a raid I have my box formatted as straight storage and not as a raid. I don't need redundancy.

There are other good boxes out there, i am sure. But synology has been good for me.
RE: RE: I assume this synology  
jcn56 : 2/11/2019 4:00 pm : link
In comment 14293408 Jim in Fairfax said:
Quote:
In comment 14292935 I Love Clams Casino said:


Quote:


is a solid state drive, yes?


Thatís up to you. Itís a NAS system with empty drive bays. The drives you put in is up to you.

Not an expert in this, but Iím doubtful itís a good idea to use SSDs. Not sure they will hold up or not. And I doubt you get any benefit as your network connection to the NAS will be slower than what conventional disk drives can output.


Unless you have 10GbE on the back end, you'd probably never get to the point where the extra performance would be noticeable. And that's before you get into the issues that SSDs have with continuous writes.

Regular old drives work just fine, just read the reviews before you jump in to identify any that have reliability concerns.

An old PC seems like a good idea - but you have to factor in the cost of electricity when doing so. Some old PCs can draw more than the cost of that efficient NAS system over the long run.

The one thing to consider about Synology is that they have different product lines, and not all of them will support Plex (or some might struggle to transcode). Lower end ARM processors in use for some of the value line probably won't get the job done.
RE: RE: RE: I assume this synology  
FranchiseQB : 2/11/2019 4:59 pm : link
In comment 14293596 jcn56 said:
Quote:
In comment 14293408 Jim in Fairfax said:


Quote:


In comment 14292935 I Love Clams Casino said:


Quote:


is a solid state drive, yes?


Thatís up to you. Itís a NAS system with empty drive bays. The drives you put in is up to you.

Not an expert in this, but Iím doubtful itís a good idea to use SSDs. Not sure they will hold up or not. And I doubt you get any benefit as your network connection to the NAS will be slower than what conventional disk drives can output.



Unless you have 10GbE on the back end, you'd probably never get to the point where the extra performance would be noticeable. And that's before you get into the issues that SSDs have with continuous writes.

Regular old drives work just fine, just read the reviews before you jump in to identify any that have reliability concerns.

An old PC seems like a good idea - but you have to factor in the cost of electricity when doing so. Some old PCs can draw more than the cost of that efficient NAS system over the long run.

The one thing to consider about Synology is that they have different product lines, and not all of them will support Plex (or some might struggle to transcode). Lower end ARM processors in use for some of the value line probably won't get the job done.



I agree it is good to check out the processor. I will say my Synology ds418j has an ARM processor and I have no problems. I am streaming large files but I am not doing any transcoding with the box, rather I am streaming to other boxes (cheap ones) that do the transcoding. Maybe that is why the ARM processor is sufficient for me.
My Synology Diskstation is quite old  
Gary from The East End : Admin : 2/11/2019 6:39 pm : link
I bought the DS210j R in 2010 and put two 1.5 TB disks configured for RAID 1 (mirrored)

It's been working pretty good for me, although it doesn't have enough CPU to do much more than file serving.
I would definitely NOT use a NAS as a media server  
Knineteen : 2/12/2019 12:45 am : link
NAS devices do not have the processing power to serve up transcoded media.

I built a simple and energy-efficient desktop computer for around $400 (CPU/mobo/RAM) and use it as a Plex server. All my media is local to the desktop. I enabled Wake-On-LAN and can turn-on the desktop from my phone. The server is also directly connected via HDMI for media that can only be played on a browser.
My media is bit-for-bit rips of blu-rays and the server can handle one stream easily.
I've been using this setup for about 3 years and it's fantastic.

Previous to this setup, I did a lot of research on using NAS as a server and it just isn't worth it. The amount you'll spend on a NAS...it's more cost-effective to built a desktop with spare parts.
And to add....  
Knineteen : 2/12/2019 12:50 am : link
I spent hours trying to figure out Plex transcoding and I just couldn't understand the technicalities of it.

The Plex transcoder ALWAYS runs regardless of what client I'm on. Any deviation from the source's bitrate, resolution, etc., is going to require a transcode. There's no reason to let a NAS handle such a task.
RE: I would definitely NOT use a NAS as a media server  
FranchiseQB : 2/12/2019 1:29 am : link
In comment 14294003 Knineteen said:
Quote:
NAS devices do not have the processing power to serve up transcoded media.

I built a simple and energy-efficient desktop computer for around $400 (CPU/mobo/RAM) and use it as a Plex server. All my media is local to the desktop. I enabled Wake-On-LAN and can turn-on the desktop from my phone. The server is also directly connected via HDMI for media that can only be played on a browser.
My media is bit-for-bit rips of blu-rays and the server can handle one stream easily.
I've been using this setup for about 3 years and it's fantastic.

Previous to this setup, I did a lot of research on using NAS as a server and it just isn't worth it. The amount you'll spend on a NAS...it's more cost-effective to built a desktop with spare parts.



your setup sounds good and cost effective. But I would still swear by the synology solution. I made a mistake above. There is no transcoding in my flow. I have files on the synology that stream out to kodi on an android box or a wdtv. they can also stream out to other devices that can play back the formats. I have bluray rips as well and have no problems. it is a simple and elegant solution and there is no need for a transcode.
Knineteen  
ImThatGuy : 2/12/2019 7:23 am : link
Can you share the computer specs? Or what I should look for that makes the PC energy efficient.

Wanna buy another pc? (Only half joking here)
^^^  
ImThatGuy : 2/12/2019 7:23 am : link
*wanna BUILD another PC?
Blanket statements like this are silly  
jcn56 : 2/12/2019 7:40 am : link
Quote:
I would definitely NOT use a NAS as a media server


You can find plenty of NAS boxes that have more than enough processing power to transcode and do other things. The issue is you'll be paying more to do so - and at some point the cost of combining the NAS and transcoding into a single box might exceed your budget. The payoff of course is ease of deployment - in the case of Synology, it's practically plug and play.

ITG - if you're serious about building a HTPC, check out those NUCs from Intel. They range in processor and go on sale from time to time, and you can build a decent one in the i5 category for about $400. They're practically silent, fit in the palm of your hand, and expend very little power compared to a desktop PC.
i still think  
FranchiseQB : 2/12/2019 11:20 am : link
too much is being made of transcoding in this conversation. What are you playing the media on? Personally, getting a cheap android box ($50-$150) with Kodi or some other box (ie, wdtv) is the best solution because these boxes with very few exceptions play every format you throw at them. Am I missing something? If you do this, the processing power of a NAS to transcode is irrelevant and you dont have to spend extra money for a better processor. This is almost as cost effective as building a computer and a heck of a lot easier - I think.
RE: i still think  
Gary from The East End : Admin : 2/12/2019 1:05 pm : link
In comment 14294417 FranchiseQB said:
Quote:
too much is being made of transcoding in this conversation. What are you playing the media on? Personally, getting a cheap android box ($50-$150) with Kodi or some other box (ie, wdtv) is the best solution because these boxes with very few exceptions play every format you throw at them. Am I missing something? If you do this, the processing power of a NAS to transcode is irrelevant and you dont have to spend extra money for a better processor. This is almost as cost effective as building a computer and a heck of a lot easier - I think.


I think this is correct. I have an Nvidia Shield and jailbroken Fire devices with Kodi installed. They all play media off my NAS with no issue. No transcoding required.
The need for transcoding has diminished somewhat  
jcn56 : 2/12/2019 1:22 pm : link
but it's going to depend on your end devices and the formats you have your media in.

Truth be told - I find myself mostly not even using Plex, and just using the native devices accessing the NAS directly. When I do need Plex, it's because the end device doesn't support the media in question (the PS4 is a notoriously picky consumer of media), or because I'm doing something on the fly (I use HDHomeRun receivers for both OTA and CableCard cable access to get all the clients in the house TV access).
RE: RE: i still think  
FranchiseQB : 2/12/2019 2:48 pm : link
In comment 14294553 Gary from The East End said:
Quote:
In comment 14294417 FranchiseQB said:


Quote:


too much is being made of transcoding in this conversation. What are you playing the media on? Personally, getting a cheap android box ($50-$150) with Kodi or some other box (ie, wdtv) is the best solution because these boxes with very few exceptions play every format you throw at them. Am I missing something? If you do this, the processing power of a NAS to transcode is irrelevant and you dont have to spend extra money for a better processor. This is almost as cost effective as building a computer and a heck of a lot easier - I think.



I think this is correct. I have an Nvidia Shield and jailbroken Fire devices with Kodi installed. They all play media off my NAS with no issue. No transcoding required.


sounds like we have almost identical setups. I don't have the Shield but I have a more generic version of this style of box. Shield is the best Android/Kodi box out there (probably).
RE: The need for transcoding has diminished somewhat  
FranchiseQB : 2/12/2019 2:53 pm : link
In comment 14294564 jcn56 said:
Quote:
but it's going to depend on your end devices and the formats you have your media in.

Truth be told - I find myself mostly not even using Plex, and just using the native devices accessing the NAS directly. When I do need Plex, it's because the end device doesn't support the media in question (the PS4 is a notoriously picky consumer of media), or because I'm doing something on the fly (I use HDHomeRun receivers for both OTA and CableCard cable access to get all the clients in the house TV access).


I think Plex could depend on what you are serving. I use Plex for music only. And only in support of Sonos because Sonos has a file number limit. Plex bypasses the limit. Plex is also better for creating playlists. So I get Sonos to fetch a Plex playlist and play it on a Sonos device.

Movies usually don't require playlists. Mainly you want to get your one movie and watch. So what I need from the front end is a list and sometimes a bit of gui with info, which Kodi can provide. I mainly need a setup that pushes a load of data to the front end. As long as the front end can see it and play it, I'm pretty happy.
RE: Knineteen  
Knineteen : 2/12/2019 3:44 pm : link
In comment 14294071 ImThatGuy said:
Quote:
Can you share the computer specs? Or what I should look for that makes the PC energy efficient.

Wanna buy another pc? (Only half joking here)

Sure, specs are in the link.

This was built 2.5 years ago and cost me $227 for these parts.

CPU performance impacts the server the most:
https://www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu.php?cpu=Intel+Core+i3-4170+%40+3.70GHz&id=2522

Obviously, you want the highest 'Average CPU Mark' you can afford, but this CPU works perfectly fine for my needs.

Also, review the 'Typical TDP' to determine power usage. I wanted to go with AMD because they are cheap but their power consumption is excessive.


CPU prices are weird. I bought that chip for $117 in 2016 and it's selling now on NewEgg for $169.
I usually try to find a decent balance between 'Average CPU Mark', 'Typical TDP' and price.
Plex Server Specs - ( New Window )
.  
Knineteen : 2/12/2019 3:58 pm : link
The entire purpose of my Plex Server was to eliminate the clutter of DVD and BluRay disks.
By digitizing everything, I can store away all these disks and I can watch my movies anywhere in my household with a few clicks.
In addition, I bought a SynologyNAS (DS216j) and placed all my family's home videos on it.
I created a share from the NAS and can play any of my home videos on-demand via Plex.

There is absolutely no way that NAS can transcode any of my media.

I tried building a dirt-cheap and massively energy-efficient Plex server using an AMD Athlon 5350 APU for $53:
https://www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu.php?cpu=AMD+Athlon+5350+APU&id=2195

The thing failed terribly. Yet, it's significantly more powerful than most NAS chips.
So yes, you can have the NAS also perform the transcoding if you want to spend thousands of dollars.
Or, you can spend a few hundred dollars and build your own dedicated server that will seamlessly handle transcoding on all levels.
RE: .  
FranchiseQB : 2/12/2019 4:04 pm : link
In comment 14294706 Knineteen said:
Quote:
The entire purpose of my Plex Server was to eliminate the clutter of DVD and BluRay disks.
By digitizing everything, I can store away all these disks and I can watch my movies anywhere in my household with a few clicks.
In addition, I bought a SynologyNAS (DS216j) and placed all my family's home videos on it.
I created a share from the NAS and can play any of my home videos on-demand via Plex.

There is absolutely no way that NAS can transcode any of my media.

I tried building a dirt-cheap and massively energy-efficient Plex server using an AMD Athlon 5350 APU for $53:
https://www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu.php?cpu=AMD+Athlon+5350+APU&id=2195

The thing failed terribly. Yet, it's significantly more powerful than most NAS chips.
So yes, you can have the NAS also perform the transcoding if you want to spend thousands of dollars.
Or, you can spend a few hundred dollars and build your own dedicated server that will seamlessly handle transcoding on all levels.


dude, as I and others have said here. Stick the media on a NAS, network it to an android box with Kodi, there is no transcoding. Total cost $600-700
.  
FranchiseQB : 2/12/2019 4:05 pm : link
And Kodi will give you as much front end gui and graphics as you want. If Plex requires transcoding then it is a pain in the ass, though I am glad it works for you.
RE: Blanket statements like this are silly  
Knineteen : 2/12/2019 4:08 pm : link
In comment 14294086 jcn56 said:
Quote:
You can find plenty of NAS boxes that have more than enough processing power to transcode and do other things.

This suggests otherwise:
https://support.plex.tv/articles/201373823-nas-devices-and-limitations/

Quote:
By far the biggest limitation with most NAS is processor-based. Very few NAS contain powerful processors, which can have a significant impact on your experience using Plex.

Virtually every Plex App will need content to be transcoded at least some of the time.
RE: RE: .  
Knineteen : 2/12/2019 4:15 pm : link
In comment 14294720 FranchiseQB said:
Quote:
dude, as I and others have said here. Stick the media on a NAS, network it to an android box with Kodi, there is no transcoding. Total cost $600-700

I built my own Plex Server for $300...

And I'm guessing I would need a Kodi TV box for every TV, right?

Plex offers clients on almost every device for free.
RE: RE: Blanket statements like this are silly  
jcn56 : 2/12/2019 4:23 pm : link
In comment 14294728 Knineteen said:
Quote:
In comment 14294086 jcn56 said:


Quote:


You can find plenty of NAS boxes that have more than enough processing power to transcode and do other things.


This suggests otherwise:
https://support.plex.tv/articles/201373823-nas-devices-and-limitations/



Quote:


By far the biggest limitation with most NAS is processor-based. Very few NAS contain powerful processors, which can have a significant impact on your experience using Plex.

Virtually every Plex App will need content to be transcoded at least some of the time.



Again, grossly generalizing and not doing your argument many favors.

There are a ton of NAS devices on the market. Most of them are lightweight, low cost glorified routers that have squat for processor power. That doesn't mean there isn't a large selection of NAS units that do have strong enough processors to do the job, just that you have to be sure to select one for that purpose.
RE: RE: RE: Blanket statements like this are silly  
Knineteen : 2/12/2019 4:34 pm : link
In comment 14294746 jcn56 said:
Quote:
Again, grossly generalizing and not doing your argument many favors.

There are a ton of NAS devices on the market. Most of them are lightweight, low cost glorified routers that have squat for processor power. That doesn't mean there isn't a large selection of NAS units that do have strong enough processors to do the job, just that you have to be sure to select one for that purpose.

You are talking about enterprise-level NAS for home use. That's not an apples-to-apples comparison.
It's like arguing I should buy a Mack truck to transport my family places. Yes, that is a solution, but one that's not reasonable for the scenario.
RE: RE: RE: .  
FranchiseQB : 2/12/2019 4:37 pm : link
In comment 14294738 Knineteen said:
Quote:
In comment 14294720 FranchiseQB said:


Quote:


dude, as I and others have said here. Stick the media on a NAS, network it to an android box with Kodi, there is no transcoding. Total cost $600-700


I built my own Plex Server for $300...

And I'm guessing I would need a Kodi TV box for every TV, right?

Plex offers clients on almost every device for free.



well for my estimate that would be good for the NAS (can be lightweight), one or two Kodi boxes, and 8 to 20 tbs of storage. Now this is a wired solution. I haven't tried wireless with this config but I doubt it would work. So my 600-700 estimate is all in for a start-up. There is no subscription fee, I imagine the plex you are using is the premium edition. Yes? I also wonder about the transcode Plex is doing. How does it look? I am looking at native files and generally the results are good.

Yes in my config, as far as I know, I need a box with every monitor. However I have some old boxes that are working very well. Especially the old school wdtv boxes are marvelous and they handle full DVD rips with DVD folders better than any software I have tried on a pc. The wdtv boxes do not run on kodi, they have their own interface which plays just about anything. And these are old boxes that you could probably pick up used for 30 bucks or less. Point being there are cheap options if you want to put a box at every tv/monitor. And again no monthly subscription.

I am curious to hear a little more about your config. You use Plex on mobile device to send media to a selected monitor over lan?
RE: RE: RE: RE: Blanket statements like this are silly  
jcn56 : 2/12/2019 4:48 pm : link
In comment 14294756 Knineteen said:
Quote:
In comment 14294746 jcn56 said:


Quote:


Again, grossly generalizing and not doing your argument many favors.

There are a ton of NAS devices on the market. Most of them are lightweight, low cost glorified routers that have squat for processor power. That doesn't mean there isn't a large selection of NAS units that do have strong enough processors to do the job, just that you have to be sure to select one for that purpose.


You are talking about enterprise-level NAS for home use. That's not an apples-to-apples comparison.
It's like arguing I should buy a Mack truck to transport my family places. Yes, that is a solution, but one that's not reasonable for the scenario.


Again, you don't need an enterprise class NAS to do this either.

I'd suggest if you don't know what you're talking about, you should reconsider trying to give a lesson.
RE: RE: RE: RE: .  
Knineteen : 2/12/2019 4:51 pm : link
In comment 14294762 FranchiseQB said:
Quote:
well for my estimate that would be good for the NAS (can be lightweight), one or two Kodi boxes, and 8 to 20 tbs of storage. Now this is a wired solution. I haven't tried wireless with this config but I doubt it would work. So my 600-700 estimate is all in for a start-up. There is no subscription fee, I imagine the plex you are using is the premium edition. Yes? I also wonder about the transcode Plex is doing. How does it look? I am looking at native files and generally the results are good.

Yes in my config, as far as I know, I need a box with every monitor. However I have some old boxes that are working very well. Especially the old school wdtv boxes are marvelous and they handle full DVD rips with DVD folders better than any software I have tried on a pc. The wdtv boxes do not run on kodi, they have their own interface which plays just about anything. And these are old boxes that you could probably pick up used for 30 bucks or less. Point being there are cheap options if you want to put a box at every tv/monitor. And again no monthly subscription.

I am curious to hear a little more about your config. You use Plex on mobile device to send media to a selected monitor over lan?

I use the free Plex version.

The desktop computer (what I call my "Plex Server") has the Plex server software installed on it. I then install the Plex client software/ app on any device that I want to watch media.
So, I have the Plex app installed on my AppleTVs, Rokus, iPad, iPhone and Andriod table (full disclosure, you do have to pay for the iPhone/iPad app; something like $5).
Whenever you open a Plex client, it searches for all available Plex servers via LAN. Once a connection is made, you can browse all available media on the Plex server that is available within the library metadata.

My movies and TV shows are stored locally on the Plex Server/desktop. My home videos are stored on a NAS (because I want this data stored in a RAID 1 configuration for obvious reasons).

Most of my movies are bit-for-bit bluray dumps. I don't employ any compression. The video looks great.

With my setup, I'm not restricted to specific client devices. All major devices are supported.
RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: .  
FranchiseQB : 2/12/2019 4:59 pm : link
In comment 14294771 Knineteen said:
Quote:
In comment 14294762 FranchiseQB said:


Quote:


well for my estimate that would be good for the NAS (can be lightweight), one or two Kodi boxes, and 8 to 20 tbs of storage. Now this is a wired solution. I haven't tried wireless with this config but I doubt it would work. So my 600-700 estimate is all in for a start-up. There is no subscription fee, I imagine the plex you are using is the premium edition. Yes? I also wonder about the transcode Plex is doing. How does it look? I am looking at native files and generally the results are good.

Yes in my config, as far as I know, I need a box with every monitor. However I have some old boxes that are working very well. Especially the old school wdtv boxes are marvelous and they handle full DVD rips with DVD folders better than any software I have tried on a pc. The wdtv boxes do not run on kodi, they have their own interface which plays just about anything. And these are old boxes that you could probably pick up used for 30 bucks or less. Point being there are cheap options if you want to put a box at every tv/monitor. And again no monthly subscription.

I am curious to hear a little more about your config. You use Plex on mobile device to send media to a selected monitor over lan?


I use the free Plex version.

The desktop computer (what I call my "Plex Server") has the Plex server software installed on it. I then install the Plex client software/ app on any device that I want to watch media.
So, I have the Plex app installed on my AppleTVs, Rokus, iPad, iPhone and Andriod table (full disclosure, you do have to pay for the iPhone/iPad app; something like $5).
Whenever you open a Plex client, it searches for all available Plex servers via LAN. Once a connection is made, you can browse all available media on the Plex server that is available within the library metadata.

My movies and TV shows are stored locally on the Plex Server/desktop. My home videos are stored on a NAS (because I want this data stored in a RAID 1 configuration for obvious reasons).

Most of my movies are bit-for-bit bluray dumps. I don't employ any compression. The video looks great.

With my setup, I'm not restricted to specific client devices. All major devices are supported.


Sounds like a good solution if you are talented enough to build a $400 computer, which I don't think I am. I am handy with a PC, and I have built a few high end computers, but I have another guy put it together. I have two more questions:

1) Do you have a different plex account on each device or only one account on your server and then log in with same account on other devices.

2) how do you choose which screen to stream to?

RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: Blanket statements like this are silly  
Knineteen : 2/12/2019 4:59 pm : link
In comment 14294768 jcn56 said:
Quote:
Again, you don't need an enterprise class NAS to do this either.

I'd suggest if you don't know what you're talking about, you should reconsider trying to give a lesson.

I'd suggest you actually try implementing this stuff and stop taking the manufacturer at their word.

The DS218play has a 1.4 GHz quad-core processor which the manufacture claims to support 4K transcoding!

I have 4.0 GHz quad-cores that can't even handle such a task.
RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: Blanket statements like this are silly  
FranchiseQB : 2/12/2019 5:02 pm : link
In comment 14294768 jcn56 said:
Quote:
In comment 14294756 Knineteen said:


Quote:


In comment 14294746 jcn56 said:


Quote:


Again, grossly generalizing and not doing your argument many favors.

There are a ton of NAS devices on the market. Most of them are lightweight, low cost glorified routers that have squat for processor power. That doesn't mean there isn't a large selection of NAS units that do have strong enough processors to do the job, just that you have to be sure to select one for that purpose.


You are talking about enterprise-level NAS for home use. That's not an apples-to-apples comparison.
It's like arguing I should buy a Mack truck to transport my family places. Yes, that is a solution, but one that's not reasonable for the scenario.



Again, you don't need an enterprise class NAS to do this either.

I'd suggest if you don't know what you're talking about, you should reconsider trying to give a lesson.


I'm a NAS user as well. I think his general point is that a NAS can never have the power of a cheap PC, which is accurate. But I also agree with your general point that for just a few dollars more you can get a very powerful chip in a NAS that can do a lot of work. Whether it can transcode and stream full Bluray, I'm not sure. I kind of doubt it would be reliable. Though I do know from experience that any NAS can stream full BD without transcoding.
RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: .  
Knineteen : 2/12/2019 5:05 pm : link
In comment 14294778 FranchiseQB said:
Quote:
Sounds like a good solution if you are talented enough to build a $400 computer, which I don't think I am. I am handy with a PC, and I have built a few high end computers, but I have another guy put it together. I have two more questions:

1) Do you have a different plex account on each device or only one account on your server and then log in with same account on other devices.

2) how do you choose which screen to stream to?

I use one account for all devices, but I'm not sure if you need to log-in in order to connect to the server. Some of my clients might connect anonymously.

I don't understand the "screen to stream to" question.
The client requests the content and the server supplies it in the correct format (insert transcoding).
I open the Plex app on my AppleTV, it connects to my Plex Server, a Plex UI is displayed on the AppleTV, I select the media to play and it plays.
It's incredibly simple and intuitive.
RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: .  
FranchiseQB : 2/12/2019 5:07 pm : link
In comment 14294783 Knineteen said:
Quote:
In comment 14294778 FranchiseQB said:


Quote:


Sounds like a good solution if you are talented enough to build a $400 computer, which I don't think I am. I am handy with a PC, and I have built a few high end computers, but I have another guy put it together. I have two more questions:

1) Do you have a different plex account on each device or only one account on your server and then log in with same account on other devices.

2) how do you choose which screen to stream to?



I use one account for all devices, but I'm not sure if you need to log-in in order to connect to the server. Some of my clients might connect anonymously.

I don't understand the "screen to stream to" question.
The client requests the content and the server supplies it in the correct format (insert transcoding).
I open the Plex app on my AppleTV, it connects to my Plex Server, a Plex UI is displayed on the AppleTV, I select the media to play and it plays.
It's incredibly simple and intuitive.


so you need a box (like an apple tv) at every television?
RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: Blanket statements like this are silly  
Knineteen : 2/12/2019 5:17 pm : link
In comment 14294781 FranchiseQB said:
Quote:
I'm a NAS user as well. I think his general point is that a NAS can never have the power of a cheap PC, which is accurate. But I also agree with your general point that for just a few dollars more you can get a very powerful chip in a NAS that can do a lot of work. Whether it can transcode and stream full Bluray, I'm not sure. I kind of doubt it would be reliable. Though I do know from experience that any NAS can stream full BD without transcoding.

But it's not just a few dollars, it's hundreds to thousands of dollars!

Below is a comprehensive list of NAS devices that can support transcoding.

Any of them that can fully support "HD 1080p" START at $800. And a lot of them aren't even available for purchase.

If jcn56 can provide any substance to his claims, I'm more than willing to review; but he keeps replying with empty, passive-aggressive responses.
NAS transcoding list - ( New Window )
RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: Blanket statements like this are silly  
jcn56 : 2/12/2019 5:21 pm : link
In comment 14294779 Knineteen said:
Quote:
In comment 14294768 jcn56 said:


Quote:


Again, you don't need an enterprise class NAS to do this either.

I'd suggest if you don't know what you're talking about, you should reconsider trying to give a lesson.


I'd suggest you actually try implementing this stuff and stop taking the manufacturer at their word.

The DS218play has a 1.4 GHz quad-core processor which the manufacture claims to support 4K transcoding!

I have 4.0 GHz quad-cores that can't even handle such a task.


I have implemented - using cloud instances that run inside of a ThinkServer that's running a ton of other stuff, as well as on two different Synology devices.

Of course, I - like most other people - have no need for 4k transcoding.

The OP asked a question and basic fit for purpose, limited effort solutions were presented to him. Low cost, from both an equipment and power utilization perspective.

You want to run an old Optiplex you have lying around? Fantastic - just expect that the electricity costs in the first year will exceed whatever you saved on the NAS, there won't be any out of the box redundancy for any photos stored, and it'll be more effort to maintain.
RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: .  
Knineteen : 2/12/2019 5:23 pm : link
In comment 14294785 FranchiseQB said:
Quote:
so you need a box (like an apple tv) at every television?

Correct. Unless you have a Smart TV that supports a Plex app. I've had mixed-results with Smart TV Plex apps.

Any non-smart TV is going to need an external device in order to stream. This isn't unique to Plex.
The real benefit is that Plex doesn't restrict the type of external device; all major devices are supported.
RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: .  
FranchiseQB : 2/12/2019 5:28 pm : link
In comment 14294793 Knineteen said:
Quote:
In comment 14294785 FranchiseQB said:


Quote:


so you need a box (like an apple tv) at every television?


Correct. Unless you have a Smart TV that supports a Plex app. I've had mixed-results with Smart TV Plex apps.

Any non-smart TV is going to need an external device in order to stream. This isn't unique to Plex.
The real benefit is that Plex doesn't restrict the type of external device; all major devices are supported.


ah ok so the cost of boxes is almost a wash. For three tvs you're buying three boxes, I'm buying three boxes.

Are you using external drives for your server or internal? Have you ever had the problem of internal drives over 3TBs disappearing and not coming back without a restart? I have found large internal drives to be unreliable. It is one of the reasons I bought the NAS in the first place. I must say in terms of reliability, in my experience, the large drives in a NAS has been better than in a PC.
RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: Blanket statements like this are silly  
jcn56 : 2/12/2019 5:28 pm : link
In comment 14294786 Knineteen said:
Quote:
In comment 14294781 FranchiseQB said:


Quote:


I'm a NAS user as well. I think his general point is that a NAS can never have the power of a cheap PC, which is accurate. But I also agree with your general point that for just a few dollars more you can get a very powerful chip in a NAS that can do a lot of work. Whether it can transcode and stream full Bluray, I'm not sure. I kind of doubt it would be reliable. Though I do know from experience that any NAS can stream full BD without transcoding.


But it's not just a few dollars, it's hundreds to thousands of dollars!

Below is a comprehensive list of NAS devices that can support transcoding.

Any of them that can fully support "HD 1080p" START at $800. And a lot of them aren't even available for purchase.

If jcn56 can provide any substance to his claims, I'm more than willing to review; but he keeps replying with empty, passive-aggressive responses. NAS transcoding list - ( New Window )


The very first cheapo NAS I thought of that didn't have an ARM processor was on your list - the QNAP 251. Does 1080P hardware accelerated transcoding, costs less than $300.

Do I need to keep doing this, or do you feel like reading the stuff you yourself are linking?
RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: Blanket statements like this are silly  
Knineteen : 2/12/2019 5:36 pm : link
In comment 14294799 jcn56 said:
Quote:
The very first cheapo NAS I thought of that didn't have an ARM processor was on your list - the QNAP 251. Does 1080P hardware accelerated transcoding, costs less than $300.

Do I need to keep doing this, or do you feel like reading the stuff you yourself are linking?


The SOFTWARE TRANSCODING requirements need to be satisfied.

An Intel Celeron J1800 @ 2.41GHz doesn't have nearly the required processing power:
https://www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu.php?cpu=Intel+Celeron+J1800+%40+2.41GHz&id=2167

Try again, please.
RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: .  
Knineteen : 2/12/2019 5:46 pm : link
In comment 14294798 FranchiseQB said:
Quote:
Are you using external drives for your server or internal? Have you ever had the problem of internal drives over 3TBs disappearing and not coming back without a restart? I have found large internal drives to be unreliable. It is one of the reasons I bought the NAS in the first place. I must say in terms of reliability, in my experience, the large drives in a NAS has been better than in a PC.

Internal SATA HDDs...I think 2 @ 4TB each.
I haven't had any HDD issues. I think once or twice the server didn't recognize them, but a hard-reset fixed the problem.

I do store my home videos on a NAS because I want RAID 1 protection, but there is a noticeable delay when trying to stream such content to Plex.
For my movies, RAID 0 or 1 isn't required, so it's easier and more energy-efficient to put those HDDs inside the plex server directly.
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