So I have two home PCs. Our main desktop PC that my wife uses mainly to edit her photography on and our HTPC in our living room that has all of our music, movies and TV shows loaded on it running XBMC. The main desktop my wife uses has a 2TB internal drive that nearing its capacity limit (because she shoots her pictures in RAW format so each picture is quite large) and my HTPC has a 3TB internal drive and 3TB external eSATA drive and I have Nova Backup set to mirror drive A to the external drive B once a week to protect against data loss.
So as I get more and more movies and TV shows I will start to reach the limit of the 3TBs on the HTPC as well. I am probably going to take the time to encode my rips down from between 3 - 6 GB down to 1.5 - 2GB (using Handbrake) to free up more space but then I started thinking about just taking the jump to a large capacity NAS or media server for both computers so that I can keep the movie rips at the large size. Also the main desktop with all my wife's pictures on it is only backed up via Carbonite which is now incredibly slow because after you pass a certain threshold it throttles down your upstream speed so basically at this point her data is not really backed up.
So after that long preamble we come to my question. I don't have much experience with NAS or media servers (I consider myself fairly computer literate though and can learn pretty quickly) but I am just wondering what everyone recommends for my scenario. I just want something that will hold the media files and be able to accessed by both computers quickly. I want to have a RAID setup for data redundancy of course. I just need a solution that gives me ample storage space, access to the files whenever needed, ability to play the movies from the device through my HTPC onto the TV, and protect against data loss.
What is the best option for this scenario? Thanks in advance.