For those of you have a htpc, server and you plex - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 21 Old 10-02-2013, 03:57 PM - Thread Starter
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I am trying to figure out how did you optimize your system so they all work together.

For example I have an htpc and would like to build a server. Do folks with a server and htpc still keep a hard drive in the htpc or everything is now saved on the server. I currently have a ceton infinitiv 4 in my htpc and I curious as to what folks do for simple TV recordings. Or do you save your recordings on the server. I do have an 120gb Intel SSD on the HTPC.


Lastly, when I build my server, i want to use WHS 2011 will this allow to get access to the internet so that I can download plex to the server? Or would I have to also purchase Window 7 as well.
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post #2 of 21 Old 10-02-2013, 03:59 PM
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Take a look at my guides. Most of your answers are there.
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post #3 of 21 Old 10-02-2013, 06:14 PM
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Take a look at my guides. Most of your answers are there.

Yup!

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post #4 of 21 Old 10-03-2013, 04:08 PM
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I have an old 100 GB 2.5" laptop drive for holding recordings temporarily until they are automatically moved to the server.

WHS has internet access.

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post #5 of 21 Old 10-03-2013, 06:04 PM
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My solution is to put everything on the server as virtual machines (win7-64 htpc, WHS2011, plex, etc) by using ESXi 5.1, the Vmware virtual server OS. By the way ESXi 5.1 is free.

Then I use older inexpensive PCs (I already own) as OpenELEC/XBMC clients. These are AMD Athlon 64X2 MATX based with 6150 Nvidia on the MB and use a 4GB flash for boot, no other storage.

I have Comcast's Digital starter package with OnDemand and I'm using an HDHomerun Prime with a Motorola cablecard (3 tuners), and this setup works great for me, on all the encrypted channels.
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post #6 of 21 Old 10-03-2013, 07:44 PM
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I never liked WHS, and the biggest benefit of it is usually the price. I bought W7 pro upgrades for $30, and there have been a lot of W7 offers that give you the familiarity of windows without the headache of WHS. While you can find usable Intel NIC drivers, versions of MSE, and odd configurations of drive pooling software that work with WHS, it is not as easy and straightforward as simply using W7. When you take away the price difference --finding W7 cheap as it has been available often-- then it loses a lot of its luster

If you want a real server OS that supports any and all filesystems as well as smartmontools, hdparm, and cron then you should look around at Ubuntu Server with ZFS (can run Plex as well). You can run MythTV as a PVR/LiveTV server
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post #7 of 21 Old 10-04-2013, 12:56 AM
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Originally Posted by 4th-horseman View Post

I never liked WHS, and the biggest benefit of it is usually the price. I bought W7 pro upgrades for $30, and there have been a lot of W7 offers that give you the familiarity of windows without the headache of WHS. While you can find usable Intel NIC drivers, versions of MSE, and odd configurations of drive pooling software that work with WHS, it is not as easy and straightforward as simply using W7. When you take away the price difference --finding W7 cheap as it has been available often-- then it loses a lot of its luster

If you want a real server OS that supports any and all filesystems as well as smartmontools, hdparm, and cron then you should look around at Ubuntu Server with ZFS (can run Plex as well). You can run MythTV as a PVR/LiveTV server

The main appeal that WHS has is the ability to backup clients to the server, which is something that W7 can't do. WHS when set up properly can be ran headless and pretty stable for a long time as said by many members here that use it on a daily basis.

For the OP's question, WHS2011 works well and you have the benefit of automated backups as mentioned. You can also add other software to use as well to serve as a hub for all your media. I am running Server 2008 R2 and I have Remote Potato and Mediabrowser Server running on it and so far in my testing is flawless. I also run the Ceton Infinitv 4 in the server and with some configurations, it runs fine and am able to serve out tuners to my HTPC's on the network.

Internet usage on the server is usually discouraged because its best practice to keep the server protected as much as possible to avoid viruses and the risk of being hacked. For my server, I downloaded the needed apps on another PC and then install it through the network (or USB stick) that way.
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post #8 of 21 Old 10-07-2013, 12:36 PM
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Well Said, ^

WHS has less "bloat" and more server specific features than W7 or W8 and it costs less so it's a logical choice. If you already own W7 or W8 then that could be different.

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post #9 of 21 Old 10-08-2013, 08:45 AM
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Originally Posted by AVTechMan View Post

The main appeal that WHS has is the ability to backup clients to the server, which is something that W7 can't do. WHS when set up properly can be ran headless and pretty stable for a long time as said by many members here that use it on a daily basis.

I run W8 as my server, but use it as a daily HTPC. Automated backups aren't appealing to me. I've only had one OS drive go completely tits up without notice, but it was a recoverable SSD problem. Afterwards I just reinstalled everything. Even if had to RMA an OS drive I don't think I'd restore from a backup.

Only intend to explain why it doesn't appeal to everyone, but I also easily understand it's a clear benefit for several people around here

I don't run W8 headless, but W7/W8 could run this way as well. You need pro for native RDP without a hack, but Teamviewer can do this also


On a side note, with the recently created WMCserver backend you can turn any WMC installation into a TV server for copy-free cablecard channels. Back when I was using/learning about WHS, I don't recall any way to "run" WMC in WHS. Is there a hack that allows this now, or is it still limited to virtualization only?
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post #10 of 21 Old 10-08-2013, 08:58 AM
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I've been curious about this too. Networking isnt my strong suit, and I'm afraid that I would create bottlenecks trying to get things from my server, to my plex machine, to my plex clients, along with passing tv streams and other video.

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post #11 of 21 Old 10-08-2013, 09:06 AM
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On one setup that I use I have a WHS server running Plex, FlexRAID and VMware. This host uses one Intel PCIe NIC and then I have a Virtual Machine running Windows 7 for WMC and it utilizes a second Intel PCIe NIC and attached to an isolated switch. SD HDHomeRun Primes are also connected to that switch as well as HTPCs. This way the TV streams are isolated from the other network traffic. So when there are 4 recordings going on and 2 people watching TV there can still be several Plex streams running locally and remote. WMC is pretty finicky about network traffic and quality of recordings so it's nice to have that traffic isolated. I've experienced much better results.

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post #12 of 21 Old 10-11-2013, 10:20 AM
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You should also consider just buying a pre-built NAS. I got a Synology DS412 that I run plex server on and it is great. The processor in the DS412 is just fast enough that it can handle one realtime transcoding stream to ipad/iphone etc as well. Zero headache setup, quiet, and stable. IMO this is the way to go if you have more money than time.


http://www.synology.com/products/product.php?product_name=DS412%2B
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post #13 of 21 Old 10-11-2013, 11:02 AM
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The processor in the DS412 is just fast enough that it can handle one realtime transcoding stream to ipad/iphone etc as well.

Really? Thats pretty impressive. I know the technology jumps leaps and bounds each generation but considering how bad my Core 2 Duo was at transcoding I never would've thought an off the shelf NAS would have the power to do it in real time.

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post #14 of 21 Old 10-11-2013, 11:11 AM
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Really? Thats pretty impressive. I know the technology jumps leaps and bounds each generation but considering how bad my Core 2 Duo was at transcoding I never would've thought an off the shelf NAS would have the power to do it in real time.

There is actually a community updatable spreadsheet where you can share your media playback via Plex experience with your NAS: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AhqU12yGv_OxdC1VYjYtMmRiSlVReVZhNVBLZ0JxSmc#gid=0

Most of the NAS units that can transcode really don't do it all that well.
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post #15 of 21 Old 10-11-2013, 12:13 PM
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Originally Posted by itznfb View Post

There is actually a community updatable spreadsheet where you can share your media playback via Plex experience with your NAS: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AhqU12yGv_OxdC1VYjYtMmRiSlVReVZhNVBLZ0JxSmc#gid=0

Most of the NAS units that can transcode really don't do it all that well.
I have seen that spreadsheet. My experience has been that 720p transcodes to ipad/iphone fine with my ds412+. 1080p is not good. That said, plex also lets you do offline transcoding automatically, although I think this is a plexpass members feature.
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post #16 of 21 Old 10-11-2013, 01:23 PM
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Originally Posted by 10k View Post

I have seen that spreadsheet. My experience has been that 720p transcodes to ipad/iphone fine with my ds412+. 1080p is not good. That said, plex also lets you do offline transcoding automatically, although I think this is a plexpass members feature.

Yes that is a plexpass feature

There are still a number of ways for your NAS Atom CPU to handle ipad "transcodes"

If this is on your LAN/WLAN you might not always be transcoding. If your 720 material is h264 with AAC or MP3 audio in a m4v, mov, or .mp4 then Plex is really only serving, not transcoding. Even if the audio/video fit that profile inside an mkv or avi, then Plex would be able to simply transmux (which is not as taxing as the transcode of audio or video codecs).
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Originally Posted by itznfb View Post

There is actually a community updatable spreadsheet where you can share your media playback via Plex experience with your NAS: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AhqU12yGv_OxdC1VYjYtMmRiSlVReVZhNVBLZ0JxSmc#gid=0

Most of the NAS units that can transcode really don't do it all that well.

Nice spreadsheet. I didn't know it existed, but it confirms a lot of suspicions I've had with some NAS-running-plex users that don't typically offer straight answers about the file information when they say it plays back a bluray rip just fine (not intended towards you 10k, thanks for offering some details on your experiences)
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post #17 of 21 Old 10-11-2013, 01:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Dark_Slayer View Post

Nice spreadsheet. I didn't know it existed, but it confirms a lot of suspicions I've had with some NAS-running-plex users that don't typically offer straight answers about the file information when they say it plays back a bluray rip just fine (not intended towards you 10k, thanks for offering some details on your experiences)

Just as an FYI the spreadsheet is linked from the official Plex Wiki. There is an entire FAQ section for NAS usage.

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post #18 of 21 Old 10-11-2013, 01:44 PM
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For those also using Media Browser, we have the ability now to manage and write to .NFO metadata files. This was originally designed for XBMC, but several testers have reported it working well with Plex.

http://forum.xbmc.org/showthread.php?tid=175430
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post #19 of 21 Old 10-11-2013, 01:47 PM
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For those also using Media Browser, we have the ability now to manage and write to .NFO metadata files. This was originally designed for XBMC, but several testers have reported it working well with Plex.

http://forum.xbmc.org/showthread.php?tid=175430

This is native functionality within the Windows server? And is it supported natively by the MB3 client? With Plex you have to use an Add-on which isn't fully functional and is 20% functional 10% of the time.

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post #20 of 21 Old 10-11-2013, 01:57 PM
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Sorry, I put this in the wrong thread. I meant to do it in the Plex discussion thread.

To answer the question, it is a server plugin, developed by me personally and it was tested pretty thoroughly over a period of a few months with a pretty large group.

The clients don't actually need to know anything about the NFO's, because they're just another output. What i mean by that is, if you look at the xbmc forum link, in the screenshots, anytime an item gets saved (for any reason), it gets pushed to all of the outputs - mb3 xml, xbmc nfo, internal database, etc. So it becomes a pretty transparent process, and more outputs can be added if want later.
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post #21 of 21 Old 10-12-2013, 05:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dark_Slayer View Post

Yes that is a plexpass feature

There are still a number of ways for your NAS Atom CPU to handle ipad "transcodes"

If this is on your LAN/WLAN you might not always be transcoding. If your 720 material is h264 with AAC or MP3 audio in a m4v, mov, or .mp4 then Plex is really only serving, not transcoding. Even if the audio/video fit that profile inside an mkv or avi, then Plex would be able to simply transmux (which is not as taxing as the transcode of audio or video codecs).
Nice spreadsheet. I didn't know it existed, but it confirms a lot of suspicions I've had with some NAS-running-plex users that don't typically offer straight answers about the file information when they say it plays back a bluray rip just fine (not intended towards you 10k, thanks for offering some details on your experiences)
Hello, that is a good point about transmuxing. Also, I should clarify that I compress my blurays which I have my NAS serving, so the lower bitrate probably explains my success. I generally shoot for around 6gb-7gb for a 720p movie encode. There is no way that the Synology is fast enough to realtime transcode a 1080p iso, or maybe even 720p.

It would be great if plex allowed you to set up additional machines as transcoding helpers. I'd love if I could have the synology wake on lan the htpc to help out with transcoding for files greater than a certain bitrate or resolution.
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