All-in-one NAS or NAS+HTPC for centralized media streaming and cms - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 16 Old 03-31-2013, 09:28 AM - Thread Starter
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So, I have a lot of media streamers at my disposal and I am not sure what the best path for me is..

I just purchased the Synology and I love it, however it has me thinking if I actually made the right choice for what I am trying to achieve now and in the future. It is eligible for return still

Setup:

Living Room
Panasonic 65 VT50
AVR
PS3 (games, netflix, amazon prime)
Xbox 360 (games, netflix, amazon prime)
AppleTV 2 (airplay)
Router
Synology ds213air (just purchased) w/ 2x 3gb WD Red raid 1

Bedroom
Pioneer Kuro 500m
AVR
Roku 2 XS

Right now, the Synology is running Plex Server (stream to roku, ps3, xbox, etc.) and Synology Videostation (stream to phones/ipad). In a nutshell, this is all I want to achieve and the Synology does it just fine, however

Problem(s)
1. I do not like the ps3/xbox interface. Would rather have a nice interface such as plex or xbmc
2. Ps3/Xbox do not support MKV, so have to de/remux on the fly. The synology can do this BUT it eats up 95% of the CPU and the audio is degraded.
3. Most of my library is 1080p mkv files so I am not very interested in converting...

So is there a solution (I'm thinking nas+htpc?) which will allow me to run xbmc and hook directly up to the receiver and control it via a remote (I have an rf receiver) in the living room? What is the downside with an all-in-one NAS solution besides potentially being loud?

Other considerations
1. Can the solution run netflix, amazon prime, etc in HD and 5.1 sound? Or do I leave this to the PS3/Xbox/Roku
2. Can the solution play music?
3. What do you suggest for the bedroom?
4. The solution needs to be available via the internet remotely for streaming to pc, iphone, ipad, etc..

Ideally, I am trying to achieve a the simplest solution that gives me a house-wide media streaming solution with 1 interface (If I have to use another interface for netflix and amazon apps, so be it)

I am open to building the hardware if cheaper than purchasing a pre-made solution

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post #2 of 16 Old 04-01-2013, 06:42 AM
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Quote:
So is there a solution (I'm thinking nas+htpc?) which will allow me to run xbmc and hook directly up to the receiver and control it via a remote (I have an rf receiver) in the living room? What is the downside with an all-in-one NAS solution besides potentially being loud?

There already are both Thecus and QNAP make x86 Atom based NAS with HDMI output that run a version of XBMC. That said they are due to be replaced in the next 2 months or so by the new Intel Atom CE5300 series which are cheaper, the current Atoms are very expensive as they are meant for business class NAS. The CE5300 series also include a hardware based video transcoder too.

Thecus, Asustor and Synology all have models in the works, QNAP most likely do too. I wouldn't be surprised to see Synology do their version with HDMI output and XBMC as well seeing as their main competition has already done so.

1. No.
2. Yes
3. Depends on what your after, a basic Plex client would be suitable.
4. Best wait for CE5300 NAS, it's hardware transcoder will be very useful provided Plex make use of it and they have been informed of the CE5300 at least via their forums.

You could go with Plex on Roku as well for living room and ignore the media player side of the NAS, Asustor will be doing a cheaper AS3 series based on the CE5300.
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post #3 of 16 Old 04-01-2013, 09:49 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alx330 View Post

There already are both Thecus and QNAP make x86 Atom based NAS with HDMI output that run a version of XBMC. That said they are due to be replaced in the next 2 months or so by the new Intel Atom CE5300 series which are cheaper, the current Atoms are very expensive as they are meant for business class NAS. The CE5300 series also include a hardware based video transcoder too.

Thecus, Asustor and Synology all have models in the works, QNAP most likely do too. I wouldn't be surprised to see Synology do their version with HDMI output and XBMC as well seeing as their main competition has already done so.

1. No.
2. Yes
3. Depends on what your after, a basic Plex client would be suitable.
4. Best wait for CE5300 NAS, it's hardware transcoder will be very useful provided Plex make use of it and they have been informed of the CE5300 at least via their forums.

You could go with Plex on Roku as well for living room and ignore the media player side of the NAS, Asustor will be doing a cheaper AS3 series based on the CE5300.

Doesn't the roku lack 1080p mkv support of http? So I would still need something to do the transcoding

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post #4 of 16 Old 04-01-2013, 11:47 AM
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Roku + Plex + MKV = You're going to have a bad time.

Honestly I think the simplest solution is Media Server + Plex + Roku. This would do everything you want. The lack of MKV support will be an issue though. Also the Plex interface on the Roku sucks. Apparently it has to do with the sdk for the Roku so it probably won't improve much. Just get used to using the search or scrolling horizontally through all of your content.

Are your MKV files encoded with mpeg2 or x264?

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post #5 of 16 Old 04-01-2013, 12:08 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by itznfb View Post

Roku + Plex + MKV = You're going to have a bad time.

Honestly I think the simplest solution is Media Server + Plex + Roku. This would do everything you want. The lack of MKV support will be an issue though. Also the Plex interface on the Roku sucks. Apparently it has to do with the sdk for the Roku so it probably won't improve much. Just get used to using the search or scrolling horizontally through all of your content.

Are your MKV files encoded with mpeg2 or x264?

mostly x264. Is there a linux app that I can toss on the synology to convert to mp4 containers? Else, I build a media server with plex/ps3 media server and let the media server transcode the container on the fly

Can plex remux mkv on the fly and serve to roku/ps3?

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post #6 of 16 Old 04-01-2013, 06:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jbrady3324 View Post

mostly x264. Is there a linux app that I can toss on the synology to convert to mp4 containers? Else, I build a media server with plex/ps3 media server and let the media server transcode the container on the fly

Can plex remux mkv on the fly and serve to roku/ps3?

Yes it can. As long as they are x264/AAC/AC3 encoded. You can configure the Plex server for DLNA as well and it will show up in your PS3 as a media server. The Blu-ray drive on my PS3 drive died so I basically just use it for Netflix and Plex now.

Someone can correct me if I'm wrong but if you have a x264/AAC/AC3 mkv you can just remux with ffmpeg in 4-5 minutes.

ffmpeg -i "D:\input\moviename.mkv" -vcodec copy -acodec copy "D:\output\moviename.mp4"

If that does indeed work then the Roku should be able to direct play that file which could be served from a NAS with running a Plex server.

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post #7 of 16 Old 04-01-2013, 07:08 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by itznfb View Post

Yes it can. As long as they are x264/AAC/AC3 encoded. You can configure the Plex server for DLNA as well and it will show up in your PS3 as a media server. The Blu-ray drive on my PS3 drive died so I basically just use it for Netflix and Plex now.

Someone can correct me if I'm wrong but if you have a x264/AAC/AC3 mkv you can just remux with ffmpeg in 4-5 minutes.

ffmpeg -i "D:\input\moviename.mkv" -vcodec copy -acodec copy "D:\output\moviename.mp4"

If that does indeed work then the Roku should be able to direct play that file which could be served from a NAS with running a Plex server.

If that is how ffmpeg works, I can easily write a perl script to trigger that on every new file in my video folder and be a happy camper until a client comes out that can play mkv natively.

I am willing to build a media server that can remux on the fly, but whatever I do it just needs to work 99% of the time.

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post #8 of 16 Old 04-02-2013, 02:24 AM
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If you don't care out the UI just get a WDTV Live to play the files and they will work with the existing NAS you have over DLNA or browsing the network shares. Or go with the Pivos XIOS DS and it's XBMC firmware if you want a basic client XBMC box.

The CE5300 has full on real time hardware transcoding capabilities (equivalent to a high end PC) so if Plex is able to make use of that it should be able to transcode all video for all Plex clients assuming you want a unified media library across all your devices. If that interests you then it's likely waiting another month or two to see whats comes out.
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post #9 of 16 Old 04-02-2013, 04:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alx330 View Post

If you don't care out the UI just get a WDTV Live to play the files and they will work with the existing NAS you have over DLNA or browsing the network shares. Or go with the Pivos XIOS DS and it's XBMC firmware if you want a basic client XBMC box.

The CE5300 has full on real time hardware transcoding capabilities (equivalent to a high end PC) so if Plex is able to make use of that it should be able to transcode all video for all Plex clients assuming you want a unified media library across all your devices. If that interests you then it's likely waiting another month or two to see whats comes out.

I'm going to have to pick up a WDTV Live to check out. I'm pretty skeptical but they are recommended pretty often.

Do any current NAS devices use a CE5300? I'm a big fan of Thecus devices and I see their new line says "World's First Intel® Atom™ SoC Embedded NAS"
Not sure if it's the same chip you're talking about though since the specs just say Intel Atom Processor.

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post #10 of 16 Old 04-02-2013, 04:54 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alx330 View Post

If you don't care out the UI just get a WDTV Live to play the files and they will work with the existing NAS you have over DLNA or browsing the network shares. Or go with the Pivos XIOS DS and it's XBMC firmware if you want a basic client XBMC box.

The CE5300 has full on real time hardware transcoding capabilities (equivalent to a high end PC) so if Plex is able to make use of that it should be able to transcode all video for all Plex clients assuming you want a unified media library across all your devices. If that interests you then it's likely waiting another month or two to see whats comes out.

Unfortunately the WD Live does not do Amazon and the UI is terrible for attached media

What about the google tv devices by sony? They seem to support amazon, netflix and hbogo and play mkv files. They are rather expensive but.. might be the answer

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post #11 of 16 Old 04-02-2013, 04:01 PM
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Unfortunately the WD Live does not do Amazon and the UI is terrible for attached media

What about the google tv devices by sony? They seem to support amazon, netflix and hbogo and play mkv files. They are rather expensive but.. might be the answer

I really didn't like the WD streamers' UI. I do have the Sony GTV NSX-GS7 box which is very nice, but it doesn't do Hulu/Hulu+, at least not directly. It's a very good Plex client though with better h.264 and other codec support than say a Roku.

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post #12 of 16 Old 04-02-2013, 04:34 PM
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I really didn't like the WD streamers' UI. I do have the Sony GTV NSX-GS7 box which is very nice, but it doesn't do Hulu/Hulu+, at least not directly. It's a very good Plex client though with better h.264 and other codec support than say a Roku.

Philip

It's not compatible with the Hulu+ Android app?

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post #13 of 16 Old 04-05-2013, 05:52 PM
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It's not compatible with the Hulu+ Android app?

No. Amazon Instant Video, Netflix.

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post #14 of 16 Old 04-15-2013, 07:22 AM
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I've also been toying around with the idea of buying a Synology NAS, but I too want it to be both a NAS and full-fledged media server that is able to transcode. From everything I read, the Synology NAS route is a bad one if you want the device to also transcode. After looking into building my own unRAID, FlexRAID, FreeNAS, NAS4Free media servers, I'm thinking that building a Ubuntu media server might be the best route, since it will be able to do everything I might want it to do now and anything I'll want it to do in the future.

Thoughts on this?
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post #15 of 16 Old 04-16-2013, 02:21 AM
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Hi All,

Stumbled on this thread via google as I'm looking to do a very similar thing

I've recently built a NAS box with FreeNAS 8.3.1 after having CPU and RAM overloading issues with a synology unit.

The NAS so far does everything i needed it to perfectly so far:
- Back up a MBP via time machine to a share hosted by the NAS side
- Run transmission (specifically) and administer from a remote session
- Create shares with CIFS for a windows PC
- Raid5 style redundancy

As I can relocate the NAS easily behind the TV I was wondering how I could keep all these features, but also run some sort of media player through to my TV at the same time. I won't need to be able to stream to any other devices as we only have 1 TV.

When I've dug around on google, i have only found 'server', 'client' style builds using software that accesses a share hosted externally to the set top box.

Maybe I'm missing some feature of some NAS software somewhere that does XBMC or plex out of the box. Surely there's lots of people that have made this progression from NAS to NAS&HTPC on the same hardware?

Here's the build specs:
AMD A6 5400k
ASRock FM2A85X-ITX
8GB Crucial 1333MHz RAM
3x2TB HDDs

If anyone has any suggestions, or just a point in the right direction so i can go off and do some googling I'd really appreciate it!

Thanks,
Austin
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post #16 of 16 Old 04-18-2013, 01:48 AM
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So I've done a lot of researching and it really doesn't seem like there's anything out there for anyone looking to add a media player to a small form factor NAS and use it as a HTPC simultaneously with normal NAS activities.

Linux came up a lot of times, but you start to enter NAS management through the command line which I really didn't fancy.

I've decided on unRAID. I've filled my 304 case with barracuda 2TB drives and a 320GB cache drive and will use that to serve streams rather than what i had planned before.

For the set-top box I've purchased a model B raspberry pi. Which should run XBMC on my 720p living room TV with stereo out nicely.

I would say I'd keep you posted on how I get on, but setting up a raspberry pi and an unraid server is well documented so i'll let the thread move off the first page

Austin
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