Looking for Media Streaming Solution... Have Synology, Fully Wired Household, What Next?! - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 24 Old 11-28-2013, 06:11 PM - Thread Starter
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So, I have my extensive Blu Ray collection (MKV) saved to my Synology DS413j. When you live with numerous housemates, it's easy to wonder why I felt the need to do so.. ;c)
Anyway, I've moved back into my parents for awhile, and I am looking to be able to stream my collection throughout the house.

Currently, all I have is the Synology, playing through my PS3. However, that only covers (1) tv, and I'm looking to make it available on (2) other TV's throughout the house. We are looking into purchasing a Samsung SmarTv in the near future, not sure if they can directly connect to the Synology or not.... But, what is the route to go here?

I am on the market for a new gaming PC, so perhaps that can be incorporated into the media server category, if necessary? I definitely want something very simple for my parents to be able to use... So, I was looking at the Roku/Apple TV type setup for at least their TV.

What are my options? I am hoping to get the ball rolling for all the 'screw holidays, let's buy stuff!' sales tomorrow... So, I greatly appreciate any insights you may have!
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post #2 of 24 Old 11-29-2013, 01:49 AM
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Currently, all I have is the Synology, playing through my PS3. However, that only covers (1) tv, and I'm looking to make it available on (2) other TV's throughout the house. We are looking into purchasing a Samsung SmarTv in the near future, not sure if they can directly connect to the Synology or not.... But, what is the route to go here?

Yes it will work with the Samsung.
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I am on the market for a new gaming PC, so perhaps that can be incorporated into the media server category, if necessary? I definitely want something very simple for my parents to be able to use... So, I was looking at the Roku/Apple TV type setup for at least their TV.

You dont want a Roku/AppleTV for playing media from a NAS, thats not their function, they are internet media streamers.

Buy a WDTV Live for the other rooms, it's cheap and will play the media from the NAS with no fuss, you can also use a DLNA controller like Skifta (free) but their are many others on a phone/tablet to control media selection/playback.
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post #3 of 24 Old 11-29-2013, 09:37 AM - Thread Starter
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Hey Alx, thanks for the reply.. Yeah, I recall reading something about how great WDTV Live was... I was actually just eyeing the Sony BDP S3100, but I feel that unit is just waiting for a firmware update to nuke my usage via cinavia... Are you saying use Skifta WITH the WDTV Live?
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post #4 of 24 Old 11-29-2013, 09:08 PM
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You can play LAN stored media on the Roku through PLEX media server.

Note: To do transcoding you will need an NAS with a 2Ghz Core 2 Duo or higher CPU. The Synology NAS you got will not cut it for transcoding, unfortunately.
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post #5 of 24 Old 11-30-2013, 02:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SeanEboy View Post

Hey Alx, thanks for the reply.. Yeah, I recall reading something about how great WDTV Live was... I was actually just eyeing the Sony BDP S3100, but I feel that unit is just waiting for a firmware update to nuke my usage via cinavia... Are you saying use Skifta WITH the WDTV Live?

Skifta is just an option for the parents, if they can use a tablet they might find it easier to use that instead of navigating the WDTV UI.
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post #6 of 24 Old 12-02-2013, 03:52 PM - Thread Starter
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Is Plex the 'Netflix-like' browser setup I've seen snippets of? That's definitely the route I would like to go... Does that mean I MUST get a Roku, or do other options run Plex? Is Roku the 'best' Netflix/Plex device? Is it possible for me to build a HTPC that can 'host' Plex, but still transcode/play off the Synology? Or, I guess once I'm building a HTPC, I might as well throw the HDD's into the HTPC instead..? I'm pretty sure I have an old computer around that can make use of this.. Perhaps it will be worth building from scratch though, with power consumption/etc in mind.. Or, should I just use my gaming rig I'm going to build as the host - which will easily be able to do everything and anything demanded of it in a breeze?

Sorry for all the questions.. I've done some research, and I think it has only caused me to come up with more questions....
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post #7 of 24 Old 12-03-2013, 12:05 AM
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Yes it is! It's got a UI like Netflix does and it's super easy to setup and configure!

You'd have to get a player with a full Plex app. I recommend the Roku becuase they were the easiest to setup and the support is official. No jailbreaking involved.

Could you please tell us more about the specs of the HTPC?
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post #8 of 24 Old 12-03-2013, 04:34 AM
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Plex options
1) Apple Mac Mini is best option.
2) HTPC will also do, get something like an Intel NUC as a client to a server.
3) Samsung Blu-ray player also have a Plex client but all Blu-ray players now use Cinavia DRM which will disable audio track when it detects the watermark on the movie.
4) Roku only supports H.264/MKV video to a degree, your files may or may not play on the Roku and a Plex server capable of transcoding video is strongly recommended (your Synology does not count only PC's can properly transcode).
4) AndroidTV devices, successor to GoogleTV (which Plex have a client for) would be your ideal box with a large amount of media support so no transcode required but they aren't out yet.

If dumping the Synology NAS and going for a full HTPC just buy a silverstone or coolermaster HTPC case, fill it full of HDD's and any standard motherboard, anything you can buy will be fine as hardware decoding is present in all modern PC chipsets.

Popcornhours A400 also have a Plex client and extensive media support so it could be used with the Synology however the UI on the PCH is done through Flash, it is not a GPU accelerated pretty UI like on the other platforms so doesn't look as slick in motion, if that isnt a big problem then the PCH and Synology would be a good fit.
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post #9 of 24 Old 12-03-2013, 11:59 AM - Thread Starter
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I have not even spec'd anything out yet in terms of a HTPC.. So, it's all just in the plans.. My goal is to enable my parents/anyone in the house to watch movies on any of the TVs... Obviously the pretty UI of Plex is what I am going for...

The full house is wired for gigabit, I have an Asus RT-N66U router, and a 24 port D-Link switch, with outlets in every room... So, that part is covered.. Now I just need to hardware to backup my idea of being able to stream to all the TVs, with as little Cinavia/file error/etc malarkey as possible... There will only be 1 or 2 TVs in the house that have surround sound setups, and only 1 (mine) that I would care about having the best quality possible...

So, would a HTPC up in my room, act as a server for the whole house, so I can then just get 'set top' boxes, whether they be Roku, or PCH, etc? I have money to spend, but not exactly $2k to dump on this as I don't think it should take nearly that much to get the ball rolling...


EDIT:
So you're saying a Mac Mini is my best option? Even better than building my own system? I am very competent in building, probably more so than famillar with the Mac OS - despite the fact that we're all iphone'd up in here..

When do the AndroidTV devices hit the market?
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post #10 of 24 Old 12-03-2013, 03:12 PM
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In terms of build quality, size, silence and power the Mac Mini tops almost everything as a HTPC. It's a complete off the shelf unit and works with the Apple TV remote too. Just hook up to TV and install Plex Home Theater and your set, it will handle everything you throw at it as the CPU is powerful enough to software decode media the hardware decoders might not support so you don't need a powerful back end server, heck you could use the Mac Mini as the server and put Roku's in the other rooms that are rarely used.

$600 for Mac Mini
$399 for a Lace 2 Big Quadra USB3 RAID enclosure pre-installed with hard drives or go for the 4 Big Quadra line, don't bother with Thunderbolt links those are overkill, the Lacie units are OSX compatible and quiet.

Alternatively just buy a bunch of standalone USB3 hard drives (Seagate or Lacie USB3 will work, plus they're low noise too) and store them in a cabinet near the Mac Mini. Plex is not a file/folder system you browse it's media library by the metadata it generates from scanning your media so that the files are spread across multiple drives makes no difference at all.

Instead of the Mac you could go with an Intel NUC but they aren't as slick or self build a PC it's up to you.

Android TV devices are in the pipeline but no ETA, hopefully by the end of the year we see some new hardware and if not then likely next year, maybe CES in January will bear fruit. It's more than that though whoever starts pushing out these devices needs to make a media player specific one with all the necessary codecs licensed, like Netgear or Sony could throw out a box but it only has Dolby audio no DTS etc. It's hoped Pivos next Android box falls under this category as it is a media player specific unit with all the bells and whistles.

Their are unofficial Android devices out there and you can even sideload the Plex GoogleTV apk but most of them are in poor shape.

Minimum fuss, best outcome is the Mac mini approach in my opinion.
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post #11 of 24 Old 12-04-2013, 07:00 AM - Thread Starter
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Sounds like the route to go.. But, wouldn't my existing 4-bay synology still be considered useful as a storage device if I go mac mini? Will the mac mini stand as a display output device? Or just as the back end server? Ideally, I'd be able to setup the mac mini upstairs in my room, next to the synology, and just stream to 2-3 Roku's throughout the house... I would imagine the max amount of TV's being streamed to would be 2..

Alx - I cannot thank you enough for this input. You're giving me the exact advice I was looking for, and could not find, or at least did not pickup so far in all the threads I have read. Perhaps when this is all through I'll have to make an access account for you on my synology. ;c)
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post #12 of 24 Old 12-05-2013, 03:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SeanEboy View Post

Sounds like the route to go.. But, wouldn't my existing 4-bay synology still be considered useful as a storage device if I go mac mini? Will the mac mini stand as a display output device? Or just as the back end server? Ideally, I'd be able to setup the mac mini upstairs in my room, next to the synology, and just stream to 2-3 Roku's throughout the house... I would imagine the max amount of TV's being streamed to would be 2..

Alx - I cannot thank you enough for this input. You're giving me the exact advice I was looking for, and could not find, or at least did not pickup so far in all the threads I have read. Perhaps when this is all through I'll have to make an access account for you on my synology. ;c)

Oh yeah the Synology will do forgot you had it thought you hadn't bought it yet.

The Mac Mini will run Plex media server better than the Synology ever could so use the mini for both tasks as plex server and client. Use the synology just as a storage point.
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post #13 of 24 Old 12-05-2013, 03:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SeanEboy View Post

Sounds like the route to go.. But, wouldn't my existing 4-bay synology still be considered useful as a storage device if I go mac mini? Will the mac mini stand as a display output device? Or just as the back end server? Ideally, I'd be able to setup the mac mini upstairs in my room, next to the synology, and just stream to 2-3 Roku's throughout the house... I would imagine the max amount of TV's being streamed to would be 2..

Alx - I cannot thank you enough for this input. You're giving me the exact advice I was looking for, and could not find, or at least did not pickup so far in all the threads I have read. Perhaps when this is all through I'll have to make an access account for you on my synology. ;c)


Yes if everything is gigabit then the synology with mac mini will easily serve multiple roku's and the mini is very quiet as previously mentioned.

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post #14 of 24 Old 12-06-2013, 09:59 AM - Thread Starter
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Awesome! Thanks guys! So, sounds like I'm off to buy a mac mini.. Now, are there options within the mini? A certain one to aim for?
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post #15 of 24 Old 12-11-2013, 09:36 PM - Thread Starter
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Could I get a used unit off eBay? Or is a new one at $600 the only way to go? Is the 2.5Ghz dual core enough?

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post #16 of 24 Old 12-13-2013, 06:50 AM - Thread Starter
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Answered my own question.. Yes, the 2.5Ghz basic version is enough... Perhaps upgrading some ram would make sense, or maybe use an SSD - but that's about it.
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post #17 of 24 Old 12-14-2013, 06:38 PM
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I use an 8-bay Synology 1812 as my server, a Mac mini as a WMC TV/DVR server, and it serves as the Plex server as well. Works great. the Mac mini has a SSD as the OS drive, and a 750GB Momentus hybrid drive as the recording drive. The clients are a mix between XBMC on an Intel NUC to other XBMC clients, and a Roku as a Plex client. Can't even hear the fan when serving 3 tuners (HDHomrerun Prime) and transcoding to the Roku (wireless).
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post #18 of 24 Old 12-15-2013, 01:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alx330 View Post

.
You dont want a Roku/AppleTV for playing media from a NAS, thats not their function, they are internet media streamers.

Wrong on the Apple TV. If you're willing to put your media in Apple friendly formats and run iTunes on a PC (with media on the NAS) the ATV is the most user friendly streamer out there



Quote:
Originally Posted by Alx330 View Post

Plex options
1) Apple Mac Mini is best option.
2) HTPC will also do, get something like an Intel NUC as a client to a server.
3) Samsung Blu-ray player also have a Plex client but all Blu-ray players now use Cinavia DRM which will disable audio track when it detects the watermark on the movie.
4) Roku only supports H.264/MKV video to a degree, your files may or may not play on the Roku and a Plex server capable of transcoding video is strongly recommended (your Synology does not count only PC's can properly transcode).
4) AndroidTV devices, successor to GoogleTV (which Plex have a client for) would be your ideal box with a large amount of media support so no transcode required but they aren't out yet.

If dumping the Synology NAS and going for a full HTPC just buy a silverstone or coolermaster HTPC case, fill it full of HDD's and any standard motherboard, anything you can buy will be fine as hardware decoding is present in all modern PC chipsets.

Popcornhours A400 also have a Plex client and extensive media support so it could be used with the Synology however the UI on the PCH is done through Flash, it is not a GPU accelerated pretty UI like on the other platforms so doesn't look as slick in motion, if that isnt a big problem then the PCH and Synology would be a good fit.

There are now plenty of NAS solutions (Intel Atom or higher based) that will hardware transcode. Just clarifying those two things.

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post #19 of 24 Old 03-09-2014, 09:02 PM - Thread Starter
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Just a LONGTIME revisit going on here...

So, I have access to a 2.5 Ghz mac mini for about $400 or so... However, at that rate.. I'm wondering if I shouldn't just go for upgrading my synology...

Just to understand correctly.. Is the mac mini accessed via the network, or directly, and displayed via the hdmi? I'm a bit confused on that. Reason why I ask, is because if I go with the mac mini, am I still going to need a "set top box" client of sorts to enable playback on my non-smart tv?

What 4-bay synology supports transcoding? Because, I'm into my existing synolgy for $400, and I could basically 'sell' it to my business for use there, and use the $400 I'm about to drop on this mac mini on a larger synology.. Or, as others have recommended, a HTPC. I'd imagine $800 would be quite the significant HTPC. Again, would I go hdmi directly to my tv, or would this strictly act as a server, and a client be necessary for my tv?

I want to run plex, I am set on that.. So, what is the best move here? Sorry, I'm tired, I should probably just re-read the thread, as I'm pretty sure someone answered this already. I'll do that in the morning, I'm too tired now.
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post #20 of 24 Old 03-27-2014, 06:40 PM
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Guys, if I have synology and a mac mini for plex server/app..
Will plex be able to autoupdate on changed on the synology? I have everything automated on my unraid. And as soon as something gets moved to a watched folder on plex server it appears on the plex app instantly.

Would the same type of updating occur if the server was on the mac mini on on the network with synology being the storage?
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post #21 of 24 Old 03-27-2014, 06:47 PM
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I have a Synology 1812+ and 3 wdtv's in the house. Everything streams from the synology and the wdtv have handled every format i've thrown at them. No fuss...no muss. No need for anything else.

I do run plex media server on my PC and just pull the files from the synology so that the pc is the one doing the transcoding. This lets me watch my content from my phone or ipad.

This honestly seems like the cheapest / most effective method in my mind. Buy 2 wdtv's ($200 total) and you're done.
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post #22 of 24 Old 03-29-2014, 11:22 PM
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But will plex server automatically update "upon change on the Synology?" So say a TV show is placed on the Synology. Will the plex server that's running on a different computer on the network instantaneously see the change and update?


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post #23 of 24 Old 03-31-2014, 05:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maxse View Post

But will plex server automatically update "upon change on the Synology?" So say a TV show is placed on the Synology. Will the plex server that's running on a different computer on the network instantaneously see the change and update?


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I believe you can go under the Plex settings and do the auto-updates. I usually do this manually since it only takes a click of a button to complete.
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post #24 of 24 Old 04-03-2014, 04:13 PM
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But from what I understand the auto updates only work if plex server itself is running in the actual server that's hosting the files on local drives


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