Home Theatre Setup. XBMC, Plex, Popcorn Hour.... - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 7 Old 01-13-2014, 07:18 PM - Thread Starter
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Currently I have a one TV with a Popcorn Hour A-300 which retrieves all of my video content from my (getting dated) QNAP TS- 419P+ via Gigabit.

I just got the itch to upgrade because the PCH A-410 was recently announced but I haven't decided which direction to go. The Popcorn NMJ interface is great. Love editing with the NMJ Toolbox. Love the 3D support.

Now what I'm thinking is I want to be able to stream from my NAS to more TVs as well as tablets.

I've tried streaming to the iPad mini with CineXPlayer HD app and the video is choppy probably because all of my video is either 720p, 1080p, or 1080p H-SBS 3D mkv files.


I'm sure there are people out there in similar situations. I need recommendations as to where I should put my money, because if I goof now, it will cost more to change later.

I could upgrade my NAS and run Plex Media Server off of that, but that would be expensive and less future-proof.

I could add a Mac Mini to run Plex Media Server and have it stream from my NAS. Could I have the Mac (running Windows) access the NAS via Ethernet? Or would this not allow transcoding..

I could build HTPCs to play my media from my NAS on XBMC.

Get the A410 and give up the tablet streaming. (Popcorn Hour also has a Plex app)


My needs/wishes are to be able to play lossless Dolby and DTS on TVs, Full SBS 3D (minimum H-SBS), use Harmony remotes for TV watching, stream to tablets, and possibly play Full Bluray ISO rips.

What do you think is the best...?
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post #2 of 7 Old 01-14-2014, 02:24 AM
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I could upgrade my NAS and run Plex Media Server off of that, but that would be expensive and less future-proof.

Asustor AS3 series, much cheaper x86 NAS then any of the competition runs Plex. The AS2 series are even cheaper but slower CPU, go with AS3.

That will give you transcoding support in Plex, but it wont be full transcoding as it is still a low power CPU, Plex can do some remuxing tricks to make mkv work better in iOS .
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I could add a Mac Mini to run Plex Media Server and have it stream from my NAS. Could I have the Mac (running Windows) access the NAS via Ethernet? Or would this not allow transcoding..

Transcoding performance will be severely affected if pulling the media from a NAS, it needs to be on the local storage unit of whatever is transcoding. A Mac Mini has the CPU power for full transcoding, a DAS (NAS without network) like Lacie BigQuadra or Drobo would provide storage to the Mac.
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I could build HTPCs to play my media from my NAS on XBMC.

If you can do it then this is the most flexible approach. No server upgrades required, get an Intel nuc or wait for the Lenovo Beacon announced at CES a commercial mini PC with XBMC (linux) pre installed like a media player.
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Get the A410 and give up the tablet streaming. (Popcorn Hour also has a Plex app)

What you can do with the existing NAS is run the mkv files through MKVtoMP4, this will repackage the video/audio into MP4 container making the media compatible with iOS native media player,.

So get the Arm version of Plex (no transcoding) available in the QNAP app center and see if the MP4 files work better on iOS or turn on DLNA server, install Skifta on iOS and play the MP4 that way.

The Arm version of Plex is not as fast as the x86 version so expect some delays in loading artwork on your Plex client.
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post #3 of 7 Old 01-14-2014, 05:08 AM - Thread Starter
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Ideally I don't want to have to transcode every file.

Also, I would like to maintain having a RAID 5 NAS available on the network for backups and media storage.

So now I'm thinking of the most expensive and complicated option. Upgrading NAS to QNAP TS-470 Pro but they are ~$1400. Which is almost too much...
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post #4 of 7 Old 01-14-2014, 09:24 AM
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Dont bother with that just build a PC, use Windows 8 storage spaces to give your a RAID 5 style array (parity mode).

Slap in a Core i5 CPU, set windows 8 to auto login in and Plex server to load on Windows start up, you got yourself a full transcoding capable Plex server.
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post #5 of 7 Old 01-14-2014, 10:21 AM - Thread Starter
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Ya, I was thinking of that too.

Then I'll have to have another computer setup somewhere in the house with an extra monitor and keyboard.

Or I guess I could add an external HDD storage array to my current Windows 7 desktop PC. Drobo 5D? other? But I don't want my server to be affected while I'm downloading large files.

Trying to keep the clutter down...

This shouldn't be so hard to decide, but for some reason it is. confused.gif
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post #6 of 7 Old 01-15-2014, 03:40 AM
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Downloading files barely affects the CPU at all and if you have ethernet link from PC to router that is perfect.

Buy a DAS from Lacie if you want a fully contained unit with HDD's pre-installed, they also do 4 bay units.
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post #7 of 7 Old 01-22-2014, 11:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rmeyers View Post

Then I'll have to have another computer setup somewhere in the house with an extra monitor and keyboard.
I just built a HTPC/Media server which I am now setting up. I plan to run Plex on it as well. It's a mITX build with an i3-4330T which has a max TDP of 35W.

The box (FD Node 304) is hooked to the AVR via HDMI (and AVR -> HDMI -> TV). I'm waiting for a Logitech K400 wireless keyboard to come in stock these days, but I plan to set up the PC and just leave it be, serving files. Should I need to do something I can do it with TeamViewer or similar through my laptop, tablet or phone.

Maybe this is not related to your situation, I'm just hoping that it might relieve you of the clutter/another PC issue.
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