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Old 08-26-2014, 10:20 PM - Thread Starter
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Help Build My NAS and software for Blu Ray

Theater is built...!!!
AM awaiting for new ATMOS receivers so using my older SONy for next month or 2

Meanwhile, have new Oppo with Darbee in rack and a new JVC x500R with 7.2 surround set up (until put in ceiling speakers) looking and sounding great.

Now, I would like to explore the idea of setting up a NAS.
I would like it to play or stream Blu Ray in top quality. I can do it wireless or perhaps even wired if necessary (although wireless will be easier and have less space issues)

I see PLEX is popular but am curious if folks are able to use it for high quality Blu ray .
WIll it work on 2g system? (i have both 2g and 5g but am not sure the roju streaming stick handles 5G)

ANways, I am flexible and would like some advice for setting up a NAS that can handle Blu Ray (which I intend to RIP....so software recs for Ripping also helpful) and best formats to use and how to get best sound as well...
I run both Windows and Mac setups in house and am willing to purchase new device or use a windows computer I bought last year as my server...Again, wide open to recs..
ANy online guides you can point me to will also be appreciated


thanks,,,,
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Old 08-27-2014, 04:07 AM
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I am not exactly sure what you are looking for here information wise. If you are looking to use Plex you will have to have some kind of a system to host it on and depending on your needs it could have some beefy requirements.

There are a few NAS Units that will host plex / act as a Plex server but they are not powerful in the processor department and will only handle a few streams. Synology is supposed to be coming out with a new NAS specifically for Media, which might be more beefy but don't think it will have a processor comparable to something like a Core i5 or Core i7.

For a NAS there are so many options out there and everyone will have their own opinion. I personally used to build my own RAID Systems and had great luck with them but eventually settled on a Synology RAID which has been working flawlessly since the day I bought it.

While you could get away with wireless I would strongly recommend sticking with a wired solution especially if you are planing on watching multiple full resolution streams. Wireless is great and I am sure there are plenty of people that are utilizing it but it has much higher overhead then wired and is subject to random interference at any given time.

As for Ripping that is again open for debate, I personally use DVD Fab but they have run in to some legal issues as other have and ripping has become a little more difficult but if you do some digging you can still get the versions that support it / are updated regularly.

Personally I go with MVK Files, they are nice, easy to maintain and seem to play on just about everything that I have without any issues. They keep your original resolution, maintain chapters and audio tracks / sub titles although some people complain about issues with forced subtitles not working as expected.

Let us know what else we can help with.
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Old 08-27-2014, 04:57 AM
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Your roju streaming stick isn't going to playback blu ray full quality.

Wireless doesn't sound like a good plan either.
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Old 08-27-2014, 07:16 AM
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I am in the same boat, but I did the NAS first and am now in the early stages of media streaming. Let me share the direction I've taken, and perhaps that will answer some questions. I purchased a QNAP TS-851 NAS. It has 8 bays for storage (there there are also 2, 4, and 6-bay offerings), and supports just about all the features you'd want in a media server. It has a DLNA server (TwonkyMedia), Plex, iTunes, and XBMC. There is an HDMI output so you can actually hook it directly to a TV and use a smartphone for a remote control (though I don't use this feature presently). It also has 2 gigabit ethernet cards, so plenty of bandwidth for your systems. You can combine them into a single logical device (NIC-teaming), but this also requires a "managed" network switch, and probably isn't necessary for most home users. The NAS does all your typical RAID options and supports a "hot spare" drive. For instance, I have 4x3TB drives in mine. I configured them in RAID 5 (so that comes to 5.72GB of usable space - you can go here to see the vitals on different RAID configurations). Lastly, the TS-x51 series can natively support CrashPlan, which is a great cloud-based backup solution. For $60, you can backup a single device to the cloud, with no limits on space. While setting up a NAS as a source is not supported (don't bother calling tech support), it is entirely permitted by them, and this is the configuration I have been using successfully for several months now.

When my son was born, like most new fathers, I went a little crazy with the home movies. And thanks to modern technology, my home movies are 1920x1080 w/ 5.1 DD audio. Not the smallest file formats, and I have no interest in compressing these files. Despite the size, the NAS serves them up to multiple clients simultaneously without issue. But, ss the previous commenter pointed out, wired is a must if you don't plan on compressing your videos and want to keep your video files in a lossless format. If you're planning to stream Blu Ray rips, I'm guessing you'll need the bandwidth that only a wired connection can provide.

So this is why the NAS works well for me. It's got enough space to store the copious amounts of home movies I have, and enough bandwidth to blast them all over the home network. There are plenty of media streaming apps that I can easily download and use right from within the appliance's web interface. The RAID feature mitigates drive failure, so in the event that a drive bombs out on me, the hot-spare kicks in and my data begins rebuilding immediately while I replace the busted drive. And lastly, if I have a catastrophic failure on the unit (in my case, losing 2 drives at once or the appliance croaking on me), all my videos and music are backed up to CrashPlan so I'm covered there as well.

Lastly, for raw file sharing it supports Windows, MAC, and Linux/Unix file sharing. It integrates with Windows permissions perfectly, so if you want to lock down your files (in my case, keeping my son out of the Metallica until he's a little older), you're in good shape there as well. If you want to do this last bit though, you'll need to either have the NAS act as a domain controller, unless you're already running a Windows Active Directory server on your network.

Hope that helps.
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Old 08-27-2014, 08:48 AM
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NAS is easy, just get one of the commonly recommended ones. Synology is always a good choice, Lenovo makes decent ones for less, etc etc.

Plex is fantastic software if you want to send streams all around your house to various TVs, but it is not full BD quality as it transcodes the streams for your players. It is however fantastic for taking a MKV file with DTS HD and streaming it to a 2 channel only TV or iPad device (which I use it for).

For your theater, if you want full lossless, get a Dune HD Smart D1, use MKV files and zappati or yadis (I use yadis) to create your movie wall. It will be perfect quality streamed over your network to the Dune.

Make the MKV files using makemkv, don't waste time or money on other software unless you want menus and bonus features. Don't convert the files unless you want to try and save space. I figure HDD space is cheap, compressed video is annoying so always just go with the uncompressed mkv.

Plex will play over wireless but I would not try and do uncompressed video to the Dune without wired network. It is worth your time and money to wire your house if it is not already.
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Old 08-27-2014, 09:45 AM
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Originally Posted by jparker36 View Post
NAS is easy, just get one of the commonly recommended ones. Synology is always a good choice, Lenovo makes decent ones for less, etc etc.

Plex is fantastic software if you want to send streams all around your house to various TVs, but it is not full BD quality as it transcodes the streams for your players. It is however fantastic for taking a MKV file with DTS HD and streaming it to a 2 channel only TV or iPad device (which I use it for).

For your theater, if you want full lossless, get a Dune HD Smart D1, use MKV files and zappati or yadis (I use yadis) to create your movie wall. It will be perfect quality streamed over your network to the Dune.

Make the MKV files using makemkv, don't waste time or money on other software unless you want menus and bonus features. Don't convert the files unless you want to try and save space. I figure HDD space is cheap, compressed video is annoying so always just go with the uncompressed mkv.

Plex will play over wireless but I would not try and do uncompressed video to the Dune without wired network. It is worth your time and money to wire your house if it is not already.
Good Answer. I bought a refurb Lenovo NAS capable of 16TB for $149 @ tiger direct but they only have a few left... selling out... wish I had $$ to pick up another.
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Old 08-27-2014, 01:31 PM
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Wireless should only be considered a convenience or a necessity if there is no way to wire your connection in my opinion. Yes, a wired connection will cost more and is labor intensive but you will never reach the full potential through wifi.
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Old 08-27-2014, 01:33 PM
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To add to that, if it is your home, running Ethernet throughout will increase the value.
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Old 08-27-2014, 02:18 PM
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To add to that, if it is your home, running Ethernet throughout will increase the value.
Holy smokes, I never thought of that angle. The PERFECT excuse!
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Old 08-27-2014, 02:19 PM
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To size your NAS, you need to know two things. First, how many Blurays do you want to house on it? FYI, uncompressed Blurays are large. Second, on which devices do you want to support playback? Media Servers like Plex are capable of transcoding your Bluray content down to the level of your media player - but transcoding requires CPU horsepower. If you have smart media players that don't need transcoding then you don't need much horsepower on your NAS - just storage.

As a next step, I'd list out how many Blurays you want to store and the devices you intend to have hooked up to each TV to support playback (like the Oppo). Personally, a 9TB array is fine for me right now but I support playback to iPad and Roku devices so I need transcoding via Plex. That led me to a PC based NAS rather than consumer level NAS like the Lenovo. Folks with a smart HTPC get along just fine with a consumer level NAS, though.
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Old 08-27-2014, 02:20 PM
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"Every room is internet ready" pitch.
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Old 08-28-2014, 10:13 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by funhouse69 View Post
I am not exactly sure what you are looking for here information wise. If you are looking to use Plex you will have to have some kind of a system to host it on and depending on your needs it could have some beefy requirements.

There are a few NAS Units that will host plex / act as a Plex server but they are not powerful in the processor department and will only handle a few streams. Synology is supposed to be coming out with a new NAS specifically for Media, which might be more beefy but don't think it will have a processor comparable to something like a Core i5 or Core i7.

For a NAS there are so many options out there and everyone will have their own opinion. I personally used to build my own RAID Systems and had great luck with them but eventually settled on a Synology RAID which has been working flawlessly since the day I bought it.

While you could get away with wireless I would strongly recommend sticking with a wired solution especially if you are planing on watching multiple full resolution streams. Wireless is great and I am sure there are plenty of people that are utilizing it but it has much higher overhead then wired and is subject to random interference at any given time.

As for Ripping that is again open for debate, I personally use DVD Fab but they have run in to some legal issues as other have and ripping has become a little more difficult but if you do some digging you can still get the versions that support it / are updated regularly.

Personally I go with MVK Files, they are nice, easy to maintain and seem to play on just about everything that I have without any issues. They keep your original resolution, maintain chapters and audio tracks / sub titles although some people complain about issues with forced subtitles not working as expected.

Let us know what else we can help with.
Thanks for the many great replies....I was at work and just got home and am reading through them.
I do have cat 6 internet wired through out the house. However, I suppose the only rooms I will likely stream Blu Ray or other high quality films will be into the main theater. I do not have much of a collection yet but plan on building one over time and ripping them. MKV sounds like a good option. I do not think I will need menus. Just the movie in highest quality sound and video.
I suppose since I will have a NAS it need store more then simply the movies I want to have available in theater. I suppose I would like to use it to back up and share files from the several home computers around the house...

I do have space put aside next to my AV RACK to house a NAS or a desktop functioning as NAS server. Honestly, it doesn't make much difference to me if it is win or apple although I am more adept at navigating the windows side of things (I mostly keep the apple stuff for my wife and kids)

I was looking at Plex as it seemed like good software but I will want higher quality video output.

If I understand correctly what I need is a device ( computer or NAS) that can store all the video and attach wirelessly AND wired to my network .(wired for Theater room but wireless for the rest of house documents and pics etc although I suppose I could do that wired as well...just seems cleaner wireless)

Currently, I have an oppo BDP 103D .
AM upgrading receiver in a month to Atmos enabled Denon.

I will look at both the DUne and the QNAP mentioned above. I see that PC MAG rated the synology very highly. HOwever, I primarily want to be able to have an excellent streaming device that I can make into a video jukebox (BD and Non blu ray quality) of high quality. I would love to be able to use that to store other family data and back up to the cloud
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Old 08-28-2014, 10:17 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by jparker36 View Post
NAS is easy, just get one of the commonly recommended ones. Synology is always a good choice, Lenovo makes decent ones for less, etc etc.

Plex is fantastic software if you want to send streams all around your house to various TVs, but it is not full BD quality as it transcodes the streams for your players. It is however fantastic for taking a MKV file with DTS HD and streaming it to a 2 channel only TV or iPad device (which I use it for).

For your theater, if you want full lossless, get a Dune HD Smart D1, use MKV files and zappati or yadis (I use yadis) to create your movie wall. It will be perfect quality streamed over your network to the Dune.

Make the MKV files using makemkv, don't waste time or money on other software unless you want menus and bonus features. Don't convert the files unless you want to try and save space. I figure HDD space is cheap, compressed video is annoying so always just go with the uncompressed mkv.

Plex will play over wireless but I would not try and do uncompressed video to the Dune without wired network. It is worth your time and money to wire your house if it is not already.

THanks...DUne looks interesting to me....And simple. HOwever, I see that I can either have menus or 3D without menus with the slightly different server. I suppose I will want to store some 3d movies....not sure yet. Will dune also work with a wireless set up at same time to allow me to also use it to store stuff from computers around the house for data? Non video stuff .
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Old 08-28-2014, 10:24 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by tdallen View Post
To size your NAS, you need to know two things. First, how many Blurays do you want to house on it? FYI, uncompressed Blurays are large. Second, on which devices do you want to support playback? Media Servers like Plex are capable of transcoding your Bluray content down to the level of your media player - but transcoding requires CPU horsepower. If you have smart media players that don't need transcoding then you don't need much horsepower on your NAS - just storage.

As a next step, I'd list out how many Blurays you want to store and the devices you intend to have hooked up to each TV to support playback (like the Oppo). Personally, a 9TB array is fine for me right now but I support playback to iPad and Roku devices so I need transcoding via Plex. That led me to a PC based NAS rather than consumer level NAS like the Lenovo. Folks with a smart HTPC get along just fine with a consumer level NAS, though.

The answer is I do not know...I plan on adding BLuRays going forward now that theater is built. I do not know how large it will grow. So, I would like to make sure thaty I have option to expand.
HTPC...home theater personal computer?

I suspect the only other TV where I might stream to is in the family room...not to ipads and computers.

I think I am confused to the differences between a PC and a NAS...cant a pc function as a NAS? are there pros and cons?
AM real new to the NAS idea....
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Old 08-28-2014, 10:25 AM
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If you want stuff around the house, put it all on the NAS you'll get. Then its accessible from anywhere.

Don't discount plex too much too.... over a well designed wireless network it can transmit lossless quality. I have an AC network set up and using plexconnect on appletvs, I can not notice any compression artifacts. It is extremely impressive really. But the dune wired (don't try to use it wireless) is the best bet for a theater due to its ability to play dts-hd ma and truehd
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Old 08-28-2014, 12:06 PM
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Originally Posted by danrudy View Post
The answer is I do not know...I plan on adding BLuRays going forward now that theater is built. I do not know how large it will grow. So, I would like to make sure thaty I have option to expand.
HTPC...home theater personal computer?

I suspect the only other TV where I might stream to is in the family room...not to ipads and computers.

I think I am confused to the differences between a PC and a NAS...cant a pc function as a NAS? are there pros and cons?
AM real new to the NAS idea....
Yes, HTPC = Home Theater computer. NAS = Network Attached Storage. The term NAS, while general, typically implies a dedicated device on your home network - a hard drive attached to a router, a Synology type device, or a PC dedicated to storage duties. An HTPC, on the other hand, implies a PC whose main function is display and will be directly attached to your TV. There's a great HTPC forum here on AVS.

Broad Generalizations

HTPCs tend to emphasize video and CPU horsepower. They are packaged in slim, quiet devices appropriate for location in a media center. While they have some storage onboard, it tends to be only a hard drive or two for a small media collection. You'll have your choice of software to drive your media collection, unlike an off the shelf media player.

A NAS is typically larger, noisier and hotter than an HTPC (though there are certainly small, quiet options). The main function of a NAS is to provide storage - from several to many high capacity hard drives. For multimedia a NAS is paired with a media player - an HTPC or small set top device that attaches to your TV and presents content from your NAS by accessing it over your home network. A NAS can also provide the ability to transcode media into a format your media player can consume (they tend to support limited formats, unlike an HTPC) - if so, your NAS will need some CPU horsepower in addition to storage capacity.

Your next research task is probably to check out the HTPC forum. The key decision is - do I custom build a PC to attach to my TV (and while it is fun it is not plug and play), or do I go with an off the shelf small set top media player (research in this forum) and use a separate NAS to store my media.
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Old 08-28-2014, 05:30 PM
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In my house I have what I guess you would call a Mixed Solution, I have Plex, a NAS, a HTPC as well as Media Players such as Mede8er and Micca. I am computer / networking geek and love messing with this stuff with that said there are benefits and drawbacks to each.

Plex - Plex is AWESOME there isn't much bad I can say about it, it works and it works well. The main benefit of Plex (in my opinion) is that is it so relatively simple to set up / use. The other MAJOR benefit of Plex is that it can (if you want) allow you to access your media OUTSIDE of your network / home. So you are on the road sitting in a hotel room and you can watch anything that you have on your plex server. The interface is nice, clean and consistent across platforms (for the most part). Plex will also remember where you've left off and let you resume. You can even "Share" your plex server with your friends / family and they will have the same ability to resume if and only if you get a Plex Subscription which is very cheap. Plex will automatically transcode your media to fix whatever device / connection speed you are dealing with. Oh and if you would happen to have an HTPC Plex has an HTPC Version that is optimized for a system with a remote controller and it does a great job video / audio wise. Oh one more thing about Plex it does an awesome job scrapping your media library and I love the way it deals with TV Series. You just have to get familiar with the desired naming conventions.

The downside of Plex is that you need a system to put it on, the system should be on all the time (if you want access to your media all the time) and depending on your needs the system will need to be pretty beefy in the CPU Department. This is especially important when transcoding which will happen especially when accessing your media outside of your house. Also the Plex Apps are NOT free for IOS Devices they are free if you have a subscription to their "Plex Pass".

HTPC - An HTPC can be anything from a system specifically built as one which would be in a small case, very quiet / silent all the way to any old system connected to your TV. I have one and only use it for watching movies but over the years I've been moving away from them and going towards a dedicated media player.

The Downsides of a HTPC is that some people feel that they are a lot of work to set up, you not only have a fully working computer you now have to install various applications on it to download information on your media, play your media. Some people love it, some others couldn't be bothered.

Dedicated / Purposed Built Media Players - The small devices are made specially with playing media in mind. Over the years I've tried various ones and none of them impressed me until recently when I picked up a small very inexpensive Micca Player off Amazon. I was very surprised that it played pretty much anything / everything I could throw at it and it was responsive but lacked in few areas. After a lot of research I ended up buying a Mede8er, I wanted a Popcorn Hour but they are no longer being sold in the US (at least a last look) and I also considered Dune but they are expensive and I don't really care about playing full 3D Menus as I only rip main movies.

The Downsides of a dedicated Media Player - Every player has its own set of unique quirks some more annoying than others (kind of like ex girlfriends) but these are very subjective and only you can really decide if a player will work for you and your needs. Make sure you check out the specs carefully before pulling the trigger on one.

NAS / Storage - The one thing that I did not mention on any of the above systems is Storage, no matter what method your decide to go (unless cloud based) you will need some kind of storage for your media. Depending on your needs this can be as simple as a single hard drive in a system that is used for that system only or you can share it out to your network. You could also have storage in every single device mentioned about as well but that can / will be come a nightmare of keeping track of what is where.

A lot of us go with NAS Devices so we have a central repository for all of our media that is accessible to any / all of the devices mentioned above and depending on the NAS it can give you fault tolerance (Such as RAID) as well as expandability. How much storage do you need? Well that again depends on you, I have about 1000 DVD's on my network that takes up about 4TB of Storage while at the same time I have less than 100 Blu Ray Rips that are just under 2TB so you can see how storage can be an issue.

Downside of NAS / Centralized Storage - First and foremost is cost! A good NAS can be several hundred to thousands of dollars depending on how many bays you want. There is also power and cooling considerations, a NAS with several drives running all at once can take a lot of power and will have to be in a location with lots of airflow. NAS Devices are usually proprietary which can be an issue if it fails and you want to get your data back. There is also a possibility of some kind of catastrophic failure that could lead to data loss and backing up many TB of data is not easy.

I've been doing this for a long time and if I was going to start all over again I would go with a NAS, Plex and Media Players. I would skip the HTPC's. I only started messing with Plex a few months ago but have embraced it completely, I absolutely love it. Oh and it should be mentioned that there are some media players that do support Plex, I believe the Roku's and Amazon Fire TV both do. I do not know what they support for audio though.

Oh and as you Networking I would Stick to hard wiring everything that you can especially if you go with a NAS even if you decide to try and go wireless with everything else. I only use wireless for my wireless only devices like phone / tablet / laptop and even then I will hard wire my laptop when I don't need to be mobile. When you are ripping movies / copying them around on your network you will be thankful for a wired Gig connection, trust me! Any good system these days can saturate a Gig Ethernet connection, even with wireless AC (the newest standard) you will be lucky to get 1/4 of that speed!

Hope this helps at least give you some food for thought.
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Old 08-28-2014, 07:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by funhouse69 View Post
In my house I have what I guess you would call a Mixed Solution, I have Plex, a NAS, a HTPC as well as Media Players such as Mede8er and Micca. I am computer / networking geek and love messing with this stuff with that said there are benefits and drawbacks to each. ***snip***
funhouse, your post was a timely Godsend. I've been planning to install a NAS + media player solution in my home for months. Your post summarized many of the thoughts I had about what route to go.

I some lingering questions about the proper media player for my install.

Equipment:
Wired network (Cat5e)
Gigabit Router
NAS: Synology DS1513+

Question 1: transcoding. Can I rip my blu-rays in such a way that transcoding is not needed? I'm thinking this would prevent problems due to an under-powered NAS or media player.

Question 2: media player. I plan to run Plex. Given the issue in question 1, which one is the best? I've looked at the usual suspects: AppleTV, Western Digital, Xbox 360, Amazon Fire, and the Medi8tor. I've also checked out Dune's offerings. I'm stuck.

Any help would be greatly appreciated. If I can have some clarity on these two issues I'll be home free and ready to install!
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Old 08-28-2014, 07:59 PM
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funhouse, your post was a timely Godsend. I've been planning to install a NAS + media player solution in my home for months. Your post summarized many of the thoughts I had about what route to go.

I some lingering questions about the proper media player for my install.

Equipment:
Wired network (Cat5e)
Gigabit Router
NAS: Synology DS1513+

Question 1: transcoding. Can I rip my blu-rays in such a way that transcoding is not needed? I'm thinking this would prevent problems due to an under-powered NAS or media player.

Question 2: media player. I plan to run Plex. Given the issue in question 1, which one is the best? I've looked at the usual suspects: AppleTV, Western Digital, Xbox 360, Amazon Fire, and the Medi8tor. I've also checked out Dune's offerings. I'm stuck.

Any help would be greatly appreciated. If I can have some clarity on these two issues I'll be home free and ready to install!
The Equipment list sounds good but you will need a system to install plex on unless you plan on running if off of the Synology NAS which is possible HOWEVER you will NOT be able to trascode much so if you want to access your media outside of your house you will probably run in to issues.

Keep in mind that Plex will only transcode if it has to, if your player supports direct play which most of them do you will be ok / no need to transcode within your house but you will want to try it out / see if you have to tweak some settings on your players.

With that said you could rip your media so you don't have to transcode but why would you want to? If you would play that rip one your TV it will look like crap the other option would be to have two different copies of the same file one a lower resolution and one at the higher / highest. The beauty of Plex is that it will transcode your media for whatever compatible player but it can require some horsepower.

I remember seeing a list somewhere of what Plex on a Synology box can do but I can't seem to find it. I know that there was some kind of limitation transcoding 1080p streams. Its got a pretty low powered CPU.

Out of all of the players you mentioned I think the only one that supports Plex in an App Form is the Amazon Fire TV at this point. That isn't to say that won't change in the future. Plex also supports DLNA which I believe would work with all of the other players you mentioned but I am not sure if it would give you all of the features or not as I haven't done that.

If you have say a Mede8er you will be playing your media directly from your storage / no need for Plex unless you access it via DLNA.

Here's the link to the Plex DLNA info...
https://support.plex.tv/hc/en-us/art...200350536-DLNA

Did I miss something?
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Old 08-28-2014, 08:20 PM
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Apple Tv has plex support if you're handy and willing to spend some effort to set it up. Plexconnect is a fantastic plex client.
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Old 08-28-2014, 08:44 PM
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The Equipment list sounds good but you will need a system to install plex on unless you plan on running if off of the Synology NAS which is possible HOWEVER you will NOT be able to trascode much so if you want to access your media outside of your house you will probably run in to issues.

Keep in mind that Plex will only transcode if it has to, if your player supports direct play which most of them do you will be ok / no need to transcode within your house but you will want to try it out / see if you have to tweak some settings on your players.

With that said you could rip your media so you don't have to transcode but why would you want to? If you would play that rip one your TV it will look like crap the other option would be to have two different copies of the same file one a lower resolution and one at the higher / highest. The beauty of Plex is that it will transcode your media for whatever compatible player but it can require some horsepower.

I remember seeing a list somewhere of what Plex on a Synology box can do but I can't seem to find it. I know that there was some kind of limitation transcoding 1080p streams. Its got a pretty low powered CPU.

Out of all of the players you mentioned I think the only one that supports Plex in an App Form is the Amazon Fire TV at this point. That isn't to say that won't change in the future. Plex also supports DLNA which I believe would work with all of the other players you mentioned but I am not sure if it would give you all of the features or not as I haven't done that.

If you have say a Mede8er you will be playing your media directly from your storage / no need for Plex unless you access it via DLNA.

Here's the link to the Plex DLNA info...
https://support.plex.tv/hc/en-us/art...200350536-DLNA

Did I miss something?
BTW, I think the Roku's have the Plex app as well. That's the other one I was checking out.

Maybe I don't understand transcoding.

I was thinking transcoding puts the file in a format the player can handle and is necessary only when the media player requires a different file format than the source file. I was thinking: rip the blu-rays from my main system to the NAS in a format the media player can handle > the NAS feeds the file to the player > player displays the file on screen without needing to transcode. I was thinking if this way works I could avoid the need for much processing post-rip. I also want to preserve the quality of the original blu-rays as much as possible (Dolby TrueHD, etc.).

But, you mentioned something I did not consider: streaming to iPads, laptops, etc. Although I do not see a huge need for that, that would require transcoding the source file. Hmm.

Would there be an advantage of having Mede8tors hooked to each tv vs. something like a Roku or AppleTV?
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Old 08-29-2014, 12:21 AM
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BTW, I think the Roku's have the Plex app as well. That's the other one I was checking out.

Maybe I don't understand transcoding.

I was thinking transcoding puts the file in a format the player can handle and is necessary only when the media player requires a different file format than the source file. I was thinking: rip the blu-rays from my main system to the NAS in a format the media player can handle > the NAS feeds the file to the player > player displays the file on screen without needing to transcode. I was thinking if this way works I could avoid the need for much processing post-rip. I also want to preserve the quality of the original blu-rays as much as possible (Dolby TrueHD, etc.).

But, you mentioned something I did not consider: streaming to iPads, laptops, etc. Although I do not see a huge need for that, that would require transcoding the source file. Hmm.

Would there be an advantage of having Mede8tors hooked to each tv vs. something like a Roku or AppleTV?
I thought I mentioned that Roku has a Plex App but maybe I missed that, if you also happen to have an old Google TV I believe you can also get an app for that, it also works with the Google Chrome Cast.

With Plex Transcoding ONLY takes place when the player you are playing the video on does NOT support the video / audio format AND / OR you have bandwidth limitations like when you are out of your house.

If you are looking to play the video on your TV through a player like an Apple TV, Roku or almost any other player like a WD, Mede8er, PCH (Popcorn Hour), Dune then you have no need whatsoever for Plex. In this case every player will access the media from your NAS and you are good to go / no transcoding and you just need to have enough bandwidth (which shouldn't be an issue) to play on all of your players simultaneously. For all practical purposes You will NOT be able to access your media outside of your house / network without a ton of outgoing bandwidth and even then it would be hit or miss unless you have some kind of player that buffers according to your connection speed.

At the same time without plex you won't have the benefit of being able to watch something on one TV / Device and pick up where you left off on another (kind of like your own Netflix).

If do have Plex and watch your videos while on your phone / tablet and it has an App (both IOS and Android do) then you should "Direct Play" which does not require much if any transcoding do it won't take a lot of CPU. I just tested that with two tablets and a phone and there is an initial spike in the CPU of my Plex system but it eventually goes down to almost nothing. But when accessing it outside of my network there is a considerable hit on CPU.
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Old 08-29-2014, 05:12 AM
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I think I am confused to the differences between a PC and a NAS...cant a pc function as a NAS? are there pros and cons?
AM real new to the NAS idea....
Nothing wrong with using a full on computer as a NAS. In fact there are probably more pros to that idea than cons since the drives are connected to your machine via SATA (faster for writing to the drives and transferring.) The only setback there is by comparison, is that a full machine uses a bit more power than a NAS.

Personally speaking, I'm not a big fan of NAS. It really doesn't make much sense to me. It's a lot of money spent for no real reason. Even if you have a NAS, the chances are great you also have a computer of some kind and mine is on pretty much 24/7 anyway so there is no sense running a computer AND a nas. I've added 6 hotswappable SATA drive bays to my machine for a total of 15 TB storage and it's further expandable than that if need be. I do all of my writing and transferring to the drives while they're connected (via SATA) to the main machine. If I ever fill the drives I can take them out of the machine into a USB box and connect to a usb slot on one of my streamers. I have 3 streamers in the house (mede8er, boxee box, wd tv and all have two usb inputs each). Everything is shared so all drives in the house can be seen and used by all devices.





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Old 08-29-2014, 03:42 PM
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I had an old desktop lying around. Though it is 5+ years old it had more room for drives, the same memory, and a lot more CPU than a $900 synology. If you have any inclination to tinker with PCs and a supply of old parts it is very easy to assemble your own NAS, potentially at very low cost.

I like keeping my source files in as close to original format as possible because I view media players as disposable and you never can tell what file formats the next one will support. Better to keep the original quality and transcode on the server if needed for your current player.
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Old 08-29-2014, 05:06 PM
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Synology is an easy, all-in-one NAS/server solution. It is about as plug-and-play as you can get. It also comes with a hefty price premium for that convenience. It does have the PLEX app on it, so if you are set on going that route, there's nothing more you need to figure out. There is another service out there called Media Browser that is similar to PLEX but has a slightly more robust set of features. Roku, Apple, and Android all have apps for it as well. PLEX is a solid server though.

For most home users Synology will be overkill. A standard desktop can be turned into an even more powerful server than the Synology for about 25% of the price.

Some questions that will help narrow things down:
  1. How much storage do you anticipate needing? Are w talking about 100 BDs? 500? Or are you like me and we're talking about ~3,000 titles?
  2. Will you be wanting to access and view your media while away, such as on your phone or tablet? (These will be your biggest transcoding hogs)
  3. How many people are likely to be accessing the library at the same time?

If you rip to a streaming-friendly format such as MKV, you don't even need a terribly robust server to be able to stream to media players around the house. Not only that, but stripping away menus and the like on BD and saving just the movie as a MKV file will save tons of room, as much as 20-25% per BD.
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Old 08-30-2014, 06:34 AM
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How much storage do you anticipate needing? Are w talking about 100 BDs? 500? Or are you like me and we're talking about ~3,000 titles?
Well, I'm not sure total space required is as important as how expandable your system is. We all start off with a few drives worth of data, but it grows from there. So you buy a 4 bay nas and when (not if) you run out of room, what do you do? Expandability is probably the most important issue when talking about data storage. I for example bought the mede8er with the drive bay (as opposed to the one without) simply because that extra drive bay is yet another place to store data. Maybe I didn't need it NOW... but I most definitely will at some point.
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Old 08-30-2014, 12:09 PM
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Well, I'm not sure total space required is as important as how expandable your system is. We all start off with a few drives worth of data, but it grows from there. So you buy a 4 bay nas and when (not if) you run out of room, what do you do? Expandability is probably the most important issue when talking about data storage. I for example bought the mede8er with the drive bay (as opposed to the one without) simply because that extra drive bay is yet another place to store data. Maybe I didn't need it NOW... but I most definitely will at some point.
I mostly agree with this. Expandability is the biggest issue for storage space. But there are levels of expandability. There are those out there, even among avid AVS forum users that know for certain that their eventual collection will, with 98% certainty, never expand beyond x TB worth of data or y number of movies. If that number is 2-3 drives worth, then getting an enclosure that will service 4-6 drives (especially with how they are increasing in capacity) will likely be enough for them with sufficient headroom so as to never be filled to capacity. If the collection is huge though, then stepping up the larger Synology units (or a homemade equivalent) might make some more sense. If the collection is one that puts video rental stores to shame, even Synology might be too small and a true server, with 16 or 24-bay chassis and the ability to chain multiples of those together may be the solution.

Knowing the actual data amount is not necessary. Having at least a rough ballpark idea of what category one is most likely to wind up in is a good idea though.
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Old 08-30-2014, 01:32 PM
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I have been running a NAS and HTPC setup for close to five years now. The HTPC has (in various shapes and forms) been running for over 12 years while the NAS grew out of a need for additional storage and a requirement to serve media to other HTPC's around the house.

IMO getting the NAS right is more important than the HTPC/media player piece. You can always add or switch media players over time but migrating to a new NAS is a much bigger challenge.

I decided to build my own NAS instead of buying a system in a box. My two big concerns with a pre-built NAS were expandability and fault tolerance. For expandability I wanted to make sure that I would not need to worry about outgrowing the NAS. I also wanted to make sure that in the event of either a hard drive failure or a NAS hardware failure that first and foremost I didn't have to worry about data loss and secondly it would be easy to fix.

After a lot of research I settled on unRAID as the underlying software for the NAS. It has the same basic benefits as a RAID-5 setup but has been optimized for media storage. Unlike RAID-5 data is kept on single drives so if you're watching a DVD rip all the other drives can spin down (save energy and wear and tear on the drives). That also means that if for whatever reason you want to pull a drive out (say a NAS hardware failure) you can plug it into another PC and it shows up as a regular linux drive.

The NAS lives in a 20 bay server case in a basement closet. I have to reboot the thing a couple times a year, often to add more storage, but other than that I never touch it.

For playing the media I have XMBC (or Kodi as they've just renamed it). I have several setup around the house. It requires a bit more setup than Plex but it can be customized to look and feel however you want. There's no built-in transcoding but it can passthrough HD audio right to a receiver so you can watch movies in all their DTS-HD glory.

This set up is a bit more complicated than an out of the box solution but if you like tinkering then it gives you a lot of flexibility. I should never have to worry about space again - when the NAS gets full I just need to throw in another HD and the next day it's added to the array and available.
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Old 08-30-2014, 02:07 PM
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I have been running a NAS and HTPC setup for close to five years now. The HTPC has (in various shapes and forms) been running for over 12 years while the NAS grew out of a need for additional storage and a requirement to serve media to other HTPC's around the house.

IMO getting the NAS right is more important than the HTPC/media player piece. You can always add or switch media players over time but migrating to a new NAS is a much bigger challenge.

I decided to build my own NAS instead of buying a system in a box. My two big concerns with a pre-built NAS were expandability and fault tolerance. For expandability I wanted to make sure that I would not need to worry about outgrowing the NAS. I also wanted to make sure that in the event of either a hard drive failure or a NAS hardware failure that first and foremost I didn't have to worry about data loss and secondly it would be easy to fix.

After a lot of research I settled on unRAID as the underlying software for the NAS. It has the same basic benefits as a RAID-5 setup but has been optimized for media storage. Unlike RAID-5 data is kept on single drives so if you're watching a DVD rip all the other drives can spin down (save energy and wear and tear on the drives). That also means that if for whatever reason you want to pull a drive out (say a NAS hardware failure) you can plug it into another PC and it shows up as a regular linux drive.

The NAS lives in a 20 bay server case in a basement closet. I have to reboot the thing a couple times a year, often to add more storage, but other than that I never touch it.

For playing the media I have XMBC (or Kodi as they've just renamed it). I have several setup around the house. It requires a bit more setup than Plex but it can be customized to look and feel however you want. There's no built-in transcoding but it can passthrough HD audio right to a receiver so you can watch movies in all their DTS-HD glory.

This set up is a bit more complicated than an out of the box solution but if you like tinkering then it gives you a lot of flexibility. I should never have to worry about space again - when the NAS gets full I just need to throw in another HD and the next day it's added to the array and available.

If you are computer savvy and not afraid of tinkering a bit, this is the best answer all the way.
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