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.