Originally Posted by UxiSXRD
Then you get the fun of dealing with RAID and HDD failures and general data corruption. All part and parcel of my daily gig in Systems Admin and pretty easy... but not scalable into a general solution IMO. The day a guy has his HDD take a dump and he needs to retransfer (if not rebuy!) to complete his collection is the day all these solutions lose a chunk of their user base.
But for the firewalls, bad networking, and Heaven forbid, malware.
I agree with pretty much everything you said, but I also think that NAS with decent RAID data protection could be implemented by the masses if NAS hardware and software (especially the UI) were specifically designed for these users. For example, I bought a Buffalo Terrastation NAS recently to try out cetralized media storage and network distribution. Though I admit I'm PC and network literate, I had the terrastation up and running in 5 minutes because some aspects of it were designed well in terms of implementation and configuration:
1: It's drive bays came loaded with drives
2: It came preconfigured for DHCP IP assignment
3: It came preconfigured for RAID5 data protection
Indeed, the only parameters I had to configure were the assignment of a static IP address, system time, my email address and mail server for notification of hardware failure, and new authentication credentials to the web based admin interface of the NAS.
With the following enhancements, I think JQ public could set up their own NAS:
1: A nice, user friendly setup wizzard that walks the user through key setup items one step at a time (with plenty of context sensitive tips to explain the item and options in detail).
2: Hot swappable drives with NAS bays that make a racket and use a small light and LED screen to ID a failed drive and provide instructions for replacement (most SOHO NAS do this now though my Buffalo drives are not hot-swappable).
3: A nice troubleshooting UI (similar to the system Logitech uses for its Harmony remotes) to walk users through problems plus live 24/7 telephone support as a backup.
As for the network the NAS connects to, one could argue that it can be just as easy, if not easier to implement than a video/audio switch (espeically an HD-capable switch) that would have to be installed for the mega-changer to provide the functionality of NAS-based media distribution.
Though I will certainly take a look at the new Sony BR changer when it becomes available, I currently have a bias toward implementing a larger NAS solution for BR for two reasons:
1: The ability to stream multiple sources throughout my house simultaneously
2: The ability to stream HD content over a single Cat5e or Cat6 link (or perhaps even wirelessly via 802.11n)
The only reason I don't build this NAS now is that I'm waiting for client PC motherboards and BR playback software that support Dolby True HD and DTS-HD in native form. I know mobos just came out that support multi-channel LPCM audio playback from BR.