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Top 3 Media Servers & Streamers

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
So.....I've now got all the speakers in, the projector installed and the Receiver mounted into the rack....... the decisions of what I chose I owe a huge shout out to the group for their input. Thank you!

Now I am looking for a media servers and streamer. I have over 300 bluray dvds that I want to rip onto a server and have access to on any of the five locations in the house. Ideally storage needs to be 6TB+ as I have an addiction to purchasing movies to rewatch like a 1000 times........ thats a whole other story.

So any input, expereince, opinions on media servers and streamers would be greatly appreciated!

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post #2 of 10
Too many unknowns here. Without knowing your budget it's very hard to recommend anything.....

You need one sever/NAS and 5 streamers (do you have CAT5/6 or using wireless?)

Streamers are $100-$400 each (depends what you want) - Dune, Mede8er, Popcorn

Server you can build ($???) or buy prebuilt NAS like this -
Synology Diskstation 8-bay NAS DS1813+ ($999)
post #3 of 10

Without knowing your specific needs/preferences, this is basicly what I would recommend as a generic, does-it-all solution. Build yourself a small whitebox fileserver with enough horsepower to transcode HD material to media players, and holds 4-6 disks. I would personally recommend a software RAID solution over onboard hardware raid. If you want a full blown desktop OS on there you could go with snapRAID on Windows, or mdadm on Linux. Proper raid controllers will in most cases give you the best performance and features but IMO it's usually an overkill for home media solutions when they're not in bigger scale then what you have in mind.

 

If you prefer a more striped down solution I would recommend either FreeNAS or unRAID, both have their cons and pros and both support a large library of plugins. I´m running unRAID myself and a very happy camper.

 

Install Plex Media Server (all above mentioned platforms support it). If you're not familiar with it, it handles and streams all your media to a large variety of players. For a centralized media solution, there is nothing that beats Plex - nothing in the $0-5 department anyways. Then you could go with for example CouchPotato, SickBeard and Headphones for the complete automation process. MediaCenterMaster is also a nice software with a broad feature list, including autodownload, parsing, scraping etc, but only works on Windows.

For the main viewing room I would purchase an Intel NUC and run either Win or Ubuntu, and PlexHomeTheater on top of it, by far the most complete Plex client, beautiful fast UI and support for DTS-HD/TrueHD audio, 24p and the usuals. For the rest of the house it's hard to say and really comes down to your needs and preferences.

 

  • The Roku is brilliant, very simple and very stable, but the UI is not the prettiest one. The most stable player in my house by far.
  • The ATV is usually king here, but needs a little bit of fiddling around to get Plex to work on it - Nothing serious though.
  • Google TV devices. This is sometimes a love/hate device, I have one and I love it. It's the most feature packed streaming box there is AFAIK, but it does run an outdated android OS underneath and the future of GTV/AndroidTV is a bit uncertain atm.
  • If you have any smart TV's or smart bluray players, some of those support Plex client apps, at least most Samsung and LG devices.

 

I´m sure some will suggest more simple devices that have better format support, or just the usual "XBMC everywhere!". However, in my opinion, when it comes to whole-house media streaming for the family, there's just really nothing that matches Plex. The only issue I could think of right now is the missing parental control function, which as I understand is on it's way in future releases of PlexMediaServer. On top of the inhouse streaming you can also stream from it to all your mobile devices, access it via http with a really good looking UI, and if you have the internet connection for it you can share the library with friends and family.


Hope this gives you some ideas.


Edited by hemmiandra - 12/11/13 at 7:50pm
post #4 of 10
This is great information. Thank you. Can it be done wireless?
post #5 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Crescent View Post

This is great information. Thank you. Can it be done wireless?


Yes it can. How well it will work depends on your home and WiFi setup. With a big home with a lot of concrete and steel, it might be a bad idea. But If you have good WiFi reception in all the places you need to have a media player, it shouldn't be a problem. In my experience 5Ghz WiFi works better in delivering media, specially 1080p matieral, but 5Ghz doesn't usually have the range of the 2.4Ghz band.

But ATV, GTV, Roku's, SamsungTV's - most Plex clients have built-in WiFi support. I have everything wired with Cat6/GigE ethernet in my home so I don't have that much experience with it, but many of my shared users use those clients over WiFi and are streaming 1080p matieral just fine, even over 2.4Ghz.


The server/NAS itself should however always be wired.

post #6 of 10
Thank you.
post #7 of 10
I'd like to make certain I understand this correctly. Say for example, I'm running plex server on a Windows 7 machine.

Plex server can stream to IOS clients?
Can an IOS client, like an iPad stream to a TV without Apple TV?
The plex server streams to the media players like Roku or any that do Google TV (Like Netgear?). Can then any media stream from that individual player then be streamed via plex to other clients?
post #8 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Crescent View Post

I'd like to make certain I understand this correctly. Say for example, I'm running plex server on a Windows 7 machine.

Plex server can stream to IOS clients?

Yes, there are plex clients for iOS devices.

Quote:
Can an IOS client, like an iPad stream to a TV without Apple TV?
Typically no. There may be solutions but nothing that works well or in every circumstance.
Quote:
The plex server streams to the media players like Roku or any that do Google TV (Like Netgear?). Can then any media stream from that individual player then be streamed via plex to other clients?

The Plex Server can stream to any device with a Plex client, garaunteed. It can function as a DNLA server as well, although results are very mixed in those circumstances.

I'm not sure what you mean by "media stream from that individual player streamed to other clients". Plex works on a client/server relationship, and a player/plex client isn't going to be able to stream media it's receiving to another device. If you want to stream media to a device, it needs to come from the plex server.

Now, a PC can be both a Plex Server and a client at the same time, but that doesn't mean a plex client can restream - that is still controlled by the plex server, even on a PC that's running both roles.
post #9 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Crescent View Post

I'd like to make certain I understand this correctly. Say for example, I'm running plex server on a Windows 7 machine.

Plex server can stream to IOS clients?
Can an IOS client, like an iPad stream to a TV without Apple TV?
The plex server streams to the media players like Roku or any that do Google TV (Like Netgear?). Can then any media stream from that individual player then be streamed via plex to other clients?
 
Yes, Plex streams to iOS, Android and WP clients. But why send the media from a client to another client? Specially to an ATV, which you can setup with Plex anyways. But no, players cant act as servers for media served from another server, just from their own local library, synced material for example.
post #10 of 10
Thanks to both. I'd like my wife to be able to stream from her iPad without being stuck with restrictive ATV clients as far as other media services, no Amaxon, no Vudu.
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