Question Connectivity Nvdia Shield & QNAP NAS

DartonDave

Active Member
Hi all, I hope I have picked the right forum. This may well be my first post. If it isn't its been a long time since my last one. :)

Background
I cant find an answer to my question on line anywhere so I am hoping some one can say yes all your assumptions are correct, it will work or oh no you've totally forgot about xyz, you have just wasted all your money. Excuse me if some of my terminology isn't 100% correct and feel free to correct me or seek clarification.

I have decided that I need to get all my DVD and blu-rays on to a NAS, and to set up a plex media server so I can package all the physical media away in the loft creating some much needed space and having the convenience of having a netflix type service (Plex) to watch movies.

My home cinema setup is quite old (it was new in 2009) but until funds permit I have to work with what Ive got.
(Pioneer KRP-600A TV, Pioneer LX81 Amp, Pioneer LX08 blu ray player, Sky HD box, PS4, Sonos Connect).
I have sky box, blu-ray player and PS4 connected to 3 of the 4 HDMI inputs on the amp leaving 1 free HDMI input. The HDMI out on the amp feeds the TV/monitor.
I have a virgin media modem connected to an apple airport extreme router.
This has 1 free output (it only has 3 and I have the sky box and the sonos connect connected to two of them).

I have identified the following components I need (I'll keep it high level)
QNAP NAS and 2 NAS drives
Nvidia shield

Also buying
External blu ray drive
MakeMKV software
but these will be installed/connected to my W10 PC upstairs.

The NAS will act as a storage device and the nvidia shield will act as the media server (understand it comes pre-installed with Plex)

The Question
My question is exactly what do I connect to what?
And my assumptions are
I connect the NAS to power and use a Cat6 cable to connect it to the 1 remaining port on my router.
I connect the Nvidia shield to power then connect that to my amp via the 1 remaining hdmi input I have left.
There will be no physical connection between the shield and the NAS and I can use the shields wireless capabilities to connect to my home network which will give the shield and therefore Plex access to the NAS.

End result I can rip dvd/blu rays to the NAS from my windows10 PC using Makemkv as they are all on my home network. Plex can see the files and by selecting the relevant HDMI input on the Amp I can select and watch my movies/ tv shows?

I know the NAS has HDMI inputs/outputs but I assume I wont need these?

I have also read that its recommended to connect the Shield directly to the router via ethernet rather than using wireless but I don't know how critical this is.

Could i buy a separate little 4-port switch to use as an extension to the limited ports the apple router has or is that not needed?

Thanks for reading all the way to the end. Its a lot of words and I am hoping the answer is
"yes you can do that" or even "yes you can but why don't you do this...." :)
 

Sloppy Bob

Distinguished Member
You're pretty much spot on.

It's ideal to connect the Shield to the router, in my experience, you'll definitely need it for 4K streaming of UHD discs if you go down that route and may need it for 1080p, but there are so many variables that you can't tell until you try it.

I'm not familiar with your Apple router, but with any normal router you're correct in that you just buy a switch to give you more ports or more commonly you'd run a cable for the router to the switch at your TV for example and use that to connect your amp, shield, tv etc.

I'd also look at Synology for NAS or an HP microserver.
 

DartonDave

Active Member
Thanks Bob for your prompt response and feedback. I was 90% sure I had it all figured but you know how it is when you are just about to spend cash and you make assumptions which may not be right.
Initially I only want Plex to play my ripped movie collection which will be stored on the NAS. My TV is only HD and is probably 2 years away from being replaced to 4k so 4k streaming is out for at least 2 years. But in the future I may want to look at other options.
I will also look at the NAS options you mentioned. It seems QNAP and Synology rule the roost when it comes to NAS.
Thanks again.
 

hodg100

Distinguished Member
Depending on which QNAP (or other brand) NAS you choose, you could even cut the Shield out of the equation. Some have HDMI connectivity and come with a remote and will easily play 1080p rips. There is the potential issue of it being a little noisy, however...
 

DartonDave

Active Member
Thanks Mark. Its a good point. I wanted something quick with no lag. Many months ago I used to use kodi but the constant buffering used to annoy the hell out of me (possibly more my broadband connection at the time than anything else).

I am aware you can use a NAS with Plex installed which as you say cuts out the shield altogether.
The advice I have been reading generally says use the NAS for what it's designed for (storing data) and a dedicated media server to serve the media which makes sense. Like getting your meat from the butcher and your veg from the greengrocer :)

The main objection seems to be something called 'transcoding' and this is where my ignorance shows but as i understand it, its converting the file makemkv created into a format my home cinema system can play.
However if all i have stored are ripped copies of my blu rays and dvd's, will there be any transcoding going on?
I have no requirement to watch media on separate devices outside of my own living room and TV.

Maybe the solution is to try it out with Plex installed on the NAS and connect the NAS to the amp via HDMI and the router via ethernet. If that works, stop spending money. If not its a phase 2 solution.

FYI -it was the QNAP 453be-2G with 2 x 10TB seagate ironwolf NAS drives in a RAID 1 config that was at the top of my wish list. I don't think the 'be' version comes with a remote.
 
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hodg100

Distinguished Member
However if all i have stored are ripped copies of my blu rays and dvd's, will there be any transcoding going on?
I have no requirement to watch media on separate devices outside of my own living room and TV.

For your use case, there shouldn't be any transcoding occurring but, afair, there is no Plex Client (front-end) on QNAP, just the Server (back-end). So you'd have to use other software else as a front end. Kodi with Plex for Kodi (an add-on) would be a good candidate.
 

John7

Well-known Member
I have a QNAP 4-bay NAS with HDMI out and it plays all my HD content (Ripped as MKV) natively direct to the receiver/TV with no transcoding, no lag or stuttering. It will not play 4K content natively however.

Because I wanted 4K content "streamable", I bought a Zidoo X9s which now plays all my media natively with no transcoding and a great poster wall front end of all my media.
 

Sloppy Bob

Distinguished Member
Kodi was only buffering as either you were streaming off the internet or there was too much bandwidth for your wifi which PLex would have under the same circumstances.
Kodi doesn't transcode, it plays the files natively.

I'd argue against using a NAS to actually play the files directly. A NAS can be a noisy thing and I wouldn't want one next to my TV, amp etc. I'd agree with your statement about using it for its intended purpose which is to serve data.
I'd also argue with Kodi over Plex, that's a personal thing but I prefer the customisation in Kodi, with more skins and layouts within them so you can get it looking how you like. There are loads of add-ons for it as well that can be useful, and I'm not talking about dodgy streaming apps.

As to your NAS. A 2 bay NAS with RAID?

I'd wonder why. RAID is not backup, it's redundancy. If your NAS fails, you've still got issues retrieving your data. If you delete something by mistake, you've lost it as the mirrored disk will delete it as well.
For a 2 disk NAS I'd use both discs for storage and have an external backup. If you had a 4 Bay or larger NAS I'd say use RAID 5 which is still giving you 3 useable disks but not a 2 bay.
You'll be surprised how quick you can fill it.
 

DartonDave

Active Member
Wow. This is great. Thanks for all the input guys. Its really appreciated. Funny how you come on with one question then start questioning your requirements. I guess the answer is even with my 1 hdmi connection and 1 ethernet connection I can still buy a nas and a separate device if I need to. I still like the idea of a dedicated device that does 1 job. That device could run Kodi or Plex.

Yes I get the point on kodi. It would have been my network/broadband speed, not the software.
I never tried to play locally stored media on kodi.

Just to clarify on the NAS. Its a 4 bay NAS (TS-453be) I was looking at. But with an initial 2 x 10TB discs in it. The intention is to add a further 2 when funds allow.
But I wanted 'backup' for when that disc fails. I hadn't looked at RAID5. So that would give me 3 discs for storage and 1 for redundancy?
I'll have to do some more research on that.
Personally Id rather have all the discs used for data but as I once had a PC disc fail on me with no recent backup I wanted a comfort blanket of when your disc fails don't worry we have it all stored on another disc. You've lost nothing and you don't have to spend days re-ripping all your media again.
If there is an option to do interim backups without using one of my NAS drives as a mirrored drive then I'm all ears (I did mention I am not that tech savvy).
 

Tom Tom

Well-known Member
I have a synology DS212j and the Nvidia Shield.

I bought a switch to add ports to my router so both the NAS and Shield can be connect on the LAN.

As has been mentioned the Shield is fine, I didn't buy the media version (I was on a tight budget) but it has been fine as the Media one just has a larger on board memory which is where Plex stores all its data. I do have a large USB storage to increase space for other applications but don't really use the shield for much else.

Depending on where you get your files from and the formats you have access too, I have in the past had a few files tell me my connection to the server is too slow. Made me laugh as the server is the same place as it is playing it! Usually just a retry fixes the issue.

Recently Netflix on the Shield has become laggy at times. Episodes freeze and audio keeps playing or it just crashes. Never sure if it is my internet or the netflix or the shield.
 

Sloppy Bob

Distinguished Member
RAID 5 on the QNAP would do what you want. If a disc fails then you just replace it and the array rebuilds. You won't notice it, you can still watch your media while it does it, it will just carry on as before.

One advantage to the Synology models IMO is their own Hybrid RAID called SHR.
SHR 1 is single disc redundancy and is just the same as RAID 5 as far as everyday use is concerned. However, it has one major benefit. With a traditional RAID array you are restricted in the size of your drives.

So you are going with 2x10TB drives to start off with. The other 2 drives you ad eventually must be 10TB as well, if they are larger they will only be seen as 10TB drives.
With Synology SHR you can mix drive sizes and it will see all of the drive space, as long as you follow some basic rules. The benefit to this is you could start off with 2x8TB drives as 8TB is the sweetspot just now for size/price per TB and then later, when prices come down, you could add 2x12TB. Then if/when you run out of space the 8TB's could be replaced (1 at a time) with larger drives such as (not available now) 16TB drives .... etc, etc.

I'd do a bit of research though, here is a link to Synologys Raid Calculator so you can see how it works.

RAID Calculator | Synology Inc.

I have 2x 8 Bay Synology's and find them excellent.
Note that if you have a bunch of smaller drives sitting around the house it might be cheaper to buy a larger 8 bay NAS using SHR than a 4 bay and 4x 10TB drives, that's how I ended up with an 8 bay.

I'd also reiterate that your NAS, whatever type you choose and whatever RAID you run. RAID isn't backup. It's redundancy. If your NAS fails, fries, gets stolen etc, you've lost everything.
 

DartonDave

Active Member
Thank you again John, Bob and Tom.
I was pretty sure what i wanted now I have a load more research to do on the NAS im buying.
I hate you all. Well maybe just Bob :) Only joking.

The common sense NAS to buy from a value for money perspective would be a 8 bay Synology NAS with an initial 3 x 8TB drives in them using the SHR (what a great idea by Synology) RAID type. But in terms of space I dont know if I have space for one. So I am going to check that out and also check out a 4 bay synology NAS too. That calculator on the synology link was great thanks.

A brief google search and it looks like the DS918+ (4 bay) or the DS1817+ (8 bay monster) would be the ones to look at.

I seem to remember reading something saying Synology NAS were for people who had apple macs and QNAP for people with windows pc's? Is that a load of tosh?

And forgive my constant use of the word backup. All I meant was when a disk fails do i lose anything.
 

next010

Distinguished Member
The difference between Synology and QNAP for home users is pretty small, QNAP does more pro and exotic NAS products in it's line up but Syno dominates the home/soho market.

Seeing as you mention you have an Apple Airport Express, the AppleTV is also a viable Plex platform as an alternative to the Shield.
* 4K output
* H.264 & H.265 HEVC hardware decoding up to 4K
* Decent CPU can soft decode most other formats.
* SDR/HDR automatic switching with support for HDR10 and Dolby Vision
* 24Hz automatic switching
* PCM 7.1 audio and Dolby Atmos audio
* HDMI-CEC control and an IR sensor for third party remotes
* iTunes movie store

You can use Plex with three clients, Plex itself, InFuse and MrMC (an app store fork of Kodi). The stock Plex client will invoke transcoding on anything not supported by the default hardware video decoder.

But InFuse and MrMC will never invoke transcoding, they will always decode on local CPU.

For example VC-1 based Blu-ray's will transcode on Plex client but not on InFuse/MrMC.

The stock video decoder on Shield supports more formats so doesn't transcode with Plex client.
 

Sloppy Bob

Distinguished Member
I seem to remember reading something saying Synology NAS were for people who had apple macs and QNAP for people with windows pc's? Is that a load of tosh?

Pretty much. There is a product called a Drobo that certainly used to be marketed as a Mac NAS, but it could be used by anyone and it has a reputation for unreliability.

And forgive my constant use of the word backup. All I meant was when a disk fails do i lose anything.

If you're using RAID5 or SHR-1 and it's a single disc failure then no, you won't lose a thing.
If your NAS goes phut then you could lose everything.
 

rogercw

Active Member
I seem to remember reading something saying Synology NAS were for people who had apple macs and QNAP for people with windows pc's? Is that a load of tosh?
I actively stay away from Apple products and I have a DS414 and a Windows 10 Pro PC.

I use the DS414 for two things:
1. As a local backup of my PC's folders and files (with remote backups using Acronis).
2. As a store for my ripped DVDs and BDs.

I play my video files with a Dune HD Smart H1, it's old but works really well. The BD MKV rips only work well using NFS but the others are fine with SMB. ASAIK only QNAP servers have HDMI ports so you'll not have the option to connect a non-QNAP server directly to your AVR.

Incidentally my DS414 isn't powerful enough to do Plex transcoding, but that isn't a problem as the Dune plays everything well.
 
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ChuckMountain

Distinguished Member
But I wanted 'backup' for when that disc fails. I hadn't looked at RAID5. So that would give me 3 discs for storage and 1 for redundancy?

Please remember RAID isn't a backup, it's to ensure availability of data. i.e. protect against disk failure.

Just make sure you have assessed the risk of your data being accidentally corrupted, user error i.e. del *.* ;) or what happens if you get some ransomware that decides to encrypt all your files that you spent ages ripping.

No needs insurance until they need to make a claim ... :eek:
 

mickevh

Distinguished Member
As is traditional in these parts, perhaps it's worth just teasing out a couple of definitions in discussions of this type:

"Trans-coding" is about taking a media in one format and converting it to another: Read the media, completely de-compress and decode it (as any player would) then take the decoded A/V and a re-encode into a different format. That takes lots of maths, particularly the re-encoding, which is why powerful kit is required and many of us try to avoid it. Doing so in real time (depending on the source and target formats in play) can lead to compromises in order to "keep up." Some report "trick play" functions can also be problematic trans-coding in real time.

MakeMKV does something different - often called "re-muxing" ("re-multiplexing") or re-wrapping. It's not a trans-coding process, it's more like unwrapping your Christmas present, then wrapping it back up aging in different coloured wrapping paper - the actual content is unchanged. I imagine most of us use MakeMKV to lift content off DVD/Blu-Ray and make it into "computer" type files. However, MKV file format is now widely supported, so you'll probably have few issues with compatibility.

Note that MakeMKV'ing your discs looses all the menus (which some of us see as a "good thing") and it take's a little "getting use too" to figure out which is the content you want (the movie) and which you may wish to exclude (e.g. the "extras") but it's not hard.

As others have said, RAID isn't "backup" (though I suspect you are using that term in the loosest sense.) RAID is about availing continuous access to your data in the event that a disc dies (and some RAID version don't even do that,) "backup" is about making duplicates "somewhere else."

To give an exemplar, if you stick the wedding video on your NAS, and then the kids record Trumpton over it, or you catch some mal-ware, or the NAS itself dies, RAID doesn't save you. You'd need a duplicate somewhere else to recover the data from.

For A/V media, many of us regard the original silver discs as the "backup" and whilst it's a pain to re-rip them, all it costs is your time. However, should you start storing other things on your NAS such as your documents, data, digi-camera photos, bear in mind that you might want to make backups of such data somewhere else.
 
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DartonDave

Active Member
Many thanks one and all for all your comments. I feel more educated than at the start of the thread..
My use of the word backup was totally wrong. The hard disc failed on my PC once (and only time) but luckily I had it backed up to an external drive. A PC I bought recently I stipulated 2 x SATA 2TB drives in a RAID1 config just in case the drive crashes. I think of it as backup. But it clearly isn't. If someone gets past my dogs and steals my PC I lose all my data held on it. :)

Back to the theme of the thread - so transcoding is generally needed when streaming live from the internet? Transcoding isn't really needed when playing .mkv files hosted on a NAS drive?
I can use a NAS as a media server but they are noisy and can be slow (but they will work)?
Using a media server like NVidia shield (whether that's plex or Kodi) will do the complex maths bit at the very least at least as well as any NAS?

Having now been convinced to look at Synology 4-bay NAS (I still think the QNAP looks prettier, the Synology looks like a box!) I have looked at the DS418, ds418 play and ds918+ I think the ds418 is all I need if I am using a dedicated media server like the NVidia shield?
Using the shield the ds918+ doesn't give me anything over and above the 418?
Is that right? I'll buy the 918+ if it gives me benefits which justify the additional cost .

I now intend to install an initial 3 x 8tb Seagate ironwolf NAS discs in the Synology propriety RAID config SHR which I realise with 3 x 8tb discs gives me the same redundancy as RAID5 with 24TB of usable disk space.
And if someone steals my NAS on the way down the stairs after stealing my PC and all my dvd's and blu-rays I have no back up at all. :)
 

Sloppy Bob

Distinguished Member
I now intend to install an initial 3 x 8tb Seagate ironwolf NAS discs in the Synology propriety RAID config SHR which I realise with 3 x 8tb discs gives me the same redundancy as RAID5 with 24TB of usable disk space.

No.

You'll only be able to store *16TB of media on it, one disk is redundant in case of a disk failure. Also remember you never get your full amount of space on any disk as there's an overhead of approx 10%. So with 3x8TB discs you'll have ~14.4TB of storage space. If and when you add a fourth disc you'll get the full 8TB of it minus the overhead.


And if someone steals my NAS on the way down the stairs after stealing my PC and all my dvd's and blu-rays I have no back up at all. :)

Correct.
 

ChuckMountain

Distinguished Member
Back to the theme of the thread - so transcoding is generally needed when streaming live from the internet?

No as @mickevh states transcoding is taking one format and converting to another. In order to do that you need to decompress the old format and recompress in the new format.

You don't need that usually for live streaming from the Internet as the playing device (whether that is your PC, TV, Blu Ray, XBox, generic black box etc) will have the necessary software to play the file natively.

Transcoding is complex and should be avoided wherever necessary and can result in loss of Picture quality. The only time transcoding needs to happen is if the client tells the media server it does not support a given format but please provide it in xyz format.

Using a media server like NVidia shield (whether that's plex or Kodi) will do the complex maths bit at the very least at least as well as any NAS?

The Shield is generally considered a client.

Servers transcode, clients play the content.

Not sure what you mean by complex maths in this case.

Store the content in a format that your media player natively supports. Buy a media player that supports all formats and has good PQ including HDR etc.
 

ChuckMountain

Distinguished Member
And if someone steals my NAS on the way down the stairs after stealing my PC and all my dvd's and blu-rays I have no back up at all. :)

It's more a risk that you get something happening to your NAS as it's connected to the outside world. Ransomware or malicious intent doesn't care whether you have physical dogs or not :devil:
 

rogercw

Active Member
I now intend to install an initial 3 x 8tb Seagate ironwolf NAS discs in the Synology propriety RAID config SHR which I realise with 3 x 8tb discs gives me the same redundancy as RAID5 with 24TB of usable disk space.
I have four 5TB drives configured as Synology Hybrid RAID (SHR). Of the 20TB I get only 13.5TB usable capacity.

And if someone steals my NAS on the way down the stairs after stealing my PC and all my dvd's and blu-rays I have no back up at all. :)
This is why I also have cloud backups.
 

DartonDave

Active Member
Can't believe the excellent and helpful responses I'm getting. Thanks again everyone.
So to watch 'streamed media'
I need somewhere to store the media (a NAS)
A media client (like an Nvidia shield)
A media server (like kodi or plex)

Btw bob. Sorry my mental maths skills deserted me. All i wanted to prove was 3 x 8tb discs in raid 5 gives more usable capacity than 2 x 10tb discs in raid1.

My only remaining query is the nas itself.
If I'm using plex or kodi on an Nvidia shield, is a ds418 nas all I need? Are there benefits to buying the ds918+?
 

bubblegum57

Well-known Member
Just thought I'd add a couple of comments. As RAID is not backup, I just have a 4 bay 414 synology, with separate volumes. I then backup to external usb drives plugged into the NAS.

As for Plex, I really want it to work, I have tried embedded versions, but it is slower to go through the menus. I find Kodi much more responsive.
 

ChuckMountain

Distinguished Member
Kodi isn't a Media Server (well it can be but most people use it as a client).

All you need is a storage device in this case a Synology NAS if that is what you like the look of.

Secondly you need a client, this could be a Nvidia Shield or a number of black boxes that do all the features you want and say run Kodi.

The NAS makes its files available via network shares and Kodi running on one or more clients plays your media back.
 

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