Help - Home streaming

Prezbo

Novice Member
Hello

Very new to this topic and doing some research and need your help!

We are moving house and i ant to set things up in my new home so all my devices can play any media that i have be it videos, music or pictures. I have read up and like te sound of plex and believe these are my options.

Synology
Drobo
HP Microserver

Is it much of a muchness which one i choose.

I have the following devices and would want to play whatever i want based on what was being used at the time. Also to be able to share pictures easily with family in their homes (have read this is possible using Plex)

PS3
XBOX 360
Sony W9 TV
Ipad
Iphone

What do you guys think?
 

next010

Distinguished Member
Your best bang for buck option with Plex is an Asustor AS2 series NAS as it has an x86 CPU and is the cheapest x86 off the shelf NAS you can buy without going down the DIY route. The AS2 come in 2 bay and 4 bay versions you can buy on Amazon UK, the E variant includes a video out XBMC capability don't bother with that.

However this also means that most of your media needs to be somewhat compatible with the devices you mention as the CPU on the NAS is a low power unit and can only transcode limited content.

So this means
* Any audio type is fine
* Any picture is fine
* Videos should be H.264 MP4/MKV or MPEG4 AVI, ideally everything being MP4/M4V will give the best compatibility.

In order to make any video work you will need to use a PC as your Plex server with a Core i3/i5 CPU.

I would not recommend running Plex on something with an Arm CPU that includes the Drobo and most of Synologys entry level line, Synology only go x86 on the DS214Play and DS414Play series.
 

Prezbo

Novice Member
Thanks next010.

Just so i understand it with that setup you are saying i will have to make sure all video files would need to be in a certain format, other than that no limitations.

Although are you also saying that for video the NAS devices are not powerful enough so i need a PC. So if i got the HP Microserver or equivalent that would be sufficient?

To elaborate on my requirements (although i am still learning!) i want to transfer all my blueray/dvd collection, music and photos to this system and want HD quality to boot!!

Budget is <£1000 but that is a stretch...

Confused!
 

next010

Distinguished Member
Just so i understand it with that setup you are saying i will have to make sure all video files would need to be in a certain format, other than that no limitations.
Correct, the iOS devices and Sony TV, PS3, Xbox 360 are suited to H.264 video for native playback so the Plex server does not have to transcode the video. This means low end NAS running Plex server are a viable option.

Although are you also saying that for video the NAS devices are not powerful enough so i need a PC. So if i got the HP Microserver or equivalent that would be sufficient?

To elaborate on my requirements (although i am still learning!) i want to transfer all my blueray/dvd collection, music and photos to this system and want HD quality to boot!!
If you do not convert the media and for instance put raw Blu-ray on the NAS, the CPU on the Asustor or HP Micro server will not be powerful enough to transcode such video because none of your clients can natively play it, to transcode Blu-ray in real time you will likely need a PC with a Core i5 CPU.

If you intended to convert all your DVD/Blu-ray into H.264 video then go with the Asustor AS2/AS3 series or Synology Play series, either will do.

Lastly only your iOS devices have a native Plex client, the PS3/Xbox/TV do not though they can show the Plex media server listings via DLNA it is much more primitive.

Roku set top boxes have a Plex client as do Samsung BD players, Amazon FireTV box is another option if it ever comes out here, or look at a HTPC like an Intel NUC for running PC client version Plex Theatre.

Use Handbrake to convert media, suggest high profile preset if wishing to retain HD quality.
 

Prezbo

Novice Member
Great and I assume i could go for using XBMC and that would give me more flexibility on my devices as opposed to Plex.

That's been a great help so far...i guess what i really want to do is set this up and purchase the right thing to give me the flexibility to potentially expand what i use the hardware for as i learn more rather than tie into something that does a particular thing...
 

next010

Distinguished Member
No actually it is the other way around, Plex is the more flexible of the two with restricted devices.

Whenever your playing something via Plex your actually playing it on the native media player built into the device with the server transcoding content were necessary. Plex is just the interface to the player on the box like Roku or Samsung there is no separate Plex media player natively playing the media on the device (the only exception is PC Plex Theatre, this does play everything natively).

XBMC on the other hand does decode all the media on the box with no server side transcoding, however this also means XBMC can only run on certain platforms that are open enough to allow it's usage.

XBMC has a UPnP/DLNA server built in but it's very basic compared to Plex, one day it will be as good but it's not right now, also your HTPC would have to double as the server, there is no XBMC standalone server package.

So for a highly centralized media library with the devices you mention Plex is the better path.
 

Prezbo

Novice Member
Thanks , I'll be going with Plex and figuring out my design based on the above advise and further research, will try and post on here as i progress...
 

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