NAS set up and interface solutions

Hello everyone

Iam thinking of getting a NAS drive and bakcing up all my old DVD rips and phtos etcc to it. I have heard using somthing like plex is an easy way to watch ,view and orginse the files via somthing like a PS5 etc.
However.

I do not own a pc that can be conected to the NAS drive
I live pretty on site for my job, so a pc has been supllied, but its networked through my jobs internet so not able to concet to my home net work. Its completey independant and fire walled to my empoyment. I am allowed to use it for personal tasks, but it is limited.
Is there a way to copy files to a USB and then just plug it in to a nas such as this one

Amazon product


then use a phone app to copy the files across?

I have never used a NAS before , nor set one up.

any help for a NAS newbe would be aprecaited.

Thanks.
 
Technically possible but realistically a total pain.

If your work pc is as locked down as you say will they allow the installation of ripping sw and the transfer of data off the pc by usb?

If they do then you have the logistical issue in ripping the disk then copying it to a usb drive, moving the drive to the nas, copying the rip from the usb to the nas.

Then there is the question of what will run the plex server, you’ll need to consider what formats you are ripping and what the devices you’ll use to watch play and if there is transcoding required, this along with the volume of rips you want to store will inform the size of nas you go for and it’s compute/memory specs if it will also run the plex server

Which then leads to the question of how you will back your nas up, as is often said raid is not a backup

The last point to consider is how will you manage the nas without a pc/Mac?

I would suggest that managing the nas, plex server, backup/restores and data transfer to the nas via tablet / phone will be a painful task.

You may wish to look at truenas core as a home brew nas solution run on pc hardware as that might allow the plex server and local administration all to be run on a single device, possibly also rip locally cutting out the work pc totally.

Alternatively if you want a dedicated nas device (have a look a qnap security issues before deciding on there platform) then also consider a re-use business pc to use to rip, manage data transfer, administer the nas & potentially act as the plex server.
 

next010

Distinguished Member
I'd suggest getting your hands on any cheap laptop you can even something like this laptop.

You will need the laptop to
  • install software to manage and setup the NAS.
  • install software if you plan to rip DVD's from USB DVD drive.
  • copy files to the NAS over the network.

Another approach instead of the dedicated NAS is, get the nvidia shield pro, this has the ability to run the Plex media server locally which means if you plug in USB drive then it can scan the USB drive and use Plex client to view it so no external NAS required. You can also copy files to the USB drive over the network from a PC (your company PC may not allows this).

Just your laptop and the shield will do the job and you can stream from the shield plex server to the PS5 Plex as well. Watch this video on how to do it.
 
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mickevh

Distinguished Member
There's an FAQ about NAS pinned in this forum that may be worth reading - though it is a few years old at time of writing, most of the content will still be relevant. - it's just things like some of the "numbers" that may be out of date. IIRC Web site "Small NetBuilder" has some primers on subjects such as NAS.

There's nothing particularly "magic" about a NAS. It's just a computer, like any other, that's been stripped down to the basics necessary, and optimised for, the task of hosting files (any files) and making them available over a network. Literally "Network Attached Storage." This made them cheap and simple. Though many have increased storage capacity compared to things like a desktop PC. However, there's been a lot of "function creep" over the years as (particularly SOHO) NAS makers have "added back in" lots of functionality and added extras to make them more complex again. If you bear in mind the core ethos of a NAS and what's been done to them since, hopefully it helps comprehend why they are as they are.

NAS have an operating system (OS) like any other computer, often it's form of UNIX/Linux (which is cheap/free to procure) and can be easily tailored to the product design (and omit all the "bloat" of things like Windows.) Many are designed to operate "headless" (without a screen and keyboard attached) and thusly the admin functions are completed using a web browser - just like your router. That being the case, you should be able to manage any such NAS with anything (PC, phone. tablet, etc.) that has a (compatible) web browser built in and can connect to the NAS over the network.

Things like Plex are by no means necessary to stream media (I don't use it) but a lot of people like it.

Some vendors make the manuals available online. Perhaps try downloading a few and see what the products offer.

If your employer has seriously locked down your laptop, you may find that things like the ability to install software are prevented - possibly even the ability to use the USB ports, but that's easy enough to check.
 
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There's an FAQ about NAS pinned in this forum that may be worth reading - though it is a few years old at time of writing, most of the content will still be relevant. - it's just things like some of the "numbers" that may be out of date. IIRC Web site "Small NetBuilder" has some primers on subjects such as NAS.

There's nothing particularly "magic" about a NAS. It's just a computer, like any other, that's been stripped down to the basics necessary, and optimised for, the task of hosting files (any files) and making them available over a network. This made them cheap and simple. Though many have increased storage capacity compared to things like a desktop PC. However, there's been a lot of "function creep" over the years as the NAS makers have "added back in" lots of functionality and added extras to make them more complex again. If you bear in mind the core ethos of a NAS and what's been done to them since, it help comprehend why they are as they are.

NAS have an operating system (OS) like any other computer, often it's form of UNIX/Linux (which is cheap/free to procure) and can be easily tailored to the product design (and omit all the "bloat" of things like Windows.) Many are designed to operate "headless" (without a screen and keyboard attached) and thusly the admin functions are completed using a web browser - just like your router. That being the case, you should be able to manage any such NAS with anything (PC, phone. tablet, etc.) that has a (compatible) web browser built in.

Things like Plex are by no means necessary to stream media (I don't use it) but a lot of people like it.

If your employer has seriously locked down your laptop, you may find that things like the ability to install software are prevented - possibly even the ability to use the USB ports, but that's easy enough to check.


The PC is semi locked, so some programs are unable to be installed unless you are admin. I do have the ablity to rip DVDs and transefer files via usb storage, but no way to add it to my home netwrok. There are also fire walls and internet protections in place ( its a work pc after all)

Really I just want to try and ripp all the dvds i have (around 600 discs) and make them avable somehow to anyone in the house on thier phone or pS5, or smart tv , like my own household netflix. I had heard that somthing like plex, helps organise all the files and the interface gave inforkmation and box art etc for the movies. I want to store all my cds and digital photos as well, but alos make them avablibe to anyone in the house with a smart device and be as user frindly as possible.
Not being prticularyly technically minded, I find this all a little complex...LOL
 

mickevh

Distinguished Member
It would seem then your main challenge is that you need "something" to do the actual disc ripping. If you are lucky, or shop around a bit, you might find a NAS that includes an optical drive and an App (or the ability to add one from an "App store") to do the ripping - though that may not be so cost effective.

There may be NAS's that facilitate connection through a USB cable in addition to network connection. If so you could plug in your NAS to the work PC USB socket and maybe the PC will mount the NS as if it's an external storage device. Or possible "the other way round" and have the NAS mount he work PC as an "external" (to the NAS) storage device. I don't know the NAS marketplace, but there are others here that do, so hopefully they will chime is as to whether this possible (and how easy it is) and which products, if any, can avail it

If not, then as others have suggested, you probably want to look for a cheap PC/Mac/whatever (is there such as thing as a cheap Mac..?) to use for ripping. Maybe ask around friends and family and see if anybody can loan you one for a while, or perhaps look for something super cheap second hand.

BTW - For ripping, I rather like a piece of software called MakeMKV for video (it's free) which creates verbatim bit-for-bit copies of the titles on the discs and wraps them in MKV files. It's a little quirky to use, particularly on encrypted BD, but once you get the hang of if it, it's easy enough. For CD's I like Exact Audio Copy and rip them to FLAC format (rather than mp3.) Again, FLAC is a bit-for-bit copy of the audio files, but losslessly compressed at the "bit" level to make them a little smaller, but nowhere near as heavily compressed as "lossy" mechanisms like mp3.
 

next010

Distinguished Member
Thank you, that might be a better option, although probabaly more expensive.....?

The cost of a commercial NAS from the likes of Synology to run Plex could cost more than the Shield.
  • Not all NAS are equal some are capable of running Plex better than others with support for real time video conversion (transcoding) which is what makes the video play on all other devices.
  • Plex themselves lock NAS hardware video transcoding behind their Plex pass subscription service so you must pay for that.
  • Commercial NAS often dont come with HDD's preinstalled you must supply them yourself.

The nvidia shield is rather unique in that it has video transcoding support but you allegedly dont have to pay for plex pass with its built in plex server so that makes it the low cost option as a basic media server if you have a spare USB HDD.
 
It would seem then your main challenge is that you need "something" to do the actual disc ripping. If you are lucky, or shop around a bit, you might find a NAS that includes an optical drive and an App (or the ability to add one from an "App store") to do the ripping - though that may not be so cost effective.

There may be NAS's that facilitate connection through a USB cable in addition to network connection. If so you could plug in your NAS to the work PC USB socket and maybe the PC will mount the NS as if it's an external storage device. Or possible "the other way round" and have the NAS mount he work PC as an "external" (to the NAS) storage device. I don't know the NAS marketplace, but there are others here that do, so hopefully they will chime is as to whether this possible (and how easy it is) and which products, if any, can avail it

If not, then as others have suggested, you probably want to look for a cheap PC/Mac/whatever (is there such as thing as a cheap Mac..?) to use for ripping. Maybe ask around friends and family and see if anybody can loan you one for a while, or perhaps look for something super cheap second hand.

BTW - For ripping, I rather like a piece of software called MakeMKV for video (it's free) which creates verbatim bit-for-bit copies of the titles on the discs and wraps them in MKV files. It's a little quirky to use, particularly on encrypted BD, but once you get the hang of if it, it's easy enough. For CD's I like Exact Audio Copy and rip them to FLAC format (rather than mp3.) Again, FLAC is a bit-for-bit copy of the audio files, but losslessly compressed at the "bit" level to make them a little smaller, but nowhere near as heavily compressed as "lossy" mechanisms like mp3.


I can use the work PC to rip dvds to a usb device. I have make MKV insatlled and i am alolowed to use it as i have been asked to make back ups for work realted projects..

So i can rip dvds to an mkv file, and then put them on a USB device. But thats all i can do ATM

The shield option and large capacticy hard drive then, does seem like the better opiton........
 

next010

Distinguished Member
I can use the work PC to rip dvds to a usb device. I have make MKV insatlled and i am alolowed to use it as i have been asked to make back ups for work realted projects..

So i can rip dvds to an mkv file, and then put them on a USB device. But thats all i can do ATM

The shield option and large capacticy hard drive then, does seem like the better opiton........
If you can live with turning off the shield and disconnecting the USB drive to update its contents via your PC via USB than that will work. To copy files to Shield/USB over network will require a PC with unrestricted network access.

Plex is free'ish some of its features are behind the pay wall, the version of the plex server on the shield from what I've read has the hardware transcoding feature enabled with no charge.
 

mickevh

Distinguished Member
I can use the work PC to rip dvds to a usb device. I have make MKV insatlled and i am alolowed to use it as i have been asked to make back ups for work realted projects..

So i can rip dvds to an mkv file, and then put them on a USB device. But thats all i can do ATM

Cool, then in that case it's just the data shovelling piece to be worked through - I don't think I have anything further to contribute on that.
 
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Just to add have you a grasp on the scale of the task that was one of the clear drivers on what will be the backup plan.

The rip time is what 30-90 min per disk so somewhere between 300 to 900 hours invested in digitising the collection

Space, assuming 1.5G for a 720 movie, 3G for 1080 & 50G for 4k uou need somewhere between 1Tb & 30Tb depending on the mix of formats.
(obviously these sizes may not reflect your library but I no longer archive my titles for these reasons and I've taken a broad grouping of sizes reported on the web)

If you are manually managing the storage its it a higher risk of loss or damage, even if you have a second drive and keep a manual backup data loss is still something to be concerned about.

if we assume your current mix of titles and formats is around the 15Gb mark its still at the outer edge of what will fit on one hdd and so with library growth you could well be on the way to needing multiple hdds.

I can just rip and compress right?

Yep you could but doesn't that kind of defeat the idea of archiving copies of your actual disks for playback if you use a lossy format?


Thats also the point of plex to an extent, its not just a media manager / gui but it also transcodes so your full uncompressed rip is transcoded to a lossy format on the fly meaning you only hold one copy of the data and the plex server converts in in real time when you access it from a device than can't handle the original format. If you are sure that you will not need this then other media managers are available.

These two points cover my original point about physically sizing your nas device and how much compute power it'll need. That doesn't however alter the need to manage the nas and data transfer so some basic computer will be needed too.

I suspect you are looking at a 4 bay nas to keep spindle size reasonable and allow for 1-2 years growth before having to upgrade capacity. But that would still leave the question of how best to back the data up.


I suggest you have a read of the NAS faq here and also watch a few youtube videos on plex client and server and work out the expected size of your library before making a call on which way to proceed.
 
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ill only be ripping SD dvds both region 1 and region 2, probably only 400 out of the 600 i have will be actauly worth ripping ot mkv. Avegare of around 5 to 6 gig each?

Wasnt planning to compress the files. Just have have the dvd rips able to be seen on devices around the house. Was planning on ripping around 15 to 20 per night over the next couple of months or so. Probably to a USB hdd after the back an forth we have been having here. Maybe then decide on how to proceed after all the ripping has been done....🤷‍♀️😊👍

I must say, even though i find this all a little confunsing, iam very gratfull to you all for the input and help!
👍👍👍👍👍👍😊😊😊
 

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