Networking newbie - NAS or Server advice sought

PST

Standard Member
Having recently moved into a large 4-bedroom house the other half has made noises about dvds being around and wanting distributed music throughout the house.

Equipment
We have a Samsung 6530 smart tv with built in wireless which can (apparently) handle divx and flash as well as some other formats.
Two Windows 7 laptops which will roam around.
One windows 7 desktop in a downstairs study
Two HTC Android phones
One Android tablet

There's another Samsung TV (earlier generation led tv but does have usb connections) which will go into our gaming room, ideally to hook up to stored media but that's less of an immediate priority. This will have an Xbox 360 attached if that makes any difference to the options.

We're also intending to get some Sonos 5 and 3 boxes to put in different rooms.

I'm currently waiting on my BT Homehub to turn up (insert BT rant here) and am expecting to supplement this with some powerline plugs if, as I suspect, the wifi doesn't cover the whole house.

Currently I intend to place the media storage device in my study but this could be moved to another location if it's going to provide better input.

Main uses will be stored music and access of files from the various devices together with burning our dvds onto it as and when hard drive prices come down.

Q1
NAS or Home Server: Being aware of the prices of HDDs at the moment, is it better to go for a short term NAS solution to handle the music and file storage, or go straight for the server and expand in the future (I've never set up a home server and will be somewhat clueless).

Q2 Will said NAS or server be accessible by the listed equipment above?

Q3 Help? Any advice would be eagerly received. I've read through a few similar questions and am aware this comes up a lot (sorry) but didn't find something with my exact needs.
 
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maf1970

Well-known Member
For Q1 I think some idea of how much you want to spend would give people a better idea what to recommend. Also how big is your music and film collection currently ? Do you buy music and films regularly ?

I'm assuming that your BT connection is just a BB connection and not Infinity. Where in the house is the BT Master socket ?
In construction terms is your house old or new ? (Old is anytime before 1980 and new is anytime after.)
I see in your post you mention powerline plugs but I think you should investigate wiring the house properly before looking at them.
 

PST

Standard Member
Spend would be under £400. I know that's not going to get a lot of HDD space at the moment with hard drive costs, thus the uncertainty between short-term and long-term solutions.

Music is about 3-400 CDs. DVDs around 150ish. I'm not that prolific at buying them and there'll be some there which we won't need to keep on going through them I expect.

I do have a good 100-200gb of other files which I'd want to be able to access via other sources, pdfs, image files etc as well as possibly display on the tv (the image files to have up during music etc.).

Connection will be an ADSL connection, I'm in a village so alas no infinity (and having to step down from the 50mb cable broadband I had before).

House is new (1999) but the walls are fairly thick, it's a well-made house (not a standard modern build). BT Mastersocket is either the study or the lounge, lounge is at one end of the house, study is next to it with a 17' kitchen and 20' gaming/entertaining room beyond.

I'm not sure wiring the house with CAT 5 or 6 is a ready option as the flooring is wood throughout the groundfloor and I'm not inclined to start pulling it up in the short-term.
 

maf1970

Well-known Member
House - Is it standard style foundations or a solid concrete block ? Do you know if there is space behind wall for cables or if it is the new style prefab ? I acknowledge from your last post that you are not in favour of any type of work to your new property but I feel I have to explore all the options to give you good advice and get what is best for you.
My initial thought had been to house everything in the study and connect from there. :rolleyes:
Homeplugs / powerline plugs - These usually need a single socket to themselves as you cannot plug them into expansion blocks(4-way,6-way etc). The good thing is that there are ones available that let you plug something into them to still utilise the mains socket.

Regarding Q1 -
HP 658553-421 ProLiant MicroServer N40L now with a massive £100 cashback this month! | ServersPlus
There are plenty of choices as to what to use on it - FreeNAS, Ubuntu Server, unRAID(free upto 3 drives,Reqs reg Key for up to 6 ($69), XBMC, Windows Home Server 2011 ~£40.
Samsung F4 EcoGreen 2TB 32MB 5400RPM 3.5 Inch SATA-II Internal Hard Drive - 3 Year Warranty - OEM: Amazon.co.uk: Computers & Accessories:smashin:
 

PST

Standard Member
I don't know on the foundations. I suppose one option (albeit only covering one side of the house) would be to run cable outside and cover the lounge, study and gaming room. The shape of the house, amount of doors etc. would make doing trunking a pain. Am unsure on any space behind the walls.

The other half would definitely be less than keen for any extensive work, part of the reason for buying this place was the minimal amount of decorating needed. Having spent some time mapping out where a cable would have to go, the only way I can see it running inside without it taking up the floor or needing to rip out kitchen units would be to go along the coving at the top of the rooms. This would still need a fair amount of work as there are a couple of wood beams, joists and so forth on any route down that side of the house.

The study has 5 power points under the desk area, Gaming/entertaining room has 18(!) including 6 concealed in a cabinet, every room in the house has at least 4 sockets and I know these were redone in the last 4 years (insert lament that the previous owners didn't do data at that point).

Thanks for the responses and help btw. Cabling would obviously make the data to the tvs easier, but I don't think it's an option to get round the whole house given the layout and amount of work that would entail.
 

theronkinator

Active Member
Can't answer most, but would recommend a HP Microserver, I have two and they're fantastic. Best things I've bought this year.
 

nunovi

Novice Member
Looking at your storage needs you'd be probably ok with a 2Tb NAS. If you want something plug-and-play, why not consider a Vortexbox-based system such as this This will rip your CD's and DVD's automatically with covers and metadata, automatically indexes your Sonos library when a CD is ripped, mirrors the music/movies automatically to mp3/mp4 for mobile devices and integrates a DLNA server so you can stream directly to your Samsung Smart TV.
 
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nunovi

Novice Member
Looking at your storage needs you'd be probably ok with a 2Tb NAS. If you want something plug-and-play, why not consider a *********-based system such as this This will rip your CD's and DVD's automatically with covers and metadata, automatically indexes your Sonos library when a CD is ripped, mirrors the music/movies automatically to mp3/mp4 for mobile devices and integrates a DLNA server so you can stream directly to your Samsung Smart TV.

Well, given that I'm not allowed to express my opinion even for a general product that one can install for free, then I won't provide any opinions or help to anyone else at AVForums.

Goodbye.
 

Iccz

Member
Well, given that I'm not allowed to express my opinion even for a general product that one can install for free, then I won't provide any opinions or help to anyone else at AVForums.

Goodbye.

Perfectly fine to express opinions for a general product, but when it's your comapny selling the general product you have a vested interest so your advice could be biased, not only that but it is against the forum rules.
 

PST

Standard Member
Avoiding the conflict of interest above, does anyone have any views or advice on Q2? Specifically, will the microserver be fine to hook up with sonos, android tablet/phones, tv(s), xbox(?), I know It should be fine with the windows systems but am uncertain on the others (or, for that matter, how one even sets one up, if it has video out without a graphics card etc. but I can point those at the owner's thread for it when I've finalised between that and a NAS)?

I suppose the follow up would be, why the microserver over a NAS? The server seems to be about £240 for 2tb with windows home server 2011 so more than most NAS.

Ignoring the forum-rules breaking aspects of nunovi's post, what he/she describes as auto indexing for sonos and having a DLNA server sounds convenient, is all that readily doable on a microserver?
 

theronkinator

Active Member
A decent NAS to do everything you want will cost £200+ without drives, the microserver is about £130 without drives and can do what they can and more.

And yes you can set up the microserver to do that.
 

MikeK

Novice Member
Both the NAS and microserver will do the job of serving files - but neither will transcode video with much success (though you may get away with simple standard def stuff on the microserver) - for that you'll probably need something with more CPU grunt.
Looking at the devices you already have, you may already be into the realms of transcoding unless you store each movie in a variety of formats - though some media server apps can repackage rather than transode if a file's contents are compatible with the device you want to play them on, but the current container (eg .vob, .ts, .mkv etc) is not - this uses much less CPU resources.
A lot of this will, in the end, depend on which media you want to stream where, and to what!

In terms of off-the-shelf NAS vs PC based server, a NAS is undoubtedly the simpler solution, but it's only any use if it'll do what you want it to - a server is much more flexible (albeit at the cost of simplicity - though they mostly aren't really all that hard to setup/administer).
 

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