Question Synology DS218+ for Plex free?

themissingelf

Standard Member
I'm currently running a DS114 NAS to store films, home video, and music. For video it does not have the power to run the Plex server so I have Plex running on my PC. The net result is that my PC has to be on to watch a movie etc. Not ideal, especially as Windows struggles to maintain the drive mapping to the NAS!

So, I'm looking to upgrade the NAS to one that can run Plex. It seems the DS218+ might be a suitable candidate, especially as I'm using free Plex and therefore unable to take advantage(?) of hardware transcoding. The only doubt I have is whether there is any value in spending more to get the DS718+?

Also, final question... I'm hoping I can simply move the drive from the DS114 to the new NAS? That's how they're supposed to work, isn't it?

Many thanks
 

mickevh

Distinguished Member
Also, final question... I'm hoping I can simply move the drive from the DS114 to the new NAS? That's how they're supposed to work, isn't it?
Others will address your other questions, but even if was "supposed" to work this way, I would not want to try it without first having backed up the data elsewhere.

If the data in question is all (say) movies for which you have the original DVD's etc. you might want to chance it as if it all goes wrong, you can re-rip - albeit that it will take some time. If the drives in question contain any irreplaceable data, it would be prudent the back it up elsewhere first.

Some devices automatically format (and thereby erase) any "new" (to them) drive you insert into them irrespective of whether they contain data or not, so it's not worth taking a risk with any irreplaceable data.
 
I dont know how you use this at the moment so this may not be useful but have you considered not using plex and getting a player for the other end instead, so the NAS can remain just as a store for the files. I use KODI installed on a Firestick in two different TV's and the synology NAS running a SMB share that feeds it. This works great and no transcoding required so no CPU requirements at the NAS end.
 

themissingelf

Standard Member
Sounds interesting... I've got an open mind and a Firestick (and Chromecast too)... Does this work (i.e. without transcoding) because KODI plays any type of file?
 

Sloppy Bob

Distinguished Member
You don't want to transcode files as it's reducing quality and/or processor intensive.

Kodi can play anything but it depends upon what type of files you're playing on it and the equipment you have. Similarly, if you have the right equipment you can use Plex to play files natively so it doesn't need to transcode, but again it depends upon the file types and formats and what you have in the way of TV, amp, soundbar etc.

If you're wanting to stream to mobile devices or when out the house Kodi doesn't do that.
 
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themissingelf

Standard Member
Most of the files are MKV and a minority are mp4 home video. The amp is a lump of a Yamaha (cannot recall the model no.) and the TV a Panasonic (again, cannot remember the model no). This evening I got Kodi onto the Fire Stick and once it'd finished looking up all the metadata and cover photos etc, it seemed to play well with no buffering.

So far so good! Glad I posted and thanks for pointing me in the direction of Kodi (which I had not realised was the original XBMC - same as I loaded onto a 1st Gen XBOX many years ago to convert it into a media centre!)

Makes me wonder why anyone would use Plex?
 
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mickevh

Distinguished Member
MKV is a container format not an A/V format. By design MKV can be wrapped around pretty much any A/V format which means MKV playback is not at all universal.

To be sure whether device X can "play" MKV file Y, one needs to examine the content of the file and check compatibility. (There's a free tool called MediaInfo that can tell you more about media file formats than you would ever want to know.)

Thusly, sometimes a device that will play MKV files will sometimes fail - my (rather old) "hardware" media streamer won't play a few of my MKV's whereas my laptop's software media player plays pretty much everything.

The vendor of my (hardware) media streamer gave up supporting it years ago, so I'm "stuck" with whatever it can/can't play until I replace it. (Luckily, there's not much in my library it cannot handle.) Whereas it seems Kodi et al have a quite active developer/enthusiast community, so one suspects updates for it will be ongoing for quite some time.

I don't use Plex either - I don't need to. I do sometimes wonder if an Internet Myth is off and running that "you need Plex to do media streaming...?"
 

bubblegum57

Well-known Member
I just use my nas as storage. I have a couple of devices with Libreelec & coreelec, they play movies with no problems.

However, I bought a nvidia shield, & installed Plex, the one "advantage" of plex is that you can share your media library with friends & family over the internet. Emby is similar to plex.

But Kodi plays everything.
 

mushii

Distinguished Member
Plex is convenient and easy to use and configure for non-nerds. Kodi can be a PIA to set up. Yes it is more powerful than Plex but that is also it’s downfall.
 

themissingelf

Standard Member
Yes, I'd agree - Plex is "polished" and straightforward but Kodi has just saved me £300-£400 on hardware and potentially a Plex subscription too. Quite a price to pay for convenience and I'm not sure there's that much polish on Plex.
 

mushii

Distinguished Member
I tried deploying Kodi at home. WAF Zero. Plex the whole family uses, wherever they are. Plus I share family Photos with my Brother’s Plex account. I also travel a lot and like that I can access Plex wherever I am in the world, which I do quite often. For me it’s the better option, but I see that for others Kodi maybe better.
 

themissingelf

Standard Member
I'm no expert (and don't really need access outside home); however, I'm figuring I just need to enable remote access to my NAS to watch content via Kodi on my phone, tablet, Fire Stick etc - even if I have to download the content before playing? I do understand the ease-of-use for Plex; however, I'm falling out of love given they seem to remove features (Channels aka. Plugins) - how can that be OK when customers have paid for a service?
 

next010

Distinguished Member
For remote access you can set up WebDAV or FTP access on your Syno NAS and Kodi support these though it has been a very long time since I have used those features I cannot recall if it streams or requires download (I think it streams). Go to add network source and cycle through them till you see WebDAV/FTP.

The other way would be to set up a VPN (virtual private network), Syno NAS have this feature built in too, this will make it look as if your on the local network and the Kodi client can access the NAS.

If you have an iPhone there is an app store fork of Kodi called MrMC, it doesn't have all the features of Kodi but the core features are there along with WebDAV/FTP support. It's actually available on the FireTV too if you want to avoid side-loading.
 

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