Two Bay NAS for Plex 4k transcoding

topgazza

Distinguished Member
Getting a tad confused.

I nearly bit the bullet on a QNAP a year ago but decided not. Newmodels are out in several models but I've been reading up on Plex, which I use, transcoding. It's not clear to me which is the best 2 bay for this. I understood 4 core with above 1.4ghz processor was requird. But looking at Qnap and Synology I'm getting confused which ones are best for Plex. They all talk about native, non 3rd party app, transcoding. Scandotcom is great but tends to wander all over the place

Can anyone clear up what is the best/cost effective NAS that I can use Plex to transcode 4k please ? Or is there a better way to transcode than expecting the NAS to do it ?
 
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chopples

Well-known Member
Hi mate

Here is the Plex list of Nas's and capabilities:- Plex NAS Compatibility

You are probably looking at a NAS using the J3455 or similar chipset. Options beyond that are pretty limited, you could either use a PC with a Quicksync compatible cpu for hardware transcoding or a Nvidia Shield which can run as both the server (with 4k transcode capabilities) and the playback device, this can then point to any smb share.

What 4k files are you transcoding? if they are HDR then Plex may be a non starter anyway as it does not tone map HDR to SDR during the transcode. There is talk of this being implemented in the future and eventually I would expect it to function on windows as they already have working solutions with madvr and ffmpeg but with all the other platforms I think it would be taking a chance, especially with the premium attached to those NAS boxes which support 4k transcode.
 

bubblegum57

Well-known Member
I don’t understand the technical details, but you could look at the Terramaster range of nas.
 

mickevh

Well-known Member
...Or is there a better way to transcode than expecting the NAS to do it ?
IMHO yes there is, either:

1) Buy players that can render 4K natively thereby negating the need for your NAS to transcode.

2) Trancode off-line (plenty of software options available) once to a format that all your devices can play without the need to trancode and store that version alongside the 4K. It will cost more storage, but the trade off is you don't need (the cost and heartache of buying) a super-powerful all singing and dancing NAS with mega processors and hardware decoder chips - if all the NAS is doing is serving files, pretty much anything will do. Spend the money you save on processor power buying more storage or upgrading your players.

I would keep it simple.
 
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topgazza

Distinguished Member
Thanks all, great stuff.

I have a couple of 4k HDR files and the majority are .MKV contained files of various types, mainly 1080p. My intention was to future proof my NAS a bit for when I get a 4k UHD TV in the next few months. Not essential now but I guess if I play a 4k movie on my HD TV it will need transcoding ?

Terramaster get good write ups and they include a software transcoding app. But maybe I'm expecting too much without a lot of rejigging of my fairly simple setup of HD TV, BT Freeview box with 1 TB disc having got rid of Sky a couple of years ago.

It seems I might as well go for a 2 bay Qnap, Synology or Terramaster as suggested and just go with that for now. I could add a Nvidia Shield I suppose but trying to keep things to a minimum.
 

chopples

Well-known Member
Thanks all, great stuff.

I have a couple of 4k HDR files and the majority are .MKV contained files of various types, mainly 1080p. My intention was to future proof my NAS a bit for when I get a 4k UHD TV in the next few months. Not essential now but I guess if I play a 4k movie on my HD TV it will need transcoding ?

Terramaster get good write ups and they include a software transcoding app. But maybe I'm expecting too much without a lot of rejigging of my fairly simple setup of HD TV, BT Freeview box with 1 TB disc having got rid of Sky a couple of years ago.

It seems I might as well go for a 2 bay Qnap, Synology or Terramaster as suggested and just go with that for now. I could add a Nvidia Shield I suppose but trying to keep things to a minimum.
Hi mate, the issue with transcoding HDR material at this time is Plex and others will not map the colours correctly for playback on an SDR device.

You also need to be careful with NAS's as some will only transcode using there own application, on top of that some state that plex can transcode 4k but then in the fine print they mean H264 at 4k and not HEVC/H265

@mickevh advice is really good and keeps it simple, you can use the money saved from getting a more expensive NAS to either buy a 4k capable client (removing the need to transcode) or on extra storage to rip an additional SDR copy of the movie.

cheers
 

topgazza

Distinguished Member
Good points. I think waiting until I get a 4k HDR TV will be key rather than leaping too far or even complicating the whole thing for a short term gain. Even though an Nvidia Shield has some attractions I'd rather avoid another box for now. The 4k films I have are not that critical and I have already seen them. I'll go for a decent Qnap or Synology for now and then the 4k TV in a couple of months.

I currently have my movies ona WD external storage device attached to my iMac and then backed up to a smaller storage device using Carbon Copy Cloner. This is all accessable over ethernet cable which I have to key places. It works OK to be fair via Plex on my FireStick which did have me thinking about a 4k Firestick or Cube and if that would do the job but its not critical at the moment. A more neater, less cabled storage solution comes first
 
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mickevh

Well-known Member
Seems like a good plan to me: I suspect a few of us of a more nerdy persuasion are sometimes guilty of "over thinking" things in advance. If you can stand to wait, it might be worth waiting until you have your new TV in hand and can see what it needs. Though for even the most basic built in player (not that I've ever seen one) it's hard to believe it couldn't play from basic bog standard CIFS/SMB shares if nothing else and I'd be astonished is there's any NAS on the market that doesn't offer CIFS/SMB and NFS shares - though the UI presentation might not be too pretty (movie walls and all that.)
 

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