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Media Streaming NAS for Christmas?

Hey all,
Looking to convert my parents DVD collection to a NAS for Media streaming to 2-3 TVs.
It started with my parents asking about streaming boxes. My initial thought would be to get a few chrome cast sticks, and have them stream from a NAS with all the media. Not sure if its the best options.
Ideally its gotta be smooth streaming, easy to view and select movies / DVDs to play, and if possible have a remote?

So any suggestions? also whats the ball park price range to get this running? Canadian pricing

Posts

  • wunderbarwunderbar What Have I Done? Registered User regular
    chromecasts stream web stuff, they *can* do local streaming but it's kind of iffy on that.

    Honestly unless they're capable of troubleshooting random connection issues themselves, it might not be the best idea.

    If you want to go down that road, my recommendation would be to get a NAS that can run plex, and then matching streaming boxes to do that. Plex is probably the prettiest and easiest in home method.

    but honestly, unless you're dead set on this, really think about something like an Apple TV, Andorid TV, or Roku and like year's worth of Netflix.

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  • breton-brawlerbreton-brawler Registered User regular
    A roku box is an option for sure. and this is to supplement their use of netflix, because right now they only use it through the PS3, which is being relocated. Plex looks pretty slick, I do see it does support Chromcast, but if a roku box, or roku sticks perform better I can go with that. Basically getting some streaming boxes, or sticks, for use with netflix, hulu. And the ability to add a NAS so they can access their own collection.

  • wunderbarwunderbar What Have I Done? Registered User regular
    I like the idea of roku more than chromecasts because there are no remotes with chromecast, you have to use a phone/tablet, which is a pain when all you want to do is play the thing/pause the thing.

    I beleive roku has a plex app, so you could always go a roku route, and then if they really want the NAS solution add that in later. I just look at the NAS option and think "do I want to get a phone call every time for some reason it doesn't work?"

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  • hsuhsu Registered User regular
    Personally, I would just buy your parents a Hulu+ subscription and an wifi blu-ray player, as nearly all wifi blu-ray players come with Hulu+, Netflix, and Amazon Prime apps.

    Between those streaming services, your parents should have access to nearly their entire DVD collection, minus workout videos (the main thing I use my blu-ray for these days). The very few DVDs that aren't on a streaming service, just let them pop those into the blu-ray player.

    Now then, if you have asian parents, get them a TVpad4, which is similar to a Roku, but designed to pull content from asian TV stations. Practically every single channel from every single asian country puts their broadcast TV shows online (ok, that's stretching it a little, but only a little).

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  • wunderbarwunderbar What Have I Done? Registered User regular
    hsu wrote: »
    Personally, I would just buy your parents a Hulu+ subscription and an wifi blu-ray player, as nearly all wifi blu-ray players come with Hulu+, Netflix, and Amazon Prime apps.

    Between those streaming services, your parents should have access to nearly their entire DVD collection, minus workout videos (the main thing I use my blu-ray for these days). The very few DVDs that aren't on a streaming service, just let them pop those into the blu-ray player.

    Now then, if you have asian parents, get them a TVpad4, which is similar to a Roku, but designed to pull content from asian TV stations. Practically every single channel from every single asian country puts their broadcast TV shows online (ok, that's stretching it a little, but only a little).

    You missed the part where he said Canada, where we aren't graced with the presence of Hulu and Amazon Prime Video.

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  • useless4useless4 Registered User regular
    Plex running on a QNAP NAS is my recommendation, then Rokus or something to tie into the Plex.

    You are looking at considerable cost and time to do what you want though.
    You need 2-3 Rokus, a NAS and hard drives etc. then you need time to get the movies on there.

  • breton-brawlerbreton-brawler Registered User regular
    I understand the time involved, I got a fair bit of that available this time of year. Now there s a mac that isnt used for much, so a new plan might be a rokku stick (the remote is a big bonus) and use an external hard drive connected to this mac, that will run plex media server. Brings the cost down a fair bit and I dont have to setup a new system. The only thing I worry about is the transfer rates from the External hard drive for streaming. Chances are it will stream to one, possible two devices at the same time. Anyone have expereince with this type of performance from external hard drives?

  • wunderbarwunderbar What Have I Done? Registered User regular
    I understand the time involved, I got a fair bit of that available this time of year. Now there s a mac that isnt used for much, so a new plan might be a rokku stick (the remote is a big bonus) and use an external hard drive connected to this mac, that will run plex media server. Brings the cost down a fair bit and I dont have to setup a new system. The only thing I worry about is the transfer rates from the External hard drive for streaming. Chances are it will stream to one, possible two devices at the same time. Anyone have expereince with this type of performance from external hard drives?

    even if the older mac only has USB2, consider that most HD streams like that *might* get as high as 40mbit/s, DVD like you're talking about will be a lot less than that. USB2 can do 480. so 2 would be no problem.

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  • breton-brawlerbreton-brawler Registered User regular
    wunderbar wrote: »
    I understand the time involved, I got a fair bit of that available this time of year. Now there s a mac that isnt used for much, so a new plan might be a rokku stick (the remote is a big bonus) and use an external hard drive connected to this mac, that will run plex media server. Brings the cost down a fair bit and I dont have to setup a new system. The only thing I worry about is the transfer rates from the External hard drive for streaming. Chances are it will stream to one, possible two devices at the same time. Anyone have expereince with this type of performance from external hard drives?

    even if the older mac only has USB2, consider that most HD streams like that *might* get as high as 40mbit/s, DVD like you're talking about will be a lot less than that. USB2 can do 480. so 2 would be no problem.

    That is excellent, time to do some purchasing and throw it together then. :D

  • useless4useless4 Registered User regular
    Yes, that should be doable. At least you have everything (minus possibly the external drive) to play with it and try.

    Suggestions:
    Make sure you have a fast external , don't get a 5400rpm backup drive and think it's going to perform.
    Pick a video compression method and stick with it - something your end user boxes will playback. Depending on the mac I doubt it will support more then 2 on-the-fly conversions for video playback unless it's a Mac Pro (2008 or newer) or it's one of the new 5k macs.

    If you are using uncompressed rips or random divx/mkv/etc files from the net then prepare to troubleshoot all day long.
    My suggestion is find a workflow for you, a platform for you, and stick with it.

    I've been doing media servers since 2003. I've ran into many many lessons learned. ALWAYS BACK UP YOUR LIBRARY.

    If anyone really wants to know more about it just ask.

    (Currently: Running a single library of .h264 AppleTV 1080p/5.1/23.976fps compatible files - roughly 3,330 of them... playback is via Mac Pro running iTunes for AppleTV Gen 3 playback, Plex running on a QNAP TS810pro for mobile and AppleTV Gen 4/Raspberry Pi 2 Plex Media Player build playback.)

  • breton-brawlerbreton-brawler Registered User regular
    This will strictly be physical DVD Rips. Yeah the plan is to pick a format and stick to it. It looks like the Rokku plays nice with MKV so that might be the way to go.
    As for External hard drive speed, most USB external hard drives don't list the RPM in specs, So I guess its best to get an external drive and not a "Backup" external drive.

    This has all been supper helpful By the way.

  • tsmvengytsmvengy Registered User regular
    This will strictly be physical DVD Rips. Yeah the plan is to pick a format and stick to it. It looks like the Rokku plays nice with MKV so that might be the way to go.
    As for External hard drive speed, most USB external hard drives don't list the RPM in specs, So I guess its best to get an external drive and not a "Backup" external drive.

    This has all been supper helpful By the way.

    Just get a regular hard drive and an enclosure. That way you pick the drive yourself.

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  • useless4useless4 Registered User regular
    One word of warning, mkv doesn't playback universally even if the file is encoded to something a device can play. Ripping without recompression sounds fun now but you will run out of room quicker and not everything will play back mkv

  • breton-brawlerbreton-brawler Registered User regular
    edited December 2015
    SO quick update! Went with roku stick, and got a good deal on seagate backup drive. tested out plex with just a few video files, speed isn't an issue everything seems to stream just fine. Now the long process of converting, I decided to got to Mp4, and now the only issue is some of the DVDs convert but seem a bit fuzzy, most are older films so I'm messing around with some settings to get some quality playback on the larger TVs in the house.
    One question as per quality. Is it better to do a straight DVD Rip then encode? would that result in better quality? or is it not even worth the time?
    useless4 wrote: »
    One word of warning, mkv doesn't playback universally even if the file is encoded to something a device can play. Ripping without recompression sounds fun now but you will run out of room quicker and not everything will play back mkv
    This is great info, I only had a few in MKV before I switched over.

    breton-brawler on
  • wunderbarwunderbar What Have I Done? Registered User regular
    The only reason I would see doing ripping the DVD's then encoding them after the fact would be so you can just do a whole bunch in a batch. You could just queue up like, 40 transcodes in handbrake and let it run if you had the dvd rips stored locally. It's less useful with DVD's since modern processors can transcode 480p pretty quickly but when I was doing it with blu-rays the ability to just batch encode was nice, start it up and come back a few hours later.

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  • useless4useless4 Registered User regular
    Yea if it's a one off, I use handbrake directly.
    But it's never just one.
    Ripping should be faster then rip/encode in one process...

    The way I do it is rip, encode, repeat... with the encode phase being where it backs up.

    I use MakeMKV for the rip, and Handbrake with AppleTV 3 profile (switching the fps from variable to 23.974fps) for the encoding.

  • breton-brawlerbreton-brawler Registered User regular
    So I've been largely successful! Movies are being played on separate TVs from the hard drive. I've started to narrow down some image quality issues, basically setting plex to transcode (kill my CPU setting I think) made the image much clearer. Although is it normal for direct rips to appear as 480p only? Some of the rips are of very older films and seem to be a bit handicapped by the source used for the DVD.
    Also learning the Fun of organizing TV series. The straight rips leave quite a mess, but I just gotta go back and setup the proper file folders.

    Can't wait until the large transfers are over and then its just little maintenance with new movies.

  • wunderbarwunderbar What Have I Done? Registered User regular
    DVD's are only 480p. So you're not going to get better than that out of them.

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