Anyone using a Drobo to stream HD video (m2ts, mkv, etc)?

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by DAMAC3, Oct 22, 2009.

  1. DAMAC3 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2009
    Location:
    Noblesville, IN
    #1
    I currently have an unRAID setup I built. I am selling it to a friend to simplify my storage solution, reduce space, and reduce energy consumption. Looking at the alternatives that fit these criteria, I thought I might try a Drobo. I've been anti-Drobo and pro unRAID in the past because of the flexibility of unRAID, but I find that I don't need that as much as I need the other things mentioned above.

    I have a Mac Mini and a Macbook Pro. I would either connect the Drobo directly to the Mini via firewire or network it and keep it in my equipment closet (and access content via wifi from the MBP (not high bitrate obviously). One of the biggest complaints about the Drobo seems to be the data transfer speeds. Will I be able to stream a Blu-ray rip stored on the Drobo to the Mini either via firewire or gigabit ethernet without major lag or stuttering (assuming the file would play fine on the Mini's hdd)? If I go the networked route, should I get the Droboshare, or is there a better method?

    I will also be using the Drobo to store misc. files and house my backups from the MBP and Mini. I just want to make sure I have a handle on everything I can and can't do with the Drobo before I place my order. Thanks in advance for any help!

    Edit - One more thing I forgot to ask about was standby. Does the Drobo automatically go to standy and come back on when the Mac Mini it is attached to goes to sleep and wakes up? And what about going in and out of standy if it is networked. This is important to me as I would like to save on energy consumption when I am not using the Drobo.
     
  2. glap1922 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2009
    #2
    I have a drobo attached to my mac mini using USB. Streaming works perfectly for any file I have tried, including mkv. I can't think of any reason why you wouldn't be able to play bluray rips from the Drobo.
    The Drobo does automatically go into standby mode and wakes back up when it is accessed. If my drobo hasn't been used in a while when I go to play a file it takes maybe 10 seconds to start to play, but then works flawlessly.

    I hope this helped.
     
  3. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #3
    There have been several generations of Drobo. The first ones were slow and only did USB. The current models are much faster and use FW800.

    You say you want to use the Drobo for both data and backup? Technically you can backup data to the same device it is stored on but it will do you no good. When the device fails yu loose both copies.

    Don't think RAID will not fail, it will. Lightening will hit a utility pole miles from your house and the power surge will take out the entire device at once, it not that a fire or theft of the equipment will take it all.

    I'd actually prefer to buy a slower, older Drobo if I could find one at 1/2 price. I'd use it for backups. I don't care about speed for that.
     
  4. DAMAC3 thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2009
    Location:
    Noblesville, IN
    #4

    When I say backups, I am talking about backing up my MBP and Mac Mini. The Drobo is another backup source plus a redundant storage unit for all my video. I don't have all my movies and TV shows backed up as I don't want to spend $700+ on another device + drives for a 2nd storage solution. My critical files are on each of my computers, my unRAID server, and hard drives/jump drives sitting on shelves.
     
  5. jim.lynch macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2008
    #5
    I have a 1st Gen Drobo connected to my Mac Mini via USB. It plays 1080p Blu-Ray rips just fine.

    I tried using this as network storage attached to my Airport Extreme in the cupboard. It works but uploading data is very slow. I could watch DVD rips OK but got the occasional drop out, maybe the guy downstairs flicked his light switch or something, but the video would pause briefly. In the end this was too intrusive so I reconnected it by USB again. I didn't try HD content in this setup.
    Bottom line is that its good enough when wired.

    My 1st Gen is a little noisy when the fan is at its top speed, even with a replacement fan. I understand this has been improved on later models.

    I've had some issues waking from sleep, the disks don't spin up in time and the Drobo resets.

    It's never lost any data though, and disk replacement on the fly works as advertised.
     
  6. DAMAC3 thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2009
    Location:
    Noblesville, IN
    #6
    Thank you. That is the exact information I wanted to know. I just ordered a 2nd gen off of newegg for $319 after the mail in rebate. Not bad. I'll be connecting it directly to the Mini as long as the fan noise isn't unbearable.
     
  7. DAMAC3 thread starter macrumors regular

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    Feb 6, 2009
    Location:
    Noblesville, IN
    #7
    Thanks for the info as well.
     
  8. Bye Bye Baby macrumors 65816

    Bye Bye Baby

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2004
    Location:
    i(am in the)cloud
    #8
    I have my Drobo attached to my mac mini as a media server for all my computers and apple tvs in the house via FW800.

    The drobo is relatively slow when you copy data to it because it is backing up the data at the same time. It is not a simple transfer of data but what they call a smart transfer. Your data is spread out across your four disks. That is what makes transfers slow.

    As for streaming media all over the house it works perfectly. I have all video straming via ethernet as I have a lot of hi-def content. I have not tried wi-fi for video.

    Music streams perfectly via wi-fi to my stereo or my zeppelin.
     

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