What can I do with a PLEX server?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by pinkoos, Dec 20, 2018.

  1. pinkoos macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    May 15, 2005
    Location:
    Texas
    #1
    In the process of setting up a Plex server through my Mac mini and was wondering what all will I be able to do with it? And, is getting the Plex Pass worth it (currently I believe it's $90 for a lifetime pass for new customers)?

    I got a 2018 Mac mini i5 with 16GB RAM and a 256GB SSD. My previous Mac had a 512GB SSD and so what I'm doing is keeping the OS, apps and Users on the internal SSD and moving media onto an external USB-C SSD.

    I'm not actually putting my iTunes library on the external, though. What I'm doing is keeping iTunes on the internal SSD, but I haven't imported any of my media into the iTunes library. So, the iTunes library is, in effect, a cloud library, consisting of my Apple Music subscription and access to any purchased content.

    The actual music that I own, DVDs that I've ripped and home movies are all on the external SSD and are not being accessed by iTunes. This "library" is what I'll be directing the Plex server to.

    So, on our Apple TVs, we'll be able to access our "Apple" media through the usual built in Apple apps on the Apple TV and will be able to access the media being served by Plex through the Plex app.

    Just wondering if this setup makes sense and what else I can do with Plex? I guess that it can transcode on the fly so that if I have video that I've downloaded from elsewhere, I won't need to convert it to a format suitable for Apple TV and that Plex will do that heavy lifting as it is being served to the Apple TV. Is that correct?

    Anybody else have the Plex Pass and, if so, what makes it worth the investment to you?

    Thanks in advance
     
  2. 0970373 Suspended

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2008
    #2
    I’m confused as to what you’re trying to do or explain above but Plex is a media server that lets you access movies, TV, music, photos from any Plex client or app. And that’s what people use it for.

    My Plex sever is set up on a Raspberry Pi device and connects to my NAS where media is held. This way let’s me take my MBP with me but the server is still running at home. The RPi is not strong enough to transcode but i convert what i need to before I add it to the library.

    I have it set up to be able to access from outside my network. I travel often so I download movies and shows for offline viewing. Or watch things at a friends app by logging into my server, etc. I also have other devices in the house that have the Plex app so i can watch content easily anywhere. My friends and I share our Plex servers with each other and can watch media on each other’s servers.

    I used to be able to watch media from my TiVo from it but that plug-in channel no longer works.

    I was an early adopter/supporter of Plex so I was able to sign up for lifetime for $20 or something.
     
  3. Banglazed, Dec 20, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2018

    Banglazed macrumors demi-god

    Banglazed

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2017
    Location:
    Cupertino, CA
    #3
    Be familiar with this https://support.plex.tv/articles/203810286-what-media-formats-are-supported/

    As long as you have all your media in direct play or direct stream format it won’t take too much CPU to host it.

    For Apple TV:

    1080p h.264 MP4 format (direct play)
    AAC audio 48000mhz 320 bit rate

    4K HEVC (h.265) MP4 format (direct stream)
    4K h.264 MP4 format (direct play)
    AAC audio 48000mhz 320 bit rate

    However, using the Infuse app, 4K HEVC will direct play than direct stream using the Plex app. The goal is have all media in supported direct play format so less stress on CPU if you have multiple users streaming at the same time. Also, there is no playback limit if you use the Infuse app to connect, play and download your Plex media on mobile devices.

    To check direct play or direct stream, just play any media on Plex and check the status on the server to see if it’s direct play, direct stream or transcoding.

    It makes sense to move all your Plex media to external since I did the same then add more storage in the future.
     
  4. brentsg macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2008
    #4
    I got Plex Pass because I use a HDHomerun 4 channel tuner with a rooftop antenna so that Plex and my NAS replace my DVR.

    I also prefer Widows for a Plex server so if I do need to transcode on the fly, the iGPU can be used.
     
  5. BrianBaughn macrumors 603

    BrianBaughn

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2011
    Location:
    Baltimore, Maryland
    #5
    The Plex website and manual explains fully what a Plex server can do. Is there something you read there that needs explaining?
     
  6. Juggar macrumors member

    Juggar

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2016
    #6
    The Plex pass allows for hardware accelerated streaming ( H/W transcoding) .

    Your Intel CPU has a quicksync encoder/decoder on the iGPU built in that plex will use if it can. being a very recent 8th gen chip you should be good for almost anything you need to transcode.
     
  7. LeeW macrumors 6502a

    LeeW

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2017
    Location:
    Glasgow, Scotland
    #7
    It allows additional family members to use it on other devices, to download content on to those devices and stream directly from the media server itself wherever they are in the world. That's what makes it worth the investment for me.
     
  8. brentsg macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2008
    #8
    OSX can’t decode HEVC with hardware, and OSX can only decode 1 stream at a time with hardware. It kinda neutered the Mini for me.
     
  9. ktcifone macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2009
    #9
    I had my 2018 mini do 5 separate streams without a hiccup.
    I do not have plex pass.
     
  10. PianoPro macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2018
    #10
    I've ignored setting up a server for my home theater for years, but I recently thought it might be a good idea and I did a couple of experiments a few weeks ago to figure out how it works. But I only had a few hours to look into the subject at that time (and very little time right now), but since someone started this topic I'll take advantage of this opportunity to pose a couple of questions.

    My 2 key requirements:

    1. I have hundreds of DVDs, and hundreds of Blu-ray's, and a few dozen UHD discs, to transfer to a server. So the time it takes, and ease of doing it (meaning as little user interaction as possible) is critical to me. I have zero interest in downloading movies or video from the net.

    2. I want the displayed video quality to be EXACTLY the same as the original discs video quality for home theater use. Otherwise it is a waste of time for me. And I have zero interest in watching movies on iPads, phones, or computers.

    My conclusions (and here is where I'm looking for guidance, any input, etc):

    1. I tried Plex on my Mac Pro (with a networked hard drive) connected to a Plex app on a Sony 4K TV (just as an experiment - I actually use a projector in my theater). It worked ok with MKV files for both DVD (SD) and Blu-ray (1080p). So that seemed fine, but I'd need to find a device to run the Plex app and output HDMI to my theater projector. Best idea for a device?

    2. The only format for storing the SD and HD video that produces acceptable quality (i.e. exactly the same as the original disc) is the MKV format. Is that correct or did I miss something? And there was almost no CPU load using Plex to stream MKV files because they aren't transcoded.

    3. The biggest problem was finding a Mac app to rip the DVD or Blu-ray (and eventually Ultra Blu-ray discs) to the MKV format. I tried a free app called MakeMKV and it didn't work well at all. I download a few trial versions of some paid apps that also didn't work well with Blu-ray (even though they claimed they would). I finally found one app (the most expensive of course) that seemed to work perfectly with little user interaction. That was DVDFab, but as I said it is fairly expensive because it requires 3 different "modules" to be purchased - one to rip DVDs, one to rip Blu-ray, and another to rip UHD's (I didn't get to try that one - where do you find a Mac drive to read UHD Blu-rays?) But of course I only tried a couple of Blu-rays with the trial version of DVDFab, so I don't know how reliably it will work over a variety (hundreds) of Blu-rays and DVDs. So I would really like to get some input on the best "ripper" apps, where ease of use and speed of use is more important than price.

    I hope this is of general interest and not too far off the "What can Plex do?" topic, because this is what I want to do with Plex.
     
  11. brentsg, Dec 21, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2018

    brentsg macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2008
    #11
    The word “do” isn’t very specific. You can direct stream/play, and you can brute force transcode with the CPU, but OSX won’t allow more than one hardware accelerated transcode. And HEVC is a no go.

    https://support.plex.tv/articles/115002178853-using-hardware-accelerated-streaming/

    PianoPro, MakeMKV is your solution. Not sure why you had trouble. I’ve pretty much filled a 30+TB NAS with video content using that tool, no issues. Honestly though, if you are short on time then I’d forget it. It is very time consuming to set up, and if you want to store a lot of content then it’s very expensive as well. If you have no interest in streaming outside of a home theater environment then I’d personally just swap disks. You can swap a lot of disks and buy a lot of movies with the time ad expense involved.

    I think you almost need to enjoy the process.
     
  12. HDFan macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2007
    #12
    That is a waste of money. Even a very slow "backup" hard drive at ~320 Mbps or so can easily drive a 4K UHD stream running at 50 Mbps. An 8 TB drive at Costco is just ~$140. If you ever go to 4K streaming at 50 GB+ per movie that's only ~160 movies on an 8 TB drive. SSD cost for that much storage would be astronomical.

    New features arrive in Plex Pas first. For example they just introduced the new dashboard with things like bandwidth, most played movies, play history time chart:

    Screen Shot 2018-12-22 at 01.23.23.png

    This is the bandwidth usage streaming a 4K UHD movie.

    And I realize that everyone wants everything for free, but I do believe that developers need to be paid for their work. That $90 cost is one time, Microsoft charges about that much every year.

    It depends on the hardware and the playing device at the other end. I can stream 6 or 7 4K HVEC streams on my iMac Pro with decoding, even more if the client supports direct play where it has almost no impact on my mac (other than disk bandwidth).


    .mt2s also is identical to the original.

    MKV files have to be transcoded if the client does not support the MKV format.

    I've ripped over 100 Blu-Rays and a number of 4K UHD titles with no issues. What problems are you encountering?

    The physical time for inserting and ejecting the disk is the same both for Plex and using a player. For the 1st play on Plex you have the added overhead of running the ripping software. But for the 2nd play and all subsequent ones you don't have to worry about finding the disk (I have boxes of them in storage) you just pull it up in the Plex player. But this is a personal preference, and there is a long forum topic as people debate the usefulness of physical media:

    https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/do-you-still-buy-physical-media.2151617/
     
  13. PianoPro macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2018
    #13
    I've been loading discs for years, and when you have about 700 on shelves it's kind of a pain just to browse them, especially for guests. So I thought it would be nice to have on-screen sorting by title, actors, directors, etc. and then immediately access those films. Hence, a server. It's all about convenience and making the experience, especially for guests, more enjoyable. And I've been doing home theater since before there was home theater, so I feel kind of lazy for not having done this already.

    Yes, my biggest concern is the time it will take to rip them. I'm fortunate, and so not concerned about the cost. And I work at home in my den all day. So I have time to occasionally stop and load discs to rip. But I don't want to get distracted spending any significant amount of time trying to figure out what tracks I need to save, and then later figure out what I should have done to get transferred content to play properly if it doesn't. I had trouble with audio formats, uncontrolled subtitles, probably ripping unnecessary tracks, and stuff like that in the few experiments I did. I'd like a nearly-automatic process of loading the disc, click a couple menu options, and wait until its done. If that's not possible then you are probably right, I don't have time to do this.

    The only app I tried that did all of that successfully was the one I mentioned, DVDFab. But I don't know if I was just lucky picking a couple of discs that happened to work with that app. i.e. will it work consistently? I think other apps had trouble with certain anti-copying mechanisms that were employed, when it didn't.

    Anyway, it sounds like I have it right that MKV is the format I need to use. It's been a couple of weeks so I don't remember specifically what went wrong when I tried to use MakeMKV (vs other apps that didn't work, or didn't provide the MKV format at all.) I just wrote it off and moved on to the next app. But hearing that you've used it successfully, and extensively, I'll go back and give it another try. I could have easily done something wrong. I'm actually an engineer and video product designer, but obviously have no prior experience with any of this.

    Thanks for taking the time to respond.
    --- Post Merged, Dec 22, 2018 ---
    Thanks, M2TS makes sense of course.

    That wouldn't be an issue because I'd never use a client that didn't support it.

    That's another encouraging endorsement of MakeMKV. I will go back and try it again. As I mentioned above, it was several weeks ago and I really can't remember the specific problems I had app by app anymore. But now I'm anxious to try it again. Thanks.

    A server would be a matter of convenience for me, and creating a better experience for guests. My discs are on open shelves and not buried in boxes, so they aren't going away regardless. But I do have a desire/need to sometimes quickly call up scenes from multiple films and that would be much easier/quicker than juggling and loading a stack of physical discs.

    One additional question:

    Has anyone been able to rip and stream HD-DVD's from their server? I have a rather large collection of those too. I have a couple spare Toshiba HD-DVD players that I could pull a drive from and probably interface to a Mac. If I remember correctly they had standard IDE interfaces. But is there any app to rip an HD-DVD disc?
     
  14. brentsg, Dec 22, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2018

    brentsg macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2008
    #14
    From the Plex manual, updated November of 2018:
    • Hardware-accelerated HEVC decoding is not yet available on macOS.
    • macOS is only capable of hardware-accelerated encoding of 1 video at a time. This is a platform limitation from Apple.
    https://support.plex.tv/articles/115002178853-using-hardware-accelerated-streaming/

    So you are either direct streaming or software transcoding the streams with your iMac. Of course the bitrate will matter, but trying to push 6-7 HEVC streams that are unaltered from their original disk bitrate isn't likely to happen on a Mac Mini. The OS absolutely does matter here.

    Regarding the disks, I'll just respectively disagree regarding the ripping. I just looked and I've got around 650 movies, 45 full TV series and it totals around 21TB. Sure, you can fly with external hard drives and such but it's a lot of time invested to lose your content when a drive fails. The smart play is to have a NAS with some manner of RAID that has 2 disk fault tolerance. In my case it's ~$2000 worth of storage for the movies with some headroom for personal files and growth.

    I agree that the process itself USUALLY isn't difficult, but you take time to mess with audio tracks, subtitles, etc.. and the occasional Blu-ray playlist obfuscation. It can be intimidating for a new user and it adds up over time. Add to that tracking down the special hardware/firmware to handle HD DVD and UHD disks. I've given up on UHD for now, just due to the storage requirement. If TV series are in play then you need to fiddle with naming conventions and the episodes often being out of order on disk (likely intentional).

    I ripped my HD DVD library, but it's been long enough that my workflow has changed so I can't comment on process. Maybe I'll throw a disk in later and see if MakeMKV handles it elegantly. I can say that I had an LG drive in my Mac Pro that handled HD DVD. If the pull from your Toshiba unit doesn't work then you can prob grab one from Ebay. If needed I can dig up the part number of mine.

    One other comment.. you need to think of MKV as a type of container. There is a lot of variability in terms of what you put into that container.
     
  15. PianoPro, Dec 22, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2018

    PianoPro macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2018
    #15
    I tried MakeMKV again with a Blu-ray Disc, American Graffiti. The files still don't work with Plex.

    I don't know if it is a Plex problem or MakeMKV problem. BUT I suspect it is a MakeMKV problem because the same disc ripped with DVDFab works fine with Plex, and a 21 minute short from the same American Graffiti (AG) Blu-Ray ripped by MakeMKV does work with Plex. BTW, MakeMKV gave no indication that there was a problem while ripping the disc.

    Plex simply doesn't recognize the AG film files that MakeMKV created. They do not appear in the Plex library, there is no thumbnail generated, and MakeMKV created 2 files for the AG film which are each about 30 GBs. Why 2 files, when DVDFab created only one file about 30 GB (which works)? It seems there is something wrong with those mkv files because the 21 minute short in the same folder is recognized and plays fine.

    I have no doubt MakeMKV is working for others, or on other discs, but it isn't working with Plex on my American Graffitti Blu-ray Disc.

    EDIT ADDED:

    I went back and ripped American Graffiti again with DVDFab and it creates a single 28.5 GB mkv file that works perfectly with Plex.
     
  16. HDFan macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2007
    #16
    My workflow is relatively simple. Load the disk. Open the titles. Click on the main (largest) title selecting everything which it includes. Then rip. Occasionally there are disks which have a lot of extras, and I just rip everything to a folder and they show up in Plex. Takes less than a minute (ignoring disk read times since I can be doing something else). But this might not work if you have a particularly picky client.

    My experience is that Plex normally has to transcode as most clients do not support native MKV streaming, such as Plex on the Apple TV or to Safari. Looks as if Infuse on the Apple TV does support it.

    Ah, you are talking about dedicated video decoding hardware versus the cpu hardware. Yes.

    But you should still be able to run multiple streams even with software decoding. The new Mac mini is bit of a beast. On an anemic 1.6 Ghz N3710 NAS which is is far less powerful I easily run 3 DVD quality streams. Don't have a new mac mini to test though.

    But you are hosed if the NAS hardware fails. I've had it happen. In addition to my RAID redundancy I backup everything to the cloud as well.

    There are some issues with multiple titles. Sometimes you do see a number of main titles. Selected the wrong one once and got 58 GB of "copy protection) error message. Sometimes there are 10's of main titles with the same size which means you end up with all of them if you aren't careful. But these are rare cases. It's really simple - just choose the largest Title and everything under it.

    I thought UHD would be a major problem due to the hardware requirements and issues with the encryption codes. But it turned out one of my two optical drives was the LG that works ripping UHD, and every disk I have tried has ripped with no encryption problems.

    Storage is, of course, a major problem with 4K. I just added 15 UHD movies and they take over a terabyte. There is also an issue with Plex showing SD rather than HDR colors, for example on my Mac and Apple TV. Haven't addressed that yet since they aren't my main clients. Doesn't seem to happen with Infuse.

    If Plex doesn't see the files at all, have you looked at the Plex log files? They might shed some light on the problem. If Plex sees them but doesn't play, have you tried different clients (phone, iPad, Apple TV, different browser ....)?
     
  17. PianoPro macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2018
    #17
    The former would work for me, but not if have to go back and choose the correct files several times. I just looked at the MakeMKV forum and there are lots of posts about disks not ripping correctly, not knowing if they did or not until you watch the entire film, and people asking what files to rip, etc. I'm going to try MakeMKV on a couple more discs, but I'm probably overthinking this. I will probably just start using DVDFab, which seems to pick the correct files automatically, unless or until it fails and then I can try MakeMKV on those discs.

    Thanks for the suggestion I'll look for the log files. It's not a client problem. Plex doesn't see them even from within the Plex server app or its player on the Mac (i.e. without using any client).
     
  18. HDFan, Dec 23, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2018

    HDFan macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2007
    #18
    That is an issue with any conversion software - Handbrake, Cinematize Pro, Premiere Pro - verifying that you got what you expected. Simple enough to check. If the file is in Plex just quickly scroll through to the credits. In finder highlight the file, hit the space bar, and quickly scroll to the end (for supported file types).

    I tried DVDfab on a UHD title. Interface is certainly slicker. Automatically selects a title for you. Nice that you can easily preview a title. Looks like there is quite a bit of configurability in preferences.

    The movie I used is one which has a lot of extras which show up in Plex. If DVDfab is just extracting the main title then that would be a problem as it would not catch the extras. In this case it has the same problem as MakeMkv, which titles do you save. It seemed a little bit slower to get to the rip page, but that may be an interface issue. I find the MakeMkv interface more informative - opening the disk, decrypting, scanning titles, skipped titles, etc.) which I like to see in order to help diagnose problems. I didn't spend that much time with it, but I didn't see a way to configure the options for a title - which subtitles, audio tracks are included. As I said I choose everything, which required research in MakeMkv in order for DTS-MA audio tracks to be automatically selected.

    Evidently it doesn't prompt you for the file save location? I prefer to have that happen as some rips which have extra features I like to put in folders so all of the film's files are together, rather than dumping everything in a directory.

    But the main problem is that DVDFab crashed as it started the extraction. Don't remember that ever happening with MakeMkv all the times I have used it. Started again and now seems to be working.

    Update. After the crash I became concerned about how well it was supported, particularly when PCWorld during their review contacted them and they never responded. [7 years ago though]. Doing a search I found this Amazon review link for another one of their products:

    https://www.amazon.com/DVDFAB-BLU-RAY-8-0-3-2-BRINGS-BLU-RAY/product-reviews/B004FFM4E6

    which has an abysmal 2 star rating, 70% of them 1 star. Can't find the product associated with the reviews (?) for some reason.

    That is a lot of red flags.
     
  19. PianoPro, Dec 23, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2018

    PianoPro macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2018
    #19
    I think I found the problem with the MakeMKV files. I ripped another Blu-ray (Body Heat) and Plex thought it was a completely different film. It downloaded cover art and info for the wrong film, but Plex played Body Heat correctly. I did a little reading on the Plex site and discovered that it prefers a special naming convention. It prefers "Film Name (year).mkv" as the mkv file name. So I changed the name of the MANY files that MakeMKV created to "Body Heat (1981) txy.mkv" and then trashed the Plex libraries and recreated them (rescanning them didn't work without recreating them). Plex then downloaded the correct supplementary art and info for Body Heat. That got me thinking about why it might not be even seeing American Graffiti. So I renamed all the American Grafitti mkv files with (1973), trashed the Plex libraries, and again completely recreated the libraries, and Plex finally recognized the MakeMKV files and played them correctly.

    Two things about this. First, I had previously completely trashed the Plex libraries and recreated them, and it did no good. Plex still wouldn't even recognize the American Grafitti MakeMKV files. It was only after renaming them with the film's year, and then recreating the libraries that it saw them. And I had trashed them twice before, once before and once after ripping Body Heat. So Plex really has some crazy problems with file naming. In one case, it completely got the name of the film wrong without the year, and in the second case it wouldn't recognize the mkv files at all without the year.

    Second, none of this, renaming the files with the year, nor recreating the Plex libraries was necessary for the DVDFab mkv file, which worked perfectly both times with Blu-rays and on a DVD I ripped. So I'm still suspicious of MakeMKV's role in all of this. Perhaps it simply has to do with DVDFab making a single mkv file with the name of the film embedded in the filename, versus MakeMKV creating a bunch of files with the film name embedded in those file names. Perhaps that is what confused Plex so badly.

    BTW, I agree with your comments that DVDFab doesn't provide the same level of information while it is ripping a disk, and I'm not sure what you have to do to rip the disc supplements to separate files, which I'd probably eventually want to do. But given the extra server capacity required for those supplements (which can be as much or more than the film), and the extra time it takes to rip them, I'm not sure I wouldn't just leave that off the video server and rely on the original discs to get that again.

    The advantage that DVDFab has in automatically selecting the correct disc tracks is potentially a huge savings in time and do-over effort, as evidence by all the requests on the MakeMKV forum from people asking what tracks to rip for disc after disc, and the debates that go on about the answers. And part of those debates include people not recognizing that their rip was not successful until they watched the COMPLETE film because chapters in the film were either skipped, out of order, or repeated. So just skipping from the start to the end of the film apparently isn't sufficient to verify that you picked the right tracks to rip.

    EDIT ADD:

    BTW, I'm not trying to push the DVDFab application. I don't know enough about it yet to approve or disapprove of it, and certainly have too small a sample size to know if it works reliably across hundreds of different discs. And I don't like the way they break it up into a dozen pieces and sell it by the piece. I suppose they would argue that makes it less expensive for people that don't need DVD and Blu-ray and UHD ripping, and DVD and Blu-ray and UHD copying, and conversion, and so on and so forth. But in reality, breaking it into individual pieces seems more about masking their inflated price if you eventually need more than 1 or 2 pieces, which I suspect most people eventually will. The only reason I've discussed it here is because I tried several other paid trial products that simply would not rip Blu-rays successfully because of various copy protection schemes. Those apps repeatedly got stuck near the end of a 2-hour track before finally giving up on multiple Blu-rays I tried. That didn't happen with the DVDFab program. So again I suppose they would cite that as to why their software is worth their price. But if MakeMKV works well, and my problems now appear to have been more of a Plex file naming issue, then one has to weigh the DVDFab price for something that is for sure easier to use, versus the free (at least for now) and possibly more versatile (yet to be confirmed) MakeMKV.
     
  20. brentsg, Dec 23, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2018

    brentsg macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2008
    #20
    I've done a good bit of testing with the i3-8100 (which is what's in the base Mini), as well as with a an i7-8086K, and now an i9-9900K. When you try to do software transcoding of HEVC 4K content things can get very problematic. They can even get problematic when you DO use hardware based acceleration. Based on that and the storage issues, I decided to stand down. It's fine to transcode the DVD and most Blu-ray content with the CPU (Plex refers to this as software transcoding), and of course you are fine if you can direct stream but that's device dependent.

    Regardless, if you can use a GPU for hardware transcoding, it dramatically reduces the workload, even if it's just the integrated GPU on the CPU die. It's a shame that OSX and Windows aren't on equal footing here because then the Mini makes an elegant, if expensive solution. I wound up building a small (but not Mini small) ITX PC with an i3-8100 in an InWin Chopin case. My desktop handled it fine, but I'd enrage the family when I did a reboot for some tinkering and it interrupted their movie.

    This is not true. At least for Synology, they aren't doing any proprietary magic. The data can be recovered with a Ubuntu Live CD using instructions on their website.

    It's tough when you get into the 20-30TB range, regarding cloud storage. In addition, the current cloud providers are slowly working toward exclusion of certain file types, and files over a certain size. They really don't want to be hosting our movie rips, so I doubt this will be an option going forward. We'll see. They will have a challenge determining the difference between movies and home movies, from a process perspective. Currently CrashPlan has move to a reasonable price per device, but I don't think they expect a device to be 30TB.

    None of my existing drives worked so I had to buy a particular drive on particular firmware. The second drive that I purchased of the same model had firmware with the exploit fixed, so I had to extract some drive firmware parameters, merge it with a blank firmware template for the proper revision, then flash the drive. There's a chance to brick it and a lot of people probably wouldn't be comfortable doing this. Now I use AnyDVD HD to decrypt and MakeMKV to rip, so it's trivial aside from the huge storage requirement and power required to transcode (if needed).

    I've had zero problems with HDR when using my Apple TV 4K and LG OLED display. Even Dolby Vision works properly. Of course it looks wrong on other non-HDR equipment.
     
  21. HDFan macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2007
    #21
    To recover disks you have to have access to them. You can't do that if the NAS hardware (enclosure) fails. Ideally the repaired hardware will work but ...
     
  22. brentsg macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2008
    #22
    That’s ONE potential goal for media. One of the reasons I’m using Plex to begin with is for the ability leave all my media in whatever format it’s already in and not have to bother with it.

    You don’t seem to be reading that correctly. You can access the individual disks data if the unit fails. You do not need the NAS hardware. I have no idea why you are struggling with this concept.
     
  23. HDFan macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2007
    #23
    Most NAS devices are configured in some sort of RAID configuration. A single disk is useless unless it was setup as a JBOD or you have another working enclosure using the same RAID striping mechanism. When data is striped over multiple disks an individual disk is worthless as it only contains a portion of a single file. The other portions are on other disks.
     
  24. brentsg macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2008
    #24
    Yes you need a PC with an adequate number of ports, but you do not need the NAS. That’s the point. You can recover data from the disks without the broken unit or a replacement unit.

    I mean if you have a 12 slot NAS then it’s going to require some work but most people are using something much more manageable.

    I shouldn’t have used the word individual because yes you do need all of the disks. The point is that there is nothing proprietary going on here.
     
  25. HDFan macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2007
    #25
    Depends upon the RAID level, of course, but this implies that the disk initialization and the controller on, say a Drobo (software RAID), are exactly the same as those on a Pegasus (hardware RAID).

    See: https://superuser.com/questions/110...-it-possible-to-move-the-hdds-to-a-new-server

    "If you are using an on-board RAID controller, this is where things can get tricky. You have specified that you will be moving between different hardware, so if you were moving from say an Adaptec RAID controller to a 3Ware controller, then the chances of survival are minimal. If both the boards have the same brand of controller, they may be able to read the meta-data off the disks and re-create the array."
     

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25 December 20, 2018