Your Netflix

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by kage207, Nov 19, 2013.

  1. kage207 macrumors 6502a

    Jul 23, 2008
    So, I've decided to write this post for those looking to build something like their own Netflix and flexible in terms of streaming.

    NOTE: Having a decent upload internet connect is recommended but not required. I've been able to work with 1Mbps upload but I've found for most enjoyable is to have 5Mbps upload or more.

    Many people have questions as to what is the best method to stream your content from a computer you have. I recommend a program called Plex. I recommend this because of some really cool features such as:
    • Auto Metadata - Information about your movies, music and tv shows are populated from web servers as Plex scans your library
    • Easy Setup - Just point Plex to a folder with sub-folders called 'Movies' , 'Music' , 'TVShows'
    • Easy Remote Access - Make a myPlex account, works with dynamic IP adress.
    • Universal - OS X, iOS, Windows (XP SP3 or greater), Windows Phone Mobile (7 or 8), Browser and Android
    • Server - OS X, Windows, Linux, NAS, FreeBSD
    • A lot more features are coming but remember it is in development (I am a PlexPass member trying out features such as User Libraries and more!)

    Now most people may ask, so what's the best server? If on a budget, I recommend getting an old PC with as many HDD bays as possible and at least 4GB of RAM inside (not that much these days).

    Install Linux (free). I recommend Ubuntu. Setup one drive to be the root drive and the others may be setup in a RAID 5 configuration. I recommend looking at this wiki. The cool thing about this is that you get maximum amount of storage but allowing one drive to fail. If that one does fail, just put in a new HDD in and your good to go. Remember RAID is for redundancy (provide data protection) but you lose storage space depending on which configuration you go.

    NOTE: I recommend Ubuntu as there is great support out there, Handbrake and secure (as long as you manage things properly).

    Now, you may ask 'What if two drives fail?' Well I've gone to CrashPlan to backup my server as it is cheaper than other backup solutions and provide a free year of service. You can even setup your media server to backup all your computers (which also back up to their server) no matter the OS (Linux, Windows, OS X). This is a really cool feature as it eliminates the need for TimeCapsule but still gives you local access to your backups.

    NOTE: CrashPlan may allow you to backup to your box for free, if you backup your box to their servers it will cost money but well worth it if you have a lot of data.

    The features I'd like to cover (if I get feedback) are:
    • Remote Access via SSH - Remote management using command line/terminal/bash
    • Remote via VNC - Allow you to see the graphical side

    I feel like this is a worth while discussion that I want to build upon because I see this question asked a lot here and would love to contribute my experience from cutting the cord.

    So, I'm going to end this post by asking if people want me to continue adding some other information that will enhance your experience in building your own media server or any other features you think I should cover. I really want to build this post to become a sticky here because I really do want to help members out.

    I love this stuff and building my box has been the best investment I've ever made. Let me know what you think!

    Thanks for reading.
  2. blueroom macrumors 603


    Feb 15, 2009
    Toronto, Canada
    I use iTunes and an AppleTV3 when I want to watch my own Handbraked movies. Else Airplay for music.

    I have a Synology NAS that supports AirPlay for movies & music but I don't love the interface. Same goes for PLEX (even though most NAS's have a plugin for PLEX).

    What are you playing back your PLEX files on?
  3. nws0291 macrumors 6502a

    Apr 24, 2006
    I was a big plex user and have a nice HTPC with a 3ware card for true raid reliability. I loved the setup but was a pain at times for others who just want to press a button and watch TV.

    I recently replaced my entire setup with the Tivo Roamio and Tivo Minis. It's by far a much better setup. It's cable with all the ATV functionality built in. Cable and streaming sources from one beautiful fast UI. The WAF is 10/10. Using PyTivo all my downloaded content gets pushed to the Tivo too. I was able to return all 3 boxes and save $70 on my cable bill due to not renting the boxes or paying for outlet fees.

    The integrated streaming allows iOS devices to stream inside or outside the home. Also can push content to the device locally if you are flying etc. The devices can also control all the boxes and have a beautiful guide. The Tivos also support DIAL so they act the same as a chromecast device.
  4. kolax macrumors G3

    Mar 20, 2007
    I really want to use Plex, and the auto tagging metadata feature is just incredible.

    However I have audio sync issues that I've spent ages trying to resolve, and surround sound issues where the dialogue track is missing yet other media files are fine. VLC plays those without any audio issues though.

    The Plex solution is exactly what I'm wanting though.
  5. kage207 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jul 23, 2008
    Have you tried updating? Or changing the delays? It's pretty easy.

    Also, I use Plex on a Windows Computer that is connected to my TV. I also have another TV with aTV3 for AirPlay using the Plex iOS app. It's great. I really like it. I have no issues.

    Remember, Plex is actually still in beta. It's in 0.9.x (I don't remember). The developer is really taking his time to build a strong set of features and making sure there are no bugs.

    Plex has become much more stable in the last year or so and I really don't have problems with it anymore.

    It's really easy to setup. I really do not like trying to have iTunes open all the time nor do I trust iTunes to have iCloud watching available as content licensing changes from time to time, I much rather host my own solution then trust Apple and content providers.
  6. mac8867 macrumors 6502

    Apr 5, 2010
    Saint Augustine, FL
    hmmm... I keep it simple, I use a mac mini as the server with an external raid 5 array. 4 bay USB arrays are pretty cheap (under $100). MacOS RAID configuration is easy.
  7. silvetti macrumors 6502a


    Nov 24, 2011

    Can you name a few 4 bay USB arrays for under 100$ ? I want one but everything I find is over 300$.
  8. mac8867 macrumors 6502

    Apr 5, 2010
    Saint Augustine, FL
    If you are looking for hardware managed RAID, you are starting at around $180, Sans Digital arrays for example.

    For software managed RAID (via disk utility setup, mirrored raid only, I don't count striping as RAID), you could look at Roswell, Vantec, Orico... all under $100.
  9. kage207 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jul 23, 2008
    See, I had problems with the speed of USB 2.0 when I had a Mac Mini in 2011. It was just too slow as movies would lag.

    I also couldn't afford a Thunderbolt solution. For the price of that, I was able to just build a computer and get more storage for less than 1/3rd of the price.

    I just think for the price, power consumption and usage I get out of the server is just amazing compared to any Apple solution. Ya, you may need to know a little more tech but it is totally worth it.

    My whole goal is to own about 2PB of storage in 2-5 years. I mean I know I have 18TB but I'm looking to build another 3-5 servers. I just want the price to keep falling for HDDs.

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