So as I said in an earlier post, I had decided to try Plex out for my ever expanding collection of movies and other streaming media. I started out by reading what I could about Plex. Having been a very early adopter of MythTV, I wanted to make sure my Plex experiences were a little bit better than those I had with MythTV. Granted, that was more than a few years ago.

So I downloaded and installed Plex onto a small Dell box and ripped a few of my blu-rays with MakeMKV and a trusty LG Blu-Ray player. I hooked it up, fired up a Plex client and before you know it I was watching my first movie via the plex server. I WAS HOOKED!

Over the next few days I spent time fiddling around with a few other programs to help round out my media server, download this, configuring that…there is an amazing wealth of information for stuff you can run to help with your media collections. Everything from TV shows, movies, music, etc.

One thing I did do was to purchase the lifetime Plex Pass. Plex was amazing stuff, I wanted to support its continued development.

A few more days passed, a few more movies ripped and I realized that I was getting hooked and that the small 2TB drive in my little Dell/Ubuntu 14 box was not going to be up for the task of being my Plex server. The first thing I needed to do was find an inexpensive way to store the movies now that I realized how much space they took. I know, I know, I could use handbrake and make them a lot smaller, but after playing around with it, I decided I ‘could’ see the difference with a compressed video and that with the new 4K TVs coming out, bigger is better!

Armed with my Plexpass I soon had Plex clients up and running on our XBox and PS. Soon after, I hit my first snag. I started to see problem with streaming movies at 1080p. After doing a little more digging, I realized that the little Dell box I was using was not up to the task of streaming multiple movies at full resolution. It was just fine with a single movie, but if my son started to stream a second movie, both suffered. So now I needed more space and more cpu power. Plex recommends 2000 Cpu marks per transcoding session and while I should have been able to stream directly, some of my devices needed transcoding.

SInce I needed extra space anyway, I figure I would get a nice little NAS that could also run Plex. After looking around for a unit, I decided on the QNap TS-670 Pro with 16GM of RAM and 6 Hitachi 3TB Hard Drives in a RAID6 configuration. This configuration gave me 10.79TB of usable space to store all of my media files. This unit also had an HDMI connection, the ability to expand the memory (which I did to 16GB), and the ability to add additional external exclosures.

QNAP 670

I choose to use the good folks at SimplyNAS to purchase my NAS although I did get the hard drives from Amazon as they were less expensive that way. All told, the total cost of the system delivered with almost 11TB of usable drive space was $2,435.00 – not too bad considering that it will hold all of my media files and will run Plex natively. It has a Core i3 processor and 16GB of RAM and handled three transcoding sessions with no real problems.

I did run into a problem however and that was that I vastly underestimated two things. The first was how many of my family would really want to be watching things on their own TVs or devices and the second was how much total drive space 2,000+ movies and 1,000+ TV episodes really takes. What I can tell you is that it does take a LOT more than 11TB!

 

screen 2015-05-12 at 1.51.44 PM screen 2015-05-12 at 2.24.03 PM

 

So now I need more space and more power! Imagine that!

But I have a plan…stay tuned for the next version of my Plex server setup!