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Data Storage Entertainment

Ask Slashdot: Easiest Way To Consolidate Household Media? 272

First time accepted submitter Lordfly writes "The wife and I have started looking to buy a house. In the spirit of that, I've been giving away books, CDs, and DVDs to 'downsize' the pile of crap I'll have to lug around when we do find the right place. That got me thinking about digital files. I'm perfectly okay with giving up (most) books, CDs, and DVD cases. The only music I buy are MP3s anyway, and we stream most everything else if we wanted to watch a show or movie. That being said, I have a desktop, my wife has an old Macbook, we both have tablets, and I also have an Android smartphone. I'd like to set up something on an extra Windows box shoved in a closet that lets me dump every digital file we have (photos, music, ebooks, movies) and then doles it out as necessary to all of our devices. Unfortunately my best computer geek days are likely behind me (photography and cooking have consumed me since), so while I CAN schlep around a command line, I've lost most of my knowledge, so go easy on the 'just apt-get FubarPackageInstaller.gzip and rd -m Arglebargle' stuff. Something easy enough for my wife to use would be a major plus. So: What's the best way to make your own personal 'cloud'?"
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Ask Slashdot: Easiest Way To Consolidate Household Media?

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  • Just buy a NAS (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 30, 2012 @12:30PM (#42426399)

    Just buy a NAS box and start copying files. It's easier, less time consuming and less likely to break. Toms hardware has reviews. Get a decent one and it'll stream media to your digital devices without configuration. Suggest a static IP on your router if you have the inclination, but I've not gotten around to it. Similarly, suggest registering it with merge so you get software updates, but probably unnecessary. Other slashdot terms will give a lot more specific advice, but the best buy level NASs already have the compatibility you think you want froma windows box.

  • Router and HDD (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 30, 2012 @12:31PM (#42426405)

    Lots of routers are now coming with USB3 connections that let you mount an external hard disk. It's cheaper than a file server and faster than cloud storage. At a $200 price point for an external hard disk and router I think this is a solid bonus. In addition, most external hard disks will sleep after a few minutes when they aren't being used, which is a 'greener' option than a server. You can also have multiple computers adding media to the hard disk at the same time via network to aid in your archival efforts.

  • owncloud? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 30, 2012 @12:36PM (#42426433)

    seems ready for what you ask ...


  • Synology (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 30, 2012 @12:42PM (#42426485)

    I got another Synology DS212J this year. It has a lot of click-to-add packages like photo, audio, media shares. Works with Win/Mac/Lin/I/And (everything I have is Linux/Android).
    Great browser based setup/admin, built in RAID, Network Attached Storage. Best home NAS I have used.

    Here is their live demo page:

  • Media server (Score:0, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 30, 2012 @01:02PM (#42426571)

    I use Plex. It is free and it runs on any platform as the server and any platform as a client. It is a painless and quick way to setup your own Amazon or Netflix type media server with very little work.

  • by Psicopatico ( 1005433 ) on Sunday December 30, 2012 @01:09PM (#42426619)


    Basically set up a BIG container where to put the digital stuff, plus number of network shares and you're done.


    In any case do not forget about redundancy and back-up.
    Even in the tinyest case, that would mean a single HD, with its twin in RAID-1, plus another as offline backup. Total: 3HDs.

    Going up with sizes will add complexity.
    Let's say you target a 10TB container, made of 2TB drives. That translates into 5+5 drives for a RAID-0+1, or 7 drives for a RAID-6 (which one is more suited, is another discussion). Plus the back-up (another minimum 5 drives).

    For any choice but the absolute minimal one (the three drives example), be absofuckinglutely sure about airflow.
    Cramming a lot of drives in a box probably not engineered for this task and putting it into a closet is the perfect recipe for a disaster.

  • Re:Software side... (Score:4, Informative)

    by spire3661 ( 1038968 ) on Sunday December 30, 2012 @01:12PM (#42426647) Journal
    Costs money, phones home, and they are desperately trying to monetize it. Avoid Plex.
  • Re:Just buy a NAS (Score:5, Informative)

    by rawket.scientist ( 812855 ) on Sunday December 30, 2012 @01:15PM (#42426669)
    This! I Asked Slashdot [slashdot.org] about cloud storage for our small office a while back, and we ended up getting a four-bay QNAP NAS. That's probably overkill for home use, but we've been completely satisfied, and I'm seriously considering a lighter-weight edition for personal use.
  • by Immerman ( 2627577 ) on Sunday December 30, 2012 @02:01PM (#42426953)

    And more environmentally friendly as well. Any halfway decent home NAS will spin down the drives when not in use, and probably use only a few watts while in standby (which will be most of the time, assuming you sleep, go to work, etc.). A desktop may well consume a hundred watts or more in standby. That's a MWh a year, about ~$100 at $0.10/kWh. As such an entry-level home NAS could pay for itself in the first year, a higher-quality one would take a few more.

  • itunes (Score:4, Informative)

    by um... Lucas ( 13147 ) on Sunday December 30, 2012 @02:22PM (#42427119) Journal

    For myself, I've got a computer running iTunes with a big external drive attached for all the media. A couple of Apple TV's scattered around the house make streaming movies shows music and audiobooks a synch. The "Automatically add to itunes" directory is shared, so any other computer can add media to the library for everyone to watch. On top of that, I'd recommend Handbrake for ripping your old DVD's to your library.

    The reason i'm pointing out the apple solution is because of the Apple TV's. Admittedly, once I came upon this, I stopped looking for other solutions, so I don't know if there is anything else comparable for streaming media to multiple TV's from a single repository at home, with a simple remote (as opposed to a wireless keyboard or what not... been there, done that, not at all preferable).

    If you use any idevices, you can stream from your phone or ipad back up to your TV as well, using the Apple TV. Or from your wifes macbook, supposing she updated to the latest OS.

    Commence the Apple bashing now... No, I don't work for them. I'm just pleased with the experience.

  • Re:Legality? (Score:5, Informative)

    by hab136 ( 30884 ) on Sunday December 30, 2012 @02:26PM (#42427143) Journal

    "Innocent until proven guilty" and "reasonable doubt" is for criminal cases.

    "Preponderance of evidence" is the standard in civil cases (lawsuits), which basically means whichever story is more likely.

  • Plex (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 30, 2012 @03:08PM (#42427391)

    Plex media server on your storage server
    Plex client for windows and a new one for metro
    Plex client for OS X
    Plex client for iOS, android and windows mobile
    For everything else, use a browser to get to plex web service on the media server.

    Plex will index and fetch metadata for the files, play anything anywhere.

  • by ottothecow ( 600101 ) on Sunday December 30, 2012 @07:37PM (#42428747) Homepage
    except you can't simply expand a ZFS system by adding more disks or swapping in larger HDDs into an existing array.

    For a home user who is probably going to grow the system (rather than just add new systems or depreciate and replace like a company might) this seems like a pretty key feature.

    Unraid is also pretty great about managing data and shares--makes it super easy for someone who doesn't want ot worry about it. A single parity disk and no striping means you can eat a single disk loss, and since the drives don't have to match, you can build it with a bunch of different brand drives from different systems which makes a multiple disk loss in a short time span less likely. Also, it fully supports spinning down the individual disks in an array that are not in use. Streaming a movie will only require a single disk to be spinning in a 5 drive array.

    And really...if you are not a typical /. nerd...you are not going to watch that video.

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