How to set up a home media server you can access from any device

As an workplace expertise firm, we focus on setting up expertise like copiers, servers, networks, mailing tools, video surveillence and such in our purchasers’ companies. However for a lot of right here who work to implement such expertise in others’ companies, revolutionary use of expertise is not only for the office, however for the consolation of home as effectively.

Take for instance Robert Taylor who works in our IT division and, amongst different issues, routinely units up companies with managed community and cloud-based companies, back-up and catastrophe restoration techniques and so forth. However go to his home and you’ll discover him reclined in a chair on his again patio, watching films or a favourite present on his iPad or perhaps simply chilling to some tunes. When these fall breezes flip too brisk, he’ll wander into his room and watch the rest of the film on his HD flat display screen.

How does he do this? No, not by means of Netflix, AmazonPrime, Hulu or no matter, however reasonably by means of a media server. He has a pc which hosts his films, music library and all of his different media, and that he streams it to his device, be that laptop computer, desktop PC, pill or telephone. That connectivity isn’t restricted to contained in the partitions of his home, however can also be obtainable from the consolation of a lodge room when he’s again East on vacation. All he wants is web-access.

Although he’s a techy, he says you haven’t got to be one to set up a related system at your home.

Listed here are his directions on how to do how to flip a pc into a home media-sharing machine:

o you have an previous pc sitting round and don’t know what to do with it? How about constructing your personal media-streaming server for your home (or wherever you are, with a little further setup)?

Right here is all you want:

  • An previous pc (Intel Core 2 Duo 2.Four Ghz or higher, 2 GB of RAM)
  • A community connection
  • Some model of Home windows (for this information)
  • One thing on which to play your media after connecting to the server. Plex helps cellular gadgets, tablets, TVs, Mac’s and computer systems, however there may be a small $5 payment for the cellular apps (However bear in mind, you are supporting improvement with these purchases).

Let’s get our Plex Media Server set up.

Step 1 — Obtain and set up. Let’s obtain the Plex Media Server installer, which can be discovered at https://plex.television/downloads. Simply click on the hyperlink below Plex Media Server that claims “Laptop.” You’re going to get a pop up display screen. Ensure you have the Home windows tabs chosen then click on obtain English. As soon as the obtain completes (It’s round 60MB and may take solely a jiffy on most connections), go forward and begin the installer, then click on set up on the primary menu (Trace: If you hit “Choices,” it asks you the place you need to set up. The default location is C:Program Information (x86)PlexPlex Media Server) and hit “Launch” when it finishes.

Step 2 — Add Libraries. After you hit “Launch,“ a net browser will pop up to the media administration web page (which can be accessed by opening any browser on the machine that’s working Plex. Navigate to https://127.0.0.1:32400) and click on “Agree” on the Plex Phrases of Service. You’ll then obtain a web page to identify your Plex server. Let’s simply name it Home-MediaServer (the Pleasant identify area) and click on “Subsequent.” After that, it should need you to add libraries which will probably be the place our media (films, music, TV reveals) will reside. Simply click on “Add Library” then select the kind of media that will probably be within the library (I’m going to select films for this instance), then click on “Subsequent,” choose “Add folder,” and choose the folder the place you retailer your films. Then rinse and repeat in your different media varieties. As soon as you have added all of your libraries, hit “Subsequent” to proceed. On the following web page you can set up channels that stream from on-line sources. Then hit “Subsequent” and “Accomplished.”

Step 3 — Join your TV, pill or pc. Hyperlink your Plex Media Server to your cellular, pill, TV or pc by putting in the Plex cellular app, Plex for TV or Plex Home Theater. As soon as that is put in, it ought to robotically detect, join to and have the opportunity to stream media from your Plex Media server. If you signal up for a MyPlex account through https://plex.television/customers/sign_in and signal into it in your Plex media server and Plex playback gadgets, whereas ensuring uPnP is enabled in your router (enabled by default on most home routers), your Plex playback gadgets ought to have the opportunity to discover your Plex media server and stream from it even when you are usually not home, wherever you are.

Step 4 — Get pleasure from! Loosen up in your again porch on these pallet-turned-benches, a heat, buttered slice of pumpkin-bread in hand, and your favourite sci-fi taking part in in your pill within the different.

Bear in mind, Plex has a number of different options like utilizing your Plex cellular app as a distant in your Plex app in your TV.

To study extra about this and different capabilities, make sure to browse the positioning at plex.television and the person boards at https://boards.plex.television/

If you are serious about what we do as a enterprise, be at liberty to browse the web site or you can click on the button under to be contacted by certainly one of our reps! Additionally, make sure to maintain watching our social media channels on Fb and Twitter.

Video streaming is nice — till you lose access to the film or TV present that you assumed would at all times be obtainable on Netflix and Amazon Video. With downloads or bodily media, this is not a difficulty, as a result of as soon as you’ve purchased it, you’ll have access to it for all times (that is the speculation anyway).

Say you need to watch all 236 episodes of Mates, however know that Netflix goes to lose it to one other service quickly. The protected choice is to purchase it after which work out a manner to make it accessible wherever you are. Ever thought of working your personal streaming service? It is really simpler than you may assume, and there are a variety of methods you can do it.

This information will take you by means of the essential steps of working your personal streaming service utilizing a frequent and highly effective media software program known as Plex. Plex is available in two elements — a media server and shopper — which permit you to categorize (and extra importantly) play again the entire media you’ve gathered over time each regionally and through streaming.

First issues first: whereas Plex will play practically something you throw at it, legal guidelines concerning the “ripping” of non-public media range in numerous international locations. Within the US, you have a authorized proper to backup your films, nevertheless it’s unlawful to circumvent the encryption that stops you from copying.

The overall rule is that, so long as you aren’t promoting or sharing these information externally, you will not get in bother. That stated, if you’re importing that file to a cloud server, even when solely in your personal use, that will put you in a clumsy authorized spot relying in your native legal guidelines. You are answerable for guaranteeing the legality of your media.

Cloud Servers

The best manner to run your personal streaming setup is to select a cloud supplier that focuses on Plex media setups. Working your personal digital non-public server offers you full management over your media library and makes it obtainable on (practically) any device with an web connection. They are going to include a month-to-month value and require you to add your media assortment to the cloud, which might take a whereas relying on the dimensions of your catalog. Nevertheless, it reduces the headache of looking discs each time and eliminates the damage issue utterly.

There are a variety of Plex-ready cloud suppliers that provide one-click installations of the Media Server. They’re sometimes low-cost, supply varied organizational instruments for managing the server and embrace a number of storage — and extra importantly — bandwidth. Each film or TV present you stream from a distant server will eat into your knowledge allowance, so selecting a supplier that can cater for the dimensions of your media library is vital.

Take a take a look at Bytesized-Internet hosting, Seedhost.eu, WhatBox and Seedboxes.cc for a peek at what’s on supply. Use them to analysis different suppliers and familiarize your self with what you need and want from a distant server. You might even see that they provide each shared and devoted packing containers. This implies you’ll both cut up processing and reminiscence sources with different customers or go for extra singular management, flexibility and CPU energy with a devoted server.

Plex’s net interface has real-time statistics on CPU and community utilization.

As soon as you’ve chosen the kind of server you need, discover a supplier that can supply ample storage, sufficient bandwidth to cowl your streaming catalog and the CPU energy allotted to Plex plans. Why does the CPU matter? As a result of each time you stream, the Plex Media Server will try to match the media to the device you’re viewing it on. It can act as what Plex calls a ‘Common Translator,’ utilizing the server’s CPU and reminiscence sources to “transcode” the file you’re making an attempt to play. Transcoding a media file can be very CPU intensive if you’re streaming a 4K file to a cell phone that can’t deal with UHD streams, so be sure that you allocate sufficient sources to cowl your utilization.

No matter server you select, the only resolution to the transcoding downside is simply to guarantee all your media is encoded at a format and determination that your goal gadgets help. If you have mismatched information, Plex permits you to transcode forward of time, giving you the choice of making new variations of your pristine information over the course of hours/days/weeks. Until you have a highly effective server, you don’t need it to be transcoding information every time you need to watch one thing on the go.

If you make the most of the one-click choices these suppliers supply, you needs to be given a devoted net URL from which you can access the Plex server and handle your library. In all instances, you’ll be requested to set-up a Plex account, which can then begin the Setup Wizard and ask you to level it within the path of your uploaded information. A great rule of thumb is to separate your media into separate folders — one for Motion pictures, one for TV reveals and so forth. so you can correctly categorize your information.

Will Lipman Pictures for Engadget

HARDWARE

If gaining access to your media library inside your personal home is extra vital, Plex is environment friendly as a native streaming resolution. There are a variety of methods to set up the Plex Media Server inside your home. The best choice is to make the most of an older pc, like a laptop computer or desktop, which can function a hub in your media assortment and stream it to different gadgets on the identical community. Plex caters for many trendy working techniques, together with Home windows, Mac, Linux and FreeBSD, in addition to NAS (Community Hooked up Storage) options from Drobo, Netgear, Seagate, Synology and Western Digital.

One of many main plus factors of working Plex on a bonafide pc is that it can reap the benefits of the machine’s processing capabilities. In case your media assortment contains a lot of notably high-resolution information, you’ll get pleasure from pristine high quality as an alternative of getting to depend on mirroring companies like AirPlay or Google Forged. And if you have a sturdy sufficient add pace, there isn’t any motive you can’t use this lo-fi setup to stream to your telephone, pill or laptop computer when you’re not at home.

Our Decide: Nvidia Protect

Various: Apple TV 4K

SOFTWARE

As soon as your Plex Media Server is set up, the library will probably be discoverable through most internet-connected gadgets in your family. On the TV aspect, the Protect comes with the Android TV Plex app pre-installed, and Plex can also be obtainable on sensible TVs, consoles and different Android set-top packing containers, together with the Hearth TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, iOS, Kodi, Roku, PlayStation Four and Xbox One. You can additionally simply access a native or distant Plex server through a browser in your pc, or seize the app for Android or iOS. A single Plex shopper can access a number of servers, so you can keep each native and cloud libraries and use one app to view media from each.

Our Decide: Plex Go

Various: Infuse App

Photographs: Will Lipman Pictures for Engadget (lead and interstitial images); Engadget (Protect TV, Apple TV 4K); Plex (Plex Go); Firecore (Infuse)

ENGADGET’S GUIDE TO HOME ENTERTAINMENT

All merchandise beneficial by Engadget are chosen by our editorial group, unbiased of our father or mother firm. A few of our tales embrace affiliate hyperlinks. If you purchase one thing by means of certainly one of these hyperlinks, we might earn an affiliate fee. All costs are right on the time of publishing.

As an workplace expertise firm, we focus on setting up expertise like copiers, servers, networks, mailing tools, video surveillence and such in our purchasers’ companies. However for a lot of right here who work to implement such expertise in others’ companies, revolutionary use of expertise is not only for the office, however for the consolation of home as effectively.

Take for instance Robert Taylor who works in our IT division and, amongst different issues, routinely units up companies with managed community and cloud-based companies, back-up and catastrophe restoration techniques and so forth. However go to his home and you’ll discover him reclined in a chair on his again patio, watching films or a favourite present on his iPad or perhaps simply chilling to some tunes. When these fall breezes flip too brisk, he’ll wander into his room and watch the rest of the film on his HD flat display screen.

How does he do this? No, not by means of Netflix, AmazonPrime, Hulu or no matter, however reasonably by means of a media server. He has a pc which hosts his films, music library and all of his different media, and that he streams it to his device, be that laptop computer, desktop PC, pill or telephone. That connectivity isn’t restricted to contained in the partitions of his home, however can also be obtainable from the consolation of a lodge room when he’s again East on vacation. All he wants is web-access.

Although he’s a techy, he says you haven’t got to be one to set up a related system at your home.

Listed here are his directions on how to do how to flip a pc into a home media-sharing machine:

o you have an previous pc sitting round and don’t know what to do with it? How about constructing your personal media-streaming server for your home (or wherever you are, with a little further setup)?

Right here is all you want:

  • An previous pc (Intel Core 2 Duo 2.Four Ghz or higher, 2 GB of RAM)
  • A community connection
  • Some model of Home windows (for this information)
  • One thing on which to play your media after connecting to the server. Plex helps cellular gadgets, tablets, TVs, Mac’s and computer systems, however there may be a small $5 payment for the cellular apps (However bear in mind, you are supporting improvement with these purchases).

Let’s get our Plex Media Server set up.

Step 1 — Obtain and set up. Let’s obtain the Plex Media Server installer, which can be discovered at https://plex.television/downloads. Simply click on the hyperlink below Plex Media Server that claims “Laptop.” You’re going to get a pop up display screen. Ensure you have the Home windows tabs chosen then click on obtain English. As soon as the obtain completes (It’s round 60MB and may take solely a jiffy on most connections), go forward and begin the installer, then click on set up on the primary menu (Trace: If you hit “Choices,” it asks you the place you need to set up. The default location is C:Program Information (x86)PlexPlex Media Server) and hit “Launch” when it finishes.

Step 2 — Add Libraries. After you hit “Launch,“ a net browser will pop up to the media administration web page (which can be accessed by opening any browser on the machine that’s working Plex. Navigate to https://127.0.0.1:32400) and click on “Agree” on the Plex Phrases of Service. You’ll then obtain a web page to identify your Plex server. Let’s simply name it Home-MediaServer (the Pleasant identify area) and click on “Subsequent.” After that, it should need you to add libraries which will probably be the place our media (films, music, TV reveals) will reside. Simply click on “Add Library” then select the kind of media that will probably be within the library (I’m going to select films for this instance), then click on “Subsequent,” choose “Add folder,” and choose the folder the place you retailer your films. Then rinse and repeat in your different media varieties. As soon as you have added all of your libraries, hit “Subsequent” to proceed. On the following web page you can set up channels that stream from on-line sources. Then hit “Subsequent” and “Accomplished.”

Step 3 — Join your TV, pill or pc. Hyperlink your Plex Media Server to your cellular, pill, TV or pc by putting in the Plex cellular app, Plex for TV or Plex Home Theater. As soon as that is put in, it ought to robotically detect, join to and have the opportunity to stream media from your Plex Media server. If you signal up for a MyPlex account through https://plex.television/customers/sign_in and signal into it in your Plex media server and Plex playback gadgets, whereas ensuring uPnP is enabled in your router (enabled by default on most home routers), your Plex playback gadgets ought to have the opportunity to discover your Plex media server and stream from it even when you are usually not home, wherever you are.

Step 4 — Get pleasure from! Loosen up in your again porch on these pallet-turned-benches, a heat, buttered slice of pumpkin-bread in hand, and your favourite sci-fi taking part in in your pill within the different.

Bear in mind, Plex has a number of different options like utilizing your Plex cellular app as a distant in your Plex app in your TV.

To study extra about this and different capabilities, make sure to browse the positioning at plex.television and the person boards at https://boards.plex.television/

If you are serious about what we do as a enterprise, be at liberty to browse the web site or you can click on the button under to be contacted by certainly one of our reps! Additionally, make sure to maintain watching our social media channels on Fb and Twitter.

If you have a giant assortment of films and music, then subscribing to a web based streaming service reminiscent of Spotify or Netflix might look like a waste of cash; nevertheless, you will probably be lacking out on a number of the benefits such companies supply when it comes to having digital media at your beck and name.

So on this information we’ll present you how to use a NAS (community connected storage) device to maintain all your media in order that it’s simply obtainable to the gadgets in your home – and even when you’re out and about.

We’ll additionally present you how to digitize your media in order that it can be saved on the NAS device – so you gained’t have to dig out a Blu-ray or CD when you fancy watching or listening to one thing.

Selecting a NAS

Having a NAS on the middle of your home makes accessing your media information extra handy then in the event that they’re sitting on the laborious drive of a laptop computer or PC.

NAS gadgets are by their very nature designed to be accessible to all gadgets on a community, so you’re in a position to access information from your laptop computer, PC, sensible TV and just about any different gadget in your home community.

NAS drives are additionally designed to run 24 hours a day, so you don’t want to fear about having to flip yours on when you need to watch one thing – it should at all times be obtainable.

When taking a look at the most effective NAS to use as a home media server we selected the QNAP TS-251A, which is a superb two-bay NAS device that specialises in media playback.

It comes with some glorious options that make it a nice alternative to be used as a home media server, together with HDMI-out to plug instantly into your TV, and helps 4K {hardware} decoding, which is sweet when you start transferring to extremely high-definition (UHD) content material, because the QNAP TS-251A will probably be in a position to transcode UHD content material for enjoying on sensible TVs and different gadgets, with out you having to fear about whether or not they help the format.

It additionally comes with a distant management, making it simple to use from the consolation of your sofa. We’ve had a mess around with the QNAP TS-251A and we have been very impressed with it. Not solely is it highly effective and packed stuffed with options, it’s additionally simple to use. The working system it runs on makes including extra options, reminiscent of working Kodi or Plex, easy.

These apps allow you to arrange and play your media by means of engaging interfaces designed for TVs, so you can use them to make your very personal Netflix-like streaming companies! One factor to be aware is that whereas we actually like Plex, it does not help {hardware} transcoding – simply software program transcoding.

Transcoding is the method of changing a media file from one file sort to one other whereas it’s being performed. It means you don’t have to fear in case your sensible TV doesn’t help MKV information, for instance, because the server will transcode the file so it can be performed anyway.

The issue is that transcoding is a demanding course of, and whereas the QNAP TS-251A has the specs to transcode 4K footage, the software program transcoding technique of Plex places a lot of pressure on the QNAP’s processor.

To get round this when utilizing Plex, we used the QNAP to retailer the media whereas utilizing a second device (in our case the Nvidia Protect) because the media server for all of the transcoding wants. After all, the better choice is to keep away from utilizing Plex and follow Kodi, or play the media natively from the NAS utilizing the HDMI connection.

Selecting the laborious drive

Whereas some NAS drives include a laborious drive already put in, many others, together with the QNAP TS-251A, are bought with out them.

Whereas this isn’t fairly as handy, it no less than offers you extra flexibility when putting in a NAS device as a home media server. As a result of we wish our server to maintain a lot of huge media information, whereas making these information obtainable 24/7, we wish a laborious drive that mixes giant capability with power effectivity and reliability.

For assist discovering the proper laborious drive in your wants, try our 10 finest inner desktop and laptop computer laborious disk drives information. For the last word home server we’ve gone with the Seagate IronWolf 10TB drive, which though expensive gives a whopping 10TB of storage, and lots of NAS-specific advantages.

The QNAP TS-251A we’re utilizing is dual-bay, so we have really added a second IronWolf for a complete capability of practically 20TB after the working system and different components are accounted for. This ups the worth significantly, so you’ll need to discover a laborious drive that gives loads of area with out going over your funds.

Video streaming is nice — till you lose access to the film or TV present that you assumed would at all times be obtainable on Netflix and Amazon Video. With downloads or bodily media, this is not a difficulty, as a result of as soon as you’ve purchased it, you’ll have access to it for all times (that is the speculation anyway).

Say you need to watch all 236 episodes of Mates, however know that Netflix goes to lose it to one other service quickly. The protected choice is to purchase it after which work out a manner to make it accessible wherever you are. Ever thought of working your personal streaming service? It is really simpler than you may assume, and there are a variety of methods you can do it.

This information will take you by means of the essential steps of working your personal streaming service utilizing a frequent and highly effective media software program known as Plex. Plex is available in two elements — a media server and shopper — which permit you to categorize (and extra importantly) play again the entire media you’ve gathered over time each regionally and through streaming.

First issues first: whereas Plex will play practically something you throw at it, legal guidelines concerning the “ripping” of non-public media range in numerous international locations. Within the US, you have a authorized proper to backup your films, nevertheless it’s unlawful to circumvent the encryption that stops you from copying.

The overall rule is that, so long as you aren’t promoting or sharing these information externally, you will not get in bother. That stated, if you’re importing that file to a cloud server, even when solely in your personal use, that will put you in a clumsy authorized spot relying in your native legal guidelines. You are answerable for guaranteeing the legality of your media.

Cloud Servers

The best manner to run your personal streaming setup is to select a cloud supplier that focuses on Plex media setups. Working your personal digital non-public server offers you full management over your media library and makes it obtainable on (practically) any device with an web connection. They are going to include a month-to-month value and require you to add your media assortment to the cloud, which might take a whereas relying on the dimensions of your catalog. Nevertheless, it reduces the headache of looking discs each time and eliminates the damage issue utterly.

There are a variety of Plex-ready cloud suppliers that provide one-click installations of the Media Server. They’re sometimes low-cost, supply varied organizational instruments for managing the server and embrace a number of storage — and extra importantly — bandwidth. Each film or TV present you stream from a distant server will eat into your knowledge allowance, so selecting a supplier that can cater for the dimensions of your media library is vital.

Take a take a look at Bytesized-Internet hosting, Seedhost.eu, WhatBox and Seedboxes.cc for a peek at what’s on supply. Use them to analysis different suppliers and familiarize your self with what you need and want from a distant server. You might even see that they provide each shared and devoted packing containers. This implies you’ll both cut up processing and reminiscence sources with different customers or go for extra singular management, flexibility and CPU energy with a devoted server.

Plex’s net interface has real-time statistics on CPU and community utilization.

As soon as you’ve chosen the kind of server you need, discover a supplier that can supply ample storage, sufficient bandwidth to cowl your streaming catalog and the CPU energy allotted to Plex plans. Why does the CPU matter? As a result of each time you stream, the Plex Media Server will try to match the media to the device you’re viewing it on. It can act as what Plex calls a ‘Common Translator,’ utilizing the server’s CPU and reminiscence sources to “transcode” the file you’re making an attempt to play. Transcoding a media file can be very CPU intensive if you’re streaming a 4K file to a cell phone that can’t deal with UHD streams, so be sure that you allocate sufficient sources to cowl your utilization.

No matter server you select, the only resolution to the transcoding downside is simply to guarantee all your media is encoded at a format and determination that your goal gadgets help. If you have mismatched information, Plex permits you to transcode forward of time, giving you the choice of making new variations of your pristine information over the course of hours/days/weeks. Until you have a highly effective server, you don’t need it to be transcoding information every time you need to watch one thing on the go.

If you make the most of the one-click choices these suppliers supply, you needs to be given a devoted net URL from which you can access the Plex server and handle your library. In all instances, you’ll be requested to set-up a Plex account, which can then begin the Setup Wizard and ask you to level it within the path of your uploaded information. A great rule of thumb is to separate your media into separate folders — one for Motion pictures, one for TV reveals and so forth. so you can correctly categorize your information.

Will Lipman Pictures for Engadget

HARDWARE

If gaining access to your media library inside your personal home is extra vital, Plex is environment friendly as a native streaming resolution. There are a variety of methods to set up the Plex Media Server inside your home. The best choice is to make the most of an older pc, like a laptop computer or desktop, which can function a hub in your media assortment and stream it to different gadgets on the identical community. Plex caters for many trendy working techniques, together with Home windows, Mac, Linux and FreeBSD, in addition to NAS (Community Hooked up Storage) options from Drobo, Netgear, Seagate, Synology and Western Digital.

One of many main plus factors of working Plex on a bonafide pc is that it can reap the benefits of the machine’s processing capabilities. In case your media assortment contains a lot of notably high-resolution information, you’ll get pleasure from pristine high quality as an alternative of getting to depend on mirroring companies like AirPlay or Google Forged. And if you have a sturdy sufficient add pace, there isn’t any motive you can’t use this lo-fi setup to stream to your telephone, pill or laptop computer when you’re not at home.

Our Decide: Nvidia Protect

Various: Apple TV 4K

SOFTWARE

As soon as your Plex Media Server is set up, the library will probably be discoverable through most internet-connected gadgets in your family. On the TV aspect, the Protect comes with the Android TV Plex app pre-installed, and Plex can also be obtainable on sensible TVs, consoles and different Android set-top packing containers, together with the Hearth TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, iOS, Kodi, Roku, PlayStation Four and Xbox One. You can additionally simply access a native or distant Plex server through a browser in your pc, or seize the app for Android or iOS. A single Plex shopper can access a number of servers, so you can keep each native and cloud libraries and use one app to view media from each.

Our Decide: Plex Go

Various: Infuse App

Photographs: Will Lipman Pictures for Engadget (lead and interstitial images); Engadget (Protect TV, Apple TV 4K); Plex (Plex Go); Firecore (Infuse)

ENGADGET’S GUIDE TO HOME ENTERTAINMENT

All merchandise beneficial by Engadget are chosen by our editorial group, unbiased of our father or mother firm. A few of our tales embrace affiliate hyperlinks. If you purchase one thing by means of certainly one of these hyperlinks, we might earn an affiliate fee. All costs are right on the time of publishing.

If you have a giant assortment of films and music, then subscribing to a web based streaming service reminiscent of Spotify or Netflix might look like a waste of cash; nevertheless, you will probably be lacking out on a number of the benefits such companies supply when it comes to having digital media at your beck and name.

So on this information we’ll present you how to use a NAS (community connected storage) device to maintain all your media in order that it’s simply obtainable to the gadgets in your home – and even when you’re out and about.

We’ll additionally present you how to digitize your media in order that it can be saved on the NAS device – so you gained’t have to dig out a Blu-ray or CD when you fancy watching or listening to one thing.

Selecting a NAS

Having a NAS on the middle of your home makes accessing your media information extra handy then in the event that they’re sitting on the laborious drive of a laptop computer or PC.

NAS gadgets are by their very nature designed to be accessible to all gadgets on a community, so you’re in a position to access information from your laptop computer, PC, sensible TV and just about any different gadget in your home community.

NAS drives are additionally designed to run 24 hours a day, so you don’t want to fear about having to flip yours on when you need to watch one thing – it should at all times be obtainable.

When taking a look at the most effective NAS to use as a home media server we selected the QNAP TS-251A, which is a superb two-bay NAS device that specialises in media playback.

It comes with some glorious options that make it a nice alternative to be used as a home media server, together with HDMI-out to plug instantly into your TV, and helps 4K {hardware} decoding, which is sweet when you start transferring to extremely high-definition (UHD) content material, because the QNAP TS-251A will probably be in a position to transcode UHD content material for enjoying on sensible TVs and different gadgets, with out you having to fear about whether or not they help the format.

It additionally comes with a distant management, making it simple to use from the consolation of your sofa. We’ve had a mess around with the QNAP TS-251A and we have been very impressed with it. Not solely is it highly effective and packed stuffed with options, it’s additionally simple to use. The working system it runs on makes including extra options, reminiscent of working Kodi or Plex, easy.

These apps allow you to arrange and play your media by means of engaging interfaces designed for TVs, so you can use them to make your very personal Netflix-like streaming companies! One factor to be aware is that whereas we actually like Plex, it does not help {hardware} transcoding – simply software program transcoding.

Transcoding is the method of changing a media file from one file sort to one other whereas it’s being performed. It means you don’t have to fear in case your sensible TV doesn’t help MKV information, for instance, because the server will transcode the file so it can be performed anyway.

The issue is that transcoding is a demanding course of, and whereas the QNAP TS-251A has the specs to transcode 4K footage, the software program transcoding technique of Plex places a lot of pressure on the QNAP’s processor.

To get round this when utilizing Plex, we used the QNAP to retailer the media whereas utilizing a second device (in our case the Nvidia Protect) because the media server for all of the transcoding wants. After all, the better choice is to keep away from utilizing Plex and follow Kodi, or play the media natively from the NAS utilizing the HDMI connection.

Selecting the laborious drive

Whereas some NAS drives include a laborious drive already put in, many others, together with the QNAP TS-251A, are bought with out them.

Whereas this isn’t fairly as handy, it no less than offers you extra flexibility when putting in a NAS device as a home media server. As a result of we wish our server to maintain a lot of huge media information, whereas making these information obtainable 24/7, we wish a laborious drive that mixes giant capability with power effectivity and reliability.

For assist discovering the proper laborious drive in your wants, try our 10 finest inner desktop and laptop computer laborious disk drives information. For the last word home server we’ve gone with the Seagate IronWolf 10TB drive, which though expensive gives a whopping 10TB of storage, and lots of NAS-specific advantages.

The QNAP TS-251A we’re utilizing is dual-bay, so we have really added a second IronWolf for a complete capability of practically 20TB after the working system and different components are accounted for. This ups the worth significantly, so you’ll need to discover a laborious drive that gives loads of area with out going over your funds.