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-   -   NAS for media file serving - questions (https://www.digitalhome.ca/forum/31-home-theatre-personal-computer-htpc-media-extenders/82294-nas-media-file-serving-questions.html)

timmy1 2008-03-06 10:53 AM

NAS for media file serving - questions
 
I've got a PS3 and will soon be getting a Squeezebox. I'd like to have all my media files (music, video, photo) accessible on a NAS so I don't have to leave my computer on all the time. I'd also use it for the occasional torrent, printserving, and general shared file storage. All of the media files would be in formats natively supported by the PS3 and the Squeezebox, so no transcoding would be necessary. The heaviest-use scenario that I foresee would be me watching hi-def video (recorded from ATSC), with a torrent or two downloading while my wife uses her computer to listen to music while pulling documents etc. off the NAS and printing on the network printer.

So, the questions:

1) How much of a load would this put on the NAS? Would I need something with a lot of memory and processing power, or should any decent NAS be able to handle this?

2) Would a RAID setup be of any benefit? (I would be maintaining a separate backup regardless of whether I'm running RAID.)

3) Should I run two separate NAS boxes for music and video?

Thanks. Sorry if the questions are daft but I'm a NAS virgin.

Oh yes... I'd prefer not to run a linux server for space, cost, and power-saving reasons.

hugh 2008-03-06 11:23 AM

I have a NAS, D-Link DNS323 (see separate thread around here), Squeezebox and PS3 so I can speak with some experience.

Load on NAS device is not a factor but the load on your wireless (if you go that route) is. With streaming hi-def video, you have to go wired.

My NAS unit won't work with the Squeezebox (I think there are some that do). I have not been able to get it working with my PS3. The PS3 recognizes it and I have been able to play some music but I often get errors so I gave up.

I now stream Audio, Video and Photos from a computer to my PS3 but the files themselves are on the NAS box. I use the TVersity media server.

So file goes from NAS box to computer running TVersity media server and then to PS3. I have two PS3's (one on home theatre and one on tv in family room) so I can stream to either.




timmy1 2008-03-07 02:16 PM

Thanks Hugh. The unit I'm looking at -- either a QNAP TS-109 or TS-209, depending on whether I do a RAID setup -- has TwonkyVision preinstalled and it can also run SlimServer. My concern was that running Twonky and Slimserver, along with everything else, might bog the unit down. I'd heard that certain NAS units can have problems just with Slimserver once you get a few thousand songs indexed -- and right now I'm at around 8,000 and counting.

hugh 2008-03-07 02:22 PM

I have heard similar issues but am unable to comment on them firsthand.

The problem I think with using NAS like that and the Squeezebox is creating playlists which I like to do and browsing. With Slimserver on a computer I could do all my browsing and selecting on the computer and then call it up from the Squeezebox.

The greatest thing about the SlimServer / Squeezebox is that you can broadcast to more than one device.




bluepine 2008-03-10 01:13 PM

Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the whole point of a NAS is so you don't have to have your PC running? Shouldn't the NAS stream the files to the PS3?
I'm also new to this area of tech, but I was debating whether to get a NAS (DNLA/UPNP) or a just an old PC running XP and a big hard drive.

hugh 2008-03-10 01:59 PM

Quote:

Shouldn't the NAS stream the files to the PS3?
Ideally it should!

The Dlink NAS device that I have can be set up as a DNLA server but my experience with DNLA clients such as the PS3 was pretty lousy. A lot has to do with the fact that the PS3 can't playback a lot of files because of the format they are in.

TVersity, essentially is a box that can take a file and perform the necessary conversions so the PS3 or similar device can handle it.

For example, TVersity lets me playback the same file on my television via the PS3 or have it streamed wirelessly to my iPod Touch




bluepine 2008-03-10 02:45 PM

I'm running TVersity right now and it works great for my PS3. The reason I was asking is because my hard drive is getting full of Movies and music and would like to have an area that has just those files and streamed to the PS3 instead of having to run my laptop (with TVersity) to stream. NAS vs old pc (as server)?

My other question: Obviously, movie's are downloaded in torrent form, does an NAS unpack them? Or do I have to download them to my laptop and then convert them/send them to the NAS?

Unfortunately, I'm a little ignorant when it comes to this part and there's so much info. in the forums that it's hard to get specific answers.

thanks

hugh 2008-03-10 02:52 PM

If the only thing you are using is a PS3, then why not just upgrade the hard drive in your PS3 or add an external drive (formatted in FAT32) or both. Then you wouldn't need a PC or a NAS! Regarding Torrents, I assume they would have to be unpacked first then put on your NAS but I am no expert on that.




harry325 2008-03-10 05:18 PM

Blue: I have a Mediagate 350HD. I download torrent files (avi, MP4, etc) directly to the 350's hard drive then play directly from there to my TV (there is usually no conversion of downloaded files unless they are ZIPped). Secondarliy, I can play from my SNLU2's network storage drive (or any open (ie. guest) network share) via the 350 to my TV.
Unfortunately the 350 does not have a network share so the XBOX would not be able to see it on the network.

bluepine 2008-03-10 05:25 PM

Hugh: I looked at upgrading the hard drive in the PS3 but when the laptop is wireless, transferring files that are large can certainly take a crap load of time.

Harry: I was unaware that torrent files (movie's, video etc..) could be had in there raw format. I thought being that their torrents they would have to be compressed?

I think I'm going to look for either older pc and set up tversity and stream it directly to the ps3, if not a NAS.

dufferdan 2008-04-17 12:22 AM

Hugh et al...

My experience:

1.Initially, my PS3 would see music on the NAS (D-Link 323) and play, and would see video files but NOT play those. I have upgraded the firmware on the D-Link 323 AND I believe the PS3 software/OS/firmware went through an automatic upgrade at some point and VOILA! I can now play video directly from my DNS 323. I have an HD iMovie I saved to the D-Link (once you figure out the file formats, bit rates etc) and it plays on my PS3 to 58" Panny plasma in HD glory.

Thrilled

HOWEVER

2. I cannot get it to play to my Roku Soundbridge. I tried installing Twonkyserver software on the NAS and I think I got half pregnant with it. The ROKU sees the music occasionally, but only about a quarter or fewer of my music files. I threw out Twonky and am trying to figure out how to install Firefly. I have ZERO experience with UNIX or LINUX and Telnet or any such and can really not even get to first base.

I have followed the Firefly and Twonky instructions, as well as various message boards to no avail. Once I solve this, I am set. I will then go forward and replace all my 256 kbps music files with Apple Lossless files.

Anyway, thought the PS3 HD video news might have helped.

BTW, I used Quicktime pro to convert the video to an acceptable format once the iMovie was finished.

hedge 2008-04-17 11:02 AM

It sounds to me like you should consider Windows Home Server. It's a headless pc so you have more control of it than a standard NAS, and install software on it as well. It is able to stream using windows media connect, or you could install orb, tversity etc. on it. I have mine on a wired gig network to my ps3 and it streams very nicely (although not all formats since I'm using windows media connect ATM).

It also can backup your machines each evening and allow remote access to your home network. There are many add-ins for it as well. I think it will be a great product once it matures a bit.

I've been running it since oct and it has worked out great for me.

Just be warned there is still an outstanding bug with the WHS software that can cause file corruption if you 'edit files in place' on the server. I've never experienced the corruption myself but I am cautious. The fix is supposed to be released in June along with the 'power pack'.

Danno100 2008-04-17 11:59 AM

Here are my 2 cents worth.

I used to have 2 NSLU2's and ran Twonky on them. However, the drives did not use NTSF and this was a problem if I wanted to move them. In the end, I ended up building a XP server.

Why? Well, even with an old MOBO and XP, it works and is reliable. I put 10 drives in my medium sized case (try that on a $1,000 NAS). I run Tversity (UPnP media software) on the server, plus mControl (X-10 lighting to turn of HT lights when a movie plays), plus ActiveHome (X-10), plus Webcam XP (server records audio/video from my front door Teledoorbell), plus X-10 dispatcher to e-mail me when there is motion or an alarm in my house.

My server "serves" three Vista Ultimate HTPC's, a Wii, four regular XP PC's, and 2 DSM-320's.

In the end, I found my server needed to do more than just serve up photo/movies/music. You can't do all the above with a simple NAS.

Yes, I spend more on power consumption, but in the end, I have a reliable multi-function server with 2.5 TB of storage backed up nightly, all at a cost less than a NAS.

I_Want_My_HDTV 2008-04-21 06:05 AM

Quote:

1) How much of a load would this put on the NAS? Would I need something with a lot of memory and processing power, or should any decent NAS be able to handle this?

2) Would a RAID setup be of any benefit? (I would be maintaining a separate backup regardless of whether I'm running RAID.)

3) Should I run two separate NAS boxes for music and video?
1) Processing power and RAM not big issues for NAS. Relatively low power CPUs can be used.

2) RAID5 is beneficial due to it's ability to recover from a drive failure. (RAID bigots feel free to jump in here but modern RAID5 implementations are easy to set up and maintain.)

3) Two boxes will provide no significant benefit but will increase costs. Expandability is a key issue, something not provided by many consumer solutions that max out at 2 or 4 drives.

I use an older PC with a 1.7GHz Centrino and 1 GB RAM running Linux and Samba. It is configured for low power consumption and expandability. It is currently at 8x500GB drives in a RAID5 configuration and could be expanded to 12 or even 16 drives with the right case. It also has automatic drive failure recovery due to one drive being configured as a spare. However, I don't recommend that as an option for someone who is not somewhat fluent in building PCs and using Linux.

The previously mentioned D-Link DNS323 is a good, low priced option. 750GB drives are currently a good option due to recent price drops. RAID1 will provide data protection and RAID0 maximum storage capacity. The Drobo is more flexible and can hold up to four drives. It is much more costly though.

Windows Home Server is another option but it is not without issues. File corruption and cost are significant drawbacks.

heybirder 2008-04-21 09:12 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by hedge (Post 733691)
It sounds to me like you should consider Windows Home Server. It's a headless pc so you have more control of it than a standard NAS, and install software on it as well. It is able to stream using windows media connect, or you could install orb, tversity etc. on it. I have mine on a wired gig network to my ps3 and it streams very nicely (although not all formats since I'm using windows media connect ATM).

It also can backup your machines each evening and allow remote access to your home network. There are many add-ins for it as well. I think it will be a great product once it matures a bit.

I've been running it since oct and it has worked out great for me.

Just be warned there is still an outstanding bug with the WHS software that can cause file corruption if you 'edit files in place' on the server. I've never experienced the corruption myself but I am cautious. The fix is supposed to be released in June along with the 'power pack'.

The Squeezebox software, SqueezeCenter, is fully supported on WHS. As well, TVersity can be installed on WHS. There are plenty of add-ons to WHS that make it a compelling choice for a home storage box over a tradition NAS. I think it's something worth looking at.


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