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Media Server Musings - Random Thoughts from Haywood

Discussion in 'Source Components II' started by Haywood, Jun 25, 2017.

  1. Haywood

    Haywood Well-Known Member Famous

    1. Anyone who says "storage is cheap" has never tried storing a large media library.
    2. There is no such thing as "enough" storage.
    3. RAID is NOT a backup strategy.
    4. Ripping movies is a time-consuming pain in the ass that requires a surprising amount of know-how.
    5. Maintaining a media server, managing storage and curating content is a lot of work.
    6. Custom media clients like OpenPHT are like Italian sports cars: gorgeous, but high maintenance.
    7. If you like keeping your media in the highest quality format, but also want to make it available on a wide range of devices, buy a beefy server to handle the transcoding (Passmark 2000 per stream).
    8. This is a bad hobby for people who don't like to tinker.
  2. team_tsp

    team_tsp Active Member

    I agree with everything you mentioned @Haywood. In terms of Media Servers, my main focus is on CD music for my Squeezebox. Even just that takes a lot of time and organizing.

    I'm not that big of a movie person, and have just a few Blu-Rays, but I was kind of disappointed that Blu-Ray playback for the PC never caught on that well. Based on what I've read in general, it seems ripping movies is often relatively less hassle than trying to playback Blu-Ray Discs on PC, though still a hassle in and of itself.
  3. Haywood

    Haywood Well-Known Member Famous

    Once you rip a movie, you have complete control over what you can play it back on. The nice thing about Plex is that the server will automatically transcode the rip to whatever format and bitrate is appropriate for the client you are using.
  4. Towen7

    Towen7 Well-Known Member Staff Member Moderator

    I admire you guys that can do this. I don't have the hardware and, more importantly, the knowledge to run a media server. Besides ... With all of the streaming services available I quit buying media a long time ago. So even if I had the time to learn how to do it, I don't have enough content to make it worth it.
  5. Batman

    Batman Well-Known Member Staff Member Moderator Famous

    Don't worry, I have the hardware, but lack the knowledge......as you know Matt and I (but mostly Matt) devoted an entire summer to ripping our entire libraries of music, tv and movie content to one big ass server for the ultimate purpose of a massive shared library over VPN. Matt was mostly the maintenance guy while I contributed a large portion of the library. And it was nice at first, viewing things that I had never seen before or viewing things I had seen again but at the touch of a button with a pretty and fast interface all throughout the house. But as you mention with all the streaming services, a lot of it is easily accessible (at least what I like to watch) through one of the many services. I simply stopped acquiring content that I knew I'd only watch once. The cool and convenience factor really is off the charts but seeing how many movies I can add to my server began to feel like the A/V geek's equivalent to seeing how many FB friends one can acquire. 99% of the time I pay no attention to 99% of them (my "friends" or the content on my server). I found what maintenance I did keep up with on our setup was so the kids could watch whatever they want at bedtime. And now its been about 4-5 months since we've streamed anything locally directly off the server. If you're a dedicated user the experience is amazing, if not it can be an incredible waste of time.
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2017
    Towen7 likes this.
  6. Haywood

    Haywood Well-Known Member Famous

    Plex takes a lot of the work out of it, especially for mainstream content. Most of my time gets taken up with media preparation (ripping, transcoding, header editing, etc.) and curating metadata for things that don't have good metadata. That latter is mostly a non-issue with mainstream content. I also have to spend some time maintaining the servers and managing storage, which is starting to become a serious problem.
  7. JeffMackwood

    JeffMackwood Maxi-Me

    I need to delete a huge whack of movies and TV shows from my servers. Stuff that I know I'll never watch again. If I can do that relatively regularly I should always have enough space to add new stuff.

    Storage space will never be an issue with the music collection. The current 135,000+ songs that I have (~1/3 @ 192 and 2/3 @320) don't take up a lot of space relative to movies and TV shows, and I'm pretty much down to acquiring only 2 or 3 new releases per week at the very most - some weeks none.

    Until recently I had stored bit-perfect rips of all of my Blu-ray audio discs on a server, but decided to delete them. They were only there in case the original got lost or damaged, but since that's never happened...

  8. Haywood

    Haywood Well-Known Member Famous

    I am looking at options to extend my storage into the cloud. It might be practical to do that as a store for content that does not get accessed very often, but there are still too many gotchas for me to move fully into the cloud. I was thinking about moving everything to Virtual Private Servers and cloud storage, but the storage part of the equation is still dicey. I have a full backup of everything on Amazon, but they changed their terms and now I have until the end of the year to get my stuff off of there. Google has a product called G Suites that offers unlimited storage with five user accounts at $10/each. They are not currently enforcing the five account minimum and a lot of people have uploaded tens of terabytes of data. That strikes me as risky, so I would probably bit the bullet and pay the $50/month to be safe. The big gotcha is the daily limit on API calls. It locks your account for 24 hours once you hit it and a lot of people have had trouble when Plex does a library refresh. There are workarounds to reduce the likelihood of triggering a lock-out, but I don't want to risk taking my only media server offline for an entire day for some unexpected library configuration or media upload issue. Dropbox appears to have similar restrictions and all of the commercial platforms (i.e. S3) are just way too expensive. I think these issues will sort out over time, but am definitely not going to be a pioneer.
  9. The DirtMerchant

    The DirtMerchant Well-Known Member

    I finished a build about a month ago of a FreeNAS based RAID server w/ 10 TB of usable space and have Amazon Drive as my backup.
    I am the admin and...I'm doing better this time around than I did the first time I did this. First time around I cut every corner I could,
    didn't follow the hardware or procedural rules of thumb and I had a sever that lasted 4 years...at the end I lost a few gigs of pictures
    and maybe a few files...This time around I am confident in the hardware and procedures and am not overly worried about data loss...

    I have a bit over 70k pictures that is my main space hog (I only use about 1.5TB right now), but I haven't
    tried ripping blu-rays, nor am I sure that I will. I have some movies on there that I made myself (slideshows)
    along with a few random movies I ripped at one point or another. I use Plex to access the small library I do have...

    I am really happy with this latest server I built. I'll be using the cloud only as a backup...Good times...
  10. Haywood

    Haywood Well-Known Member Famous

    If I can just figure out how to finish mounting my Google Drive to my VPS and how to upload all of my content to Google Drive in a reasonable amount of time without triggering API threshold lock-outs, I will be golden.
  11. MatthewB

    MatthewB Grandmaster Pimp Daddy Famous

    At Toms gtg he gave me a 1TB hard drive which has all the music stored on it that Jeff gives me at the other GTG's otherwise I have everything stored on iTunes for easy transfer to my iPad or various iPods. My entire movie collection has been stored on Ultraviolet and played on Vudu in 1080p. I also have stopped buying any form of media about five years ago and will just now buy new releases of movies for about 5.00 each for the digital download code. I used to have thousands of DVD's and Blurays but have sold about 95% of them once I transferred them to Ultraviolet. I also like that five of my family members get my movie and TV collections when I add them and I get theirs when they add them thru our linked accounts. True I can't get lossless audio like with Blurays but for the cost savings I can live with Dolby Digital Plus.
  12. Haywood

    Haywood Well-Known Member Famous

    I still buy almost all of my movies as UV codes, but they are usually more than $5 these days. I've also started buying UHD UV codes.

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