My Media Server Setup
Over my life I have realized that I have become a digital hoarder. I’m am now totally fine with that. At last look at my current setup I’m using about 10TB. I still have 12TB free. So needless to say I have a ton of media. My setup has gone though several iterations as newer technology and products have come available.
The many versions.
When I started I played with MythTV but it wasn’t really functional enough for me. Quickly moved to Windows Media Center on Vista. Once Windows 7 came out moved to that version added 6 tuner cards and quickly ran out of disk space. Back in my setup’s hayday I had 2 Xbox360’s running with logitech Harmony One remotes. It worked great for local content. I later added a DroboFS that lasted for a few years performance wasn’t up to par and ended up moving to a Synology 1513+. I had liked that until i had a disk die and wanted to shrink the array size. Guess what you can’t. So that was the end of the Synology. Decided to move to what I’m currently running as my MCE machine to unRaid. I am running version 6.2 RC3 its beta but no problems and works great. When i moved to unRaid I used the PC that I was running MCE off of. So bye bye MCE. Its been fun, but off to something new.
Set-Top Boxes Vs. HTPC
In the beginning I was using Xbox360 but that couldn’t play MKV containers. My goal was to have one device be able to do everything. So i moved to Mac Mini’s running Windows 7 (Sorry). It worked I had MCE and XBMC running (Pre-Plex). I eventually moved to using a Roku3 downstairs and Mac mini upstairs. That setup lasted for several years. Services that were used were Plex, Netflix, Amazon instant, SlingTV, and Hockeystreams.
I would say Roku3 is solid. The only thing it can’t do is on device transcoding. I tested the FireTV and couldn’t stand it. I sold it within a few months. Currently I’m using Roku3 still, AppleTV 4th Gen, and a Chromecast.
Plex to the Rescue.
While I was still running MCE I had started to run Plex. I was converting TV Shows that I recorded and put them into Plex. It is a great solution. I am now able to start watching something on any device (And I mean any device) and stop then start right where I left off on something else. Whenever we or any family members go on vacation we sync content to their devices. It is great for the kids. No more fighting they can watch what they want.
With version 6 of unRaid they have added support for Docker and Plex has a docker container which makes installing, and upgrading super easy.
But what about TV Recordings?
This one is still in up in the air. I have purchased a TabloTV which has a channel for Plex. It works but it isn’t ideal. You can watch content but pausing and continuing isn’t a thing. I hope in later versions they will have Plex integration from the Tablo. I have asked for commercial skip similar to what we had in MCE but nobody seems interested. Another feature that has been asked for is recording or syncing to NAS. No detail yet.
Also I am in the Silicondust Kickstarter. I have the setup working Its not 100% yet as its beta. The Server component is working out of a docker container and recording to unRaid. That part seems to work fine. I thought i would add the recording folder to plex. It found the shows but playback is spotty. I’m not sure yet what the issue is. The kickstarted is supposed to get native support for Plex but that is later on down the road.
For now Tablo is the winner.
unRaid 6.2 RC3
8 Core AMD 2.4
22TB 1 Parity drive on 9 drives
184GB cache pool on 3 SSDs