NAS and software required for streaming full HD to TV

I am new to the NAS market so please bare with me.

I am currently organising my files that are scattered all over the place on several hard drives both internal and external (I seem to have accumulated a lot of of junk over the years) which has lead me to find I have a couple TB of TV and films.

Having been hearing a lot about NAS and media streaming lately I decided to look into it as a possibility. During my research the two names that stuck out were Synology and QNAP. Since this is to be my first time entering into the NAS market I was looking for the cheapest one, only to read that it wouldn't be very good for my needs for media streaming due to something called transcoding and that I should consider quad core.

My search for the cheapest NAS to meet my needs led me to the QNAP TS-251+ which I will probably end up getting but I wanted to make sure all my information was correct as I don't want to be buying this if I could have got a cheaper NAS that would be suitable. I should also point out that most of my library is 720p and 1080p HD with some 4K content.
On the software side of things I believe Plex is the software I need?

Thanks

Edit - I have just found the QNAP TS-253A which is slightly more expensive but may be better suited to my needs as I don't know if the 251+ can handle 4k content?
8 answers Last reply
More about nas software required streaming full
  1. Transcoding will only be an issue if you have to change the source file to stream. If you have 4K source material and a 1080p display, then the files have to be scaled, in real-time, to be displayed. If you have a 4k display, then you wont' be transcoding. Newer dual core NAS units have extra hardware for video processing and may be sufficient. The Synology 218play for instance is just dual core -- https://www.synology.com/en-us/products/DS218play

    Remember, for both Synology and Qnap the chassis price does not include any disks.

    For best performance streaming, you should have the NAS connected via a direct wired network. If you want to stream 4K, your display device should be wired for optimum performance.
  2. As he said, if your TV supports native MKV and MP4, then a standard NAS will have enough grunt to stream a 1080 to a couple of sources, 4K will be performance killer.

    If you need to transcode xvid, avi or weired MKV container, then you will need CPU horse power.

    Either way, to do the hosting, Plex Media Server is free, the clients for Android, IOS and Win10 are a few quid from app stores, PC playback, use the old but free Plex Media Theatre.

    Use Filebot to organise the naming structure directly from TV and Movie databases.
  3. You have to decide what you need. Here are a few points to consider:

    Bitrate, total storage,power, file format, and costs, extra services you might want the box to provide.

    Bitrate can bottleneck at the network start or end point (4k over wifi as last resort, go wired), HDD speed, or decoding @ the end point. 4k can be 30-70 Mbps

    cpu on-the-fly conversion uses a decent amount. will need the newer quad core 2.5Ghz+. just streaming over the network uses very little.

    file format is complicated, plex w/ on-the-fly conversion + nvidia shield makes it not complicated.

    power usage, keep in mind 100W all the time will be over $100 a year to keep on. if you build your own this is more important. the premade nas boxes are generally low power. addin card GPUs use a LOT. SSD and lower power featured HDDs use fairly little 2-5W ea, 7200 RPM no power features might use 10W 15k SAS can use 20W ea. some of the low powered ones like hgst megascale have slow spinups. so their bitrate and power use is good but their random access is bad.

    extra services, file server, vpn, etc

    Do you have a desktop to use as a temporary box? Plex runs on about anything and you might as well test it with what you have. getting a NAS box is nice because you can leave it on all the time and have 24/7 access without using a lot of power. i personally like using server grade parts. Xeon, ECC ram, reliable mobo (supermicro), gigabit ethernet network. I'll leave it on for 6 months and have no crashes. my home built one wasn't very expensive on ebay. disks can be costly.
  4. Ok so from what I understand after digesting the above replies (slightly bewildering I must say!) is that if I am streaming 1080p content to a 1080p display no transcoding is required so a basic NAS will suffice (what exactly are we calling basic?). What about mobile devices such as a tablet with a 1080p display?

    What If I am streaming 1080p to a 4k display is this just normal 1080p on a 4k (unless the TV upscales)?

    Container wise quite a lot of my content is AVI and some MP4 stuff.

    The Synology DS218play is quad core not dual core. That said the original QNAP I mentioned is only around an extra 40 which has the benefit of 2Ghz instead of 1.4 and an extra GB of RAM, would this handle any 4k content?
    I also understand that the NAS units don't come with hard drives. I'm considering WD Reds, maybe Pro's for the higher RPM.

    I'm not that interested in building my own NAS, and the specifically designed boxes are more power efficient.
  5. brianmeade said:
    Ok so from what I understand after digesting the above replies (slightly bewildering I must say!) is that if I am streaming 1080p content to a 1080p display no transcoding is required so a basic NAS will suffice (what exactly are we calling basic?). What about mobile devices such as a tablet with a 1080p display?

    What If I am streaming 1080p to a 4k display is this just normal 1080p on a 4k (unless the TV upscales)?

    Container wise quite a lot of my content is AVI and some MP4 stuff.

    The Synology DS218play is quad core not dual core. That said the original QNAP I mentioned is only around an extra 40 which has the benefit of 2Ghz instead of 1.4 and an extra GB of RAM, would this handle any 4k content?
    I also understand that the NAS units don't come with hard drives. I'm considering WD Reds, maybe Pro's for the higher RPM.

    I'm not that interested in building my own NAS, and the specifically designed boxes are more power efficient.


    Backblaze uses consumer and enterprise HDDs. These are pretty good for NAS. WD has been the worst for a few years now. Even seagate is passing them easily and they still have the best prices. HGST is the best but you have to pay for it. HGST megascale are very nice. A 3 or 4 disk raid 5 will get you the speed you need. disks are over 100MB/s and a Gb network can only handle 125MB/s. the higher rpm will help with random read but that's not really important for video. You will want at least 4g or better ram so that plex can keep thumbnails and what not in ram.

    https://www.backblaze.com/blog/hard-drive-stats-for-2017/

    https://support.plex.tv/articles/201774043-what-kind-of-cpu-do-i-need-for-my-server/
  6. I've been reading a bit about 4K transcoding and H.265 is the more popular type such as 4k rips and it gives a smaller file size and better quality? According to Synology the DiskStation 218Play can handle this transcoding yet it only has 1GB RAM and a non-Intel 1.4Ghz quad core CPU but other places I read the the better specced QNAPs cant handle it so I'm a bit confused.

    Regarding the Hard Drives it appears based on the Blackblaze chart that it all comes down to capacity and models - The 4TB Red has less failures than the 4TB Seagate but this changes as the capacity increases. Also the newer Ironwolf's aren't the same models that Blackblaze has in that chart as the model numbers are different.
  7. brianmeade said:
    I've been reading a bit about 4K transcoding and H.265 is the more popular type such as 4k rips and it gives a smaller file size and better quality? According to Synology the DiskStation 218Play can handle this transcoding yet it only has 1GB RAM and a non-Intel 1.4Ghz quad core CPU but other places I read the the better specced QNAPs cant handle it so I'm a bit confused.

    Regarding the Hard Drives it appears based on the Blackblaze chart that it all comes down to capacity and models - The 4TB Red has less failures than the 4TB Seagate but this changes as the capacity increases. Also the newer Ironwolf's aren't the same models that Blackblaze has in that chart as the model numbers are different.


    For h265 you have to make sure it can play on the device you are watching it on. I've read that while it's much more compressible than h264 many players are opting out due to royalties.

    An example transcoding to h265 would be source h264 transcoded to h265 for end destination. You may as well make the source h265 to start with and you won't need transcoding.

    One option to note is using the NAS for storage only and using the nvidia shield for plex. I've not tried it or read about how well it works, but the shield claims to transcode well. the shield can't be used as a NAS.

    https://www.techspot.com/article/1131-hevc-h256-enconding-playback/ articles dated fyi. i think the shield does and chromecast ultra doesn't

    Streaming Boxes and Console Support
    Here’s a quick rundown of popular media playing devices that don’t support HEVC:

    Google’s Chromecast (first and second generations)
    Apple TV (although some reports suggest 1080p HEVC playback is possible by running VLC on a 4th-gen model)
    Roku (third-gen models and earlier)
    Amazon Fire TV (2014) and Fire TV Stick
    Any Western Digital WD TV products
    All PlayStation consoles (including PS4 Pro)
    Xbox 360
    And here are the media players that do support HEVC:

    Roku 4
    Amazon Fire TV (2015) and 2nd-gen Fire TV Stick
    Xbox One
  8. I've been having tidy of my home and found an old Nettop I bought some years ago and used as HTPC. It's a ASRock ION 330 Intel Dual Core 1.6GHz Atom CPU, 2GB DDR2 RAM and Nvidia ION GPU (http://www.asrock.com/nettop/NVIDIA/ion%20330/index.asp?cat=).

    Could this be set up as a media server? I've started off by installing Linux Mint on it and Plex but now lost as what to do next or if it is even worth my time?
Ask a new question

Read More

TV NAS / RAID Software Streaming