How Plex server work – why NAS?

I’m new to the Plex home server crowd so bear with me. I’m not sure what the benefits of a NAS hard drive are compared to standard hard drive are. Also, how does a diskless server work? How does hardware transcoding work? What are the differences between the two servers you have pictured?

WD PR4100

I have a server with a library that I share with almost 50 people with a storage capacity of about 10TB. It’s currently setup on my gaming PC but I’d love to move everything over to it’s own dedicated server.

The main benefit of PLEX server on the NAS is an option to expand storage easily and have reliable accessibility 24/7. RAID will allow you to group several disks together creating one virtual drive (or more if you want to) to put your files on. RAID will ensure your system is still running and data is not lost even if one or 2 drives in your HDD array get broken. More disks also mean faster transfer sped and quicker IOPS (quicker data access).

The diskless server will not work- you need at least one drive in order to use it for anything.

Transcoding is a function which converts a video file into a smaller file based on receiving device. It also can convert file into a different format if destination device does not support particular file type playback. This is useful when you try to stream films over the internet. You need to resize video size because your bandwidth is limited to the internet speed between our home and destination device.

WD NAS feature hardware transcoding engine built in – which does the tasks and doesn’t overload CPU – letting other people use the NAS without noticing a slowdown.

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What can I connect to a NAS?

Wireless Speaker Sonos

The great thing about Sonos is that you don't need to pay for music subscription service. With the cheapest NAS at home like DS115j or any other, you can have your backups done for all of your devices and still use your network drive as a Sonos music library. Sonos will connect to your NAS via your network and let access your provided music library. If you have little more of IT knowledge, you can even set up your Alexa or Sonos with Alexa built in to play music on your voice commands ("Alexa! Ask DS Audio to Play Music!").

Casting devices

Nowadays it is so cheap to upgrade your old TV and make it smart. All you need is Google Chrome or EZcast alternative plugged into your HDMI port at the back of your TV. Now you have great functionality added to your TV to send a video file directly from your NAS to a TV. No need for wires and chargers and other mess. You can use your phone as a remote to go to your movies or family videos and cast that content on your TV during family or friend gatherings.


Apple TV

Amazon Fire TV

You may not have a smartphone, or you just simply prefer to control your content with a remote in that case Amazon Fire TV will be a great addon to get to your TV. It also plugs into your HDMI port and will play content from your NAS to a TV. No wires no mess.

nVidia Shield TV

It gets even better! If you want some more entertainment and all previously mentioned functions - nVidia TV is a great thing to get. You can use it for playing games and watching movies from your NAS. The greatest thing is - shield TV does video transcoding. So even if you have a cheap NAS with a weak CPU, in a combination of shield TV you can now automatically on the fly change video file size and format for a destination device. It is a great way to reduce network load and let older devices to play video content which normally was not supported on the device.



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