About four years ago, after collecting an unhealthy amount of digital media, I created the following set up: Four bay enclosure (mediasonic) with 3TB WD HDDs in each bay, in a RAID 5 Array. I also have a separate HDD Dock with another 3TB HDD. I attach both to an iMac, which runs the Plex server, via USB. I access my media using the Plex app on an Apple TV, which is connected to an old Sony HDTV.
I want to update/change my system because:
1. I don’t want to rely on streaming. Even when I had this set up while living in the U.S., I experienced buffer delays. In Cambodia, it’s worse. I want my media physically attached to my TV.
2. I just had an HDD fail, and am in the middle of installing a new drive. That’s scary in RAID5. I think I’d rather change to RAID1, but I’m not confident in that opinion.
3. Writing from the iMac to my disks, especially the ones in the 4-bay enclosure, takes too long.
4. I want to improve my AV quality. I’ve seen others with smaller media collections who connect directly to their TVs, and they experience better quality.
The NAS you are describing is TS-453B or TS-453Be – with and without a remote. Using HDMI you can directly attach and watch your media using Plex. Using HD station, you can control the Plex on the NAS using remote control. Direct connectivity will eliminate any buffering. It will even let you stream new generation 4K files including H265 coding.
Not only you can have RAID5 but also RAID 6 which will keep your NAS running even if two drives fail, that is super reliable.
It has direct connectivity as well as a network connection. So if your network is not working properly you can connect directly to a PC and do a transfer over USB. Otherwise, you can use dual LAN connectivity for load balancing and double as fast data transfer.
You can stream media over the network and even remotely -using built-in video transcoding engine. Or watch original format movies over HDMI with outstanding picture quality.
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What can I connect to a NAS?
Wireless Speaker SonosThe 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 devicesNowadays 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.
Amazon Fire TVYou 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 TVIt 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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