Forum Thread

please help me buy/build video home server

JimBanville 1,491 170 August 1, 2016 at 12:58 AM
I want to stream mkv's of my blu Rays that I ripped with makemkv onto portable hard drives, to my two Amazon fire sticks via wifi. I ripped the main movie only and the 5.1 audio. The video is whatever format the blu ray was in. No compression. I have a tplink archer c8 router with a usb 3.0 input. I think I need a computer to transcode the video so the fire stick will play it. I want I do this as cheaply as possible. I'm thinking of buying a refurbished small form factor desktop from eBay. I assume it needs 3.0 usb input. I'm having trouble finding one for around $100. Thanks!

18 Comments

1 2

Sign up for a Slickdeals account to remove this ad.

Joined Aug 2005
L10: Grand Master
12,661 Posts
4,824 Reputation
Pro
#2
Do you have a computer now? If so can you post the specs?

Your budget of $100 is unreasonable for what your looking to do. A computer thats $100 on ebay likely won't have the power needed to transcode a blueray fast enough for what your looking to do. You won't likely need USB 3 as you won't be reading data fast enough during normal play back to matter.

My initial thought is your existing computer and plex if it's fast enough. Kodi might be able to do it too but you need a "host".
Reply Helpful Comment? 0 0
Vague questions receive vague answers . . . . . .
#3
Have you tried Plex for this? I know Plex handles things smoothly streaming across my home network with both MKV and AVI containers. You'l need to install Plex Server on your computer (where the files are stored) and install Plex on each Amazon Fire Stick.

I use the Plex software on Roku and I assume it would be the same for Amazon Fire. The only hiccup may be in the power of the Amazon Fire Stick - in which case you could upgrade to a Roku 3 (refurb for the slickdeals) on each TV. The Fire Stick may be more than adequate, I just don't have first hand experience with it.

If you're trying to play directly from the hard drive without a computer acting as the media server in the middle you can plug the hard drive into a Roku (although this doesn't allow viewing on more than 1 device at a time).
Reply Helpful Comment? 0 0
Joined Feb 2004
L10: Grand Master
6,953 Posts
944 Reputation
#4
Another vote for Plex. You don't need much in the way of a computer to handle a single stream of a BR rip. I use an i3-3xxx and most of the time playback is smooth (network issues are to blame for the occasional hiccups I experience). I use a Roku 3 connected to the TV, but the Fire should be no problem either.
Reply Helpful Comment? 0 0
Marshall: Have the rest of you guys figured out by now that mmathis is the smartest guy on SlickDeals?
#5
It will hiccup over wireless. Even over "N".

Why not just share the portable hard drive from your existing PC?
Reply Helpful Comment? 0 0
#6
Quote from TeeDub View Post :
It will hiccup over wireless. Even over "N".

Why not just share the portable hard drive from your existing PC?
I agree with this. If you have a current smart TV - on some you can just connect your portable HDD to it's USB port and play it through the TV's Media Player.

And if it doesn't, buy a refurbished ROKU with a USB port which does support .MKV - see this LINK [roku.com] It's a lot cheaper and easier than buying a PC to do this

EDIT: Actually your router should be able to do this, see this link: http://www.tp-link.com/en/faq-340.html

EDIT: Or see this link: How to play MKV on Amazon Fire TV [brorsoft.com]
Reply Helpful Comment? 0 0
Last edited by boboli August 1, 2016 at 06:06 PM
Joined Dec 2012
L6: Expert
1,491 Posts
170 Reputation
Original Poster
#7
Quote from LiquidRetro View Post :
Do you have a computer now? If so can you post the specs?

Your budget of $100 is unreasonable for what your looking to do. A computer thats $100 on ebay likely won't have the power needed to transcode a blueray fast enough for what your looking to do. You won't likely need USB 3 as you won't be reading data fast enough during normal play back to matter.

My initial thought is your existing computer and plex if it's fast enough. Kodi might be able to do it too but you need a "host".
I thought a dual core cpu of 2.0 Mhz was fast enough for blu ray. I know I've seen that spec before.
My existing computer is a laptop that moves around a lot. I what to set up wherever is necessary and set it in a corner or a closet and forget about it.

EDIT- a FAQ on the plex site says "Core 2 Duo 2.4GHz" is the minimum for transcoding 1 stream of 1080p. I see lots of refurbished PC's on ebay with that for under $100. Would one of those not work?
Reply Helpful Comment? 0 0
Last edited by JimBanville August 1, 2016 at 11:47 PM
Joined Dec 2012
L6: Expert
1,491 Posts
170 Reputation
Original Poster
#8
Quote from willow_ve View Post :
Have you tried Plex for this? I know Plex handles things smoothly streaming across my home network with both MKV and AVI containers. You'l need to install Plex Server on your computer (where the files are stored) and install Plex on each Amazon Fire Stick.

I use the Plex software on Roku and I assume it would be the same for Amazon Fire. The only hiccup may be in the power of the Amazon Fire Stick - in which case you could upgrade to a Roku 3 (refurb for the slickdeals) on each TV. The Fire Stick may be more than adequate, I just don't have first hand experience with it.

If you're trying to play directly from the hard drive without a computer acting as the media server in the middle you can plug the hard drive into a Roku (although this doesn't allow viewing on more than 1 device at a time).
Yes. I was going to use plex or kodi. I just need to set up the hardware to get my movie rips from the hdd drive to my amazon fire stick via wifi. I really don't want to buy more streaming devices. I have 2 TV's with 1 apple tv (3rd gen) and 1 fire stick on each.

Quote from TeeDub View Post :
It will hiccup over wireless. Even over "N".

Why not just share the portable hard drive from your existing PC?
There really isn't an "existing PC" right now. I have a laptop, but it moves around a lot and I don't want to tie it up as a media server too.
Reply Helpful Comment? 0 0
Last edited by JimBanville August 1, 2016 at 11:29 PM

Sign up for a Slickdeals account to remove this ad.

Joined Dec 2012
L6: Expert
1,491 Posts
170 Reputation
Original Poster
#9
Quote from boboli View Post :
I agree with this. If you have a current smart TV - on some you can just connect your portable HDD to it's USB port and play it through the TV's Media Player.

And if it doesn't, buy a refurbished ROKU with a USB port which does support .MKV - see this LINK [roku.com] It's a lot cheaper and easier than buying a PC to do this

EDIT: Actually your router should be able to do this, see this link: http://www.tp-link.com/en/faq-340.html

EDIT: Or see this link: How to play MKV on Amazon Fire TV [brorsoft.com]
I have been dragging my hdd around to various TV's and devices to watch the blu ray rips. That is getting old! lol.
I'd like to have a set it and forget it system where I can pull up my videos through the fire stick like I would a video on netflix.

Regarding the link on "watching mkv's on the fire stick"... it looks like a program for re-encoding them. I'd prefer not to re-encode 100 movies Smilie

I'll look into plugging the hdd into the router, but I thought the video had to be transcoded "on the fly" for the fire stick. Can the router do that?
Reply Helpful Comment? 0 0
Last edited by JimBanville August 1, 2016 at 11:36 PM
Joined Dec 2012
L6: Expert
1,491 Posts
170 Reputation
Original Poster
#10
What about this... http://www.ebay.com/itm/142073031...Track=true ...if I put a usb 3.0 card in it?

Plex site says...
"Very roughly speaking, for a single full-transcode of a video, the following PassMark scores are a good guideline for a requirement:
1080p/10Mbps: 2000 PassMark"

This pc's cpu passmark is 2177.
Should I get one with the quad core Q6600? its 2900.
Reply Helpful Comment? 0 0
Last edited by JimBanville August 2, 2016 at 12:10 AM
Joined Aug 2005
L10: Grand Master
12,661 Posts
4,824 Reputation
Pro
#11
Quote from JimBanville View Post :
I have been dragging my hdd around to various TV's and devices to watch the blu ray rips. That is getting old! lol.
I'd like to have a set it and forget it system where I can pull up my videos through the fire stick like I would a video on netflix.

Regarding the link on "watching mkv's on the fire stick"... it looks like a program for re-encoding them. I'd prefer not to re-encode 100 movies Smilie

I'll look into plugging the hdd into the router, but I thought the video had to be transcoded "on the fly" for the fire stick. Can the router do that?
No the router can't transcode or act as a Plex "Server"/

Quote from JimBanville View Post :
What about this... http://www.ebay.com/itm/142073031...Track=true ...if I put a usb 3.0 card in it?

Plex site says...
"Very roughly speaking, for a single full-transcode of a video, the following PassMark scores are a good guideline for a requirement:
1080p/10Mbps: 2000 PassMark"

This pc's cpu passmark is 2177.
Should I get one with the quad core Q6600? its 2900.
I would buy a bit more power than you need. The Q6600 is a 105W part, so this computer won't exactly be energy deficient. USB 3 really doesn't matter if your just going to plug in your external hard drives as the movie playback speed is under the USB 2 limit.
Reply Helpful Comment? 0 0
#12
My point was obviously missed.

You should probably try it on an existing PC before you spend money to be disappointed. If you try to stream it wirelessly, it will skip and pixellate (especially during climactic sequences with lots of action.) That will make you angry. Why spend $100 just to be angry?
Reply Helpful Comment? 0 0
#13
Quote from TeeDub View Post :
My point was obviously missed.

You should probably try it on an existing PC before you spend money to be disappointed. If you try to stream it wirelessly, it will skip and pixellate (especially during climactic sequences with lots of action.) That will make you angry. Why spend $100 just to be angry?
Many/most people don't really care that the image quality is 100% preserved when attempting to stream over a home network. Depending on the compression in most of my real world tests over wifi I generally only notice crushed blacks - I don't ever see skipping of pixellation as a degradation of the source material.

With Plex you can stream around 20Mbps as an upper limit (which is still shy of the 40+ Mbps of uncompressed Blu-Ray). So during the on-the-fly transcoding process there will be compression applied to squeeze the file size down. To the general public they most likely won't care at all (if they even notice it). To someone who is concerned with pixel perfect image quality they'll simply play the Blu-Ray natively in a Blu-Ray player as that's the .

Plex is a perfectly acceptable stop-gap solution until true 1:1 streaming is accomplished via some other means at a reasonable cost. It's also free - so someone can try it and see for themselves.

----

Back to the OP: It seems like you're looking for a barebones computer to act as a media server. I would agree with other responses that your $100 ceiling on this is probably not enough. You'll need something that has a keyboard and mouse, decent WiFi (or can be wired to your router), a means of display (could be a TV you already are using), and an OS. You could probable scrape some refurb off of eBay and limp along - but you'll most likely be frustrated in the end result - generally speaking if the computer running the transcoding software (ie: Plex Server) get's bogged down your stream simply stops and goes to a type of spinning wheel buffering symbol.

Also the transcoding minimum benchmark of 2000 is understood as 2000 PER CONCURRENT USER. So if you're thinking 2 people are watching in separate rooms at the same time you'll need your CPU benchmark to be a minimum of 4000. At the same time a CPU with a minimum of 4000 won't actually work for 2 concurrent streams as realistically it needs to benchmark at 4500+/- due to the CPU also needing to handle Windows and all background services / programs that are in operation outside of Plex Server.
Reply Helpful Comment? 0 0
Joined Dec 2012
L6: Expert
1,491 Posts
170 Reputation
Original Poster
#14
Quote from willow_ve View Post :
Many/most people don't really care that the image quality is 100% preserved when attempting to stream over a home network. Depending on the compression in most of my real world tests over wifi I generally only notice crushed blacks - I don't ever see skipping of pixellation as a degradation of the source material.

With Plex you can stream around 20Mbps as an upper limit (which is still shy of the 40+ Mbps of uncompressed Blu-Ray). So during the on-the-fly transcoding process there will be compression applied to squeeze the file size down. To the general public they most likely won't care at all (if they even notice it). To someone who is concerned with pixel perfect image quality they'll simply play the Blu-Ray natively in a Blu-Ray player as that's the .

Plex is a perfectly acceptable stop-gap solution until true 1:1 streaming is accomplished via some other means at a reasonable cost. It's also free - so someone can try it and see for themselves.

----

Back to the OP: It seems like you're looking for a barebones computer to act as a media server. I would agree with other responses that your $100 ceiling on this is probably not enough. You'll need something that has a keyboard and mouse, decent WiFi (or can be wired to your router), a means of display (could be a TV you already are using), and an OS. You could probable scrape some refurb off of eBay and limp along - but you'll most likely be frustrated in the end result - generally speaking if the computer running the transcoding software (ie: Plex Server) get's bogged down your stream simply stops and goes to a type of spinning wheel buffering symbol.

Also the transcoding minimum benchmark of 2000 is understood as 2000 PER CONCURRENT USER. So if you're thinking 2 people are watching in separate rooms at the same time you'll need your CPU benchmark to be a minimum of 4000. At the same time a CPU with a minimum of 4000 won't actually work for 2 concurrent streams as realistically it needs to benchmark at 4500+/- due to the CPU also needing to handle Windows and all background services / programs that are in operation outside of Plex Server.
Thanks! I already have keyboards, mice, monitors, etc laying around for setting up the pc/media server. I won't need those once it's up and running, correct?
Did u look at the pc in the link? I would be the only person streaming my blu ray rips to one of 2 tv's.
Reply Helpful Comment? 0 0
Joined Dec 2012
L6: Expert
1,491 Posts
170 Reputation
Original Poster
#15
Quote from TeeDub View Post :
My point was obviously missed.

You should probably try it on an existing PC before you spend money to be disappointed. If you try to stream it wirelessly, it will skip and pixellate (especially during climactic sequences with lots of action.) That will make you angry. Why spend $100 just to be angry?
Yes. I did miss you point. I did not see where u suggested to try my current laptop to see if it would work before spending money on a permanent solution.
Reply Helpful Comment? 0 0
Page 1 of 2
1 2
Join the Conversation
Add a Comment
 
Copyright 1999 - 2016. Slickdeals, LLC. All Rights Reserved. Copyright / Infringement Policy  •  Privacy Policy  •  Terms of Service  •  Acceptable Use Policy (Rules)  •  Interest-Based Ads
Link Copied to Clipboard