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Speccing out a NAS-based home media rig. What do you suggest?

Your fellow Reg reader seeks your advice

Lithuanian squatter makes himself at home inside the box

Readers' corner And in El Reg forums, commentard Le Adder Noir is looking for a bit of a steer on a project for a new house. He writes:

I'm looking to build a NAS-based home media set-up. I live outside the UK, where TV media is, dare I say it, even worse than in Blighty, so most of our stuff is purchased online and stored on drives. Up until recently, I've been using my PC as a media hub in the lounge (using a mixture of internal and external drives), hooked directly to the receiver/amp and TV.

Now, it looks like I'm going to have a proper office, so I want to move the PC there, and use a NAS to store media that is accessible in the office, lounge and bedrooms. It's how I go about this that is causing me some difficulty.

In terms of the NAS unit itself, I'll probably go for an off-the-shelf unit, if only because getting parts where I am can be tricky and expensive. I'm thinking of Synology or QNAP.

The intention is to have fully wired broadband connectivity throughout the house, or at least fairly decent Wi-Fi.

The questions I have then are:

  • How to I get stuff from the NAS to the TV(s)?
  • Do I need separate media players for each TV and, if so, which ones would work best (files are a mixture of the usual, MP3, FLAC, MP4, MKV, AVI etc. and I'd prefer not to lose quality for HD files through transcoding or the like)?
  • Will I be able to stream either different content or, more importantly, the same content to different devices simultaneously (sort of like the set-up on an aircraft entertainment system) and do I need some sort of programme for this?
  • How can I ensure my NAS is secure - i.e. read/write only from PC, read-only from certain devices, no access externally?

Readers, you can get steering via this thread. ®

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