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

Your fellow Reg reader seeks your advice

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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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