Media Servers, bits and pieces all over copper. Space the next frontier.

When I bought my house, it had many non grounded two prong outlets. Shortly after moving in I decided to replace the two prong outlets even if they were not properly grounded for convenience. That all came to a halt the moment I discovered power lines that were wrapped in old brittle paper. It scared me more than it probably should have and I started to make arrangements to have the whole house rewired. At the same time I had cat5e run to all the rooms, which in turn gives me gigabit connectivity in my house. Mind you that my cable only runs at 20mbps at best, but from device to device I effectively have gigabit.

I have been using plex on my macbook pro to stream movies to my PS3 and now PS4 for well over a year now. I originally had a HP media server running WHS (windows home server) 1.x and I really liked it. That is until it stopped working. I had been planning on building a new media server for a while and I had even contemplated just getting a mac mini, but I really liked the drive extender option that the WHS had and it worked exceptionally well. There were a few options for this feature on the windows side and even on the linux side, but none on the mac side. This eventually led me to discount getting a mac and just building a cheaper windows box. I took my time getting my server built as I ran into a few hiccups. First the PSU I picked up was the correct size until you tried plugging stuff into it. Then it was, well to big. So I researched the PSU issue and found another one that had really good reviews and was known to fit. Long story short, after about 4 weeks I got my media server up and running.Using a mish mash of 14 drives I installed Stablebits Drive Pool making a virtual media volume with 14TB worth of usable space. It took me a few days to copy all my media to the server and ran into a few more hiccups and wound up starting that process over a few times as well.

Now one would assume that, with a gigabit connection between my PS4 and my media server I should be able to stream 1080p media no issue. For the most part this is correct. Last night I ran into a movie that must have been encoded with a codec that plex just couldn’t handle.Another option is the CPU I chose to use in the media server was just not strong enough to trans-code and keep the PS4 fed with data. I can play many other 1080p videos no problems and the one I was trying to watch was only a 720p stream, so I am willing to bet that the encode was with a bad codec.

I am overall pleased with how the media server turned out and plan on making a few drive replacements after I get my taxes back, which will give me more space. Always need more space.

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