How do -you- stream?

vcp

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Oh my, depressing. About nine months of ripping now, something between 1500-2000 movies, but it's the TV series that are adding up. Done all of every Star Trek, just finished 11 seasons of Big Bang Theory (90GB), and at least another dozen long-running series to go (MASH, West Wing, X-Files...). First 8TB drive is full, soon to add in the second. I had forgotten that when my children moved out, I just let them take any disks that they considered 'theirs'. They are all still local, so I've been running through their collections, which probably total another 1000-2000 disks. I think I'll be looking at ~40TB before I'm 'done'. I'm only half done with the ~2000 disks here at home. Still often have three computers running rips.

Still doing 100% backup (~RAID 0), just syncing the disks. I had been using GoodSync but it's trial quit after a few uses. It worked well and I was ready to click 'buy' for $50 - but then I saw the license: one computer. Nope, lost that sale. Now using FreeSync and it looks like it works the same. Really free, with some optional for-pay features.

Tablo rolled out their commercial skip feature. Seems to work ok on 'well-behaved' programs. When you turn on the option, it warns that it increases your upload bandwidth. Are they really uploading the recordings for processing and then sending back skip tags? It's not editing the files, since recordings downloaded with TabloRipper still have them. Things I want to keep I still process with MCEBuddy to remove commercials. Tablo also increased its 'live' TV guide from 48 hours to two weeks, which is nice.

But it is really fun to have all of it handy on PLEX. Worth it.
 

vcp

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Added a USB 3.0 card to the old Optiplex (which had no 3.0) and disk-disk transfers are now 5x faster. Also a 3.0 hub.

Looking forward, I see this taking up to 40TB or more. So I'm thinking I might as well plan for it, and just mirroring the 8TB drive isn't going to make it. But I don't want to sink the expense of a big NAS box. Can't I just make a RAID array out of USB disks? Turns out there's an answer to that:

https://www.windowscentral.com/how-use-storage-spaces-windows-10
https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/12438/windows-10-storage-spaces

Storage Spaces, built-in to Win 10 (home even). I'd never heard of that until I started poking around. Sounds pretty slick. Effectively RAID 5. You can specify a 'disk space' of up to 63TB, even if you don't have that much hardware, and as you fill it up, it will tell you to add more disks. It looks like you can mix disk types (I'm sure not the best for performance); and most important to me, if the PC dies, you can just plug the array into another Win 10 pc and it's supposed to pick it right up. You can tell it to automatically spread data across all available disks. Yes, it's 'software' RAID, but if the PC is pretty much only the RAID controller (and PLEX server), then it's effectively hardware. I'm sure the performance is not top notch, but it really doesn't have to be here, just usually serving no more than a couple of PLEX streams. Anybody had any experience with Storage Spaces?

I've got an old 2x3TB Buffalo NAS box that I haven't used in years. One thing Storage Spaces doesn't work with is NAS drives, so I stripped those drives out and ordered a USB 4x drive box ($90) that they will go in, with space for a couple more drives. I'm going to try setting up the SS when that box gets here.

I just fixed up an old UPS, so maybe it's time to put this stuff on that.
 

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I've built a fairly nice media/network system using pawn shop laptops running Win7. My main file/print server is an HP with several large external USB drives running through a powered hub. Attached to the TV is an Acer laptop with an HDMI output. It also has a large ext. USB drive with movies/videos, and all the music files. I got it really cheap because the built-in monitor is messed up; it has several black areas about the size of a quarter. Not a problem, since I only use external output. Because these are all laptops, they will all run off of their batteries for a few minutes. I need to come up with a way (hard/soft-ware) that will shut down the units if power is of for more than 10 minutes. My next project is to get a Raspberry Pi up and running as a recorder. In theory, I can record cable channels by setting it to Ch. 3. and putting the cable box on the channel I want to record. Otherwise, I'll record OTA using an antenna.
 

vcp

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I've built a fairly nice media/network system using pawn shop laptops running Win7...

Neet. We love to hear about older systems being reused as media centers.

My old Dell Optiplex, that my son bought for $12.50 (well, plus a few upgrades) right now is:
  • Ripping a DVD
  • Running as the PLEX server
  • Using TabloRipper to download OtA programs recorded on the Tablo
  • Using MCEBuddy to remove commercials from those OtA programs

I just found out last week that we have to move. The owner of this rental is selling it (half expected that to happen in the current market). But I'm really glad to have a lot fewer boxes of DVD's to move, after the ripping/shucking/sleeving I've been doing. Come to think of it, I'll probably even shuck a bunch of the DVD's that I haven't ripped yet.
 

Marc_G

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I'm a big fan of buying used computers. My current favorites are the things like Dell Optiplex Small Form Factor, HP ProDesk and the like. You can get an i5-6500 8GB RAM 256 GB SSD for ~$250 or even less on eBay if you play your cards right, often with warranty and Win10 Pro (most are already 10-pro activated, even if advertised without OS). These are older business machines that have been traded out.

Of course that doesn't compare with a $12 goodwill buy! Nothing beats that!
 

vcp

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There's a deal on Disney+ streaming subscriptions this weekend through 9/2. I forget the exact prices, but IIRC it's about $140 for a three-year subscription, saves something like $40 off the regular price. Requires a Disney 'D23' membership, which is free. Disney does have an impressive catalog of material. The service doesn't start until sometime in November.

Also, it's that time of year to turn on Hulu Live to get the football games on ESPN.
 

Marc_G

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Disney+ is taking back a lot of content from other streaming providers.

Still, I'm not sure I'm ready to subscribe, even at a discount, and particularly on a long term subscription. I've got Netflix (streaming and bluray disc), Hulu+ commercial free, and Amazon Prime, plus a disc rental subscription to 3D-BluRayRental.com. That's enough content for me. And, some of what is only on D+ for streaming will be available on discs that I can get from NF or 3DBR.

Not a fan of the balkanization of content, but this is the world we live in...
 

vcp

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Disney+ is taking back a lot of content from other streaming providers.

Still, I'm not sure I'm ready to subscribe, even at a discount, and particularly on a long term subscription. I've got Netflix (streaming and bluray disc), Hulu+ commercial free, and Amazon Prime, plus a disc rental subscription to 3D-BluRayRental.com. That's enough content for me. And, some of what is only on D+ for streaming will be available on discs that I can get from NF or 3DBR.

Not a fan of the balkanization of content, but this is the world we live in...

Completely agree. The reason I started collecting stuff on PLEX was to reduce dependence on streaming services. Sigh, hasn't worked yet. But maybe I can pry my wife away from Netflix soon, a start.
 

vcp

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I haven't been ripping much lately, due to a move and three trips to Seattle in the past three weeks for family matters. But I'm about to the point of starting up again, so I started to look at storage. The 8TB drive I'd been collecting rips on is now uncomfortably full (>90%), so I needed more. I'd collected 7TB of old drives in an external USB box, but I didn't want to rely on those. It's Labor Day weekend, and Best Buy has the WD 10TB EasyStore external USB drives for $160. I had wanted to set up a Windows Storage Space drive, so I went and got two of those.

I mentioned Windows Storage Spaces a few months ago. I'd never heard of it before then. It's a gadget built into Windows 10 (and earlier versions, I guess, at least down to Win8) that allows you to group nearly any type of connected drives into a single 'Storage Space' that looks just like a single large disk drive. There are lots of easy-to-find tutorials on Storage Spaces, and the nice thing about them (esp for me) is that they are stupid simple to set up. So looking at it with the two new drives connected, I had three basic Storage Space options. Just one big drive. A mirror option, or a parity option. One big drive has no redundancy built-in (they call it 'resiliancy'); loose one drive and everything goes poof. The mirror option is nice, but it consumes half your storage. What I was interested in was the parity option, which is AFAIK equivalent to RAID 5. The problem I found out is that the parity option requires three drives to be in the pool. Just as an experiment, I created a parity Storage Space with the two new 10TB, and an old 3TB that was also connected. It worked, pretty slick, the only problem was that due to the 3TB being part of the pool, the total storage available was only 6TB. I sort of expected that. But it worked as advertised, one drive and I was able to move files on/off of it, no problem. Well, one little snag - it was giving a 'connection error' when I was trying to add-in the drives. Turns out a simple USB unplug-plug fixes that.

I was pretty sure the parity option was what I wanted, so I told my wife that I had no choice but to go back to Best Buy and get a third drive. Ok, three drives, storage space reconfigured, and now I've got a 20TB parity Storage Space drive. With the parity option, this should be 'resilient' to any single drive failure. My PLEX files are in the process of being copied onto this drive right now. BTW, I couldn't use the 8TB drive as part of the Storage Space, because setting up the space destroys any files on the disks. You also can't use your boot disk as a Storage Space drive.

The thing that is really attractive to me about the Storage Space, is that it can (presumably) be unplugged from my system and plugged into a new Windows system, with the Storage Space remaining intact. I've seen this done on a YouTube video, so I know it's true. Anyway, I hope it's true. I'll give it a try sometime when I've got things set up better here. This eliminates the RAID being dependent on some unique hardware controller or some odd bit of software. The other nice thing is that when the time comes, I can just plug in additional drives and add them to the pool.

There is one other gotcha. The most common complaint about parity Storage Spaces is the write speed. And that is true; where I could get 100MB/s before, it's only writing to the Storage Space at ~40MB/s. This is reported to be due to the way that it caches writes, to avoid potential loss of data in the event of a power failure during the write. There are ways to mitigate this, but they are too complex/$$$ for my taste. For a drive that is primarily used to stream back movies, the write speed isn't a big deal to me. Reading multiple streams off of it shouldn't be a problem.
 

Marc_G

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Completely agree. The reason I started collecting stuff on PLEX was to reduce dependence on streaming services. Sigh, hasn't worked yet. But maybe I can pry my wife away from Netflix soon, a start.

Netflix actually carries a fair amount of decent [IMHO] original content, in addition to a large amount of crap original content. Unlikely I would get rid of them, no matter how much content Disney claws back. And Hulu is a must have for me as it has stuff my wife and I watch, plus The Handmaid's Tale, to name one. There's always some possibility of rotating a couple months of one, then a couple months of the other... but for what they cost it isn't worth it. And Amazon Prime used to be the subject of derision for me, but actually it has gotten better content over time, and some originals (The Man in the High Castle, for example) have been very good. I buy a lot of stuff on Amazon so my Prime membership isn't going anywhere.

But I'm drawing the line. This far, no farther.
 

Alan15578

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Hello. New here but wanted to reply to this thread as it has great interest to me. I cut the cord about a year ago. For live/network tv, I use Youtube TV (I also have Youtube Red) and, since I'm a huge baseball junkie, a yearly subscription to MLB.TV. It interfaces with my tv through an Apple TV box. I also run a dedicated computer that controls my Plex server, connected to a Drobo 5N2 network NAS. Inside the Drobo, I have five 10TB WD Red drives. I have the Drobo set to dual-disk redundancy so that I could actually lose two drives at once and not lose data. Severe overkill but, once I ripped my entertainment collection, DVDs, Blu-Rays, etc were packed up into storage. I plan never to have to rip the media again.

As a side note, to get those those 10TB drives cheaply, I waited until Best Buy has the WD Easystore 10TB on sale (often), usually about $159. I then buy the external drives and shuck the internal drives from them. Very easy and they contain white label versions of the WD Red 5400 rpm. That bare drive typically sells for about $300. On top of that, the Best Buy version also includes a 32GB thumb drive.



"

Thanks for that yutube showing how to open the case on the Easystore. I have several Easystore and MyBook drives. My last one, that 10T model, is just under one year old and it failed, being about half full. I get a drive not found error. I want to pull the drive out and see if I can recover the data. It is still under warranty, but the end of the video says that will void the warranty. I don't know if the drive failed or the supporting hardware. Is thee any way I can recover the data and still claim the warranty? I have already purchased a new 8T model.
 

Marc_G

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Thanks for that yutube showing how to open the case on the Easystore. I have several Easystore and MyBook drives. My last one, that 10T model, is just under one year old and it failed, being about half full. I get a drive not found error. I want to pull the drive out and see if I can recover the data. It is still under warranty, but the end of the video says that will void the warranty. I don't know if the drive failed or the supporting hardware. Is thee any way I can recover the data and still claim the warranty? I have already purchased a new 8T model.
First I would check the cables by (with the computer off) unplugging both ends of the SATA data cable and replugging it in, and unseating, reseating the power connector. Reboot, check. Next step would be trying to run the drive via the original external enclosure/power supply. If that's a no go then either data recovery service ($$$) or just assume drive is unrecoverable. Not sure you can claim warranty after shucking the drive; might be hard to make it look like drive enclosure was never opened.
 

Alan15578

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First I would check the cables by (with the computer off) unplugging both ends of the SATA data cable and replugging it in, and unseating, reseating the power connector. Reboot, check. Next step would be trying to run the drive via the original external enclosure/power supply. If that's a no go then either data recovery service ($$$) or just assume drive is unrecoverable. Not sure you can claim warranty after shucking the drive; might be hard to make it look like drive enclosure was never opened.
Thanks for that suggestion. I'd rather have the data than the warranty replacement, but losing both would be awful. I'm not going to use a data recovery service ($$$), but the data recovery service starts by pulling the drive...
 

vcp

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Ok, so I just remembered that Disney+ turns on today, so I took a look. All the content you expected, and it is very well organized. Remarkably well organized. Just browsing for a while and there are a lot of memories there. Pretty neet. Do I watch 'The Black Hole' or 'Old Yeller' first?
 

vcp

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At about 2000 movies and many thousands of TV episodes on my PLEX. Looking at Netflix and Hulu and finding dozens and dozens of series that take maybe a good 100-minute movie idea and stretch it into a 12-hour series that bores me after two episodes. Finding less and less to watch on streaming, and turning more to PLEX, which was the original idea. Getting closer to turning off some of the streaming services until their content refreshes.

Got my wife a new laptop for her birthday, so now at times, I have 4 PCs ripping disks. Hers is a Rysen 5, which turns out to be about 3x faster at ripping a Blu-Ray than my old steam-powered i7 laptop. Part of that difference is probably due to its SSD, which might be a good upgrade for my old laptop.

Working on ripping moving boxes full of Blu-Rays that haven't been opened for at least four years so there are lots of movies there that are 'new'/forgotten to me. Mostly finished with DVD movies, but still have lots of TV series DVDs to rip.

A few months ago I changed our internet plan from unlimited to a capped plan. Saves $40 a month, so in about another year the disk drives that I bought for PLEX will have been paid off; sooner when I turn off Netflix or Hulu.

Capture.JPG

Oh, and it finally dawned on me what to do with the DVD/BR boxes after I've shucked and stored the disks. Donate them to the library! Their disk boxes are always in terrible shape.

And I've mentioned the commercial skip feature of my OtA Tablo gadget. It's mostly useful, working about 70% of the time. But it's been in 'Beta' and now it's a full feature - which means they're going to start charging extra for it. No thanks. I can record and delete commercials off-line for free.
 
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vcp

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One other neet thing I just remembered. About nine months ago we bought a TCL/Roku TV for the bedroom. The TV has worked ok, but a few months ago the remote for it started flaking out. While its a 'Roku' remote, it was much lighter weight and cheaply made compared to the remote that came with our Roku Ultra. It was IR-only too. Somewhere I'd read that a regular replacement Roku remote would work with the TCL. I checked out all the 3rd party Roku-compatible remotes on Amazon, but none looked very good. I finally bought a 'real' Roku Ultra remote direct from Roku, $35. And it's perfect! Paired easily on wifi with the TCL, and even the remote headphone jack works. I didn't expect that since the original TCL remote didn't have a headphone jack. I'd recommend one of these even if your TCL remote is working perfectly.

I don't know, but I suspect the same thing would be true for other brand TVs with Roku.
 

Marc_G

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Looks like you've amassed a great collection. It's been fun reading your journey.

My favorite comment you made yesterday was that you got your wife a new laptop for her birthday, so now YOU have another computer to rip discs with :)

I also agree some streaming series are too drawn out; would (maybe) have been a good movie, not so good a 10 hours of content. On the other hand they cancel too many really good idea series. I'm particularly annoyed at the cancellation of The OA on Netflix. I was really into it and the cancelled it at a cliffhanger ending of season 2.

Maybe I will start a thread on rants about things getting cancelled that should have been continued based on popularity or good idea.
 

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Do you have any 4K content? What's your normal resolution and file size?

Most of my movies that I've collected over the years (currently at 1,300) are 1080p with a file size around 2-5 GB each. I've recently started collecting 4K versions of movies that I thought would look great on my 75" 4K with wireless Roku in the basement and they have a file size around 6G-20G.

My system couldn't deal with the 20G files at all. I had to replace my wireless router with one that would stream faster, and that didn't completely solve the problem. The laptop I have running the Plex Server software just isn't fast enough to transcode anything that big.

My solution was to realize that I didn't want those files transcoded, that my TV could accept the full resolution (which was the whole point), so I turned off transcoding to the basement and just let it push the full file out to the TV.

This isn't a perfect solution because I want to be able to watch these 4K files on smaller screens eventually which will require transcoding I think, so there may be an upgraded Plex Server in my future.
 

Marc_G

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@Mushtang , you might look into an eBay used business PC for this purpose. I have bought several in recent years. For $250 shipped you can get an i5 seventh generation with plenty of RAM and an SSD, windows 10 pro activated. Or even an i7 if you look hard enough and wait for a good buy it now deal.

Look for Optiplex and Elitedesk systems, just avoid processors with U or T at the end. Some still will have warranty left!
 

Mushtang

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That's a good thought. But... I was actually hoping to go big and do it right with a Synology 5 Bay NAS DiskStation DS1019+ or something similar. Haven't really looked into the specifics of these yet but I know a real server is going to be able to handle whatever I ask it to do.

Something like this is pricier than the previous ways I've been doing things but I'm moving past the "get by with what we already own if it works just to save money" and into the "pay the money and do it right way" frame of mind.




22-108-595-V07.jpg
 

heada

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Direct rip(no re-encoding) of a 1080P Blu-Ray is between 6GB and 25GB and once re-encoded, down to 2GB to 9GB. A 4K Blu-Ray (no re-encoding) is between 25GB and 65GB and once re-encoded, down to 6GB to 10GB.

My TV is a 3 year old Sony 4K and my Plex server can serve 4K H.264/H.265 content to it with DirectPlay once re-encoded without issue. The server is an I5-7400 with 8GB of RAM.

I use MakeMKV to rip the disc to my 8-bay Synology DS-1817+ (8x 6TB drives in a 6+2 RAID6 config) and then a day later my Plex server uses HandBrake to re-encode that file to save space.
 

Mushtang

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I use MakeMKV to rip the disc to my 8-bay Synology DS-1817+ (8x 6TB drives in a 6+2 RAID6 config) and then a day later my Plex server uses HandBrake to re-encode that file to save space.
I guess our biggest difference is the source we have for movies. I ripped all my DVDs years ago but eventually replaced them with better versions from "elsewhere", and now I only get movies from "elsewhere" so whatever format they have available is what I get. Its' a trade off for sure.

Honestly, I think I'd be okay with watching all my movies at 720p and it's so stupid of me to want to upgrade to 4K capabilities just to do it. Even though I realize all that I'm still looking to upgrade my system. It's not needed, but the 4K picture sure is nice.
 

vcp

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@Mushtang , you might look into an eBay used business PC for this purpose. I have bought several in recent years. For $250 shipped you can get an i5 seventh generation with plenty of RAM and an SSD, windows 10 pro activated. Or even an i7 if you look hard enough and wait for a good buy it now deal.

Look for Optiplex and Elitedesk systems, just avoid processors with U or T at the end. Some still will have warranty left!

The guy I do part-time work for on-line got tired of me whining about my steam-powered PC and bought me a refurb Dell Optiplex 9020 from Amazon. 4GHz I7, SSD, 16G. W10 for less than $350. No complaints. (Don't tell him, but it rips Blu-Rays 4x faster than my old laptop.)
 

vcp

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Re: file sizes. I've bought some 4k disks (combo's with Blu-Rays) but I don't have a 4k player so haven't bothered with them. With the settings I use in Handbrake, DVD's go to about 1-2G. Blu-Rays usually from 3-5G, with some higher to 8G. One recently was 13G but never figured out why since I was pretty sure it was the same Handbrake settings as others. I'm replacing DVD content with BR for some items, but I had a lot of DVD's so that'll take a while.
 

vcp

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So a couple of months ago my main TV gave up. It was old and I've mentioned it here before, a Mitsubishi 72" DLP. I've been hearing the color wheel making noise at startup for perhaps six months, and it had gotten a lot louder in the past month. It finally gave a final screech and quit; error codes said color wheel fail. (For those who don't know, most DLP [projection] TV's have a colored spinning glass wheel that the white projection lamp shines through. Careful timing produces a color picture. This mechanical wheel is one of the most common failure points in a DLP, aside from the easily replaceable bulb.) Knowing that this failure was probably coming, I'd looked at the possibility of replacing the wheel myself. They're advertised on eBay, and I found a youtube video that covered replacement on my exact model DLP. The new wheel though, was $100. I could get a 75" LED TV at Costco for $800. What to do? I have a 55" TLC LED in the bedroom and it works well enough. Trouble was, I really didn't have $800 handy and I could come up with $100. Also have to consider that I had a spare $30 DLP bulb that would have been wasted if I got rid of the DLP. Also the DLP works really well for 3D - I like some 3D movies, and I have $180 worth of 3D glasses for this DLP that wouldn't be usable with anything else.

So I ordered the color wheel, the exact replacement part. Except that it wasn't. On trying to install the new one, it turns out that the body of the motor on the new wheel was a few thousandths of an inch shorter than the original. The wheel scraped on the enclosure frame. The bracket that mounted the wheel couldn't be adjusted, it was pinned in an exact position. I was thinking that if I could find some small, really thin washers to put under the motor mounting screws that I might be able to space it out just enough. I probably had washers like that, somewhere in the junk boxes, but those had never been unpacked since the last move. I didn't relish the search for something I might not have, that might not work anyway and would be difficult to install at best. Stewed on this for about a month, with the TV in pieces in the living room.

Sometimes its good to just let a problem percolate. It finally dawned on me (I'm slow that way sometimes) that I have a 3D printer. So 20 minutes with OpenSCAD, a 30-minute print: four 0.01 mm layers, and a light sanding produced a spacer that fit perfectly - no need to find or fiddle with separate washers.
light wheel spacer.jpg
Pic is the spacer (white ring) on the back of the old wheel motor. Installed the new wheel with that and it was a perfect fit, no wheel interference.

Next issue was that the 'exact replacement part' had a motor cable that turned out to be about one inch shorter than the original. Just enough to be the difference between 'difficult to install' and 'dammed near impossible'. It's a flat-flex cable that's not easy to splice and the motor end is covered in epoxy conformal coat that would make it hard to swap cables. Fortunately, I found an 'alternate' routing for the cable that made it just possible to plug it in.

30 screws later and the thing is buttoned up. After all the hassles I didn't have high expectations, but push the button and darned if it didn't work. While I was disassembling it I'd cleaned out most of the dust from the cooling fans and heat sinks (not as much as I'd expected) and cleaned a light film of dust off of the optics. The picture seems brighter than ever. I didn't realize how much I'd missed it. The DLP, in a darkened room, and within the optimum viewing angle has a much better picture than my TLC LED. I'm really glad I chose to fix it. I'm hoping to get a few more years out of it and maybe then an OLED or something will be in my price range.
 
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o1d_dude

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Comcast Triple Play with cable TV, internet, VOIP and a Samsung Smart TV.

What can’t get from the cable box, I can get via the internet (Hulu and NetFlix on my daughter’s membership/passcode).

The downside is I pay Comcast over $200 a month. It’s California and we spend like it’s Monopoly money.

I get Amazon Prime Video on my iPad as well. $95 a year for a Prime membership.

BTW, currently watching Rambo Last Blood. It’s exactly what you think it would be in 2020 and I watch about 20 minutes at a time.
 

Mushtang

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I'm DYING here. Someone help me please!!!!!

My current setup works fine for now. I have a small 5TB external NAS (with 3TB of data currently) attached to a spare laptop which runs the Plex Server software. Another 6TB external hard drive is updated regularly as a backup. It's a cobbled together system of different pieces. As I said it works mostly but it's definitely not idea.

So what's my problem? The laptop isn't quite beefy enough to transcode a 4k stream but it will transcode any of my 1080p files just fine. I've got about a dozen movies in 4K also but none of them are loaded because of this.

But, as more 4K movies are available I'm definitely looking to acquire more. To be able to do this I'll have to upgrade my system. A better laptop may be one possible solution but...

What I'd LIKE to get is a Synology DS418play and start with three 2GB Seagate Ironwolf Pro drives in the raid and add more/bigger drives as needed. This will set me back about $800 and I just can't justify spending that money just to watch some movies with slightly better quality than I can watch them now. This would probably be around the same price as a really good laptop that I'd need to get to replace the one I'm using now.

My wife works from home with her own business and I've told her she'll be able to also use this for secure storage in case her work laptop fails... but she already works from the cloud and isn't having issues.

So what else can I use to justify a brand new system like this?? If I can't come up with a good reason I won't allow myself to upgrade.
 

heada

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I'm DYING here. Someone help me please!!!!!

My current setup works fine for now. I have a small 5TB external NAS (with 3TB of data currently) attached to a spare laptop which runs the Plex Server software. Another 6TB external hard drive is updated regularly as a backup. It's a cobbled together system of different pieces. As I said it works mostly but it's definitely not idea.

So what's my problem? The laptop isn't quite beefy enough to transcode a 4k stream but it will transcode any of my 1080p files just fine. I've got about a dozen movies in 4K also but none of them are loaded because of this.

But, as more 4K movies are available I'm definitely looking to acquire more. To be able to do this I'll have to upgrade my system. A better laptop may be one possible solution but...

What I'd LIKE to get is a Synology DS418play and start with three 2GB Seagate Ironwolf Pro drives in the raid and add more/bigger drives as needed. This will set me back about $800 and I just can't justify spending that money just to watch some movies with slightly better quality than I can watch them now. This would probably be around the same price as a really good laptop that I'd need to get to replace the one I'm using now.

My wife works from home with her own business and I've told her she'll be able to also use this for secure storage in case her work laptop fails... but she already works from the cloud and isn't having issues.

So what else can I use to justify a brand new system like this?? If I can't come up with a good reason I won't allow myself to upgrade.
I don't think any of the NAS systems you can reasonably buy will be able to transcode 4K live so having your NAS solution also be your Plex server for 4K isn't really feasible. (I have a DS1817+) What I would do is get a micro computer to act as your Plex server and use the NAS as general storage for both Plex and your wife's needs. A LattePanda Alpha is small, low power but should be powerful enough to transcode 4K live or a nVidia Jetson Nano should be able to do it too by using the GPGPUs in that system. Another option, if you're willing to use the space, is have your 4K source material and then create "Plex Optimized" versions in lower resolutions. This allows systems that can use the 4K to play at 4K natively but systems that are only 1080 or 720 can use the optimized versions. It's basically transcoding once and keeping that result for future use. Anything with multiple versions available will show up with a little blue number in the upper left corner that shows the number of versions available. For example, it'd show a small 3 if you had a 4K version, a 1080 version and a 720 version.
 

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