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Author Topic: Anybody set up a media server in their bus?  (Read 1248 times)
Mex-Busnut
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« on: July 05, 2014, 07:32:38 PM »

Dear Friends,

I am thinking about the idea of setting up a media server to make audio/video/PDF/E-books available to my family on the road, especially when we are many hours away from the nearest television signal. I am thinking I can select several dozen of our favorite movies, for example, and rip them from the legally-purchased DVDs into MP4 files, and do the same with a good chunk of our legal music collection. Maybe even a few games? Hey: How about the Detroit Diesel manuals on file (PDFs) for when needed? Then those on board can access what they want via wifi o their tablets or smart phones.

Yes: I am nuts! 

 Grin

Any ideas?
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Dr. Steve, San Juan del Río, Querétaro, Mexico, North America, Planet Earth, Milky Way.
1981 Dina Olímpico (Flxible Flxliner clone), 6V92TA Detroit Diesel
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Jake brakes
100 miles North West of Mexico City, Mexico. 6,800 feet altitude.
Dave5Cs
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« Reply #1 on: July 05, 2014, 08:25:51 PM »

This would be pretty simple and holds 4 TB movies, videos, music, etc.

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=&sku=1007531&gclid=CLyJhKner78CFVJefgodvykA8w&Q=&is=REG&A=details
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« Reply #2 on: July 05, 2014, 08:37:05 PM »

Yep, I rip them, put them on a USB drive and stick them in the USB slot on the tv.
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sparkplug188
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« Reply #3 on: July 05, 2014, 09:07:15 PM »

Yes, I have a media server in my semi and RV.  Any NAS box that is compatible with SSDs will work.  Rotating drives will only last a few hundred miles of bouncing down the road.

You mentioned sharing media with tablets and phones-- Look for a PLEX compatible NAS for seamless media sharing

Google Docs - PLEX Compatibility Guide
« Last Edit: July 05, 2014, 09:20:30 PM by sparkplug188 » Logged
Acausey
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« Reply #4 on: July 06, 2014, 02:40:40 PM »

I have a WD myCloud. Love it for photos and documents. It works very well for video also, but you will need a very fast wireless connection (802.11n or 802.11ac) for good video streaming.  54mbps (802.11g) is not going to give you the results you are looking for.  If you are using a wired connection it should be fine.

One more thought...you can leave the myCloud at home and access it from anywhere via smartphone or other internet connection. You are limited by you home network upload speed however. Again, photos, PDFs, documents, etc. work great but video might be less successful depending on your connection speed.

~ Andy
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« Reply #5 on: July 06, 2014, 04:08:39 PM »

Andy when we accessed our office myclould while on the road our data usage went through the roof along with the bill. You don't want to be downloading movies etc on a data card when you could just have the media with you,,,,imho
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Lee
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« Reply #6 on: July 08, 2014, 05:16:19 AM »

In 2000 I had a friend do this in his car in college. As I recall he mounted a 300 gig hard drive with rubber cords into a box he built in the trunk and ran it to his head unit to stream music files.

Why a server instead of just playing the movies in the DVD player as you drive?
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Mex-Busnut
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« Reply #7 on: July 08, 2014, 05:56:49 AM »

A lot of real good ideas here! So far, the Western Digital MyCloud initially suggested by Dave5CS sounds the best: cheapest and easiest!

Why a server instead of just playing the movies in the DVD player as you drive?

Why a server? I want the family to have options according to their tastes.The kids might want cartoons, and the adults something different. We will have a DVD player in the kids' basement room as well, and a DVD/Blue Ray in the living room.
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Dr. Steve, San Juan del Río, Querétaro, Mexico, North America, Planet Earth, Milky Way.
1981 Dina Olímpico (Flxible Flxliner clone), 6V92TA Detroit Diesel
Rockwell model RM135A 9-speed manual tranny.
Jake brakes
100 miles North West of Mexico City, Mexico. 6,800 feet altitude.
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« Reply #8 on: July 08, 2014, 12:45:38 PM »

I have not put it in the bus yet but have all my movies and cd's on a NAS server running rade5 on 4 3TB dtives. It is a QNAP unit.
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dukegrad98
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« Reply #9 on: July 08, 2014, 06:22:44 PM »

I have not put it in the bus yet but have all my movies and cd's on a NAS server running rade5 on 4 3TB dtives. It is a QNAP unit.

Back it up with regularity!!!  RAID is a convenience factor, NOT a viable data backup method.  As a personal example, my identical 4x3TB setup on my home server had a drive fail last week (a RAIDZ configuration in a FreeNAS unit based on FreeBSD Unix).  I replaced the drive, and about 90% of the way through the intensity of the automatic rebuild, a second drive failed.  BAM -- guaranteed data loss.  Except that I had a full, separate backup of everything on the NAS.  I replaced the second faulty drive, wound up wiping the array, and then spent about 60 hours restoring from the backup drives.  As I type, my backups are refreshing themselves.

Sooner or later, any media server or NAS device will let you down.  Plan for it.  Just a note for those that are sold on the technology.  It's good, all failure-recovery and redundancy systems have their limits.

As a side note, I have all sorts of media on my home server.  Its primary use is serving up music and video, primarily by streaming to OpenELEC/XBMC devices on my televisions.  I also store (in addition to other backups!) hundreds of gigabytes of RAW digital camera files from my photography hobby -- those files being 25MB to 30MB apiece.

Cheers, John  <-- former tech nerd
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ABart
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« Reply #10 on: July 09, 2014, 08:04:23 AM »

This would be a great "how to" project thread.


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Seangie
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« Reply #11 on: July 09, 2014, 08:42:31 AM »

Steve -

Here is my 2 cents with my experience with this and then practical application.

I have built 2 media servers which were pretty cool and nifty (for the home not the bus) and while I loved using them most of the times the wifey would not care too much for using it.  I tried to keep it simple but if she needed to access a file from her computer (pictures, movies, music) she would bypass the media system, browse to the folder and just open the file from there.  90% of the time the most used thing on the media server was streaming.  Pandora, Netflix, Amazon...etc and the media server was a quick easy way to open those applications.  Shortcuts if you will.  We find that most of the movies are watched once and then never really watched again so no reason to store it.  Music is a little different but still much heavier use on the streaming than the saved music files.

The other pain about a media server was updating it and keeping everything working.  Its a lot more than you think it is going to be when links stop working and files wont open.  It was a fun experience and I enjoyed building and using it but in the end it was an "overlay" for media and while it looked cool and was fun for me and the kids our day to day morphed back into a simple shared drive.  I will say my experience was about 5 years ago and they already have way more products and better support these days.f

A NAS box would be the best way to go.  No overlay...keep it simple with shared folders and files.  (if you have kids make sure you use read only on music, movies...etc)

Keep in mind that if you need to access the NAS box it has to be on the "bus" network.  If internet access is required then the bus network has to be connected to the RV park wifi, Public shared wifi or cellular wifi.  You would most likely be the one responsible for connecting the "bus" network to the internet so everyone in the bus could just access the "bus" network to gain access to storage and streaming.  If you dont have it setup this way then anyone on your bus would have to switch from being on the "bus" network to access files and then switch to the public wifi to get online.  It helps if there are less than 6 people on the bus and you are not the only technical person. Also keep in mind that you should still have a wired USB connection to your NAS box for redundancy.

My family still has a hard time understanding why they cant get online when the wifi connection is showing full bars from the shared connection on the cellular device which has no cellular service.  "But Dad, I have 5 bars of WIFI!"

We have 3 laptops and a single shared hard drive.  90% of media we access is online.   My suggestion is to go with the NAS box that has a wired USB connection and use an SSD drive and have a plan to backup your data.

-Sean
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« Reply #12 on: July 09, 2014, 05:41:09 PM »

I made al or a part of my living off computers, the Internet and its precursors from about 1980 to 2004 and one of the biggest hassles was always reliable file storage and access.  What dukegrad says IMHO understates things.  One of the biggest problems is most folks tendency to use drives that are way too big.  The example of 60+ hours rebuilding and failing before completion is a perfect example of the problem.  Most cheap NAS devices have terabyte ot larger drives with either no redundancy or mirroring in which case recovering your data is a crapshoot.

So, whatever you do, remember to back up your important files to some other storage media.  Also, remember that today's popular media is tomorrows paperweight.  Recovering files on an ESDI, IDE, SCSI drive (remember those?) is a high dollar specialty.

edward
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« Reply #13 on: July 10, 2014, 04:11:11 AM »

Take a look at Synology NAS and the Plex server plugin. You can then get the Plex software on your computer (or laptop), iOS device (iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch), Roku, etc. The latter, and other options if you're adventurous, can drive your tv.

Plex will have a nice menu system (high "wife approval factor") for finding what your looking for. Supporting multiple devices is good when the kids want to watch something different.

That will likely be our plan for our bus. Looks good on paper but haven't tried it out yet.


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Dave5Cs
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« Reply #14 on: July 13, 2014, 11:52:46 AM »

A lot of real good ideas here! So far, the Western Digital MyCloud initially suggested by Dave5CS sounds the best: cheapest and easiest!

Yep that me Cheap and Easy just ask my wife, LOL Grin

Dave5Cs
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http://s1264.photobucket.com/albums/jj493/fltmr2000/
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« Reply #15 on: July 13, 2014, 01:43:11 PM »

2 things--
fine on the inverter
Back in the 80's a burglar stole my brand new Amiga 2500 but could not get the cable to the monster external hard disk untangled so none of my  impossible to replace data was lost.  Ever since Ihave been a believer in external drives so the number of drives in the box takes second place to external connections such as USB-3.

Second, choice of storage servers depends on your other devices. My laptop is a Mac, my phones and tablets are mixed Treo/iPad/Android.  my server, storage hub and Wifi hub is an AppleTime Capsule with added external drive.  Managing it from my laptop or iPad is easy -- Much easier than anything mentioned above.  So if you have an iPhone, iPad or Mac to manage it from, the Time Capsule is a competitively priced easier to use alternative.  And the true techies can always drop down to the underlying BSD Unix command line (grin).

edward

edit -- the Time Capsule works fine on the inverter & I can move it back and forth so I don't have any syncronization hassles.
« Last Edit: July 13, 2014, 01:50:47 PM by shelled » Logged

Rampside/UltraVan/Excalibur/4104/4107/etc -- Dallas Tx
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« Reply #16 on: July 13, 2014, 04:46:42 PM »

Dear Friends,

I am thinking about the idea of setting up a media server to make audio/video/PDF/E-books available to my family on the road, especially when we are many hours away from the nearest television signal. I am thinking I can select several dozen of our favorite movies, for example, and rip them from the legally-purchased DVDs into MP4 files, and do the same with a good chunk of our legal music collection. Maybe even a few games? Hey: How about the Detroit Diesel manuals on file (PDFs) for when needed? Then those on board can access what they want via wifi o their tablets or smart phones.

Yes: I am nuts! 

 Grin

Any ideas?

Being solo, I don't have much use for a media server.  I have set them up at nightclubs i've owned so that the upstairs could share with the downstairs.
I just use my (Mac) laptop and some hard drives (well..16TB of hard rives).  I use a 48" flatscreen as my monitor and stream video to my devices using a product called "air server".  There is probably something similar for PC's.

So yeah, been doing it that way for years both in my house, and now my rig.  All media gets ripped to drives, I watch movies on the flatscreen as well as computer work (like typing this).  PDF's....you betcha... thousands. 

I'm going to move up from a 48" to a 60" flatscreen in the rig so I can work on the computer from the bed (ie..7' away).   It's a little small right now.

I can't imagine doing it any other way.
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