RevRico MegaDork
2/7/24 1:23 p.m.

This streaming garbage is really starting to piss me off. Costs as much as cable did, has just as E36 M3ty of a selection of cable did, and nothing I want to watch is ever on any of the services when I want to watch it, much like cable. And with Amazon and others adding berkeleying ads to "ad free" accounts, I'm over it. 

Hard drive space is cheaper than ever, bandwidth is faster and cheaper than ever, I see the beginnings of a solution.

Currently I have an external hdd that plugs into the tv in my bedroom. This is convenient but annoying because when I want something new, I have to download it and transfer it to that hard drive. Alas, I'm not the only person in the house anymore, and other people like to watch things, so I have to be considerate of them, I guess. 

The living room TV is fine, it's where my desktop lives. What I need to get access from is another LGtv OR Xbox Series X, a hisense roku tv, an Amazon fire 8 tablet that would need to be age restricted or folder restricted, and a galaxy A71 phone because of the wife's annoying "watch something on her phone while she eats even if we're in the bedroom watching something on tv" habit.


What I have hardware wise:

  • 6 year old middle of the road gaming desktop with damn near infinite storage
  • An unopened raspi 4
  • A solid gigabit internet connection
  • 16 port network switch

What's the easy way to tie all this E36 M3 together? Bonus points for an actual private and secure (read as doesn't store history, isn't owned by the US govt or any of its subsidiaries) VPN as well.

There are just too many options out there these days, and I know most of them are E36 M3, so what's actually good and capable?

Tom_Spangler (Forum Supporter)
Tom_Spangler (Forum Supporter) UltimaDork
2/7/24 1:31 p.m.

I'm running Plex on a Western Digital NAS. With the Plex app installed on my various Rokus and Nvidia Shields, I can access my media anywhere in the house.

GameboyRMH MegaDork
2/7/24 2:14 p.m.

I have videos that "fell off a truck" served via Samba from a homebuilt Linux server that I can access from any of my other devices. The VLC phone app can access Samba shares directly. My primary home media server is an ordinary office desktop computer running Linux.

TotalVPN is recommended by TPB, ProtonVPN is one with pretty serious privacy cred. I use Nebula for secure VPN links between my devices, but it's more of a convenience measure for me vs. making SSH connections.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
2/7/24 2:48 p.m.

I use Plex on a Pi 4 attached to a couple of terabytes of storage. It's just plain easy to use on the other devices. I'd be tempted to use the gaming box in your case because it'll probably be able to transcode media on the fly. 

The Pi also acts as a Pihole, a network level ad blocker. 

I don't have a hole opened up in the firewall to allow access to the Plex from outside, it's only accessible on my own network. 

pres589 (djronnebaum)
pres589 (djronnebaum) UltimaDork
2/7/24 3:26 p.m.

I have a Synology Diskstation NAS in the basement sitting on a gigabit router with CAT6 running to a number of spots in the house.  There's applications from the Synology store to allow it to serve media in a bunch of ways.  Wireless covers the rest.  I have an Amazon Firestick in the back of my stereo receiver at the TV.  VLC is installed on the Firestick which is an official app from the Firestick store so nothing funny going on there.  

Plex sounds a little nicer but this was extremely easy to set up.  The NAS is a two-drive mirrored array in a box, I never have to think about it really.  I like Kieth's idea of using the pi as a network gateway style ad/malware blocker though that would complicate my setup if I were to do something similar (which I have considered).

I could totally understand setting up a *nix on a recycled PC and having storage hang off that but the Diskstation is just too easy.  Takes it from being a project down to almost an appliance and I rarely think about it.

iansane Dork
2/7/24 3:36 p.m.

I do the Plex thing with a couple terabytes attached.

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