Media Fileserver (Revision 5)

In an attempt to simplify things and move to a more apple friendly environment i’ve changed things up once again. Here’s the current configuration:

The Server itself:

  • MacMini w/360GB HDD & 8GB of RAM.
  • 3TB USB 3.0 external HDD.
  • Mountain Lion Server
  • Very low power consumption.
  • Gigabit Ethernet uplink.

Plex

I’m using Plex (http://www.plexapp.com/) to serve my files. It has a small application (Plex Media Server) that runs all the time in the background on your server keeping track of all new media, and making it accessible from other machines/mobile devices.

Plex handles many formats seamlessly. If you have a TV show (for example) in two formats, it gives a choice upon playback to select the format wanted.

Using MyPlex (its free) you can then login to your MyPlex account from as many devices as you want (so for example I have a mac mini hooked up to a TV that’s logged in, my macbook is logged in, as is my iphone). Once a device is logged into your MyPlex account (and your plex media server is logged into it), you can then access all the media on your media server from anywhere in the world (via 3G/wifi/whatever).

TV

For TV, I use the micro torrent (http://www.utorrent.com/downloads/complete?os=mac) (note: I do use an older version of it as for some reason the tracker i’m on doesn’t like the latest uTorrent).

I use this in combination with an RSS feed from a private torrent site. On the site I chose all of my favorite TV shows (about 50 of them) and it automatically publishes them to RSS when a new episode comes out. Then uTorrent automatically downloads it, and Plex adds it to its internal media library.

Storage

For now non-essential media is stored solely on the 3TB drive. Important data (such as photos) are stored on the local drive on the MacMini, and backed up via Duplicity to the External as well.

I don’t bother keeping movies around any longer (other than ones I plan to watch in the very near future) as the currently it’s quick and easy to get movies. Thus the drive is mainly for TV and Music. Once it fills up, I’ll remove old TV or add an additional 3TB drive.

Other Services

Mountain Lion Server also easily shared a printer/scanner combo I had plugged in via USB (and both remote printing and scanning work seamlessly). It also has a VPN service, which is convenient for traveling, I can use it on my iPhone/Macbook in order to route all my traffic through the USA, allowing me to wach Netflix and Hulu from outside the country.

Internet

Currently I have a single comcast cable connection 30mbit/5mbit. This has proven to be adequate to stream HD media to my laptop when I’m traveling, though I haven’t tried streaming to multiple devices over WAN simultaneously (yet).

One thought on “Media Fileserver (Revision 5)

  1. Just wanted to update that I’ve now been successfully using this setup for a couple months and it works great!

    -Plex works great especially over shady connections (like 3G on the iPhone or crappy hostel wifi).
    -It keeps track of what i’ve seen and what i haven’t so that i don’t have to figure it out myself. Doesn’t matter where i watch it, if i’ve watched it it will be marked as such.
    -Has no problem with any rar’s and such i’ve thrown at it.

    The mac mini also uses very little power.

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