DIY/Home Improvement DIY Netflix

DIY/Home Improvement DIY Netflix

Gummibeer

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Today I've started project Homeflix - I've planned it since several months and now I've started to do it.


After I've checked several NAS solutions, prices and performance and also all PCs in my cellar and compared and thought about all the different RAIDs pro's & con's - my plan is to use one of the PCs I have and put in all HDDs with >1TB I have.

My super first step, for today, will be cleaning and combining all parts in one case and install an OS.
If everything goes well it will start with 120GB SSD and 7TB HDDs.
The other HDDs will be placed end of week if the PCIe->SATA card and the missing cables and cages arrive.

During collecting HDDs I've even found some super old ones - the smallest was 80GB. 😂😱
So like 1-2 4K movies. 🙈🤯

I've dropped the NAS solution because of costs and performance. Also because of limited software installable, limited ports and HDD bays. With this setup I can install up to 16 HDDs - and with 4TB drives pricing around 100€ this is far more scalable, upgradable than a NAS.

 

Gummibeer

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Part of the process was a hole through the wall for a LAN cable to wire up all devices in our living room. 🔌

IMG_20200512_181714.jpg

Ubuntu is installed, all HDDs are connected/detected and the PC is placed in it's corner.

Next steps will be to install Plex and copy all the data.

 

Gummibeer

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Right now it copies the first small batch of movies and I immediately know why I've switched from Ubuntu to MacOS - File Permissions.
I can't tell why, but I nearly never had to run chmod or chown on MacOS. On this Ubuntu PC I've already added a cronjob because all copied files have the wrong permissions.

But the good thing: MergerFS works like expected. I have three normal ext4 HDDs which I can remove, replace or add like I want. But still have one mount point which combines all of them.
This way I don't have to care about RAIDs and how to combine the different size HDDs the best way. My "backup" is/will be my unlimited gDrive - as long as the folder isn't shared Google told me that it's okay to have copyrighted content.

If everything is copied, indexed and metadata loaded I will show you some more images of the final setup.

Something I will have to check is if MergerFS has setup itself for reboot or if I will have to add some fstab entries.

 

Gummibeer

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Right now I copy the data from my old NAS.
I do so by first letter in alphabetical order to don't miss some.

Even if my network bandwidth is nearly 3times more than of USB2 it will take so e time for several TBs. 🙈😅

For everyone interested in doing the same I will write the most important facts here.

Hardware
In fact nearly every old PC will do the job. I've used the motherboard with the most (6) SATA sockets and PCIe slots (2) I had. It has also the most modern CPU (6 core AMD) - I've removed the GPU and use onboard one to save energy, space and it's also not needed for a "server" and the 6core CPU is also powerful enoutto transcode multiple streams.
I've also installed an used 120GB SSD I had here for the OS - so I have incredible boot times.
On top I've ordered a PCIe 6port SATA card because I have ~9 HDDs I would like to install.

Software
As OS I've decided to use latest LTS Ubuntu 20.04 - it's easy to install, has powerful bash/terminal options and supports all software I need.

The Media Server of choice is Plex - I like the UI and for some cases the scraper had better results than Emby. But for all wanting all features for free Emby is also a great tool, so it's a decision of personal preferences.

To manage all the files, properly name them and create a good folder structure I use FileBot. It's the tool I always wanted because I love organized files/folders.
That's my FileBot pattern - the last part is because I have some movies in 720p, FHD, 4K and so on.

Code:
{plex} - {vf}.{af}

To download additional media assets, poster, background, trailer and so on I use tinyMediaManager. It works the same like a charm as FileBot does. This way Plex doesn't has to scrape too much and the quality is improved. I also have the same results on all devices and could switch to any other Media Server because all files are stored together.

Because I have a bunch of different sized HDDs a RAID wasn't an option. But I wanted to have a single folder to cope to/read from. So I've installed MergerFS and it works perfectly fine! All HDDs are standalone and only merged into one mount via software - FUSE. So if one HDD is corrupted only the data on it will be lost, I can use the full available storage on all drives and can remove, replace or add HDDs like I want.
And it's only some simple commands and fstab entries. There are some great tutorials out there.

IMG_20200513_133958.jpg

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If you have any questions don't hesitate to ask. 😊

 
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Gummibeer

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After my first joy how easy and great MergerFS works it seems like Plex has problems with it.
After a reboot and adding more HDDs it wasn't able to play any movie, but it was able to detect them via rescan. So it seems like Plex does some pretty strange things under the hood to go d the movie file for playback. Because opening the file with the absolute path was possible. So it wasn't the merged FS or Linux itself.
Now I've added every HDD with the Movies folder as a single source entry and use the MergerFS only for easier and balanced write/copy.
Because this still works like a charm! 🤩🚀

 

Gummibeer

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For all with a large media library - if you want to generate chapter thumbnails: bring some time and a powerful CPU. 😉

IMG_20200515_164535.jpg

That's how it looks to import, index and process ~700 movies (~6TB). 🤯🙈😅
This will take some hours or even multiple days to get done.
IMG_20200515_165301.jpg

But I'm on the final/last copy process - so at least everything will be on the HDDs today.
After testing Insync I will check rclone. Insync doesn't support one way sync - and two way sync created some unwanted files/folders and takes a lot more time.
So I think that it will take ~2-3 weeks to upload everything to gDrive.

 
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Gummibeer

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Another changelog entry - today I've switched the media server software from Plex to Emby.

My thoughts and reasons:
With now over 10TB of videos Plex was at it's limit - at least it felt like.
Like I wrote above all my files are perfectly prepared by FileBot and tinyMediaManager. So the media server only has to grab the name/year from folder and the image files needed like poster.jpg. My expectation of doing this was a consistent experience over all installations, persistent meta data and so on. But for sure also a lot faster indexing process.
Plex wasn't able to fulfill one of these points

  • It has still downloaded other assets and sometimes showed them instead of mine
  • It wasn't able to show the posters all the time, after every rescan some other movies had no poster
  • The indexing process still took ~3-6h

After switching to Emby all of the points are solved.
  • Emby doesn't load useless data if there's already a poster
  • Emby has found and shows all available posters since the first run
  • The first initial index took ~1h - following only 1-5min

So Emby supports the local assets in the way I expect it to do, it seems to be able to handle larger libraries and incremental scans.

Now I only have to move all the trailers I had into a subdirectory instead of -trailer suffix - but that's an easy job with bash. 🚀

 
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