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Build home media server or use a Game Console with DLNA and/or Plex, which is better?

Why build a home media server when I can use a game console such as xBox or PlayStation?

Pro’s and Con’s, what are your opinions?

I’ll start… I like the game console idea (although I’ve never tried it), because someone else maintains the software.

I also like the idea more because I did, a year or so ago, create a media server out of a Raspberry Pi and the picture quality was far far worse than the game console for streaming video from the internet…

I’m open minded about putting that Raspberry Pi to some other machine to this purpose, but it would have to be something that wouldn’t be a pain to maintain. I’d like to leave this question open ended though; if you’ve made a media server out of some other hardware, what do you like/dislike about it, etc?

I’ve used my gaming PC to host Universal Media Server which is a JAVA based DLNA server.

It has always worked great even when playing games and streaming at the same time.

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Nice, what game console does that run on? I’ve been using a PlayStation for YouTube, Hulu, etc., but I don’t have a storage server for hosting any content with DLNA.

HTPC for me. A PC gives you the most flexibility, even a NUC or sffpc.

I’ve scrapped 3 DVR machines and junked the smart functionality of my TV over the last 10 years due to various hardware limitations or software lockouts of old versions (BBC iPlayer, Netflix and Amazon) no longer work on my 2009 Sony Bravia, for example).

Whereas the sandybridge era CPU and motherboard of my HTPC running Windows 10 will play anything at full HD and even has Blu-ray functionality. No contest.

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Yea, that sounds nice. I don’t think I could get on board with Windows 10 for those things (trust lost), but I can definitely understand the appeal.

My prod machine runs Manjaro and does all the same things. You can do all this Linux style if you want.

Unfortunately SWMBO prefers the TV to work like her laptop so it’s windows in any room that isn’t my office.

I just switched to Emby from Plex. Plex ran really slow (dual socket xeon 12c24t) and was difficult to manage metadata for some series shows. It also recently was repeatedly asking for a plex account.

Emby runs excellent, has loads more options, inactive timeout option like netflix and they dropped the nag screen if you dont have premier.

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Just an FYI, I run UMS on my Gaming PC which is running Windows 10 Pro.

I don’t have any issues with it at all however UMS has builds for *nix and even MacOS.

PI is rather mediocre … There are better SBCs for such purposes but more $$$.
If you already have consoles and you really want to use it and you only need space for storing files, Odroid HC1 / HC2.
However, the greatest flexibility will be based on PC x86

Have you tested Jellyfin?

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until they actually start releasing new code it is EMBY with a different skin.
it is exactly the same layout and styling just different colors and logos. If you are married to the FOSS ONLY mindset as opposed to Open Source then go with JellyFin but it isn’t different from EMBY.

Wow, I’ve never heard of any of these things! lol

These alternatives aren’t a pain to maintain? My experience is that everything I build for my own enjoyment, even if it’s something as simple as a client host behind a NAT firewall, becomes a giant target that I have to constantly look after for problems and updates on a near daily basis.

It’s like, anything that’s not a fully licensed deployment of fortified business applications becomes totally unpractical, lol.

EMBY will let you know when to update or you can set it to auto update. EMBY unlike Plex does not talk out to the web unless you tell it to so its by default more secure and less of an concern in relation to security.

That’s cool. I’ll keep that in mind if I do something like this sometime. All my college tv shows and movies are trapped on a server that I can’t turn on because the power supply is broken, lol.

What sort of machine and PSU maybe I can find you a spare part…

I would simply go with Dual Xeon build as always…

Maybe Dual Xeon E5-2680v3 gives a best value… Egyip it with dual m.2 or u.2 RAID-1 for OS silicon power definitely mYbe even 4x RAID-10 4X512GB

The actual storage would be probably 4x… 6x again RAID - 10 OR 5 OR 6… enterpricecapacity etc… From 3…12TB depending on needs won’t cost too much but don’t forget the ups/apc

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Actually…

With jellyfin,

You can use hardware/gpu encoding
No nag
You can record live TV/streams

Probably some other things.

I might switch over from emby just because those things are free with jellyfin

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I’m a bit confused. Are we talking about a media server or media playback device? Because I have both things and they’re not one in the same. Plex lives on my home server which also has many other functions. Media and entertainment happens with my laptop. Just plug in power, Wireless multi-media keyboard, and HDMI cord to the TV.

My argument against consoles as media servers would be that they’re going to be a proprietary box. I saw mentioned someone else would take care of software, well same when you use a PC…at least you can choose when and what to update (if you’re not running Windows 10)

depends on your definition of server, and clients

example: most all linux users use a display server, such as x11/wayland, with the gui programs, and the window managers etc being the client as it were,

if we assume the user is the client the server could be the device playing the media for their consumption


obligatory build your own media server(as in the software stack)


for hardware would probably recommend something like an athlon 200ge, as there are other pi type devices which may have hardware decoding but that doesnt mean you get driver support to actually use them in traditional applications

with the athlon as long as you have a new enough kernel should be fine, and is fairly low power consumption(35w tdp and all, on a zen based platform which will power gate pretty good/better than current intel platforms)

the cheapest 350 or whatever board you find with the features you need, 200ge, some hard drives whatever you want/need

Well, I haven’t proposed media recording as a function of such a setup, though I wouldn’t doubt that that would be a desirable function to have in addition to everything else.

The reason I’ve started out on the game console side is not because I’ve done it, but because the consoles are so highly engineered for “repairing” or “upgrading” the picture quality of whatever you’re streaming, from where ever it comes from locally or remote. It’s really nice in that way.

Comparing youtube or netflix streaming from my SmarTv versus the Raspberry Pi versus my PS3, there is no comparison (on picture quality). The PS3 is hands down the winner.

I also like that Sony, through its software, keeps this up with the optimizations built into the software at the lowest level to max out the video and audio quality without any intervention from “us”, per se.

However, I’ve never used it with PLEX or some other sort of NAS with DLNA capability to see how good it is at remaining compatible with the menagerie of formats my old college tv shows and movies tend to be formatted in, from like, 2006, lol.

In terms of video quality enhancement, the PS3 and I’m sure the newer consoles like the XBox and PS4, are unbelievable.

you have all of that with premium on emby. All jellyfin is as of a month ago when i test drove it is EMBY premium with a different skin.