Question Plex Server on Synology DS220j NAS

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Question Plex Server on Synology DS220j NAS

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NAS
DS220+
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Hey guys,

i have some dilemma here. I want to buy a Synology NAS, specifically DS220j and I want to use it to store all my data, photos and family videos. I know and I am using Plex Media Server on my laptop to cast videos and films to my Chromecast and it works well, but I want to store all media on NAS and then cast it to Chromecast.

The problem is: I heard about transcoding media to run Plex Server and it requires more advanced NAS hardware to run. I think the model I choose is not powerful enough to transcode the videos in 1080p. What happens if I buy this NAS, fill it with my files, videos and then I cast these files from NAS to Chromecast? Can this NAS handle this process? Most of my family videos are 1080p H264 with a bitrate around 5 to 10Mbps. Mostly I will be casting only in my home in 1080p (maybe 4K in the future), so I don't need to run it outside of my house.

Thanks for your replies and tips.
 

Rusty

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As long as the Plex client-side will do all the hard work your 220j will be just fine. If in any case transcoding will be needed on the server-side you are in trouble. Make sure that you are 200% sure that no transcodes tasks will be needed and you are good to go.
 

jeyare

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Rusty is right, you need definitely forget for the Plex-server transcoding, because Realtek CPU in the DS220j is out of Plex HW transc. support.
 
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Last edited:
And when is transcode needed? When is a different resolution or different format? Because all my family videos are in some Panasonic M2TS video format. Will be these files transcoded? Sorry but I am a little bit lost in this transcoding thing. :sneaky:
 
1,073
356
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DS418play, DS213j, DS3621+, DSM 7.0.4-11091
all my family videos are in some Panasonic M2TS video format. Will be these files transcoded?
It depends on whether the viewing device supports the audio and video codes contained in the video file. If not, transcoding is required.

I used a j-series for a while. As long as the video codec was H264, and the audio codec was aac, most of my devices were happy.
 
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NAS
DS220+
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And if I choose DS218play? Will be any better for this Plex transcoding as j-series.

I will be mostly using casting through Chromecast and I am not sure if Chromecast have some limitation for this video and audio formats.
 

Rusty

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It would be best if you could test it or get a confirmation that this would actually work. Personally I would stay away from J series. Play series is also a problem with Plex because if there will be a need for transcoding you will kill the nas again unless you have Plex Pass to unlock HW transcoding on supported NAS devices.

Thank being said, again, think it would be best to test it out 1st if possible.
 
22
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DS220+
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Okay then... It is quite difficult to test these things now.

So the best budget solution is to spend a little bit more money and buy DS218+. I heard that this NAS is capable of 1080p transcoding and it will be maybe the best solution in the long run or do you have any other recommendations?
 

Geeked

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Instead of casting, why not use the plex app? Most smart tv’s habe the ability to download the app to your tv. If not a firestick or rocku works well too.
 
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DS220+
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And if I have app on TV, it will work with all formats? So if I play this media only on TV, I can use only DS220j?
 
1,073
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DS418play, DS213j, DS3621+, DSM 7.0.4-11091
Play series is also a problem with Plex because if there will be a need for transcoding you will kill the nas again unless you have Plex Pass to unlock HW transcoding on supported NAS devices.
OTOH, Plex has the ability to do offline "optimization" which is a fancy word for transcoding. I have an old SD series that has audio sync issues when played through Roku. I discovered that I could tweak the transcoding offline to that the next two unwatch shows were pre-transcoded, and after they were viewed and another episode transcoded, I have the watched transcodes auto-deleted. Plex does all that.
So the best budget solution is to spend a little bit more money and buy DS218+
Consider the future. The best 4k transcoders are shown here...
And if I have app on TV, it will work with all formats? So if I play this media only on TV, I can use only DS220j?
Within the apps range of limits.
 
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I would use Xiaomi Mi Box S for Plex App because I don't have smart TV yet, only 7 or 8 year old Panasonic Plasma... So I would use an app there.

Which limit this app have? I am a little bit confused.
 

jeyare

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And if I choose DS218play? Will be any better for this Plex transcoding as j-series.

I will be mostly using casting through Chromecast and I am not sure if Chromecast have some limitation for this video and audio formats.
218play = 218j = same CPU
218+ is different, based on Intel Celeron J3355 = supported HW transc. for Plex
 

fredbert

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218+ is different, based on Intel Celeron J3355 = supported HW transc. for Plex
With the paid Plex Pass.

Hardware transcoding supported without extra licences by DSM's Video Station. Though not comparing apples to apples here.


Why the DS218+ vs other DS2xx alternatives? It's the cheapest model that has:
  • an Intel CPU
  • expandable RAM
  • support for DX517 expansion unit
  • 4K transcoding
  • Plex transcoding
  • Docker support
If you know exactly what you are going to use your NAS for over its lifetime then get the one that meets this, otherwise the DS218+ provides scope for supporting extra services that you may not know you want to have.
  • RAM: chances are you will hit the limit of soldered on RAM. Officially you can increase the 218+ to 6GB.
  • Intel CPU/Transcoding: forgot to have the stereo audio track for your player? This is adapted for in real time.
  • Expansion unit: won't expand the internal RAID but can add a 5 drive 2nd volume ... should really have bought a bigger NAS in the first place!
  • Docker: Synology provides a lot of packages but you can add even more services with Docker ... it's a favourite subject around these parts :)
 
22
0
NAS
DS220+
Operating system
  1. Windows
Mobile operating system
  1. Android
With the paid Plex Pass.

Hardware transcoding supported without extra licences by DSM's Video Station. Though not comparing apples to apples here.


Why the DS218+ vs other DS2xx alternatives? It's the cheapest model that has:
  • an Intel CPU
  • expandable RAM
  • support for DX517 expansion unit
  • 4K transcoding
  • Plex transcoding
  • Docker support
If you know exactly what you are going to use your NAS for over its lifetime then get the one that meets this, otherwise the DS218+ provides scope for supporting extra services that you may not know you want to have.
  • RAM: chances are you will hit the limit of soldered on RAM. Officially you can increase the 218+ to 6GB.
  • Intel CPU/Transcoding: forgot to have the stereo audio track for your player? This is adapted for in real time.
  • Expansion unit: won't expand the internal RAID but can add a 5 drive 2nd volume ... should really have bought a bigger NAS in the first place!
  • Docker: Synology provides a lot of packages but you can add even more services with Docker ... it's a favourite subject around these parts :)

Thanks a lot for your answer. :)

So you will suggest me to invest more money and buy DS218+ instead of play or j variant right? Have I some other options or for my money I cannot buy anything better than this model?

And one more question. It is that transcoding usable in some way without Plex Pass? For example only for 1080p content. Or I have to pay monthly or 150 dollars for a lifetime subscription when I want to use some transcoding.
 

Rusty

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Going in the + segment will pay for itself for sure. It's only a question if its a solution for you atm. But i would advise to take it as well if possible.
 

fredbert

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Last edited:
Video Station supports hardware transcoding if you want this without paying extra, but it's a different solution to using Plex.

You might find Plex Pass discounts online. I purchased a lifetime Pass recently when they did a 50% discount. For me it also provides Plex users of my Apple TV to have their own PIN protected account and it: provides age classification controls; personal usage; as well as access to hardware transcoding.


If your audio and video is all common formats (e.g. mp3, aac, h.264) then most player apps/devices will play these without need to transcode. If you have audio that's in FLAC/ALAC and you want to use lower bandwidth on mobile data then you have to transcode this, but audio shouldn't be a too heavy task. If you have a h.264 movie with AC3 track and your player only supports stereo then this transcoding can taking a heavier toll on the CPU, even though it's only audio changing.

The question all lies in the player device/app you use. The more formats it supports, the less you need transcoding.

So you will suggest me to invest more money and buy DS218+ instead of play or j variant right? Have I some other options or for my money I cannot buy anything better than this model?
The alternative is to buy a lower spec NAS and then you may find you want other features/high spec. In this case you can always re-use that NAS as a backup/archive server, because you should still backup a NAS since the data it handles it active data even if you have a RAID of disks to protect from hardware failure. There's always the chance of data getting wiped and RAID won't protect from that, but a backup will, and versioned backups even better.
 
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I'll echo the sentiment to steer clear of using the NAS itself for transcoding, let it do what it does best (store files) and offload any potential transcoding duties to MAC or PC client that has more power.
 
22
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NAS
DS220+
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  1. Windows
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I'll echo the sentiment to steer clear of using the NAS itself for transcoding, let it do what it does best (store files) and offload any potential transcoding duties to MAC or PC client that has more power.
Yeah, that's possible solution, but what PC do you have power on all the time?

The biggest advantage of transcoding is that you can access any of your media from any device around the world. And if you maybe have a PC dedicated only for transcoding it is way more power efficient than NAS and in my opinion more likely to brake sometime than NAS itself.

So I make a decision that I save more money and I will buy DS218+ and maybe try Synology dedicated app VideoStation so I don't have to pay for hardware transcoding.
 
72
10
NAS
DS1819+, DS1815+
Operating system
  1. Windows
Mobile operating system
  1. iOS
I see your point. I was thinking that you might want to transcode your m2ts file streams to a file format natively supported by your playback devices and could use a tool such as handbrake to do so.
 

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