Question The need for hardware transcoding capabilities?

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Question The need for hardware transcoding capabilities?

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DS220+ : DS1019+ : DS920+ : DS118 : APC Back UPS ES 700 — Mac/iOS user
Hello all,

I need help understanding what’s going on below when it comes to transcoding. I’m always challenged by this subject.

Preface:
I’ve installed Emby media player on my 120j. I was thinking NO WAY it’s going to play anything. To my surprise, it’s playing everything I’m throwing at it smoothly (on a 120j!). The server part felt so light (compared to VS). I’m using Emby iOS client on my iPad and on top of that I’m connected remotely via my OpenVPN!

For the sake of comparison, I installed Video Station. As expected, it kept saying “can’t transcode” for a lot of what I tried (where I had no problem with Emby playing the same media files)! I didn’t try any 4K files as I don’t have any at the moment, but I will.

Do you think Emby’s iOS client is using my iPad to transcode (like Infuse)?!

I’ve just bought a one month Emby premier subscription to play with it more. So far I’m impressed. What’s going on?

But here’s my BIG question:
If I go for 1618+ (or maybe its replacement) am I going to have the same experience with Emby? I’m puzzled.
 
Have you looked at bandwidth usage while playing media? If you can stream using VS with definitely no transcoding then you may be able to see what Emby's usage is and compare bandwidths. If it's about the same then the iOS app is doing and transcoding (and not saving $$/££ on mobile charges) but if lower then the server side will be doing it. But would it be hardware or software? unless Emby say they use hardware and the DS120j can do it.
 
Have you looked at bandwidth usage while playing media?
I didn’t. I might try that and see.
I looked at this table but I’m still equally puzzled.
unless Emby say they use hardware and the DS120j can do it.
I might try posting at Emby‘s and ask if the client side is doing any transcoding. I’ve searched their knowledge base and couldn’t find anything related to my question.
 
I did a few tests (using the 120j). To summarize…

If you’re struggling with Video Station (especially if you have a low end model), try installing Emby (that’s what I’ve tried and I love it) or Plex (never tried it on the NAS).

If you still have problems, try Infuse by Firecore, either by itself or with one of the above (Emby or Plex). Infuse with its latest update can integrate and sync with them. However, by itself, it doesn’t have the powerful metadata management of Emby or Plex.

What Infuse brings is the ability to play almost any file. I believe its advantage is that it transcodes directly on the device (e.g. Apple TV) instead of the NAS.

Here’s a NAS Compares article about transcoding.
 
Last edited:
This may be one of those 'not-answering-the-question' posts but if you bear with me as a fellow macOS & iOS user who has setup a few network systems that include transcoding and also hosts Plex both for home use and the wider family.

Synology NASes are great at bulk storage and an endless list of other tasks but few, if any, are genuinely 'good' at transcoding. Sure, some models are capable of it but usually at a cost of something else or a performance impact with other services.

Your average Mac is way better at transcoding, optimising media, playback, thumbnails, timeline scrubbing and alike, so until very recently I used a secondhand 2012 Mac mini as my main Plex server with a Synology NAS providing bulk storage and some Plex server functionality (eg Plex DVR).

Mac minis use very little power, cheap to buy, are pretty-much silent and small enough to be hidden anywhere. I've had them on vesa brackets behind TVs or hosted in a network rack in a 'headless' mode (no keyboard, mouse or display). Being a Mac you can operate them via any other Mac and they come with a number of server-like features built-in.

I recently upgraded to a base model M1 Mac mini as my main Mac mini server but that was more to tryout the new Apple Silicon. But as with the 2012 Mac mini it trounces a typical Synology at media management, transcoding and alike. It sips power, meaning I can leave it running 24/7 and once you have a Mac running on a network full-time you can use it as an 'truth anchor' for the rest of a Mac and iOS network. So effortless Bonjour networking, seamless file handling and Apple single-click automated 'Content Caching'. This is where all App, Mac OS, tvOS and iOS updates and downloads come from the internet (transparently) via the Mac mini on the first occasion only; then any other Apple device grabs a local copy from the cache on the Mac mini at local network speed and not using internet bandwidth.

Beyond that you get better HomeKit support, Apple's distributed 'Sleep Proxy' service (to keep electricity usage to the minimum on all networked Apple devices) and a brace of other handy little things in Apple's walled-garden.

But back to transcoding - effortless for an old Mac mini and with bulk storage on a Synology NAS it works with no drama.

I can add further details if this an option that may interest you.
 
I’m in the same situation but I have 0 problems with plex running of the nas when it comes to multiple transcode remote streams on various platforms. Happy to see that these little machines work more then fine and that I don’t have to use another device as a server in their place.
 
But back to transcoding - effortless for an old Mac mini and with bulk storage on a Synology NAS it works with no drama.
This is a good solution. Thank you for the detailed explanation of the setup. I'm sure it will benefit someone as a reference here. As for me, I've purchased a lifetime Emby premiere license, and I'm using it on a 220+ and a 1019+ and so far I'm quite happy with it (apart from the stupid name) :)
I have no reason to move Emby to another server. It works very well and the DiskStations are always running. To me, managing everything in one box is easier (especially for remote access control).

And to answer my own question above –now that I know more about it– of whether Emby utilized my iPad or not when I was testing with the 120j. The answer is yes, it was "direct playing" to the iPad.
 

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