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Plex server setup questions

I really love the channel and the site and have been doing research for over a year on and off, tossing around ideas on what I want to do. I don't want to pay for Plex Pass on principle. I shouldn't have to pay for HW transcode. I'm not sure if I want to go with a shield pro or another route.

I've been streaming to my HiSense U8K in another room using my personal computer (3900X, 2080 Super, 2x16 GB 3600 Mhz 16-16-16-36 RAM and HGST 4 TB HDD) over WIFI, without issues. It direct plays the content. I want something that doesn't depend on my PC being on and I want the files to be network accessible.

I've been using "watch together" to stream to someone. We speak on the phone during this and some days the sync is very off, while others it's fine.

One external stream at a time is the most I intend on, and it doesn't need to be 4K & HEVC capable, but would be great if affordable. I plan to upgrade to 16 TB RAID10 in the future. What would be the most budget-concious way to achieve this?
Thanks for reaching out, and I'm glad to hear you're enjoying the content! It sounds like you're looking to set up a Plex server that can handle streaming to your HiSense U8K TV and potentially accommodate future upgrades. Considering your requirements and budget, here's a suggestion for a budget-conscious setup:


The NVIDIA SHIELD TV Pro is an excellent choice for a Plex server. It offers robust hardware capabilities, including hardware transcoding support, which eliminates the need for a Plex Pass subscription. With its powerful Tegra X1+ processor and 3 GB of RAM, it can easily handle one external stream at a time, even in 4K and HEVC formats. Additionally, it provides network accessibility for your media files and doesn't rely on your PC being on.

Option 2: DIY NAS Build

Another option is to build your own NAS using budget-friendly components. You can opt for a mini-ITX motherboard with an efficient CPU like the AMD Ryzen 3 or Intel Core i3, which should handle transcoding tasks adequately for one external stream. Pair it with 8-16 GB of RAM and a RAID-capable controller. For storage, consider starting with a couple of 4 TB HDDs and then expand as needed. This DIY approach allows for future upgrades, such as increasing storage capacity or adding more RAM.

Considering your budget of $650 USD, the NVIDIA SHIELD TV Pro would be a more straightforward and cost-effective solution, offering the convenience of a pre-built device with powerful hardware for Plex streaming.

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