Electronics Thread (Television and Sound Recommendations)

mgarbowski

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I am having a Nexflix glitch and figured I would see if anyone has a fix. Every time I watch a show, the sound goes out at some point. I then have to exit the show and go back in for the sound to resume. Any thoughts on the problem/solution?
Have you gone through the steps to isolate the cause, eg does it happen on other streaming services? If Netflix only, does it only happen on one streaming device? Did you try the streaming device on a different tv or display, and vice versa? Also never discount the magical benefits of rebooting your router.
 

JayH

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Have you gone through the steps to isolate the cause, eg does it happen on other streaming services? If Netflix only, does it only happen on one streaming device? Did you try the streaming device on a different tv or display, and vice versa? Also never discount the magical benefits of rebooting your router.
It’s Netflix only on only one tv. I will try to reboot. Thanks
 

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It’s Netflix only on only one tv. I will try to reboot. Thanks
Not sure if you've fixed said problem, but if it's still giving you problems try uninstalling the app and re-installing it. Sometimes code gets fucky with an update. I'm also presuming you're running it on a firestick/roku?
 
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LionNYC

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Any Prime Day deals that are great?

I'm eyeing the Dyson TP02 fan that's 40% off, $299 rather than $499.
 

moogoo

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Is anyone here running a home media server? I'm in the planning stage and would appreciate input on some choices.
i do for movies. i use an old chromebox running kodi streaming from my NAS. plex is very popular but I haven't used it much so I do not know too much about it. My setup works great and I enjoy the extra add-ons in Kodi (not sure if the same is available in plex. maybe?) that allow me to create a movie theater feel with automated lights, trivia, trailers, etc.

from what i know of plex, it is an all in one solution. you can probably do much of the same things with kodi, but it may require additional tinkering. plex provides a lot of those features up front for you. plex also has a subscription for its more advanced features where kodi is completely open source.

what exactly are you looking to do and what are your MUST HAVES?
 

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Anyone have the Sonos Arc? I've been thinking of getting it, but I don't know if I need a sound bar.
 

mgarbowski

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i do for movies. i use an old chromebox running kodi streaming from my NAS. plex is very popular but I haven't used it much so I do not know too much about it. My setup works great and I enjoy the extra add-ons in Kodi (not sure if the same is available in plex. maybe?) that allow me to create a movie theater feel with automated lights, trivia, trailers, etc.

from what i know of plex, it is an all in one solution. you can probably do much of the same things with kodi, but it may require additional tinkering. plex provides a lot of those features up front for you. plex also has a subscription for its more advanced features where kodi is completely open source.

what exactly are you looking to do and what are your MUST HAVES?
I also plan to use it mostly for movies, but probably will also put photos on the server. My one mostly/must have is something I can use on Apple TV but also outside Apple TV so I’m leaning to Plex for that reason mostly. Now I realize I have so many questions. Feel free to pick and choose if it’s asking too much.
  1. Ripping software and formats, settings. I used MakeMKV and Handbrake today on a BluRay as a test with all the default settings, and it seemed to turn out fine. The MKV process was about 30 minutes for a 2 hour movie plus everything else on the disk because I have a Mac with hardware acceleration built in, but the Handbrake conversion from MKV to mp4 took amost 90 minutes for just the movie (which is all I want - I don’t need or want Extras and bonus material on the server). Any advice on all that? Settings, formats, software? I’m Mac centric but flexible, and output settings should translate across software and platforms. Any other advice about the whole workflow of getting movies from discs to computer to NAS is welcome.
  2. NAS. I’m looking at Synology, but just because I had to start somewhere. Do any features matter In particular? Some Synology products come with home media software, but if you plan to use Plex or Kodi I presume that‘s pointless? Is your NAS a RAID?
  3. Do you have a wired connection from your NAS to your router or to your TV, or both? I can’t do both without running Ethernet through walls and I’m not up for a small home construction project.
  4. Should I even think about access from outside the home when my upload speed is 10-12 Mbps? That’s not a deal breaker.
  5. Library backup. I’m curious if you have one, and if so how you manage it. I can think of various ways but none are simple and elegant.
  6. Once I have mp4, do I need to worry about transcoding? I’ve read about some HMS software that does transcoding on the fly, but maybe that’s if I keep things in MKV format?
I’ m pretty tech handy, and have been playing with computer boxes and virtual machines and networks and operating systems for 30 years. But for that reason I’ve also reached the point where Ive had my fun along those lines and I’d rather pay a bit more and maybe give up a bit of control for PnP ease. There’s a limit to that, but that’s the direction I lean. Like I said I realize that’s a lot of questions.. Any advice or suggestions on even any part of it is welcome. Thanks.
 

moogoo

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I also plan to use it mostly for movies, but probably will also put photos on the server. My one mostly/must have is something I can use on Apple TV but also outside Apple TV so I’m leaning to Plex for that reason mostly. Now I realize I have so many questions. Feel free to pick and choose if it’s asking too much.
  1. Ripping software and formats, settings. I used MakeMKV and Handbrake today on a BluRay as a test with all the default settings, and it seemed to turn out fine. The MKV process was about 30 minutes for a 2 hour movie plus everything else on the disk because I have a Mac with hardware acceleration built in, but the Handbrake conversion from MKV to mp4 took amost 90 minutes for just the movie (which is all I want - I don’t need or want Extras and bonus material on the server). Any advice on all that? Settings, formats, software? I’m Mac centric but flexible, and output settings should translate across software and platforms. Any other advice about the whole workflow of getting movies from discs to computer to NAS is welcome.
  2. NAS. I’m looking at Synology, but just because I had to start somewhere. Do any features matter In particular? Some Synology products come with home media software, but if you plan to use Plex or Kodi I presume that‘s pointless? Is your NAS a RAID?
  3. Do you have a wired connection from your NAS to your router or to your TV, or both? I can’t do both without running Ethernet through walls and I’m not up for a small home construction project.
  4. Should I even think about access from outside the home when my upload speed is 10-12 Mbps? That’s not a deal breaker.
  5. Library backup. I’m curious if you have one, and if so how you manage it. I can think of various ways but none are simple and elegant.
  6. Once I have mp4, do I need to worry about transcoding? I’ve read about some HMS software that does transcoding on the fly, but maybe that’s if I keep things in MKV format?
I’ m pretty tech handy, and have been playing with computer boxes and virtual machines and networks and operating systems for 30 years. But for that reason I’ve also reached the point where Ive had my fun along those lines and I’d rather pay a bit more and maybe give up a bit of control for PnP ease. There’s a limit to that, but that’s the direction I lean. Like I said I realize that’s a lot of questions.. Any advice or suggestions on even any part of it is welcome. Thanks.
1. MakeMKV and Handbrake is probably the easiest ways to rip bluray these days without getting into command line options and such using ffmpeg. If you cared about making very fine adjustments to your movie files then it's worth looking into using ffmpeg with MakeMKV to re-encode your audio and video files. But if you are satisfied with what you get with MakeMKV and Handbrake, then I'd stick with that. As far as options/settings, if all you want is the movie without the extras, you need only select the movie chapter/segment in MakeMKV and uncheck everything else. the largest item on the list is the movie. As I said earlier, specific settings will be customized for your particular setup with your apple TV, your actual TV, sound system, etc, and what is most important to you as far as video quality, sound quality, size of the file, or balance of everything. the default settings generally give you a good balance of everything. In Handbrake, I usually choose 1080p for most movies to save space and the high quality preset with constant quality of 18.

Workflow wise - the easiest thing to do is map your NAS share on your computer, rip to your computer and then transcode directly to that folder. In the future, it's also possible to use a VM on your NAS, which can become the target of your ripped movies and then movies can be transcoded by your NAS (albeit at a slower pace) freeing up your computer. Using multiple VMs will require a lot of RAM though.

2. I personally have a QNAP. What matters most for NAS is the RAM. No matter which NAS brand you select, you want one that you'll be able to upgrade. All of them will say that they have a maximum of say, 8GB but in most cases you should have no problem upgrading it to much higher. This varies greatly between brands and between the different models. After the memory, comes the processor. For PLEX use, you want something that can handle transcoding IF NEEDED (more on that later). Luckily, Plex provides a compatibility list that they believe (untested) will provide what your particular demands are. It can be found here: https://support.plex.tv/articles/201373803-nas-compatibility-list/. After that, the features really depend on budget.

Software wise, Synology is probably the best and if you are a Mac user, it will probably be more familiar to you. QNAP software is good but can be overwhelming if you aren't the type to tinker with every little option. It does give you more control over things, but again, it can be overwhelming if that's not your thing. You are correct that if you plan to use PLEX or Kodi, you won't touch their media applications. You will simply create a VM in a container that will be running PLEX/Kodi. Synology also has a nice Google Photos like app for browsing photos, which I think is superior to QNAP's. You will definitely want at least 4 bays to maximize your ability to select the type of RAID you want. I personally choose raid 5, which allows for 1 drive failure in a 4 bay system while providing about 75% available storage space and fast read speeds. One specific thing I will mention is how Synology and QNAP differ with their snapshots. Synology stores snaps on volume whereas QNAP stores them in the storage pool. Snaps on the volume are great when you want to recover a file, but if the volume becomes corrupted, you essentially lose your snaps. If you plan to set up replication to an external storage (attached or cloud), then it may not be an issue.

As far as hard drives, it really depends on your budget and needs. An advantage of Synology over QNAP is their Hybrid RAID system, which allows you to expand your array using a mixture of drives whereas with traditional raid, you just won't be able to without a lot of difficulty. I won't go into all the details, but it's something to consider and look into.

3. I have a wired connection to my router from my NAS and wifi to my chromebox running Kodi. This is my current setup anyway and that may change once I get a new TV in the future. My QNAP provides an HDMI output actually, but it's located far from my TV so I don't utilize it. Instead, I just access my NAS from my Kodi via a network share, which works great. You will have to have your NAS wired to your router, either directly or through a switch. Depending on how many wired devices and/or users you have, a switch may be needed. If you are unable to wire your NAS to your router, your options for NAS models will be very limited. You don't have room by your router for the NAS? They are fairly compact these days.

4. Access outside the home can be done. If you are trying to stream a movie through plex, 10-12mbps should be enough if you get consistent upload speeds and are streaming HD quality. It won't be enough for 4K. Plex provides the ability to access your media through their remote access feature. Not sure if this is behind their pay subscription though. As I said before, I don't use plex so my knowledge of it is pretty limited.

5. By library, what exactly do you mean? Do you mean your actual movies library or the library of movie info scraped from imdb, which you flip through to choose what you want to watch? Once I rip a disc, I put it into storage and I basically never see it again. lol. As far as the movie info library, Kodi will scan the filename of the movie and automatically scrape selected movie info databases and creates a library entry complete with ratings, cast, poster, etc. It's all automated with the ability to go in and edit some stuff if it is incorrect for some reason. I'm fairly confident PLEX does something similar so I would imagine that isn't anything you need to worry about. Kodi saves the movie info in a library database, which can be backed up (and I do) but it is fairly simple to just have Kodi scan all files to rebuild the database if necessary. It just takes some time.

6. Once you've got your mp4, the NAS/plex will only need to transcode if the client media player requires it. Since you need the plex app on your client, it will detect if a transcode is required and then perform it. If all your devices have no issues playing mp4 with the audio codecs you selected when you transcoded with Handbrake, then it will simply play the file directly.

I realize now that I've written all of that that you said you had 30 years of tech experience so you probably didn't need it watered down so much. Anyway, hope these answers help you figure out what you want to do with your setup. Feel free to ask anything else and I will be happy to help if I can.
 

mgarbowski

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I realize now that I've written all of that that you said you had 30 years of tech experience so you probably didn't need it watered down so much.
No this was very helpful, more than I could have hoped for. I have experience as a tinkerer figuring things out but I'm by no means an expert so it's helpful to have all the details laid out. Thank you so much. This saves me a lot of time reading multiple articles that each mention 40% of what you laid out clearly and having to piece it together.

In connection with my backup question, by library I meant the actual movie and media files. I'm a bit of a backup obsessive. I realize if anything got corrupted or what not I can go back and re-rip the disc but I rest easier knowing I have backups of my backups. If that's not your thing no worries. One option I'm considering is adding an external USB drive to my main machine, and copying the media server contents to it. Then I can Backblaze it to the cloud, and have my backup of my backup.
 
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moogoo

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No this was very helpful, more than I could have hoped for. I have experience as a tinkerer figuring things out but I'm by no means an expert so it's helpful to have all the details laid out. Thank you so much. This saves me a lot of time reading multiple articles that each mention 40% of what you laid out clearly and having to piece it together.

In connection with my backup question, by library I meant the actual movie and media files. I'm a bit of a backup obsessive. I realize if anything got corrupted or what not I can go back and re-rip the disc but I rest easier knowing I have backups of my backups. If that's not your thing no worries. One option I'm considering is adding an external USB drive to my main machine, and copying the media server contents to it. Then I can Backblaze it to the cloud, and have my backup of my backup.
Glad to help! Feel free to ask anything else.

As far as backing up the movie data itself, I store all my media on the NAS, which is protected against corruption and 1 disk failure with a combination of having the RAID 5 configuration and incremental snapshots. The snapshots provide a local backup in case of data corruption or volume failure. I am also planning to set up snapshot replication to my brother's NAS, once he gets around to setting me up with the access rights to do so. That will provide off site/cloud backup for my data in case more than 1 of the drives fail. For me, that is sufficient because the chances of volumes failing/data corrupting AND more than 1 drive failure (in my setup) happening are pretty slim. There is no harm in having more redundancy of course, so you should do what makes you comfortable.

If you want to have an external drive to store your data, you might as well use it as your destination for your ripped/transcoded movies. Then set up scheduled backups from the external drive to the NAS over your local network. You can replicate your data from your NAS to the cloud or do it from your computer off the external drive. This saves you the step of having to go and copy files from your nas to your external.

Something I forgot to mention in my other post, if you do not have one already, it is important to also get yourself a UPS (uninterrupted power supply) for your setup. Your NAS will be protected against power surges and power outages, which can corrupt data and/or destroy drives. It can also be connected to the UPS via USB to be notified of a power outage and use the battery backup time to do a proper shutdown.
 

mgarbowski

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Glad to help! Feel free to ask anything else.

As far as backing up the movie data itself, I store all my media on the NAS, which is protected against corruption and 1 disk failure with a combination of having the RAID 5 configuration and incremental snapshots. The snapshots provide a local backup in case of data corruption or volume failure. I am also planning to set up snapshot replication to my brother's NAS, once he gets around to setting me up with the access rights to do so. That will provide off site/cloud backup for my data in case more than 1 of the drives fail. For me, that is sufficient because the chances of volumes failing/data corrupting AND more than 1 drive failure (in my setup) happening are pretty slim. There is no harm in having more redundancy of course, so you should do what makes you comfortable.

If you want to have an external drive to store your data, you might as well use it as your destination for your ripped/transcoded movies. Then set up scheduled backups from the external drive to the NAS over your local network. You can replicate your data from your NAS to the cloud or do it from your computer off the external drive. This saves you the step of having to go and copy files from your nas to your external.

Something I forgot to mention in my other post, if you do not have one already, it is important to also get yourself a UPS (uninterrupted power supply) for your setup. Your NAS will be protected against power surges and power outages, which can corrupt data and/or destroy drives. It can also be connected to the UPS via USB to be notified of a power outage and use the battery backup time to do a proper shutdown.
Thanks. More useful stuff.

It's funny. I'm Mr. Backup but I've never gotten around to buying a UPS. Now I might just do it.
 

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I'm considering is adding an external USB drive to my main machine, and copying the media server contents to it. Then I can Backblaze it to the cloud, and have my backup of my backup.
This was exactly what I was going to suggest for backups.

But while I'm all for Synologies and the like perhaps consider getting a Mac mini with a giant external drive and running Plex on it as an app. You can stick it behind your TV and not have to ever touch it and just run it remotely. If you have to buy a new mini it'll cost about the same as a Synology and can be used as a home server as well. If you happen to have an old Mac sitting around though it'll probably be able to run Plex just fine for no cost. In addition, you're running a Mac, which you already know how to do, and you can use it for all sorts of other things as well.

More or less current how-to: https://www.imore.com/how-run-plex-mac
 

mgarbowski

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This was exactly what I was going to suggest for backups.

But while I'm all for Synologies and the like perhaps consider getting a Mac mini with a giant external drive and running Plex on it as an app. You can stick it behind your TV and not have to ever touch it and just run it remotely. If you have to buy a new mini it'll cost about the same as a Synology and can be used as a home server as well. If you happen to have an old Mac sitting around though it'll probably be able to run Plex just fine for no cost. In addition, you're running a Mac, which you already know how to do, and you can use it for all sorts of other things as well.

More or less current how-to: https://www.imore.com/how-run-plex-mac
Dammit.
Good suggestion that makes me rethink everything.
I hate/love that.
 
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moogoo

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This was exactly what I was going to suggest for backups.

But while I'm all for Synologies and the like perhaps consider getting a Mac mini with a giant external drive and running Plex on it as an app. You can stick it behind your TV and not have to ever touch it and just run it remotely. If you have to buy a new mini it'll cost about the same as a Synology and can be used as a home server as well. If you happen to have an old Mac sitting around though it'll probably be able to run Plex just fine for no cost. In addition, you're running a Mac, which you already know how to do, and you can use it for all sorts of other things as well.

More or less current how-to: https://www.imore.com/how-run-plex-mac
this is a great idea if you already have an old machine laying around or want something relatively low cost. This is essentially what I did with my chromebox with kodi before I got my NAS. Many people do this with a $50 RPi4 and are happy with it. I would not recommend buying a new mac mini for this purpose because it would simply be overkill and a waste. I may be wrong, but it seems like mgarbowski wants a NAS to help satisfy his data backup/redundancy/protection needs as well as act as a media server.


Anyone have the Sonos Arc? I've been thinking of getting it, but I don't know if I need a sound bar.
Don't have a Sonos Arc, but I do use a sound bar. Sound bars are for good, simple solution when you don't have the ability (space, budget, or otherwise) to set up a nice sound system. In my opinion, to determine if you need a sound bar the considerations should be:

1) Are my TV's built in speakers good enough? TVs these days have all the 4K bells and whistles, but even the so called "nicer" TVs have crappy speakers. In my experience, Sony TVs generally have better speakers than similar TVs within the same class, which is one of the reasons why they tend to be more expensive.

2) Budget. Sound bars will be less expensive than a full blown surround sound system. However, in order to enjoy a really good surround sound experience, you will have to get high end sound bar with an external woofer. if i recall correctly, the sonos arc has its subwoofer built in. It's also lacking in features that many other soundbars have at similar prices or even cheaper. I personally have budget vizio sound bar (~$150), which is sufficient for my needs. Vizio makes great sound bars with solid features like hdmi with 4K passthrough (something sonos doesn't offer). I would recommend checking out reviews on rtings and just going to bestbuy or where ever and listening to them yourself.

3) Space. If you have a big room or a room with unconventional layout, then you have to pay extra attention to the virtual surround sound technology of the sound bar.
 
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Seth

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Dammit.
Good suggestion that makes me rethink everything.
I hate/love that.
You're welcome! LOL
I would not recommend buying a new mac mini for this purpose because it would simply be overkill and a waste.
Your points are totally valid, and I too wouldn't buy a Mac mini for *just* this purpose. But, besides the Plex server you also end up with a nice new Mac mini that can do all sorts of things. For example, I would use it as a place to hold all my multi-gigabyte software downloads for safekeeping. Or as a backup target for all your other computers, and then have that single computer get backed up to Backblaze. Or to have a single central spot for all your hi-res Photo library images, so you can just have the lo-res versions everywhere else. There's tons of other examples of things you could use it for, really anything you'd want to use an always-on Mac for. Might come in handy, and not for just Plex use. That's what I meant by my suggestion.
Are my TV's built in speakers good enough? TVs these days have all the 4K bells and whistles, but even the so called "nicer" TVs have crappy speakers.
Yeah, TV speakers are not good enough. Totally recommend a sound bar, even just a low-end one would be a huge improvement over TV speakers. And unless you're going to spend hundreds or even thousands on a video speaker system a simple sound bar will make an enormous difference for not all that much money. Highly recommended.
 

moogoo

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Your points are totally valid, and I too wouldn't buy a Mac mini for *just* this purpose. But, besides the Plex server you also end up with a nice new Mac mini that can do all sorts of things. For example, I would use it as a place to hold all my multi-gigabyte software downloads for safekeeping. Or as a backup target for all your other computers, and then have that single computer get backed up to Backblaze. Or to have a single central spot for all your hi-res Photo library images, so you can just have the lo-res versions everywhere else. There's tons of other examples of things you could use it for, really anything you'd want to use an always-on Mac for. Might come in handy, and not for just Plex use. That's what I meant by my suggestion.

Yeah, TV speakers are not good enough. Totally recommend a sound bar, even just a low-end one would be a huge improvement over TV speakers. And unless you're going to spend hundreds or even thousands on a video speaker system a simple sound bar will make an enormous difference for not all that much money. Highly recommended.
these are all things a simple old computer or raspberry pi can do with a high capacity external. a mac mini's feature set is still overkill for these purposes. For the same money or less, a NAS can do all these things and provide localized redundancy and data protection. Not to mention a massive external drive will be an expensive add-on cost and a single point of failure with only backblaze as its backup. In the end, it is up to each individual's personal needs and use case. If anything, it's clear that there are lots of options out there to choose from.

agree, even a budget sound bar will make significant difference over most built in TV speakers.
 

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Anyone have the Sonos Arc? I've been thinking of getting it, but I don't know if I need a sound bar.
I just got one. It’s good but my old box speakers are better. Wife is making me sell them. Shoot me a text if you want. 7.1 onkyo speakers with a relatively new receiver from Danon.
 

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I just got one. It’s good but my old box speakers are better. Wife is making me sell them. Shoot me a text if you want. 7.1 onkyo speakers with a relatively new receiver from Danon.
Thank you for the offer, but I'll have to pass. I'm looking for a soundbar because of space.