DYI Servers

1. Right now the easiest thing to do is to get a NAS box which supports 4-12 bays. I personally use Synology for this, they are reasonably cheap and they keep their linux based system up to date. (You can even run docker containers on it). Idk how much future proofing you do, but right now the sweet spot box is a 4-drive NAS (I have an 8 and a 12). With 8TB drives, these can last a good long time. Since I’m a bit of a geek, I’ve found the 12 is just about perfect because it has a enough space and then you don’t have to constantly rebuild drives. I normally run these in 2 drive fail over mode, but as @vsadovsky has pointed out to me, these days it is easier just to run in RAID10 so that you get one drive worth of failover and instant recovery. Recovery is the bane of these large systems and in fact in recovering a raid drive you can actually cause a read error destroying the array.
2. You can also build your own server if you are a power geek (we have a hand built server in the surround.io office in a 24-disk chassis), this is something you only want in a machine room however.
3. In terms of ripping drives, I’ve mainly focused on Mac tools, but there are quite a few of them. Basically both DVDs and Bluray have been cracked and so you can easily “backup” those formats onto the system.
4. In terms of viewing, you have a few choices. With Android setup boxes, there is a viewer called Kodi which works well and streams off the box. Assuming you have 1GB ethernet, this works fine and a Synology. I run the system in SMB and AFS mode (you can also run it in NFS if you like :slightly_smiling_face:
5. For viewing, there are also viewers for your phone and of course Windows and Mac. Kodi works on all of them, although many times i just use VLC as I don’t need the full browsing experience.
6. Finally, you can also use this whole setup as a DVR. There is a box called HDHomeRun Prime which is a OTA/Cable box that converts those into an MPEG-2 stream over IP. There is a free tool called MythBox that then acts as a personal DVR and this easily allows direct viewing or there is a Kodi plug in and this is the homebrew way to integrate ripped DVD/Blu-Ray with live viewing. We actually don’t use that anymore as the kids have lost interest in cable and we don’t watch sports.