I enjoy sharing media files between family and friends. However, I find my method of connecting an external hard drive each time I want to share is a bit unrefined. I was eyeing NAS solutions for well over 2 years now, but still am hesitant and perplexed due to their high price.
All I want to do is share files (documents, miscellaneous), and stream music and videos. I have experimented with Windows 7's Homegroup/Network Sharing but it doesn't quite work the way I want; plus, I want a low profile/power/heat/noise and always-on and accessible solution. Researching around, these options may or may not suit my needs the best: a DIY file server; a DIY NAS; a pre-built NAS.
Getting To The Point
Question 1 What hardware components would I need if I wanted an efficient and inexpensive 24/7 file server solution (documents, music, videos)? No torrenting/RAID/optical drive/transcoding.
Question 2 When serving content like HD video, which computer handles the burden: the server, or the served?
Question 3 If in Question 2, the server handles the burden, would I need to install, on the server, audio and video codecs/filters for the streaming to work? I will be using Media Player Classic HomeCinema with madVR and LAV filters.
Question 4 Is a hard drive placed in a pre-built NAS sufficient?
Approximate Purchase Date: N/A Budget Range: N/A System Usage from Most to Least Important:1) Sharing files over wireless router. 2) Smooth video streaming (480p up to and including 1080p; AVIs, MKVs, etc). 3) Music streaming (MP3, OGG, FLAC, everything). Are you buying a monitor: No Parts to Upgrade: N/A Do you need to buy OS: No. Will be using Linux/Ubuntu ideally if going the route of NAS/File server; home computers vary between Windows XP x86 and Windows 7 x86/x64. Preferred Website(s) for Parts: newegg.ca, ncix.ca, tigerdirect.ca Location: North York/Toronto, Ontario, Canada Parts Preferences: N/A Overclocking: No SLI or Crossfire: No Your Monitor Resolution: One laptop at 1280x800; Two laptops at 1366x768; One desktop at 1920x1080
Must be quiet and draw low power and heat. Will be on 24/7.