Archives for posts with tag: Media server

Bitcasa; the service that I struggle with supporting…

In theory, everything sounds good, and the end result is so tantalizing

One of the usage mistakes I made early on was to use Bitcasa for a ‘temp’ folder; the TV Shows – Downloaded folder.
The main use of this folder is to hold currently running shows that are not going to be archived, meaning it goes through a lot of usage in a week as episodes are filled in, watched, and deleted.

But, forces were conspiring

Bitcasa pulled the Ubuntu client, claiming data loss when used with any other client, and all talk of a headless version has died out.
Also, Plex and Bitcasa are not super friendly towards each other, with issues scanning in new episodes (among other minor quirks).

I personally think that this issue with new episodes is because of the way Bitcasa handles ‘infinite’ drives in linux: basically mounting a folder ‘on top’ of the old one, leaving all the old content there to wait for the day that you deactivate and remove it from Bitcasa (I did this today and had to bring the folder back up to date).

 

Some lessons to move forward with:

  1. If you plan on using the current Ubuntu client (if you can find it), plan on only using that and the read-only clients like the mobile app or website.
  2. If you really want an infinite folder, create a new, empty one and transfer data in to it: Do not turn an existing folder infinite, it’s just confusing and a waste of space.
  3. If you want to use Bitcasa and Plex, start with the free plan, and get seriously involved in both forums.
    There are things Bitcasa should be doing, and there might be things that Plex can do to work around what Bitcasa should be doing.

 

I’m still not giving giving up, of course

The idea of paying $20/month + $10/month for all this:

  • automatically handle all the downloading,
  • transcoding,
  • and serving to
    • RasPis,
    • Rokus,
    • iPhones,
    • iPads,
    • Friend’s AppleTVs (through AirPlay),
    • and every other device the Plex supports
  • never having to worry about bandwidth complaints
  • or content notices that the ISP has cooperated on
  • keeping the home FTTH connection super responsive by keeping the concurrent connections as low as possible

as well as the ability to stop maintaining an in-home server if I choose to…

is just so much better than the old way.

Advertisements

So, we didn’t meet the goal, and as I said before, this means I’m going to focus on something else for the time being.

..¬†and that’s ok.

We still believe that a cloud-based media server is a great idea, especially with the benefits to security, and if the solution can be about $20 a month.

And for the time being that’s going on the back burner.

I may personally try a few things over the coming months, posting as I go, and maybe we’ll pick this up again during hibernation season.

On the Raspberry Pi front, there are some very promising projects to focus on.

It looks like Android on the RasPi is dead in the water due to Broadcom’s pretend-open-source drivers for the GPU (they only let it accelerate video, not any other sort of GPU task), and this has shuffled some development talent on to more rewarding (and interesting) projects.

We’ve got pyplex, continued work with XBMC, crazy storage options, and even some work on creating a version of OpenELEC that runs a RasPi-optimized version of Plex/HT (Plex Home Theater).

Expect the next phase of Raspberry Pi HTPC to be evolutionary, not so much revolutionary; I’ll keep up to date guides for anything I’m actively working on, and keep you posted as more interesting things develop.

One interesting thing to note, since we’ve now had a Roku for a while; there have been a few times where HD content could not be transcoded fast enough, and we flipped over to the Raspberry in order to watch it in smooth full quality; the Roku seems to be artificially limited by what level of h.264 it supports, whereas the Raspberry comes in like a lightweight fighter, ready to dodge each punch and deliver more power than it looks like it’s capable of.