Best software / hardware solution for media library for cord cutting ...?

We’re looking at cord cutting, and we’d ideally like for our playback solution to not rely on having a constant Internet connection. Not because our Internet isn’t decent, but sometimes it gets laggy - and we don’t want that when we’re watching videos. So just pure streaming is out

Due to library size, even if the Apple TV could load our media in to the storage, there wouldn’t be enough.

Is the best option these daysto come up with a Plex server + something like an Apple TV? Or are there other media players out there that would allow us to plug in one of my old USB hard drives that might be a better setup?

How do y’all handle this sort of thing?

Definitely a fan of Plex
It’s worth it just to get
the meta data for your
USB content

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Even using something like Plex you need some sort of Internet connection. Furthermore, even to share with other devices you would need a WiFi connection at least (i.e. iTunes won’t see other libraries without a connection.

Besides setting up a PC with lots of local storage, you’d have to hack AppleTV Gen 1 to add external storage. But its easier to setup a mac with local storage.

I’ve setup:

  1. Mac Mini
  2. Two external 1 TB HDD
  3. But I use the Mac Mini as a Plex server, so still it needs a connection.

Plex is the way to go.

Yes, it needs an Internet connection for things like metadata, etc. but it won’t require the bandwidth that streaming requires.

I think a Plex + Apple TV is the best way to go, but that requires some kind of server to go with it. If you have a Mac to devote to it, that might be easiest/cheapest.

If you want a “Plug a hard drive into this device and hook that device to the TV” then you probably want the $199.99 Nvidia Shield TV Pro which was just reviewed on Ars:

Meet the new best Android TV device: The 2019 Nvidia Shield TV | Ars Technica

I have an older one of those but never did get around to using it. Bought it on sale last Black Friday, I think. Anyway, I can’t vouch for it myself. I think Federico Viticci recommended it, and then eventually dropped it and started using his Mac mini as a Plex server because maintaining an Android device wasn’t something he cared to do.

I was thinking of repurposing a modestly-specced old laptop with Linux to run the Plex server for now, and then when I eventually upgrade my Mac Mini I could rotate the old Mini into the role of Plex server. :slight_smile:

I am probably a bit late here, but Plex is the way to go.

Just make sure that whatever you run it on it’s not completely gutless, I recently had to replace the Old NUC I was using because it just could not keep up with transcoding on the fly