Home Media Servers and Owning Your Library

The Verge recently published an article on physical media, and they were not alone. It seems as if there are two camps. Those who have given up on physical media because streaming is so prevalent, and those who have embraced it. What is the difference?

Streaming is great, in that you get a large library of content for a set price. But, with streaming services raising prices, adding ads, removing content to save money…it isn’t a guarantee, especially if you have certain content you want to keep. Even if you ‘buy’ videos on a service, buying is a license that the service can revoke at any time and owe you nothing, as the people who had content in anime service Funimation discovered.

So, I have been, like the author of the Verge article, accumulating physical media, mostly waiting for sales and other opportunities. For one, I get extras like deleted scenes, director’s commentary, and such. But, I consider the DVDs and Blu-Rays to be the archival copies. I rip a digital copy of the media onto my home media server, and that is the production copy. This is some work, and I do tend to do it over time. But I am building a collection of classics I would rewatch in the future.

There is a lot of infrastructure that goes into a home media server. There is the software and the hardware. The hardware is the largest investment. You need something with some power, if you want to be able to transcode files, and with a lot of redundant storage space. Redundant as in more than one drive to ensure your data is protected in protection. Backing up media files is another cost. Fortunately, the collection won’t change that often, so even an external drive that isn’t hooked up to the same system can be an option there.

That just covers storage. Then there is playback to consider as well. What devices you want to play on, etc. Transcoding, as mentioned, can also allow you to generate smaller alternate versions of files for watching on different devices, if needed.

More on those things in future, but if you have favorites you want to be able to watch more than once…if you want to curate a collection, then you may wish to have your own server.

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