A network attached storage device (NAS) might sounds like overkill for your house, especially one like the Western Digital My Cloud Pro, which can store up to 40TB worth of stuff.
But two recent phenomena might make you change your mind about buying a NAS: unlimited cloud storage is getting scarcer and more expensive, and options for enjoying your personal library of video and audio are getting better.
Western Digital, for instance, announced on Thursday that the My Cloud Pro will now support the Plex media server, which recently gained the ability to play and record live TV from a tuner card. Assuming you're into buying—or pirating (we won't judge)—a collection of movies and TV shows and live close enough to your city's TV antennas, a Plex-equipped NAS could be a good way to make your media consumption more affordable, at least in the long run.
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Your initial cash outlay will be higher: the My Cloud Pro starts at $159.99 without a hard drive. You'll need a $5-per-month Plex Pass subscription, too. But you won't have to endure the vagrancies of streaming video services like Netflix, which is constantly adding and subtracting content from its library. You'll also be free from ever-changing cloud storage options. One popular cloud service, Amazon Drive, killed its unlimited plan this week.
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With a Plex Pass, you'll also be able to stream the content stored on your NAS over the internet to any Plex client, which could be a computer, phone, tablet, Apple TV, or Android TV. In addition to the My Cloud Pro, Western Digital also offers Plex support in its My Passport Wireless Pro, which can stream video and audio to tablets in the back seat on a long road trip, for instance.
The major downside to a NAS-first entertainment strategy is that its hard drives could fail and you'll lose your entire collection. You can mitigate that somewhat by configuring your drives in a RAID array for better redundancy, but doing so requires technical know-how and will take away from your precious TV-watching time. If you're worried about losing your original Star Wars collection or just want to watch the latest episode of House of Cards, then, you'll have to stick with a combination of Netflix, cloud storage, and multiple monthly fees.
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