Reducing Disk Space Best Practice

What's the best practice to reduce the amount of disk space required for shows that I want to keep indefinitely?

I'm sure I'm not the first person to want to do this, so rather than reinvent the wheel and do this the hard way, what suggestions do you have?

I think that best practice is whatever you want within reason. For me, I have a 1TB drive that I use for DVR. I consider it transient data and don't back it up (except the database folder). If I want to keep something a long time, I move it over to a 8TB drive that I consider long term storage where everything is backed up. I guess you could save some space by converting the files to a lower quality, but I generally want stuff I keep a long time to be at the best possible quality.

Thanks. I had tested using ffmpeg to convert one file to mp4, but after I did that, it was no longer visible in the library. There’s some degree of quality I don’t mind losing. We’re talking Bob’s Burgers and Shark Tank. Bob’s I’ll hang onto. But, the Shark Tanks will get deleted after I’ve watched them.

Also, I’d rather use something that’s already been tested than write a shell script to do it. Surely this is a common task.

A lot of people use MCEBuddy, but its windows only software.

You can use ffmpeg or other scripts found on this forum. You will need to ensure the new file has the same name (i.e replaces the existing mpg file).

Or you can delete the mpg file and put your new file in the Imports directory.

Oh. The filename is stored in the database. That’s why it couldn’t find it.

I saw MCEBuddy mentioned. I could reboot to windows, if I had to, lol. Will it act on the whole directory?

To be honest, you’d save yourself a heck of a lot of trouble by just upgrading to a huge hard drive. 8Tb external usb drives aren’t that much. Then you’ll probably just never worry about space.

It’ll be a heck of a lot better than manually doing things to each and every recording. It sounds like a real time suck that a little cash can just solve.


On macOS, a lot of people use Handbrake (which is free.) I also enjoy using Permute. I'm not aware of a way to work on a whole directory, or how to automate the process... but I'm sure it's possible.

But I agree with maddox on this, just get a bigger hard drive. Time is money, too!

I've got plenty of storage, 24TB in RAIDZ2 (so, about 14TB usuable). But, I want to use it as efficiently as I can.

Yeah. I have used Handrake many times in the past. It's a very nice application. But, like you mentioned, I've never scripted it. Although, I know there's a cli version of it that gets installed by default. So, it's doable. Part of my concern was that the one test I did no longer showed up in the Library.

I also agree that time is money. But, it just seemed like to me that this wouldn't take much time if I had the right strategy.

Don't keep recordings of easy to find videos. This will save a bunch of space.

For example, I'm a bit 007 fan. I recorded them all again in two weeks when I was in the mood to binge 007

Definitely an option. But, I was really looking for something different. I appreciate the suggestion.

Here's one option: Linux/Mac script for transcoding and adding to Plex

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Yeah. At first glance, it looks like an option. I do also run Plex. And, in this particular case I ended up with Bob's Burgers in both environments with a few episodes missing in each, but a lot of overlap. So, reconciling them and glancing at this post, it looks helpful. I'll give it a good read. Thanks.

You will lose CC if you transcode the Video best is to extract subtitles then transcode just an FYI unless you do not care about CC.

I use an 8 TB drive to store all the recordings and imports. I then use BackBlaze to keep that drive backed up to the cloud since I know that one day my external drive will fail. BackBlaze is only $7 per month for unlimited storage or you can save a little by paying for 12 mos service, much like Channels DVR service.

I will say that it took BackBlaze several weeks to back up my 6+ TB of files, but now it runs continuously with no issues.

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Thanks for this. I’m currently using IDrive mainly because it makes it easy to backup across environments, but I don’t think it’s that cheap. I will look into backblaze, but agree that changing is super painful. Would love better upload speed. But really don’t want to rip everything again.

I agree with a lot of sentiment on here.

  1. Compress video. Always choose multipass, takes longer but better quality.
  2. Buy bigger hard drive. Stop caring.

I think it depends which group you are.

  1. I cut cable to save $$. Therefore im working on budget. This is where i started
  2. Data Hoarder (where I am now). And you start buying 14TB drives, max your internet out. max out antenna recording. All so you can store media you will most likely NEVER watch. Seriously. I dont EVER watch my plex content. Yet I add over 1000 revordings of shows and movies every dang month.

Its like a book. If i buy a book I either read it immediately. Or it sits on a shelf for 10yrs gathering dust. It will never be read.

Please dont become option 2. Try to stay in option 1. Its a disease.

Why would I want to Compress Video all that does is lower the Quality. Spend all that horsepower to compress the Video only to reduce the quality ... no Thank You. I want to enjoy high quality Video and sound ... not compressed Video and transcode audio. That is one of the reasons I stopped using playon.

I think just the opposite that folks who want to compress videos tend to be the hoarders. I prefer having large amounts of space because I tend to binch watch... So I might have a full season recorded before I watch it.... sometimes I delete full seasons without watching as the show gets canceled at the end of the season.

The OP goal is to reduce disk space. That can be achieved 1 of 2 ways. Compression or deletion.

The alternative is to increase storage capacity which cost money. I think everyone can agree more storage is better solution. But may not be in everyones budget.

That is often the case. Many data hoarders do compress. I think that would of been much more true years ago. But as diskspace has gotten cheaper, many are foregoing compression. So I think its a blend now. Either way when I went into topic of data hoarding I veered off the OP topic of using less disk space.

Lol. That probably describes a lot of people. Personally, I only have a few things I'd keep long term. The rest I will watch and delete. For my wife and I, a show like Bob's Burgers can fill a 20-30 gap when it's too early to go to bed and not enough time to watch what we really want to watch.

I don't hoard much. In fact, before I built my new NAS, I cleaned house. I deleted about half of my movies. Just keep in mind, they are not gone forever. You can "buy" them again later if you changed your mind.