Question Looking for Cheap NAS with USB for External HDDs and Hot Plugging Features


Nov 4, 2014
My current set up, all part of a local network:

1. Windows PC with four powered HD enclosures, each one with four hard drives containing shared folders containing videos;

2. Raspberry Pi with Open Media Vault 5 with torrent client and file downloader, running headless and accessed via telnet or web GUI;

3. two old Popcorn Hour players that still run and have hard drives containing videos;

4. a router with USB port and able to share drives via DLNA, samba; and

5. two Android TV boxes that play the videos from the HD enclosures and from the Popcorn Hour drives using Kodi.

Viewers watch only two hours after lunch and two hours after dinner. After that, the Windows PC is turned off for the night, and with that the HD enclosures power down automatically. They're turned on again after lunch the next day. Videos that are seen are deleted, and sometimes new ones added.

When the PC is booted accidentally, then video playback freezes obviously, but resumes after the PC restarts. It's also powerful enough so any video playback still continues smoothly even if it's being used.

The RPi is left running all of the time for any downloads. It doesn't automount hot plugged drives.

When hard drives are connected to the router USB port, the shared videos play fine but after less than an hour the router starts heating up, the video playback freezes. It can probably handle only simple file transfers via samba, and likely no way to delete or modify videos with the DLNA server option.

The Popcorn Hour can only share one attached hard drive. If two are connected, only one can be seen.

Question: is there a cheap (preferably less than $100) NAS that can replace the Windows PC? That is, it has one or more USB ports and will automatically mount and remount any HD enclosures connected or reconnected to it, and share (and retain share configurations) using samba so that the Windows PC and the Android TV boxes can read the shared folders and modify contents? And headless? That is, configuration and settings are done via web gui?

I read that there are mini PCs with Windows 10 already installed (slightly above $100) that can do that, but I think they need a monitor, keyboard, and mouse connected for configuration and if they are rebooted.

Also, what kind of computing power is needed for this, i.e., video playback by around two viewers in a local network, with adding and deleting some videos in shared folders, and what kind of heat issues are expected? The HD enclosures have their own fans, and laptop cooling fans are being used for the RPi, router, and Popcorn Hour players.