I came across rather interesting article about the challenges and questions involved in migrating a substantial music collection to a digitised solution which allowed the media to be streamed around the home (the article can be found here ongoing · The Great CD Migration).
Its a challenge that both a friend of mine and I have been dealing with for a couple of years now – both of us have significant amounts of media (legitimate I hasten to add). We’ve both arrived at slightly different solutions, but they reflect the difference in emphasis of source – one being music the other video. But the core solution seems to be the same – a small box stashed away acting as a file server and a dedicated D/A component (Squeezebox in on case and a modified XBox in another).
With hard disk capacities rapidly rising the cost of a file server – we’re very close to a single drive holding 1 terabyte now. As well as the fact that the processing power of the machine doesn’t need to be powerful – a simple Pentium with the right O/S will be enough.
The thing that may intimidate less techie people is avoiding the loss of the digitised media once the mammoth task of conversion has been completed. We’ve both ended up configuring the storage into a basic RAID array – so a single disk failure can be recovered from.
I think that as the media solutions such as slim devices becoming increasingly more mainstream it is the ease of managing things like storage that will become the next big challenge.