s digital media is now evolving into a widely-recognized medium of entertainment, we are now shifting into the era where we want to watch over and over something that we really loved, or just get ourselves a collection of those for bragging rights. Whatever case it may be, I’m sure that at some point, you’ll run into the following problems.
It’s either one of the following: not enough storage space, limited amount of users at the same time, data accessibility and backup problems. There’s also compatibility between apps and devices, data security and ease of use among multiple people.
Convenience, ease of access and security at your fingertips – all with just a single box.
Now, if you run into these problems already, you’ll think of a possible solution, but perhaps what you’ll get isn’t really solving the problems that I’ve mentioned all at once. Here’s when a NAS or a Network Attached Storage comes in.
To give you a quick dose of information, a NAS is simply a storage box which is attached to your home or office network, which gives you the ability to share your data with multiple clients through your local network, or even access it anywhere in the world without bringing any drives (just like a cloud server, but of your own). With this approach, multiple users can connect on the NAS (or storage server) simultaneously and either watch or stream your locally-saved content into their own devices.
For starters, setting up your own NAS is really a tedious thing, but we’ll keep away the hassle for now and instead, recommend an easy solution rather than getting things complicated.
But why get a NAS?
Aside from solving most of the problems I’ve previously mentioned all at once, a NAS, especially from ones like Synology, could easily serve the purpose of revolutionizing your home entertainment without the hassle.
In example, Synology’s offering (the DS218j and DS218+) are ideal for starters which are getting into the world of a centralized network storage solution. With its features that are geared towards entertainment enthusiasts and home users, it is surely one recommended product to suite our application.
And in order to make sure your data are protected, you should get a drive specifically designed for 24/7 NAS operations, such as Seagate’s IronWolf NAS Drives.
So with all the bells and whistles mentioned, here’s what I’ve thought about how a NAS, especially from Synology, could revolutionize your entertainment experience.
Synology’s DiskStation Manager
Personally, I really love Synology’s DiskStation Manager (DSM). It gives you the experience like a desktop, with most functions and applications available – even a built-in download manager that can download torrents on its own (more on this later).
DiskStation Manager is simply Synology’s NAS operating system, which you should install and set-up first to begin enjoying the rest of your NAS features. You can add frequently used applications to the desktop, personalize it, and access it using a dedicated local domain like above, or a static IP address configured on your local network.
With DSM installed, you can now install other apps you’ll want to streamline your entertainment experience.
The Moments application inside the Synology NAS promises a genius way of managing your memories, whether it may be photos or videos from your PC or smartphone. It offers a modern browsing experience with the image recognition technique being applied, and organizing your files with the help of its deep-learning algorithm that conducts facial and subject recognition locally on your NAS, without needing to worry about any potential leak of personal data.
1. It sorts photos by date (and many other options)
2. And shows recently added photos
3. It can even recognize people faces, too!
With that said, random photos are automatically grouped together according to similar faces, subjects, and places, easing the organization of bulk photos and videos.
If you have heard of applications like Plex and Kodi, then you’ll perhaps know what Synology’s Video Station has to offer. And for those who don’t, simply, it helps you manage all the the movies, TV shows, and home videos on your Synology NAS. It also streams videos to various devices — computers, smartphones, media players, and TVs, and even auto-download video posters and information from online databases so that you’ll know more about the movie or show that you’re watching. All of that happening locally on your NAS without your intervention.
With the custom permissions and account system of a NAS, a user can limit or share access to someone else’s account to just specific video files, like a parental control.
You should organize your files on a structure like a folder-by-folder basis, so it’s easy for you to look for your files when you need them.
You can install the app on your smartphone or device, or access it through the DSM desktop.
There’s also the similar Audio Station app which works similarly with Video Station, but is more focused on audio files instead.
Like what I’ve said earlier, Synology NAS (and perhaps some others, too), comes with a built-in download manager of its own.
However, Synology’s solution enables downloading of files from the Internet through BT, FTP, HTTP, NZB, Thunder, FlashGet, QQDL, and eMule, as well as search for torrents directly via its built-in search engine. Let the Synology NAS handle the downloads and uploads 24/7 and turn off your computer to save power.
It also has a “Preview” feature, which allows you to get a sneak peak of the file you are downloading before it completes – so you can stop it when noticing anything dubious or you have downloaded the wrong thing.
Of all apps included in the DSM suite, Drive is perhaps the most helpful towards collaborating between users on your home network. Not only for managing files, it also synchronizes your files across various platforms – NAS, PC, notebook, mobile devices (you name it).
The Drive also opens files stored locally on your NAS, or downloading them to your computer if an application to open it inside isn’t available or installed.
But back to the question in the title, what’s really revolutionizing here?
In my very humble opinion, it’s not where you get your dose of entertainment content, it’s the way you organize, store and consume them. With a reliable place / device to store and protect your files, plus all the bells and whistles a NAS offers, think about how network attached storage comes down to your home – which is usually found on larger-scale environments and applications such as businesses, offices and companies.
Take note that you can access all of these features while using any of your devices, such as smartphone, tablets, computers, and even smart TVs.
Combine it with the best practices to safely store and secure your data, and you have your own cloud server at your fingertips.
This article is a part of our series called: “The journey to storage revolution: Network Attached Storage (NAS)”, sponsored by Synology and Seagate.