Digital Living II: NAS-Storage Devices with Integrated Multimedia Servers

Forget about your old DVD player in the living room – that’s yesterday’s news. In the age of broadband Internet, multimedia servers with support for a variety of modern audio and video formats are gaining ever more importance. THG presents some alternative ways to setting up your digital household.

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A DVD player is a one-trick pony – all it really knows how to do is read little silver discs. Obviously, the content industry has very little interest in selling its products through the Internet – the fear of pirates is just too real to them and their current business model. Nonetheless, in the age of broadband Internet connections, even the mighty content industry can’t stop the advance of the NAS (network attached storage) devices and multimedia servers.

Essentially, if you want to fully move your home over to digital media, you need two components – a storage device equipped with hard drives and a suitable receiver. The multimedia content itself, regardless of video or audio, is streamed through the home network.

In this series of articles, THG is presenting several alternative possibilities of how to set up digital household. In the first part, Turning Your Home PC Into A uPNP Multimedia Streaming Server, we showed you a very simple path. However, this approach has its drawbacks – the typical home PC is not especially quiet.

This second part of the series is dedicated to small, virtually silent storage boxes, also known as network attached storage (NAS), which already come equipped with multimedia server software. In the following parts, we will take a look at devices with which to bring movies, music and images to your living room TV.

The small NAS devices have a few major advantages over the PC. They are nearly silent, can double as a data backup solution for important files (Word, Excel, Images), and don’t have to disrupt the aesthetics of your living room, since you can set them up anywhere. In principle, we agree with the DIY-crowd’s sentiment that all of these tasks could also be handled by a conventional PC. However, we believe that only a minority of users will tolerate a noisemaker in their living room, whose turbine-like cooling solution takes away from the entertainment.

Don’t forget to the third part of this series: Digital Living III – Video Streaming Clients (coming soon).