The Synology DS216play vs DS214play – Which NAS should you PLAY with in 2016?

Next GeneThe Synology DS216PLAY versus The Synology DS214PLAY Which is better.pngration of NAS

For many of us, buying a NAS is about media! More importantly it is about how and where we access our media. With all the talk of Virtualisation and Surveillance it is easy to forget that 8 out of 10 NAS Server units that are purchased are  bought solely to watch movies, view photo collections and listen to our music across our homes, across our devices and across the world! It was in answer to this that Synology first introduced its PLAY series of NAS devices. Currently the winner in everyone’s hearts when it comes to Synology’s PLAY devices is the Synology DS214PLAY released back in 2014. When it arrived it was a real breath of fresh air in a slowly growing and gradually dominating NAS market place. Featuring 2 USB 3.0 ports, an esata port for adding expansions, a one touch copy button to connect a USB Drive and backup regularly at the touch of a single button and even an SD Card slot for those who needed a pop and drop system of emptying their pics and videos that day. Compared to its surrounding brothers and sister devices at Synology, it was a real game changer!

When NAS came out to PLAY…

The Synology DS214PLAY Multimedia NAS 2014.jpg However what really marked the change in scene with the Synology DS214play NAS server was that it was tailor made for transcoding HD media. Up until this point the bulk of Synology NAS were the go-to devices for all other things NAS (with the exception of virtualisation and VMWare – something QNAP had always held the market share on). Transcoding is the act of re-sizing, re-encoding and generally improving a media file as to be more functional for the client device (so… in caveman speak… it means you can watch Nicolas Cage in ‘The Rock’ a lot smoother on your iPad, in a smaller file than the 720p .mkv you were accessing that lived on your NAS). Transcoding is something that typically is more found in QNAP NAS devices, but all manner of things from brand loyalty to familiarity of the Synology NAS operating System, DSM, meant that many users welcomed the innovations now present in the DS214 play NAS.

We want a sequel! ibsy-216play

But as the years roll on and newer devices were released the market demanded a sequel (oddly…the market has not requested a sequel to the Rock…hmmm) and now here in 2016 its newer iteration is available in the form of the Synology DS216PLAY. Landing to mixed reviews and many complaining of the unit losing many of its key features that made the 214play so great, it still boasted a new CPU, the ability to transcode 4K Media (the H.265 codec) and at a lower power consumption, many wondered whether to make the jump to the new unit or sit tight on the steadfast DS214PLAY.

Old vs New?

Which Synology NAS should you buy for your HD.png Which brings us to why you are here… which one is better? Earlier this quarter I made a faceoff between these devices and though I don’t want to ruin the ending and tell you the winner – I think it may not surprise you! Why not grab a comfy chair and watch to see which one I think deserves your data. If you would rather ‘read all about it’ below the video is a more text friendly breakdown of the pluses and the minus and an outright winner!


NAS Server Device The Synology DS216play


The Synology DS214play


CPU Model STM STiH412

Monaco Ultra – ARM-based, UHD multimedia server-box platform

1080p H.264 and 4K H.265 Ultra HD video transcoding capabilities

Intel Atom CE5335

Hardware HD video transcoding built into the chip

CPU Frequency Dual Core 1.5 GHz Dual Core 1.6 GHz
Floating Point YES YES
Hardware Transcoding Engine H.265 (HEVC), MPEG-4 Part 2, MPEG-2, VC-1, Maximum resolution: 4K (3840 x 2160), Maximum FPS: 30 H.264 (AVC), MPEG-4 Part 2, MPEG-2, VC-1
System Memory 1 GB DDR3 1 GB DDR3
Maximum Internal Raw Capacity 16 TB (8 TB HDD X 2) (Capacity may vary by RAID types) 16 TB (8 TB HDD X 2) (Capacity may vary by RAID types)
Hot Swappable Drive NO YES
External Ports
USB 2.0 Port 1 1
USB 3.0 Port 1 2
eSATA Port NO 1
SD Card Reader NO YES
Noise Level* 18.5 dB(A)  19.8 dB(A)
Scheduled Power On/Off YES YES
Power Supply Unit / Adapter 60W 65W
Power Consumption* 15.08 W (Access)
6.83 W (HDD Hibernation) 
20.12 W (Access)
13.58 W (HDD Hibernation)
Read and Write Speeds 107 MB/sec read

91 MB/sec write

RAID 1 Config, with WD Reds

107.2 MB/sec read

108.04 MB/sec write

RAID 1 Config, with WD Reds

Warranty 2 Years 2 Years

So, what do you think? Do you think the DS214play is the Synology NAS for you media users or is the allure of 4K and lower power consumption, as well as that significant price drop enough to win you over. Why not let me know below. Thank for reading.


One thought on “The Synology DS216play vs DS214play – Which NAS should you PLAY with in 2016?

  1. For those wondering, the only real noticeable difference here is the DS216 can trans code the h265 codec (I have a DS214Play), and have to encode anything that is 265 to 264 before the nas can stream it to my tv / ps4 etc. Slightly annoying but there isn’t to much out there that is 265 yet.

    I might look at upgrading one day, but for that one feature, it isn’t really worth it (especially when you can queue handbrake to encode to the new format overnight, and it will auto shutdown the pc etc)

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