Transcoding 4K Media on the DS218+ NAS Server?
Transcoding on a NAS such as the DS218+ device is the ability for a multimedia file to be changed from it’s existing format or codec to one that is better suited to the destination device. In this file access, the DS218+ NAS is the host device and the device you want to play the file is the client. Transcoding is typically required when a media file is more recently released than the client device that is accessing it, so the newer compression or playback format is unknown to the device you want to access it with.Alternatively you want to access the movie or music on your DS218+ and do not want to use the original file in its full size. Transcoding can enable you to stream a much smaller version in weight or resolution if needed.
Which client devices require transcoding from the DS218+ NAS
Destination devices range greatly and are often referred to as the client device. Common client devices that your DS218+ device will be accessed by are often:
- iPad or Android Tablet
- iPhone or Android Smartphone
- Smart TV or DLNA supported monitor
- Macbook, Laptop or Netbook device
- Sound systems such as Bose, Sonos and Sony DLNA systems
- Home Theatre Systems
- Network and internet-enabled gaming consoles such as PS4, Xbox One and Nvidia Shield
Transcoding between a DS218+ and your media can be of tremendous benefit for those with limited internet bandwidth, download limits or low powered devices.
What are the Specifications of the DS218+ NAS?
The specifications for the DS218+ NAS are below and like all NAS devices, the CPU and Memory play a big part in how well it performs at transcoding. The key factors to consider are if the device features an x86 or ARM-based CPU, does the DS218+ CPU feature a transcoding engine and how much RAM the device arrives with for multiple transcoding tasks. Below are the DS218+ specs:
Intel® Celeron® J3355
Dual-core 2.0 GHz
2GB RAM – Expandable to 6GB
TRANSCODING ENGINE: YES
1080P Support: YES
4K Support: YES
Transcoding Support: YES
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What is the difference between H.264 and H.265 4K Media on a NAS
H.264 and H.265 are common codecs of modern digital media. H264 is also referred to as AVC by experts (Advanced Video Coding) and is considered the standard for video file compression. This allows for media originally created for large-scale entertainment to be recording, compressed, and distributed to the home and smaller scale production of digital video content watched by you, the consumer.
H265 is the newer and more consumer-friendly alternative to H264. It is also known as HEVC (High-Efficiency Video Coding) and was developed in order resolve issues of enormous 4K media files being just too large for your client device to playback. H.265 has become so popular and data saving that chances are that the YouTube clip, iTunes media or iPlayer content you watched was in .265 and HEVC. Typically a modern NAS such as the DS218+ will playback with JUST H.265 or it will PLayback both H.264 and H.265. The latter pretty much being exclusive to x86 or AMD based NAS CPU devices.
The DS218+ NAS 4K H.265 8-bit 30fps 46Mb/s Test 1- How well does it perform?
We pushed the DS218+ NAS to transcode a 4K H265 media file. It was an 8-bit recording, running at 30 frames per second and featured a bitrate of 46 megabits per second. The DS218+ playback results were:
The DS218+ NAS 4K H.265 8-bit 25fps 38Mb/s Test 2 – How well does it perform?
Next, we pushed the DS218+ NAS to transcode a 4K H265 media file. It was an 8-bit recording, but this time running at 25 frames per second and featured a bitrate of just 38 megabits per second. The DS218+ playback results were:
The DS218+ NAS 4K H.264 8-bit 30fps 51Mb/s Test 3 – How well does it perform?
Next, we pushed the DS218+ NAS to transcode a 4K H264 this time, the media file was an 8-bit recording, but this time back at 30 frames per second and featured a bitrate of 51 megabits per second, our highest yet. The DS218+ playback results were:
The DS218+ NAS 4K H.264 8-bit 2Mb bitrate 30fps 18Mb/s Test 4 – How well does it perform?
Next, we pushed the DS218+ NAS to transcode another 4K H264. The media file was also another 8-bit recording and 30 frames per second but this time with a much lower bitrate of just 18 megabits per second, our lowest yet. The DS218+ playback results were:
The DS218+ NAS 4K H.264 8-bit UHD 30fps 42Mb/s Test 5 – How well does it perform?
Just to make sure, we ran an almost identical test again with another 4K H264 media file at 8-bit weight and back at 30 frames per second and 18Mb/s bitrate on the DS218+ NAS. This time the results were:
The DS218+ NAS 4K H.265 10-bit 25fps 19Mb/s Test 6 – How well does it perform?
Now we started transcoding with the newer and more efficient H.265 4K format on the DS218+. Using a similar file, but encoded in H265, the media file was a 10-bit recording, 25 frames per second but this time with a much lower bitrate of just 19 megabits per second. The DS218+ playback results were:
The DS218+ NAS 720p H.265 8-bit 24fps 1Mb Test 11 – How well does it perform?
In an effort to fully test the spectrum of the DS218+ NAS and it’s transcoding, we wanted to also test HD Playback (to give the 4K results a sense of perspective). First up was 720p. This 720 HD file was another efficient H.265 8-bit file. It ran at 24fps and was just 1Mb in bitrate. The DS218+ NAS performed as expected (given the earlier results):
The DS218+ NAS 1080p AVC 8-bit 30fps 0.8Mb Test 12 – How well does it perform?
Next up we gave 1080p transcoding a try on the DS218+ NAS. This AVC file (so H264 again) an 8-bit file running at a fluid 30fps. However, with a lower bitrate of just 0.8Mb, it should not have pushed the DS218+ as much as earlier tests. The results for 1080 HD transcoding were:
The DS218+ NAS 1080p H.265 8-bit 24fps 405kb/s Test 10 – How well does it perform?
In an effort to maintain fairness, we also covered an H.265 1080p file, so a comparison between this and Test 12 could be made. Ignore the test numerical order numbers, as this needed to be re-done (blame the DS218+ needing a firmware update mid transcode and therefore spoiled the results the first time). This was an HEVC/H265 8-bit file running at 24fps, but with a comparatively low bitrate of just 405kbps. The results (correct this time) were again, fairly expected:
The DS218+ NAS Ultra HD 4K H.264 8-bit 24fps 22Mb/s Test 15 – How well does it perform?
Finally we decided to end on an older and currently more common owned 4K type of media file. This was kind of our control tests for most NAS and was no exception for the DS218+. This UHD file in 4K was an 8-Bit file, arriving in 24 frames per second and at a bitrate of 22megabits per second. For those who have owned 4k media for a while and want to consider their older H264 material, this test would be of interest. The results were.
I hope these 4K results were of use to you and this helps you consider which NAS you wish to you buy in 2018, whether it is the DS218+ or something more or less suited to your needs.
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