NAS for for HDR and TV (FLAC & HD)

I am looking for a NAS for music and movie playback primarily but I will put documents/photos and other things on there and use it as a storage device as well. All my music is FLAC and movies in HD so pretty large. Looking into the future and my data usage I’m naturally considering 16TB, either a 2 bay (2 x 8TB) or perhaps a 4 bay (4 x 4TB) drive NAS. I’ll be configuring RAID as well and I am a Windows 10/Android user. What would be the best NAS, manufacturer wise and number of bays for me? Are there any advantages to 4 bays over 2?

Another thing to consider, I am into my HiFi and have a dedicated streamer. The manufacturer has advised me to hardwire my streamer to my NAS (via the router) using ethernet. My streamer is in my living room, my router (BT) is in the hall and as the NAS has to be connected to the router, would need to be placed next to it. I have read that a NAS is connected to a tv using an HDMI cable for movie playback and not all NAS have HDMI connectors? Connecting the NAS to my tv, (it would need to be in the living room) how then would I connect my streamer? This is where I am confused? Is it a case here that I’d need to choose what is hardwired, the NAS to the tv for movies or the streamer for FLAC based on the required transfer demand? I have seen that you can send an HDMI signal through an ethernet cable but is not something I really want to do. Maybe I have misunderstood how a home network should be or is set up?

With 4K playback and the ability of the NAS to do this, I am again lost here? Is this if you had a 4K movie on your NAS and tried to watch it on your phone, most NAS would struggle with the transcoding? Is this what you refer to in your videos? A 4k movie on a NAS played on a compatible HDR/4K tv, would the transcoding be such an issue?

 

Having  2 X 8TB is very close to the maximum capacity 2 bay can have. I would rather go for 4 bay with 3 X 6TB. This would give me the capacity of around 12TB (RAID5) instead of 8TB usable on 2 bay device (RAID1).

If your TV has an Ethernet connection then you don’t need HDMI connection. But if it is hasn’t got it than HDMI will be required or casting device like Google Chromecast or Apple TV or even Amazon FireTV, they cost around 30 pounds or dollars and will let you stream video over WiFi. This will make a TV a smart TV.

Music takes less network bandwidth and can be streamed wirelessly too. So you can place your NAS in either place or completely elsewhere.

With a 4K video playback, you will need to hardwire the connection between a NAS and an HDR or TV (no need for this with HD media). Transcoding means that you can play 4K files on your mobile devices over WiFi or internet. Most of the NAS will do that if they mention hardware transcoding engine.

I would recommend DS418play as a 4-bay NAS and DS218+ as a 2-bay option.

If you really need HDMI port then Qnap TS-253Be or TS-453Be.


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What can I connect to a NAS?

Wireless Speaker Sonos

The great thing about Sonos is that you don't need to pay for music subscription service. With the cheapest NAS at home like DS115j or any other, you can have your backups done for all of your devices and still use your network drive as a Sonos music library. Sonos will connect to your NAS via your network and let access your provided music library. If you have little more of IT knowledge, you can even set up your Alexa or Sonos with Alexa built in to play music on your voice commands ("Alexa! Ask DS Audio to Play Music!").

Casting devices

Nowadays it is so cheap to upgrade your old TV and make it smart. All you need is Google Chrome or EZcast alternative plugged into your HDMI port at the back of your TV. Now you have great functionality added to your TV to send a video file directly from your NAS to a TV. No need for wires and chargers and other mess. You can use your phone as a remote to go to your movies or family videos and cast that content on your TV during family or friend gatherings.

 

Apple TV

Amazon Fire TV

You may not have a smartphone, or you just simply prefer to control your content with a remote in that case Amazon Fire TV will be a great addon to get to your TV. It also plugs into your HDMI port and will play content from your NAS to a TV. No wires no mess.

nVidia Shield TV

It gets even better! If you want some more entertainment and all previously mentioned functions - nVidia TV is a great thing to get. You can use it for playing games and watching movies from your NAS. The greatest thing is - shield TV does video transcoding. So even if you have a cheap NAS with a weak CPU, in a combination of shield TV you can now automatically on the fly change video file size and format for a destination device. It is a great way to reduce network load and let older devices to play video content which normally was not supported on the device.