I’m looking for a new NAS and was curious about QNAP TS-431 and Synology DS418 offerings. I have the drives already, will need a 4 bay and it will be used as photo and video storage, 4K movie, web file server and data backups. I don’t need much transcoding. I’m a PC and Android user. Can you suggest a product, with CPU and RAM recommendations?
TS-431 is a very old NAS and will not do 4K. You need as minimum TS-451 or more likely TS-451+. Plus series come with 4K HDMI port and network transcoding. Synology DS418 has no HDMI port and is geared toward new generation 4K (h265) files. It will transcode most of the files, but if you need it for Plex – it is not supported. RAM is really irrelevant for multimedia tasks.
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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!").
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.
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.