Video transcoding NAS for remote Plex video streaming and alternative

I currently have a Synology DS214. I plan to upgrade to something much, much more current. My plan is to use the NAS for: (1) easy backup solution to NAS and once more to Amazon or another online; (2) transcoding–perhaps using Plex once I can figure out how to make it work; (3) music server to amp and in-ceiling speakers in my house. I also have a lot of files, photos and video that are probably at least 2TB, and already purchased about 10TB of hard drives for the NAS when they were on sale.

What’s the best NAS for me? Some other considerations:

Ideally I would prefer to stay with Synology because I like their software, am familiar with it and I don’t have a lot of time to spend setting all this stuff up any longer (work+young kids leaves little time for this). I have heard that Synology doesn’t really have a NAS that transcodes very well, and that transcoding can be done separately by an Intel NUC but that would require setup time I don’t really have.

I am willing to pay for convenience. For instance, I want to be able to easily connect remotely, and stream movies to my TV, so budget certainly isn’t the primary constraint.

There is no issue with Synology and Plex with an HD and Full HD content. With a 4K content, it gets a little more tricky. Synology will cope with 4K files easily as long as you use their own DS Video app. In order to transcode 4K in Plex- you need to look at core i3, i5, i7 or Xeon processor. Synology only does Xeon integration and it always comes with a price. DS3617xs will have this CPU but it costs over 2000.
So for HD content look at DS918+
For 4K – DS3617xs or Qnap alternative TVS-682
Qnap is trying to improve their software to keep up with Synology set up standards. So if you do consider the alternative, then Qnap is going to be as close as you get.

If you decide to have Synology and use DS Video, DS Audio, and Photo apps – they are indeed amazing. You can cast music or video to your TV or smart speakers. Pictures will be geotagged and filtered even by objects and places detected by artificial intelligence which is now popular.


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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.



 

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