DS218play or TS-251+ or TS253A for home multimedia, photos, music centralised

My plan was to store all our main computer documents, photos, movies and music all on a nas drive and we can then access everything from the laptop as well as from our android phones and tablet. I thought that this would keep our new laptop un-clogged and prolong its life. We also want to be able to easily access from away from the house.

I plan to buy smart tvs in the future so want to buy a nas with some futureproofing and be able to stream films directly to the tvs.

I have been looking at the synology ds218play as well as the qnap ts251 and ts253 options. I think that I am leaning towards qnap but not entirely sure if this is the way I should be going. It needs to be easy and intuitive to operate in the way that I am intending to use it.

TS-253A and TS-251+ (non-plus) is now discontinued and replaced by 253B series, but if you can still buy one it is a good value for money purchase. TS-253A comes with an HDMI port for connectivity with some older non-smart TV models. Or it can also be useful for 4K streaming without overloading the local network. Also, transcoding function is available for Full HD videos for accessing them remotely when you are on the go. TS-251+ (plus series) is very similar to 253A series, but slightly more expensive because of its slightly better processor.

The DS218play from Synology more geared towards new technology. It comes with many free multimedia apps, for easy organized content and accessibility. You can send a video stream to a smart TV only using your phone as a remote. The same way you can cast music on your smart speakers. It is entry level dual drives NAS capable of running most popular NAS functions. It will come with a Drobo like app for data synchronisation between all devices, it also features transcoding engine for remote access.

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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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