We already talked about Synology NAS servers
designed to store and organize personal files. These online storages play the role of a home center with a collection of photos, music and movies. Another purpose is to automatically back up important data, such as photographs and documents. One of the representatives of the multimedia play line is Synology DS418play
The first thing you should pay attention to when choosing a NAS server is software. The simplicity and functionality of the operating system determines the convenience of interacting with files. Synology software did not disappoint, the intuitive interface of DiskStation Manager is
equipped with a desktop, Start menu, a notification panel and other attributes of the desktop system. The manager opens in any browser through the find.synology.com
web page. The firmware is regularly updated, we tested version 6.2.1.
The basic capabilities of the system are reviewed in the Synology DiskStation DS418j review
. Namely, the account manager with fine-tuning rights, access to the NAS server from anywhere in the world through DDNS. Multimedia capabilities are not limited to built-in applications, thanks to the built-in application store, aka “Package Center”.
But computers are increasingly fading into the background, all the problems I want to solve through a mobile phone. In response to this trend, DS finder
has been released for Android and iOS. The application completely duplicates the web interface and allows you to control all, even the most insignificant, parameters of the NAS server. Other mobile applications, which will be discussed during the review, are installed independently of each other. There is some inconvenience in this, since each program is a separate shortcut in the application menu.
The first thing is to get a NAS server for creating and sharing a multimedia collection. Imagine that your favorite movies and TV shows are available not only on a computer or tablet, locally, but from any device on the network, whether it's a laptop or smartphone. At the same time, huge video files do not take up space in the memory of mobile devices, but are stored on the disk in a few terabytes. Especially for these purposes, the Video Station application has been created, which groups and plays video files. It is enough to specify the folder with video files and the program will automatically determine the rating, find the posters and description in Russian or English.
Files are decoded on the Synology DS418play side, only the video stream is transmitted to the client. The maximum resolution is 4K, which is equivalent to 2160p. The hardware decoder understands H.264 (AVC), H.265 (HEVC), MPEG-2, and VC-1. An exact list of compatible audio formats was not found. I note that the player refused to play the audio track in DTS, with much more common AC3 and other formats there were no problems.
Our hero Synology DS418play allows you to watch movies simultaneously on different devices. The head of the family can get acquainted with the news of Hollywood, at the same time as the spouse revises her favorite TV show, and the children fall asleep under the cartoons. Most importantly, the library is demarcated between users through age ratings and parental controls.
The player interface is like online video hosting. Playback quality and audio track can be changed on the fly, there is support for subtitles. If necessary, the picture can be broadcast on Chromecast, Apple TV, SmartTV and other Miracast and DLNA devices.
As mentioned earlier, Synology is responsible for adapting its software for mobile devices. DS Video
provides full access to the library, playback history and viewing progress. If necessary, any file can be temporarily downloaded to the phone’s memory for offline viewing outside the home network. The broadcast video stream is played through a third-party player, for example, VLC
All of the above applies to the audio collection collected at Audio Station . One can argue, because music does not take up much space and storing a complete collection even on a smartphone is not critical. This is so, but only until the moment when you decide to supplement your archive with a new album, or even a complete discography of some artist. In case of local storage, you will have to manually duplicate new files on each device. The network library allows you to upload files only to the NAS, after which they are synchronized with all devices on the local network. Moreover, Audio Station can broadcast sound to the same audio system with DLNA.
Music is grouped by tags, there are no problems with playback, all formats are read. But there is no point in lossless, since the audio stream on the fly is converted to MP3 or WAV for better compatibility. Lyrics are imported from tags or from online services such as LyricWiki. For a change, there is support for Internet radio.
DS audio for mobile devices is a full-featured music player. Tracks are automatically cached to the smartphone’s memory. Individual tracks or albums can be manually loaded into the smartphone’s memory.
The iTunes Server application synchronizes music and video downloaded to the NAS server with iTunes inside the local network. Creating an iTunes server takes place in one click. The function is useful to users of Apple technology for simple synchronization of their own music with devices on the network. The second bonus is the playback of any audio formats on iTunes-compatible devices, thanks to the conversion to WAV or MP3.
By analogy with movies and music, the photo app is called Photo Station . It will appeal to photographers who like to sort pictures manually: group by albums, add a description and share to the network. Public access can be password protected and time limited; comments are available as feedback. In addition to the usual JPEG, the program supports RAW, which allows you to drop the source from the camera directly to the server.
The source files downloaded to the server can be further processed directly from the NAS memory without occupying the main drive of the computer. Additional plugins are not required, a network folder with photos is added to Lightroom through the regular menu. The thing is to automatically share files from the Synology NAS server to the local network. Thus, photos, as well as other multimedia files, can be viewed and edited through Explorer and Finder, without additional software.
An alternative gallery - Moments is aimed at mobile photographers who are not used to thinking about manually sorting ready-made photos. Instead, the utility automatically groups pictures by shooting date and location, and even by the people depicted.
The eponymous client is available on smartphones. The application features correspond to the browser version. A nice option is automatic backup of photos, similar to the cloud services from Apple and Google. But not to a remote server on the Internet, but to its own storage. So it is much safer and more private, because the user is personally responsible for the data, not a third-party company.
Local files are downloaded one by one, or as a group, by dragging from the explorer to the web interface window. To download files from the Internet, an intermediary in the face of a computer is not needed, the built-in utility Download Station supports the HTTP, FTP, Magnet, Torrent protocols and their modifications. With remote access via DDNS, the boot manager opens on the other side. For example, a movie in 2160p resolution takes about 80 GB, and in 1080P about 40 GB. Even with fast internet, it will take 2-4 hours to download. It’s crazy to wait for viewing for so long, and you can start the download from Download Station, even in the afternoon and start returning from work.
The mobile version of Download Station is called DS get , and DS file is used to access the file system. Among the additional features of the file manager is downloading files to the smartphone’s memory for viewing outside the home network.
Based on DiskStation Manager, you can deploy personal cloud storage for online file synchronization between different devices. Drive is also suitable for backing up files; client applications are available for Windows, Mac OS, Ubuntu, Android, and iOS.
Hyper Backup utility is designed to regularly back up sensitive data and entire applications from the NAS server itself. It allows you to copy data to another NAS server, USB-drive or cloud storage. Cloud technologies are represented by the proprietary Synology C2 system, as well as Google Drive, Dropbox and others. There are never too many copies; Hyper Backup stores several versions of reserved files in accordance with the smart Smart Recycle algorithm.
We examined the basic gadgets for backing up and storing multimedia files on the local Synology server. With the constantly updated DSM operating system and the integrated application store, the possibilities are endless. The main thing is that the software is stable and the safety of these issues does not cause. An important aspect is the ease of configuration and use, thanks to an intuitive step-by-step system.
Returning to Synology DS418play , the NAS server chassis looks moderately utilitarian. Almost the entire front panel is occupied by 4 trays for drives. The latch is reminiscent of a car door handle and it's not just about the lock. And also in a similar principle, we pull the spring-loaded handle and the slide leaves. It's nice that the developers did not come up with an innovative compartment, but competently adapted the part from everyday life. This is the whole Synology, simple and intuitive devices, inside of which tremendous opportunities are hidden.
Standard 3.5-inch hard drives snap into place. Those wishing to install a smaller 2.5-inch drive will have to use a Phillips screwdriver and complete screws. Disks can be combined in a RAID array for better performance and fault tolerance, or sum the volume of each into a common space.
The impeccable operation of the media server and backup functions is guaranteed by advanced hardware. The device is based on a dual-core Intel Celeron J3355 with integrated Intel HD Graphics 500 and 2 GB of RAM. To cool 4 hard drives and a powerful processor, two blowing coolers are mounted in the back wall. For air intake vents are used, stylized under the logo of Synology, on the sides. In a simple NAS is not audible, the rustle of hard drives appears only under load.
The Synology DS418play box contains everything you need to get started: a power adapter, a cable with a proprietary plug, an Ethernet cable, screws for 2.5-inch drives, two keys to lock the bays and a quick guide in Russian. Hard drives are purchased separately according to needs.
Can a NAS server compete with cloud storage? Undoubtedly, at least due to the absolute privacy of the data. It is also worth considering that the data transfer rate in the local network is limited only by the bandwidth of the router, when, as the clouds rest against the capabilities of the Internet. Yes, the cost of 40 thousand rubles scares off, but this is a fair price for such a universal device. Moreover, in the future, a large cloud storage will not be cheaper.
- Easy to manage and configure, intuitive and simple interface.
- Full-featured control from a mobile device.
- Convenient multimedia server.
- Mounts for 4 hard drives.
- Security and data privacy.
- Extensible features of the embedded OS.
May not like:
- High total cost of server and hard drives.
- Lack of DTS support.
Final rating: 10 out of 10.