Network-attached storage devices have come a long way since the time when they were just a smaller replacement to backup servers. Now, they can act as LAN-based media servers, and much more, as Synology's DS214play now shows.
The DS214play is the latest addition to the Synology DiskStation series of NAS units, one that has dedicated hardware acceleration.
This is actually the first DiskStation to possess that capability, and shows it by being superior to all, or most, other NAS devices in terms of video transcoding.
Which is to say, the DiskStation DS214play can stream multiple 1080p video codecs at once, and handle various other processor-heavy tasks at the same time.
The DiskStation Manager 4.3 (DSM 4.3) software plays a big role here, since it allows network users to create, customize and play video libraries (Video Station component of the software).
It also leverages the Media Server component, which streams content to any DLNA-compliant devices.
What's more, the Audio Station allows users to store music and play it anywhere (the NAS is remotely accessible via phone, tablet, laptop, etc.).
There's even a Photo Station (Photo Station 6), which can organize, share and display photos.
As for the hardware, it is quite powerful for a NAS: 1.6 GHz dual-core CPU with integrated floating-point unit (FPU), 1 GB of RAM, read/write speeds above 100 MB/s, two hot-swappable drive bays, and tool-less caddies.
"We are really excited to add the DS214play to our product lineup" said Thadd Weil, public relations manager at Synology America Corp.
"For the first time, Synology is offering a product that puts media content first; while being extremely capable in all other regards."
Synology included 256-bit AES encryption, which can keep data private even in shared folders, if users designate intended recipients. Sales should be starting globally, for $369.99 / €369.99.