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Can An ASUSTOR NAS Replace Your HTPC?

Discussion in 'Smart Home Article Discussions' started by danthecan, Jan 25, 2013.

  1. danthecan

    danthecan Occasional Visitor

    May 9, 2009
    A few comments on this article.

    * UPnP and DLNA are not the same and unfortunately Samsung have problems with UPnP & DLNA servers though the compatibility issues are more severe with UPnP. Most common DLNA servers now include a profile for Samsung devices to overcome various other issues so the authors pleasant experience with Samsung was very lucky.

    * Transcoding is possible on x86 based NAS hence the tab on the Asustor UPnP server but given the Intel Atom CPU it's woefully inadequate.

    * Plex is not primarily a DLNA server that was a very recent addition.

    * Boxee is dead effectively, not sure it was wise for Asustor to drag that out of the closet.

    * Intel Atom chips have hardware video decoders which can handle high bitrate videos the CPU cannot but the drivers for these under linux are still rough.

    I'm genuinely surprised Asustor didn't include with XBMC, given that Plex and Boxee are both XBMC offshoots and neither of those are well supported under linux or on embedded platforms either.

    XBMC would have been the much saner choice as there is a lot of work optimizing it for low end systems and it is very well supported under linux.
  2. sdeleeuw

    sdeleeuw Regular Contributor

    Dec 14, 2010
    Thanks for the feedback. I assume with the first statement you are talking about my sentence, " But some things still did not work, like Vimeo video through Boxee, the Boxee browser and UPnP to our TV." or are you mentioning that the ASUSTOR uPnP Media Server is not DLNA. I understand they are different standards, but they are roughly synonymous in practice. Please clarify.

    It may be possible that Samsung doesn't play well with DLNA specs, but I haven't seen that. In seeing other DLNA players, like Sony Bravia for instance, our Samsung has handled every support thrown at it while the others have really struggled.

    Transcoding is possible on the Atom NAS's yes, however ASUSTOR's Transcoding tab only had Audio and Images. Transcoding video with the Atom CPU would probably prove painful, that takes horsepower.

    This is what I have from ASUSTOR on their choice of Boxee over XBMC.

    With Plex, it's not primarily a DLNA server, but that's the only way I could present media to the TV with it. It doesn't present by HDMI output on the NAS. I think my sentence read, "Plex is a DLNA solution that we could run with the TV remote." I guess I can see where that is misleading, but to our TV that was the only choice I had. Please clarify?
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2013
  3. phrehdd

    phrehdd Occasional Visitor

    Feb 8, 2013
    I admit I am slightly confused by the article and conclusion. I'll assume the reference is to commercially made NAS as a media server.

    XBMC is an impressive free software and you can find in their forums people building small ASROCK (and other) based mini media players that serve up HD media with HD audio on Linux and Windows (OSX lags on audio).

    After reading on SmallNetBuilder on building a NAS with Linux, it would seem natural one could install XBMC or a varient and end up with a very good NAS that can serve double duty as a media server.

    Alternatively, there are media servers that can handle DAS and NAS easily such as Dune players.

    It shouldn't be too difficult to build a Linux box that handles multiple drives, uses either software or hardware RAID and dish up media via software such as XBMC or Plex. - Just a thought.
  4. sdeleeuw

    sdeleeuw Regular Contributor

    Dec 14, 2010
    Hi phrehdd,

    The goal of the series was to take a look at the commercial Intel-based NAS and assess their validity as an HTPC. As you may know, most of the Intel-based NAS' coming out have HDMI ports and many manufacturers are advertising them as dual-duty NAS and HTPC. We wanted to test those claims.

    The NAS manufacturers have either used Boxee or XBMC to this point, with the usage being either a choice of the NAS manufacturer or a module compiled by a third-party.

    As far as building your own, the possibilities are endless there and that wasn't really the intent of the series. SmallNetBuilder always likes to see the creations of forum members and I encourage you to post up a build once you have one.

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