Media servers offer a convenient way to store and share digital media over a network. It comes in handy for homes, allowing the household members to store things like movies and stream them when needed over their home network.
To do this, you’ll need the necessary hardware and some accompanying software. As per hardware, you will need the best NAS for home media server.
These devices are like computers, they have some processing power, main memory, and the ability to network.
By using them, the media server will be accessible to all connected parties.
List of Best NAS For Home Media Server in 2021
The following are generally considered small and affordable NAS for home media serer.
- WD My Cloud EX2 Ultra – Recommended NAS With Disks
- Synology DiskStation DS220j – Recommended 2 Bay NAS Storage for Home Media Server
- TerraMaster F2-221 – Has a dual-core Intel processor – 4k Encoding
- Synology DiskStation DS218 – Diskless 2-bay NAS with DDR4 RAM – 4k Encoding
- Buffalo LinkStation 210 – Hard drives included. Easy setup – 4k Encoding
1. WD My Cloud EX2 Ultra – Recommended NAS With Disks
It comes equipped with a 1.3 GHz dual-core processor to make work like streaming and sharing files easier. Furthermore, you get 1GB of DDR3 RAM which helps make multitasking much easier.
For that reason, several users will be able to stream media simultaneously without the system facing any challenges like lags.
It also comes with a fast backup feature that stores your media files safely, thus preventing losses which can be catastrophic.
With support for several other cloud service providers such as Dropbox and Google Drive, you will be able to move your files with ease and access them from a convenient central location.
Storage space is customizable depending on your needs. All you do is swap out drives and replace them with other ones. You can set this up with up to 28TB of space. This is ideal for people with a lot of media files.
2. Synology DiskStation DS220j – Recommended 2 Bay NAS Storage for Home Media Server
The Synology DiskStation DS220j comes with the DiskStation Manager. The program allows users to quickly learn the ropes around their NAS for better operations. Its user-friendliness makes it the best NAS for home media server.
Other than that, it is capable of 24/7 operation when using NAS-grade hard drives. These are efficient and durable for extended usage without failures.
The NAS itself comes facilitates file sharing and streaming thanks to its integrated media server. This can be a great addition to any other media server software you may be using at home.
With the ability to back up the files on your Android or iOS device straight to the NAS system, the device becomes more useful as even the videos and pictures taken from your phone could be made accessible through the media server with a simple sync. An app is needed for this though.
3. TerraMaster F2-221 – Has a dual-core Intel processor – 4k Encoding
With its 2.0GHz Intel Dual Core processor, this NAS is geared for high performance in homes where simultaneous streaming is common. Its ability to serve and deliver content with minimal downtime makes it the best NAS for home media server.
It uses the Apollo J3335 processor and also features expandable RAM from 2 to 4GB. This ensures high performance in multitasking.
It does not ship with pre-installed hard drives. This makes it easier to configure as you can install any compatible hard drive into one or both its drive bays.
Transfer speeds are also fast enough for HD streaming. It is capable of up to 200 and 190MB/s when reading and writing respectively and allows streaming of two concurrent 4K videos.
If you are keen on security, you will be glad to know that this NAS also features hardware encryption. This means that the NAS itself can encrypt and decrypt the media on the drives. Hence, if you have some files that you’d like to keep private, this would be handy.
4. Synology DiskStation DS218 – Diskless 2-bay NAS with DDR4 RAM – 4k Encoding
It uses a 64-bit quad-core processor with 2GB of DDR4 RAM. These combined allow the unit to offer simultaneous streaming capabilities to multiple users at home.
Furthermore, it allows 4K video transcoding which makes it possible to seamlessly stream 4K content to your devices.
It is compatible with most of the popular computer operating systems and also supports several other browsers for media and content streaming. Furthermore, it runs on Synology DiskStation Manager which is user friendly and easy to get used to.
Coupling this with an equally fast network connection will result in fast content streaming even for multiple devices. However, at these speeds, too many simultaneous connections can cause speed fluctuations. However, you get 112MB/s for both reads and writes.
5. Buffalo LinkStation 210 – Hard drives included. Easy setup – 4k Encoding
The low purchase price also includes the hard drive which makes getting started with this unit very easy. Its setup process is straightforward and if you want direct access to your media, you can plug the NAS directly into your router and get started.
Furthermore, you get access to your media files over the internet. This will allow you to access your movies and recorded TV from anywhere as long as there’s a good and stable internet connection.
With devices that support DLNA/UPnP, you will be able to quickly get up and running as these implement measures that enhance compatibility between devices. DLNA facilitates the sharing of media files like music, videos, and photos.
As such, you can potentially stream directly to your phones and computers once the setup is completed correctly.
The NAS has 256MB of DDR3 RAM, an 800MHz processor, and a single drive bay that can take large capacity drives for more storage. It’s ideal for basic streaming.
Guide for Finding the Right NAS For Home Media Server
With a NAS device playing the central role in your media server, you will gain the ability to store and stream your media. Anything from recorded TV shows and live matches will be stored and accessed from a central location.
If several people save their media files on the NAS (Network-Attached Storage), other people will be able to find and stream these files from anywhere in the home as long as there’s a network connection.
NAS systems are ideal in cases where you need files to be readily available from a central location, as you would with a media server.
Instead of carrying a drive from room to room, all you’ll need is network access to the NAS and you will be able to stream media content.
Owning and operating a NAS is beneficial for people who have a lot of files. Server space from a cloud hosting provider is not cheap. Furthermore, you have very little control over what happens with the hardware.
With a NAS, however, you essentially own your cloud service because you will even be able to access the files from different locations over the internet.
You also have the freedom to store whatever you want and when you run out of space, you can easily upgrade drives with just a one-off price, as opposed to the recurring payments you will have to make with a provider.
Also Read: SSD vs HDD for NAS – Which is Better?
Ease of Use
NAS systems are very intuitive. They are easy to get a hang of and don’t require any specialized personnel to operate. Since it is a hard drive with networking access, all you’ll need to know is how to connect it to your network and how to transfer and stream content from it.
While they are not as cheap as a regular hard drive, they also aren’t too expensive. You can get a brand new NAS from some reputable manufacturers for less than $300.
Whether they come with the hard drives or not (also known as diskless NAS), you get the option to upgrade the storage and freedom to use as you wish.
Hard Drive Caching
SSDs are a better option when high performance is required. These offers better read and write speeds and are ideal for simultaneous streaming.
If you use HDDs, you can use an SSD as a cache for the HDDs, if supported to boost the system’s performance.
4k Transcoding is Essential for 4K Media Users
There are many different types of NAS storage out there differentiated by their internal hardware, the amount of bays they offers and whether they can encode 4K videos or not among other things.
In this article we looked at the best NAS for home media server. Naturally, we looked at smaller and more affordable options.
If you have a huge array of media that needs to be shared with family members in your home, then investing NAS storage can be worth it.