istock 000031584166large

For the ultimate home cinema, start with NAS

You’ve already navigated a seemingly endless sea of hardware options, form factors, and connectivity quagmires to create your beautifully constructed home theater. It’s a completely centralized, smoothly operating, mind-blowing entertainment powerhouse. Now, to complete the experience, you need to make your media work just as smoothly as your hardware.

Great home theater isn’t just about the biggest, smartest TV or the most sophisticated sound system. It’s also about the freedom to store all of your favorite content in one safe place and watch it any time, on any device, from anywhere you happen to be. It’s about getting rid of redundant devices and being certain that your movies and videos look their best when you watch them. From the living room to the park or the beach, anywhere you can connect to the Internet, your movies will be with you.

That may sound difficult, but it really isn’t.

NAS (network attached storage) centralizes your media, streamlines your system, and gives you the best option at all times. It creates a personal cloud that acts as a hub for all of your media. Because it lives right in your home and is connected to your own network, everything in that cloud is safe and secure.

Every bit of the content stored on your NAS appliance is accessible from any device you choose by simply connecting to your network and logging in. If you’re away from home, you can log in via apps or an online portal.

Centralize and Optimize

Serious film and TV buffs expect their favorite movies and shows to look great. But there are a lot of ways your viewing experience can be interrupted: scratched discs, server glitches that cause your streaming services to fail (looking at you, HBO), improper settings, poor quality media, incorrect aspect ratios, incompatible file formats…

But your NAS device can help solve those glitches once you go digital. (If you haven’t already digitized your movie collection, here are some tips on getting started.) Digital media stored locally on your NAS isn’t subject to the fluctuating whims of streaming services like Netflix and Amazon, and it’s still just as accessible. Scratched disks that make a movie almost impossible to watch are a thing of the past, along with those dusty DVD covers.

A system like QNAP’s TS-x51 can play videos on your TV in full HD through a built-in entertainment dashboard. This dashboard, called HD Station, also supports web browsing and YouTube, and operates on the DLNA (Digital Living Network Alliance) standard, so it’s compatible with pretty much any HDTV. It also lets you use your mobile device as a remote control. All this in one place means fewer hunks of redundant hardware lying around, and fewer infuriating “TV/Video” screens to toggle through when you’re looking for something to watch.

The 2.41 GHz Celeron processor on the TS-x51 is plenty powerful enough to avoid stutters or pauses during playback of full quality video, and built-in on-the-fly video transcoding optimizes video format and quality for any device and any setting. So whether you’re soaring through Gravity in your living room cinema or catching up on Californication on your smartphone, you get the best possible quality. 

Go Beyond Cinema

There’s more to digital life than movies. Your NAS will serve as a home media hub, bringing all your personal photos, music, and videos into one spot that you can share with anyone, anywhere. It’s easy and inexpensive to expand your storage space, so you won’t have to rely on the finicky offsite cloud servers of streaming services to get access to the stuff you own.

You’ve put a lot of care into building your home theater. It’s your ode to entertainment. And with the right attention, it will keep entertaining for years to come. As the ultimate home cinema evolves beyond the home theater, don’t get stuck with a tangle of finicky devices and services. Rise above it with NAS -- your own personal cloud.

Subscribe to the MacWeek Newsletter