Bellevue, WA — March 10, 2016—Synology® Inc. launched DS216j Wednesday, a NAS perfect for home media streaming, as well as file sharing and backup. Powered by a dual-core CPU with a floating-point unit (FPU), the 2-bay NAS is designed for home and personal users that are in need of a reliable, highly efficient home server requiring less power consumption.
“With Synology’s intuitive user interface, upgraded platform, and versatile features, we hope to make DS216j the best
home server for users who use NAS to stream multimedia content, share and sync files, as well as backup data,” said Jason Fan, Product Manager at Synology Inc.
DS216j’s main CPU is enhanced with a built-in floating-point unit (FPU) that speeds up thumbnail generation. It delivers file transfer speeds of 112.75 Mb/s reading and 97.6 Mb/s writing. Moreover, DS216j is designed with energy efficiency in mind, consuming only 14.85 W during peak usage and 6.95 W when hibernating. Thanks to the above features, users are able to enjoy a fast and efficient experience in an eco-friendly way.
DS216j runs DiskStation Manager (DSM), the most advanced and intuitive operating system for NAS devices. With its wide range of applications from multimedia file sharing to backup, DSM satisfies all essential home entertainment, as well as backup and file sharing needs. Synology has received numerous media accolades, including PC Mag Readers’ Choice for four years in a row.
The MINIX NGC-1 is a fanless mini PC with a fully licensed Windows 10 operating system. It offers 4k
Playback and has a hefty amount of RAM 4 GB of DDR 3L. This allows the system to handle a ton of applications and programs and perform well as a media center. At $399.00 the system is at a premium price but it is very much a premium product with a metal case and a stout weight. MINIX products always have a solid build and this one tops them all. Think of it as a pre-assembled Intel-based NUC. It is fully functional right out of the box and can be configured for multiple home entertainment and productivity needs in mind. Read on to get our overall impressions of the device.
Operating System Windows 10 Ah Windows 10, the operating system so exciting Microsoft skipped past Windows 9. Windows 10 was not built to be a media player interface. No version of Windows was unless you count the Xbox. Navigating made
me miss the Windows Media Center. With a wireless keyboard, the navigation is very natural because it is just like using any computer. Windows 10 is plenty fully capable of supporting a vast number of programs and applications. But if one chooses to use the device as a media player it would be helpful to utilize a front end system like Kodi or the Plex Home Theater.
Media Apps Windows 10 utilizes the Windows app store. While not as robust as the IOS or Android store the Windows App Store has all of the big name apps the typical consumer would look for like Netflix, Hulu, Watch ESPN, Crackle and Plex. Users are hardly limited to the selections in the store of course. Plex itself offers numerous channel options when paired with an active server.Users can also download Kodi and other media apps directly from their respective websites. We set up Kodi 15.2 for Windows in a matter of minutes.
Install full servers for Plex, Kodi and PlayOn When it comes to media servers some people swear by Kodi/XBMC while others argue that Plex’s ability to work as a peer to peer hub make it superior. While there are any number of Android media players set up around Kodi as well as some lighting fast Linux machines very few set-top boxes can be used as a Plex server. The NGC-1 can.
Because it is a full Windows PC with RAM to spare it easily handles Plex and Kodi at the same time. It can also support the Plex Home Theater which is a far more capable application than any of the Plex application available on other devices. Another option that we tried was PlayOn. PlayOn is a media center built to be used as a DVR for digital content and offers users an easy pathway to TV network based websites amongst other things. All of the media centers functioned quite well playing back media in HD The ability to handle all of these options helps set the device apart from numerous competitors.
Controllers The NCG-1 does not ship with a remote of any type. This is common with mini PC’s. The system supports USB and Wireless controllers. For set up purposes the best route is a wireless keyboard. We used a Logitech
wireless keyboard which made entering passwords for the numerous apps and server programs easy. Once set up is complete a simple air mouse will do. I have to think that the type of user who would invest in a mini Windows 10 PC likely would have a workable solution handy. But in the absence of one another purchase will be required.
Desktop Replacement It makes me sound much older than I am to say this machine has more than 3 times the RAM of the computer I had custom built by Annand Shimpi before I started college (also indecently before he finished 11th grade). With 4 GB of DDR3 RAM it will power through any basic Windows program. If a user chooses to they can utilize the NGC-1 as a desktop computer with a printer etc. It’s HDMI port will support a monitor and any peripherals needed.
Browsers You want it you got it. It comes loaded with Microsoft Explorer and Microsoft Edge. The best thing about Microsoft Explorer is that you can use it to download Google Chrome. We did that immediately. With a full browser as opposed to an Android/mobile browser users can access any website including CBS or Hulu to get content that cannot be accessed via apps. Users can also access the Plex Web App if they choose to and bypass downloading any other
interface. Any media site can be accessed through a television and if it turns out that a site is best optimized by something else just download it. There are no flash issues to negotiate or any other protocols.
Wi-Fi Performance Dual Band Wi-Fi is an industry standard so it should come as no surprise that the NGC-1 supports it. As with any wireless connection the performance will have a great deal more to do with the strength of one’s home network than the hardware on the computer itself.On the hardware side the NGC-1 has two external Antennas to give users the best Wi-Fi performance possible on the network.
The NGC-1 has 3 USB 3 ports along with an Ethernet port, a combined headphone/microphone jack and optical audio port and the power adapter port (of course). There is no SD card port which is odd for both a computer and a set top-
box. If you choose to utilize SD cards I would recommend using a USB based one.
The NGC-1 has a silver metal case which differentiates it from the traditional black cases that the company typically utilizes. The company uses the same supplier that Apple uses for the Macbook. It feels like a premium product, heavy, substantial and sturdy.
Specs SoC Intel Celeron N3150 quad-core processor @ 1.6 GHz / 2.08 GHz (Turbo) with 2MB L2 cache, and Intel HD graphics with 12EU (4W SDP / 6W TDP) Memory 4GB DDR3L Storage 128 M.2 SSD Video Output HDMI 1.4 up to 4K @ 30 Hz (not true 4K) and mini DisplayPort Audio HDMI, 3.5mm stereo jack (microphone + headphone), and optical S/PDIF Networking Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11ac WiFi and Bluetooth 4.2 with two external antennas USB 3 USB ports on
Want to order an NGC1? Pick it up from our Amazon Powered store Here
The MINIX NGC-1 Windows 10 PC is a new device set to roll out this month from MINIX. The company is known for heavy duty equipment and this might be their heaviest. Small enough to sit by a TV and powerful enough to do many functions with 4 GB of DDR 3L Ram. Take a look at it in our unboxing video. We have a full overview on the way also. Not shown in the unboxing are the power cord and HDMI cord which both also come included.
One of the easiest ways to watch American TV stations online is a service called USTV Now. The service, which is available via its home page as well as through apps for XBMC and a private channel
for Roku allows users to watch an American based cable package overseas. Viewers using the service via a browser can access the basic networks; CBS, NBC, ABC, CW, Fox and PBS for free. Apple TV users can access the service via mirroring and a compatible laptop or IOS device.
The new WWE Network is ready for prime time. Registration for the Internet based network began at 9:00 am along with a free week long preview of the network. The venture which is priced at 9.99 per month includes access to the WWE’s monthly pay per view broadcasts as well as an extensive library of past ppv events from the WWE’s properties including former rival promotions WCW/NWA as well as the ECW. The network will also feature replays of its current programming that appears on traditional TV networks, original shows and archived footage dating back to the 1970s. For a full listing of the
What is Plex?
This article is the first of a multipart series on Plex, a popular media server and app maker that has risen to prominence over the past few years. There is a bit much to cover about Plex to put in to one article. This story will inform our community about what Plex is and share information about the forms it takes.
One of the most powerful media server programs you can find for home media is Plex. Plex can trace its roots back to XBMC and still resembles it’s ancestor in some ways but since starting
The National Football League is making a momentous addition to the digital streaming landscape announcing plans to launch a free digital network NFL Now via the Internet. And while the league promises that the service will provide numerous avenues for fans to get closer to the game including original content, highlights, content produced by NFL clubs, NFL Films content, NFL.com & NFL Network content and live events including press conferences, and shows, theNFL’s vice president of digital media business development Vishal Shah, who spoke to Time Magazine in a story by Victor Luckerson may have hinted at its long term strategy saying
“Live games are certainly an option for us. It’s really figuring out the right distribution strategy on our end.”
Are Live NFL Games On The Internet A Possibility? Did Shah give us a hint at where the NFL is really going with this venture? NFL spokesman Alex Riethmiller actually disputed Shah’s statement telling Time that the NFL was” happy with our (the NFL’s) current broadcast and cable agreements”.
Is Amazon working on a set top device for release later this year? We do not know. Though there are
some speculating that Amazon is set to launch a streaming device or even a game console, Amazon has never officially commented on the possibility. They are certainly recruiting for something. Jon Fingas of Engadget shared a copy of an invitation to a recruiting event looking for developers to work with a project that could be “Bigger than Kindle”. Something important to note though, is that this is not the first time Amazon has put out an announcement of this type. In an article from October, 2013 titled Amazon May Be Launching A Streaming Device, the Streaming Advisor reported that Amazon had held a recruiting event as far back as May 29, 2012 with the same pitch. See the announcement here.
Apple TV owners with AirPlaycompatible devices can add Plex to their list of preferred apps. Plex, the
popular XBMC fork is available for download in the App Store and costs 4.99. Once installed users can launch the app and send video content from all of Plex’s channels including third party apps from its “unsupported “App Store. Users must also have a Plex’s media server connected to the same network as the Apple TV. Users only need to start a video and launch it to the Apple TV using AirPlay. Using Plex in this manner adds numerous content channels to the Apple TV without forcing users to do anything that might void the warranty or require any sort of advanced know how. Unfortunately it does mean that Plex access is limited to those who also own compatible products. But for those who own an Apple iPhone 4 or above, The iPad 2 and above and even the current iPod Touch this is a very helpful way to add Plex to their Apple TV.
The Google Chromecast has remained popular since its launch in the Summer of 2013. The item is so
inexpensive that many tech enthusiasts and even those trying streaming for the first time have been tempted give it a shot. But as people explore the device and its uses they ask a lot of the same questions. Does the Chromecast have its own apps? Is there an App Store? What else can I use on the Chromecast? Right now the Chromecast officially has 14compatible mobile apps, apps launched from a smartphone or tablet, but many who purchased their Chromecast early are unaware of the new additions which include Vevo and Plex. There is a lot of competition for the living room right now and more on the way but Google can position itself from a place of strength without reinventing the wheel but by using tools and capabilities it already has in place.
Google Should Stop Ignoring its own Built in Ecosystem
The Streaming Advisor aims to teach and inform others about how to enjoy video content broadcast via the Internet through incisive stories and reviews that explore the new media marketplace and examine online media trends and how they effect consumers.
Online media includes familiar services like Netflix, Hulu, Crackle and other widely known sources along with small start up sites and companies like PlayOn. We keep tabs on Roku, Apple TV, Google TV and Android streaming so that all you have to do is keep tabs with us.