The Atom D2700 series CPUs have proved quite popular in the SMB / SOHO NAS market. We saw vendors introduce models with HDMI outputs as early as December 2011. In fact, we covered QNAP's HDMI-equipped NAS models at CES 2012. Intel's GPU libraries for video playback and acceleration were not stable at that time and so, vendors were unable to show the true multimedia capabilities then.

Since CES 2012, we have seen a number of vendors trying to pitch a media center running on the NAS as a value add. I have personally tested XBMC on the Thecus N4800 and came away distinctly unimpressed (a though SmallNetBuilder also seems to echo). At CES 2013, I saw an implementation of the Boxee UI on the Asustor 6-series.

QNAP is the latest to join this trend with the TS-x69 Pro and L series, both of which are based on the Atom D2700 2.13 GHz CPU and come with HDMI ports. With the XBMC app, users to directly connect the NAS unit to a TV for media playback through HDMI. As most HTPC enthusiasts already know, XBMC also allows users to also manage their video library, music playlists and create photo slideshows. We will be evaluating one of the supported units in a couple of months, and hopefully, my experience will be better than what I had with the Thecus N4800.

Pricing and Availability

The TS-x69 Pro and L series come in 2, 4, 5, 6 and 8 bay models with prices ranging from $479 for the 2-bay models to $1,099 for the 8 bay models. The XBMC Media Center feature can be downloaded in the QNAP QPKG Center.

Source: QNAP

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  • StealthX32 - Thursday, February 7, 2013 - link

    Is the home NAS market really willing to fork up that kind of money?

    ZyXEL's 2-bay NSA325 NAS + a Raspberry Pi is $200 (plus HD costs obviously). That's a pretty far cry from $479. The NSA325 is driven by a Marvel 1.6GHz with enough oomph to drive torrent/Usenet clients, stream media, etc.

    Is there anything I'd be missing?

    (serious question as I'm in the market)
  • ganeshts - Friday, February 8, 2013 - link

    Depends on the number of clients you have for the NAS. For a single user, a ZyXEL NAS should be good enough. But, if you have 4 - 5 people in the home accessing the NAS simultaneously, then, things become dicey and you need an Atom based solutions like the ones being discussed in this piece..
  • jramskov - Friday, February 8, 2013 - link

    It all depends on your usage, but I don't want my NAS near my TV, I prefer a dedicated solution for streaming video from my NAS and such.

    I personally have a Synology NAS and I would certainly recommend taking a look at their offerings if you're looking at getting a NAS.
  • RoboJ1M - Friday, February 8, 2013 - link

    I'm getting a Synology DS next month
    A NAS's impressibilities should be protecting and serving your data.
    I'm going to run Plex on a seperate box, whose job will be doing the transcoding for my DLNA devices and when I'm out on 3G.
  • themelon - Saturday, February 9, 2013 - link

    You'll understand when you try to run XBMC on the Pi. It works but not with 1080p and bit streaming audio. Although to be fair it was with a V1 I tried. I have a V2, the Model B with 512MB ram I plan to try this next week. Hopefully it works better but I still doubt it will be good enough for theater use.

    Still won't bit stream HD audio though. For some applications that is just fine. I'm sure I will have a few in certain areas of the house. But for Theater use the hardware is just not capable enough.

    If you only want one machine running and you can run a few cat5e cables to your Receiver or Display from where your NAS sits you can use the Monoprice HDMI extender, PID 6532 ~$40, and USB 1.1, pid 6042 ~$10, extenders. The HDMI extender works great as long as your not connecting to an HDMI port with a signal frequency over 165MHz. I use 2 of them for my desktop PC pushing 2 Samsung 1920x1200 displays over 50ft of cat5e UTP.

    Although if your only going to have 2-4 disks in your NAS I'd go with something like the HP MicroServer with a GeForce 610 PCI card instead of the ZyXEL. Overall performance will be much better and the HP is pretty good on power consumption.
  • chaos215bar2 - Thursday, February 7, 2013 - link

    I know Synology uses the D2700 in their higher end units. It would certainly be interesting to see them use it in one of their home units and add HDMI out, even if they left it up to third parties to release a media center package.
  • chizow - Friday, February 8, 2013 - link

    As title states, I'd be interested if the XBMC allowed an attached TV to directly play and record content-protected Live TV streamed over a network. That would allow me to forego a thin client with Windows Media Center attached to the TV with the NAS. I currently have an older C2D laptop connected to my TV for this functionality but the CPU/GPU isn't quite up to the task for hiccup-free streamed 1080p playback.

    If this NAS with XBMC performed similar to an XBox 360 it'd be perfect.

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