If you would have told me a year ago that I would be watching my collection of movies and television shows straight from my QNAP appliance, without the need for a standalone media player, I would have told you to get lost. The fact is, I never dreamed QNAP would take the plunge and offer such amazing features to the average consumer - I mean, we are the little guys, right?
In February of this year, QNAP announced the availability of the x69L and Pro NAS appliances. With these they also launched the greatest feature to come to the NAS platform in quite some time, HD Station. HD Station allows for those that have purchased an x69L or Pro NAS appliance to enjoy their music, photo and video collections right on the HDTV in the living room via the HDMI output on the NAS.
As HD Station has grown, QNAP has added the additional functionality of full web browser with Chrome, the ability to access the NAS administration desktop via MyNAS and even the ability to watch streaming video via the built-in YouTube app.
Today we take a close look at QNAP's HD Station and what it's all about.
HD Station Installation and Setup
The installation procedure for HD Station and its many applications starts by heading over to the tab set aside just for it. Here you will find the web browser in the form of Google Chrome, along with MyNAS, YouTube and the star of the show, XBMC. For those of you that don't know, XBMC started out on the first generation Xbox console. Xbox Media Center or XBMC has enjoyed great success over the years, with a number of standalone media players being developed using their software. In addition to their success, XBMC almost has a cult type following with many developers making new programs for the platform each and every day.
Now that you have taken care of the HD Station installation, feel free to plug in a HDMI cable to back of your NAS and fire up your HDTV. This is where everything comes together, above you can see we have many options to choose from. If you feel like browsing the web and reading some of the great articles here at TweakTown, fire up chrome in a pinch or need to change settings on your NAS, but don't want to run to your PC? Head on over to MyNAS where you will get the full administration panel at your fingertips. Additionally, if you have the need to view what's trending on YouTube, there's an app for that too. Of course, the meat of the pie lies in XBMC and where the full HD Station experience comes together.
Above we have fired up Chrome, and of course headed over to TweakTown.com. Now you may wonder how you get around in a browser, without a mouse and keyboard. It's simple really, with the release of HD Station, QNAP deployed keyboard and mouse support. Additionally, QNAP has their very own app called Qremote that we will touch on later in the article.
The MyNAS application allows the full administration menu right on your TV, and with keyboard and mouse support, it operates the same as it does on your PC.
As I stated above, the YouTube app allows you to search through popular categories such as music, gaming and sports, but also features a trending section, so you can see the latest "hot" videos on YouTube.
Additionally, each application in the HD Station menu has its own configuration.
The display tab allows you to configure the HDMI output to fit your HDTV's resolution.
The preferences tab has the audio output configuration, along with language and remote control selection.