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QNAP HS-251 Review: NAS meets home entertainment.

Jon L. Jacobi | Feb. 5, 2015
Network Attached Storage (NAS) is probably not the first thing you think about when you consider your home-entertainment system, but at least one company intends to change that: QNAP. QNAP has offered HDMI output and a 10-foot user interface (so you can operate it from the comfort of your couch) for a year or two on their mainstream NAS boxes. Now it's added the quiet operation and style to attract less-technical users. It has mostly succeeded in that effort.

QNAP sells a remote that you can use to navigate the interface, but you can also use a mouse and keyboard, including wireless types via a USB or Bluetooth dongle (there are plenty of available ports). I actually prefer the mouse and keyboard for entering passwords, browsing the Web, searching YouTube, and whatnot. Remote-control cursoring and selecting letters one-by-one is so not my bag.

The HS-251 costs $400 without storage, which puts it at the high-end of the two-bay consumer NAS market. But it's fast and quiet, great with multimedia, and looks good in the entertainment center. I can readily recommend it to anyone who wants to merge their home networking and online multimedia with their home theater. On the other hand, QNAP still has some work to do in making it multimedia ready out of the box, so it's currently for only the more adventurous user.


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