How to stream video and audio using ShareCenter network-attached storage

Fire up the popcorn maker! With a network-attached storage (NAS) device like the D-Link ShareCenter 2-Bay Network Storage for Media Streaming (DNS-325), you can stream video and audio files to any device on your network, including HDTVs and wireless speaker systems. You don’t need to turn on a PC every time you want to watch movies or listen to music — your media streams straight from the storage device. With a little advance planning and easy setup, NAS can turn a home network into the beating heart of your home entertainment center.

1. Choose a NAS device. D-Link’s ShareCenter NAS units take advantage of gigabit Ethernet, the fastest wired network standard on the market. For maximum performance, you’ll want to pair your NAS with an equally capable router. And look for a router that supports Wireless-N, the fastest available wireless networking standard, which will enable the NAS box to stream HD content wirelessly throughout your network.

Some NAS devices come with hard drives pre-installed, or you may choose to buy them separately. If you choose a driveless solution, consider installing two identical drives (which makes it possible to secure your data with RAID 1 redundancy), each with at least 1TB capacity. With ShareCenter devices, once you’ve selected the drives, installing them is a simple matter of opening the NAS unit’s panel — no tools required — and sliding them into place.

2. Set up a RAID 1 array. A RAID 1 array automatically replicates the contents of one hard drive to another: It’s like a backup for your backup. To set it up, copy any files currently on your hard drives to another location. (Your NAS box must delete all data on both drives to create the array.) Next, launch the D-Link Storage Utility and click Configuration to open the web interface. If this is your first time configuring the drives in the NAS, you will be guided to the Drive Configuration Wizard. If not, select the Management tab, click on Disk Management and then on Set RAID Type and Re-Format. A series of screens will walk you through the process of setting up a RAID-1 array.

DNS-325
3. Set up UPnP AV. Ever see that “DLNA-certified” designation on devices like Sony’s PlayStation 3 or a brand-new HDTV? That means it can handle streamed media, and the DLNA standard is mostly compatible with network devices that support UPnP AV as well. To set up this kind of media streaming on D-Link’s ShareCenter NAS, click on the Management tab again and select Application Management. The streaming standard for home entertainment devices and PCs is UPnP AV (that’s universal plug and play for audio and video). To set up a UPnP AV server, click that option on the left side of the screen. Then add the folders containing media files you want to stream.

4. Set up iTunes. There’s no better place for your huge music library than a NAS box. Setting up a basic iTunes server with D-Link’s ShareCenter NAS — so you can stream all your music to any network device — couldn’t be easier. Click the corresponding link, select Enable, and uncheck the Root option so you can select the folder on your NAS box that houses all of your music. Press Save Settings and you’re ready to rock!

The fun doesn’t end there. D-Link offers a variety of add-ons to expand your entertainment options on its ShareCenter site, including apps like an Audio Streamer, a Photo Center for sharing pictures, and an app for piping music to the Logitech Squeeze Center. Check them out and enjoy a fully networked home entertainment experience.

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