Storage & NAS NETGEAR ReadyNAS RN102 Review Part Three: Media and...

NETGEAR ReadyNAS RN102 Review Part Three: Media and Overall Evaluation

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NETGEAR was nice enough to send a ReadyNAS RN102 for review.  Here is Part Three of my review, where I evaluate media streaming and provide an overall evaluation.

RN102 2

NETGEAR was nice enough to send a ReadyNAS RN102 for review.  Here is Part Three of my review, where I evaluate media streaming and provide an overall evaluation.  Part One is here and Part Two is here.

Media Streaming

A basic requirement these days in the NAS space is the ability to serve up media.  I look into two factors:  DLNA and Plex.  The RN102 has DLNA support baked into the firmware, with no additional apps required…and when you define your shares, you can modify the settings on each one to tell ReadyDLNA how to serve up the content.  Here is the overview of the shares that I set up on this device:

image

Let’s drill into the Videos folder.

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Click on Settings to see what you can modify here.

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The ReadyDLNA Service Media Type setting is set to Videos, and you can set that for new shares that you create.  The ReadyDLNA service supports the following formats:

  • ReadyDLNA supported music formats (wav, wma, pcm, ogg, mp3, m4a, flac, aac)
  • ReadyDLNA supported photo formats (jpg, jpeg)
  • ReadyDLNA supported video formats (3gp, mp4, wmv, xvid, vob, ts, tivo, mts, mpeg, mpg, mp4, mov, mkv, m4v, m4p, m2t, m2ts, flv,flc, fla, divx, avi, asf)

I tried a mixture of MP4 (h.264 video, AAC3 audio) and WMV files and they all played back flawlessly on PS3, XBOX360, a Sony blu-ray player, Windows 7, Windows 8 and Android devices.  I also streamed M4A audio and JPEG photo formats without issue.  ReadyDLNA is full-featured and easy to configure.

Plex, on the other hand, is a weakness for the ARM-equipped ReadyNAS units.  Plex is advertised as a supported app, and the RN102 does support 0.9.7.28.0 on the server side.  However, the current release of Plex’s server-side application is 0.9.9.14.531, and most of the currently-available mobile apps require 0.9.8.14.  This means that the ARM-based RN102 does not support the server release that is required to run the most recent mobile device apps.

OK, Jim, so what?  Just download the package and side-load it already!  I would, except that Plex has not released a package for ARM on ReadyNAS OS6.  They HAVE released a version of the latest server-side program for ReadyNAS OS6 on Intel, but not on ARM.  I did try sideloading a version of Plex that was built from a Synology package, which requires command-line access to Linux on the box, but that failed for me.

I’ve asked NETGEAR when they plan on releasing the ARM OS6 server-side update, and in fact, the delay between the initial installation post and this one was largely caused by my desire to get an answer on this issue.  NETGEAR tells me that they plan on releasing an updated server version of Plex, but have no firm dates.  The upshot here is that the RN102 does not adequately support Plex today and there does not appear to be a clear path to adding that support.  To me, this is a big enough deal to cause me to buy another ARM-based NAS, since the competition supports Plex and I use it heavily.  This gap is enough to deduct one star from the overall evaluation.  For you, if Plex is not a requirement, this should be no big deal.

Overall Evaluation

The NETGEAR ReadyNAS RN102 is a two-bay ARM-based NAS unit with excellent DLNA support, a very easy installation process and class-leading remote access without manual port forwarding.  When you add in advanced time-based versioning control, support for ISCSI, RSYNC, and WordPress, you get a compelling value offer.  Cloud backup is limited to ReadyVault and DropBox, though, and the lack of current Plex support detracts from an otherwise-stellar product.  Overall, would I buy one?  If I did not need Plex, then yes, this is an excellent NAS choice.  If Plex is a requirement, I’d have to look elsewhere for now.  Overall, I award the ReadyNAS RN102 a 4/5 Silver Award.

CDW-Rating-Banner-black-4

Jim McCarthy
My tech interests include WHS, media streaming, and gaming, among others!

2 COMMENTS

  1. Matthew–

    Thanks for the input. I tried the method that was based on a Synology package and had no luck; I may look into this one too as I still have the review unit. However, as it stands today, Plex support is not sufficient for this NAS compared to competing products. NETGEAR is aware of the issue and is working on a fix; I will let everyone know if and when that fix hits the market.

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