When considering which Network Attached Storage product is right for you, no longer is it sufficient to check out processor speeds, USB ports and file transfer rates. Oh no. In 2013, you'd better include media apps in your selection criteria too. We've seen ASUSTOR launch their HDMI-enabled NAS devices with Boxee on board. QNAP, however, have selected XBMC as their media center of choice.
The company's all-new Turbo NAS x69 Pro and x69L Series – QNAP's mid-range update – is now shipping, equipped with an HDMI port to allow direct connection to your big screen TV. XBMC Media Center allows full access to the music, video and photos stored on the NAS and the new models also ship with Google Chrome, for web browsing via the TV, and YouTube.
To make life easier, you can choose to control XBMC via a smartphone or tablet app (choose from QNAP's own Qremote app, or the official XBMC app for Android or iOS) or if you love the feel of that physical remote, you'll find support for many media center remotes, USB wireless keyboards and mice.
In terms of specs, the x69 series is powered by Intel's Atom 2.13 GHz Dual-core Processor and a gig of RAM (expandable up to 3GB, and according to QNAP, you'll need to expand to at least 2GB for the best XBMC experience). 2, 4, 5, 6 and 8 bay models are available from $479 to $1099 (diskless). On board you'll find 2 x Gigabit RJ-45 Ethernet ports, 2 USB 3.0 ports and a mighty 5 USB 2.0 ports.
Stay tuned for the WGS Hands On Review in the coming weeks.