With the growing availability of Google’s Chromecast, Synology has announced its new support for the streaming dongle. Starting with the latest version of its DiskStation Manager or DSM, owners will be able to cast their videos and music to their TVs via Chromecast right from the convenience of their smartphones.
For those unfamiliar with Synology’s product, DiskStations are Network-attached Storage or NAS devices that allow users to store and easily share their files via a local network. DiskStations already have support for various streaming devices and protocols, such as Apple’s AirPlay, DLNA, and even Bluetooth. Now, with version 5.0 of the DiskStation Manager OS running on the DiskStation itself, as well as updated versions of the DS Audio and DS Video mobile apps, owners with Chromecast HDMI devices can now join in on the fun as well.
Synology notes a few differences in their implementation of Chromecast support. For one, instead of having a separate Cast icon per content, like in YouTube and other Chromecast-enabled apps, DS Audio and DS Video simply streams to Chromecast by default as long as it is the selected device. This is similar to how they implemented AirPlay and DLNA support, which will make things more consistent for DiskStation users.
Furthermore, there is one fine detail that, in a way, expands Chromecast’s coverage. In essence, you can stream to a Chromecast device that is in the same network as your smartphone, but not necessarily in the same network as the DiskStation. This means that you can, for example, stream a video at a friend’s house using your phone and his Chromecast, even if you’re DiskStation where the video is located is sitting at home. The content is delivered via HTTP (or HTTPS when applicable), ensuring that your smartphone doesn’t become the bottleneck in streaming.
As mentioned, the new Chromecast support requires the harmony of several updated Synology software. DiskSations must be running DSM 5.0 and mobile devices that will be connecting to Chromecast must be running the latest versions of DS Audio and DS Video, both of which are available on Google Play Store as well as iTunes App Store.
Chromecast only plays VP8/H.264 video and MP3/AAC audio. Without transcoding you’re severely limited. And Synology chose not to do transcoding.