Synology NAS as the ultimate XBMC media backend

Media shares

The first thing you have to take care of are the shared folders for your media (Movies, TVshows). This is a easy task which you can perform in Synology Diskstation Manager (DSM). Login as admin to DSM (http://SYNOLOGYIP:5000) and open the ‘Shared Folder’ snap-in from the ‘Control Panel’.

Here we going to create 3 shared folders; download (needed for SABnzbd), movies and tvshows. You can create these folders by clicking ‘Create’ and fill in the name and access permissions (set r/w for admin or another user which suits you setup).


The shares are now accessible by SMB (Windows file sharing). Optional you can enable NFS on these shares, it’s not required but since I’m using a Raspberry Pi for XBMC in my bedroom it’s recommended (the RasPi has limited hardware resources and therefor the NFS protocol is more suitable). If you want to setup the NFS exports please read my post: Share media from Synology to XBMC using NFS.

Install SABnzbd, SickBeard and CouchPotato Server

It’s possible to install the above applications native on the Synology operating system but thanks to the community developers these applications are available as package in the Synolog Package Center. By default only packages provided by Synology are available in the Package Center but since DSM 4.0 you’r able to add third party package repositories. The applications we’re going to use are all available in the SynoCommunity package repository (for more information about this community visit there website at So let’s add this repository to the Package Center.

  1. Open the Package Center and click the ‘Settings’ button;
  2. Open the ‘Package Sources’-tab and click ‘Add’;
  3. In this window you can add the SynoCommunity package source (;
  4. Click OK till you’re back in the Package Center, when you now open the ‘Other Sources’-tab you’ll be able to install packages from the newly added repository;

The first package you need to install is ‘Python’, this package is not startable but required by other packages as dependency. When the Python package is installed you can install all the other packages (I’ll discuss SABnzbd, SickBeard and CouchPotato Server in this post).

23 thoughts on “Synology NAS as the ultimate XBMC media backend

  1. Hi Rob, first of all, thanks for this excellent guide!!
    But I think a part may be missing:
    On page 4 you say “enter the API Key and Category which we created earlier in the SABnzbd configuration”, but there is nothing on creating categories on page 3.
    Also, when I followed the giude SABnzbd ended with an error that autoProcessTV.cfg is missing or invalid. You probably have to rename the sample file in the SickBeard installation directory. This also seems to be missing from your guide or maybe I do need glasses. 🙂

  2. Hi all,
    Excellent guide. Complements to the author! I’m new to all this and had what is probably a basic question. Should the metadata for a show be in the same folder as the actual episode itself in order for XBMC to recognize and utilize the metadata via UPnP? My current setup stores the episode and its corresponding metadata in different folders. Does XBMC have a setting for this? XBMC recognizes and plays the episodes, but it doesn’t display any of the artwork, episode info, etc… Thanks in advance for your assistance…

  3. My Synology crashed and have spent hours trying to rectify. I blew away all installs, upgraded DSM to 4.2 an followed your lead. Its awesome THANKS!
    Only recommendation is the post-process for TV as not mentioned. Can you add this to my post here for myself and others?
    Really appreciate the effort and professionalism of post.

  4. Am I right in thinking you use the script to post process. Can’t see any mention in writing but see mention in a pic..

  5. I’ve installed all of the programs and they seem to work correctly individually. when i set a show to watch in sick beard it doesnt seem to download in SABnzbd.. and advice on how to make sure the API is working? or do i need to set up the watch folder? i just didnt see anything about the watch folder in setup

  6. Hi,

    Thanks for great article. For the last couple months, I have been trying to setup a new HT environment and tried many different configurations. According to the experience I had, I would like to kindly ask following questions:

    1. Do Sick beard and Couchpotato installed in Synology NAS have watchlist support from IMDb and trakt?
    2. I am not a collection guy so I want XBMC to delete movie/tv show after I finish watching. In this setup, have you been able to achieve it? (or have you tried?)
    3. What is the total cpu and memory usage for SickBeard+CouchPotato+SabNZBD? (I am thinking to buy either DS112 or DS112+ or identical hardware but w/o knowing memory and cpu usage, can not make my choice. I also don’t want to spend more as DS212 memory and CPU is enough for these applications as there is no other different between DS112 and DS112+)
    5. Have you ever checked QNAP products? When it comes to NAS, I am always in dilemma between QNAP and Synology. For SabNZBD+CouchPotato+SickBeard, that would be great to know which NAS brand is doing better. (performance and feature wise)

    Sorry to ask to many question 🙂

  7. Couldn’t get it to work on DSM 4.1. Getting errors when trying to start CouchPotatoServer (from research on the internet: CPS requires certain Python stuff that isn’t included in the Synology version of Python), Getting errors when trying to start SABnzdb.

    Couldn’t get it to work on DSM 4.2. After installing Python, trying to install the other three results in “Run python first”, which of course is impossible since Python isn’t a runnable package.

    1. Are you using the Synology Phyton package? Of so try to uninstall this and install the Phyton package from the SynoCommunity repository.

  8. Hello,

    I succesfuly installed and use sick beard ( i still don’t know how to use post processing ) then i tried to use couchpotatoe but after i made all my configs, i have to use a pass and username to logg in ??? what does this mean ?

  9. Thanks Rob 🙂 I’ll eagerly await your tuto for Frobo. I just built a htpc last week, and since I just ordered the parts for the second htpc (slaapkamer :D), having my Syno be the central database server will be great. Thanks very much for the time you take to help us noobs out; it *is* appreciated 🙂

    1. Hi Peter,

      I will update the post this weekend but for this guide there’s actually not much changed.

  10. Thank you so much for this tutorial!

    I have a question. Is there a way to automatically Post-Process TV shows once SABnzbd has completed downloading? (Currently, the episodes just sit in the Completed folder.) Or is Manual Post-Processing through Sick Beard the only way to move the episode and rename?

    1. I have found a way to make it work. I have downloaded sickbeard for windows and copied the AutoProcessTV folder into the shared folder download. In the folder i renamed autoProcessTV.cfg.sample to autoProcessTV.cfg
      After that i changed the folder settings in SABnzbd for scripts to /volume1/download/AutoProcessTV
      Then i mate the category tv and set the script to So now when it has finished downloaded it will Post-Process automatic.

      1. I’ve tried this way but when browsing the download folder it doesn’t find the autoprocesstv folder! I have no clue how to ssh in and change it that way so I’m stuck on this part 🙂 h

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