Synology NAS as the ultimate XBMC media backend

As you can read in my previous posts I’m a big fan of the Synology NAS products and the XBMC media center. In this post I’ll show you how to transform the Synology NAS into the ultimate XBMC media backend.

This post is based on the following hard- and software;

  • Synology DS 410 with DSM 4.1
  • SABnzbd 0.7.5
  • Sickbeard alpha master (source: be000adf16454bb67c1968662ef20f31aba8193d)
  • CouchPotato Server (date october 26 2012)
  • phpMyAdmin 3.5.3-002
  • XBMC (pre-)frodo 12.0 RC1

UPDATE (Jan, 9 2013): I just tested this complete guide against Synology DSM 4.2 Beta and everything works almost the same. The only difference is the new layout of the Package Center. All the packages discussed in this post are working on DSM 4.2.

Before we begin

Let’s take a look on how all these applications can make your life (a little bit) easier…


SABnzbd is an Open Source Binary Newsreader written in Python. It’s totally free, incredibly easy to use, and works practically everywhere. SABnzbd makes Usenet as simple and streamlined as possible by automating everything we can. All you have to do is add an .nzb. SABnzbd takes over from there, where it will be automatically downloaded, verified, repaired, extracted and filed away with zero human interaction.


Sick Beard is a PVR for newsgroup users (with limited torrent support). It watches for new episodes of your favorite shows and when they are posted it downloads them, sorts and renames them, and optionally generates metadata for them. It currently supports, NZBMatrix, NZBs’R’Us, Newzbin, Womble’s Index,, TVTorrents and EZRSS and retrieves show information from and


CouchPotato is an automatic NZB and torrent downloader for movies. You can keep a “want to watch”-list and it will search for NZBs/torrents of these items every X hours. Once a correct release is found, matching the correct quality, it will send it to SABnzbd or download the .nzb or .torrent to a specified directory.

Other things you might need

Usenet server account

Sickbeard, CouchPotato and Headphones will instruct SABnzbd to download media from usenet, most ISPs will offer a free of charge usenet server but mostly with limited retention times and download speed. If you first want to try this setup this might be fine for the beginning but if you want to download some older content its recommended to get a paid usenet account. There are many usenet providers out there, find one which best suits your needs. A view examples;

  • UsenetServer ($10.00 for one month or $95.40 for one year);
    •  Unlimited Access;
    • 1546 Days of retention
    • 20 Connections
  • Newshosting($9.99 for one month or $99.99 for one year);
    • Unlimited Access;
    • 1546 Days of retention
    • 30 connections
Usenet search providers

Optional: SickBeard and CouchPotato will help you to find your favorite TV Shows or movies. They do this by using ‘Search Providers’, there are free of charge search providers out there like and more. SickBeard also has a own searchindexer.

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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