Share media from Synology to XBMC with NFS

This week I’ve posted about my new Raspberry Pi which is running XBMC. All my media is stored on my Synology Diskstation and accessible over the network using the SMB protocol. The disadvantage of SMB is that it’s very CPU intensive, and because the Pi has only a 700 MHz CPU core you may experience some hick-ups during video playback. To solve this we can use NFS to share the media to XBMC. The NFS protocol has less overhead compared with SMB and therefor uses about 20% less CPU resources.

So in this post I’ll explain how to enable NFS on the Synology DS and connect these shares to XBMC.

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XBMC Frodo 12.0 Release Candidate?

After 7 Alpha and 3 Beta releases of XBMC Frodo 12.0 I noticed today the following download on the XBMC download mirrors;

XBMC Frodo RC1

But no official press release of Team XBMC… Will XBMC 12.0 be the first Christmas present?

Want to check it out yourself? http://mirrors.xbmc.org/releases/win32/

Update: The release is now posted on the XBMC website: http://xbmc.org/natethomas/2012/12/12/xbmc-12-frodo-release-candidate-1/

Hello Raspberry Pi, bye bye Apple TV G3

Because my Apple TV 3 is still waiting for a jailbreak so it can run XBMC (without a jailbreak it’s useless imho) I decided to order a Raspberry Pi. For those who doesn’t know what a Raspberry Pi is;

The Raspberry Pi is a credit-card sized computer that plugs into your TV and a keyboard. It’s a capable little PC which can be used for many of the things that your desktop PC does, like spreadsheets, word-processing and games. It also plays high-definition video. We want to see it being used by kids all over the world to learn programming.

Okay, I’m not interested in programming and not a kid anymore, but this part took my attention;

It also plays high-definition video.

So how can a $35 ‘pc’ play 1080p high-def video? This is achieved by the Broadcom SoC (System on a Chip) which is able to hardware decode h264 media. You can connect your TV set by using the HDMI interface and it has a 100 mbit NIC for the network connections (optional you can use a USB WiFi adapter).

Here’s a schematic picture of the Raspberry Pi;

So I ordered the Pi and and few days later it drops at my doorstep;

The Raspberry Pi is shipped without storage or a power supply, for storage you need a SD-card (4GB is more than enough) and the power comes from a 5V 700mA mobile phone charger (with a micro USB connector).

So now we have to install some sort of operation system on the Pi, the main goal for me is to run the XMBC media center. There’re 3 different options to chose from;

I’ve decided to go for RaspBMC, the installation of RaspBMC is really user friendly and the OS is self updating.

Installing RaspBMC

At the RaspBMC website you can download an installer (for Windows, Linux or Mac OS X)  and install RaspBMC directly on your SD-card. I’m using Windows so here’s a screenshot of the installer;

Your SD card should be shown on the list. Simply check the checkbox and click Install to complete the installation. Note, if you have not inserted your card yet, you can do so now and click Refresh to update the devices list.

When the image is downloaded and transferred to you SD card you can put it in your Raspberry Pi, connect all the cables and fire it up. On the first boot RaspBMC will be installed. So take a cup of coffee and when you’re back XBMC will be presented to you!

So XMBC is running, lets see how it performs when we playback a 1080p h.264 video (you might seen this video before…)

Controlling XBMC

As you expect the $35 Pi doesn’t come with a IR remote, so how do you control it? Well you have 2 options. Option one is to control XBMC with the remote from your TV-set. This is achieved by the integrated CEC software delivered by RaspBMC, this will enable XBMC control with your (compatible) TV-set IR remote. The other option is to control XBMC with the ‘Official XBMC Remote’ app on your smartphone or tablet. You can download the app from the Apple AppStore or Google Play.

 

Synology DS Mobile apps updates

This week Synology updated there mobile apps for iOS and Android. There are some cool new features I’ve been waiting for for a long time;

  • Cloud Station support in DS File
  • Offline music in DS Audio

Here’s a complete list of the Synology DS apps and there new features;

DS Audio

Display lyrics of the song currently being played
Create and edit playlists from “Now playing queue”
Use the Offline mode to listen to songs cached in the mobile device’s local memory for when network is unavailable

Download links: Apple App Store Google Play

DS File

Supports Cloud Station for Mobile devices

Download links: Apple App Store Google Play

DS Photo+

Taken time as uploaded filename

Download links: Apple App Store Google Play

DS Cam

The event playback with H.264/MPEG4 can now support up to 1080p.
Supports HTTPS for secure connection.
Supports encrypted login over HTTP without SSL. (DSM 4.0 and onwards)

Download links: Apple App Store Google Play

DS Finder

Resolved the stability issues on iOS 5.1.1 iPad versions

Download links: Apple App Store Google Play

    

Synology adds new functionality to Cloud Station

Within the release of DSM 4.1 BETA Synology adds new functionality to the Cloud Station package. The following is now possible;

  • Shared folder can now be synchronized to different Cloud Station users on Windows PC or Mac Client. The maximum number of shared folder can be synced on Cloud Station is 2.
  • Data transmission is now encrypted by SSL to provide a layer of security over the Internet.
  • HTTPS tunneling is supported to sync data via HTTPS Tunnel with QuickConnect.
  • Proxy is now supported to establish connection to your Cloud Station server though your local proxy server.
  • Cloud Station package is not available on DS108j, DS109j and DS209j.

Also the DS File app for iOS and Android are updated with support for Cloud station. So now you can take your important documents with you on your laptop, phone and tablet.

DS File for iOS: http://itunes.apple.com/app/ds-file/id416751772
DS File for Android: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.synology.DSfile