Thanks to the advent of online services that allow you to buy and download a range of new and older movies, the average family home now has a large number of media files stored on the various computers or hard drives that are owned amongst the family. This works well until the file that you want to watch is not on the computer that you are sitting in front of.
It can be frustrating when you want to watch a file that is hosted on another computer. You may have to copy it onto a flash drive in order to carry it to another computer, or may have to simply move yourself to the computer that hosts the file.
You could of course just choose to have a copy of the media file on each and every computer that you own. This allows for you to watch or use that file no matter which computer you happen to be using but unfortunately, it also takes up a large amount of storage space.
Alternatively you could network all of your computers in order to access the files that are stored elsewhere, but that could mean having a number of computers on all day long. This is wasteful of energy and will quickly run up your electricity bill. But switching the other machines off would render the files inaccessible from another computer, unless you are sufficiently technically minded that you can create a special file that can wake up a remote computer. Networking such as this is done by using a wireless router.
An easier solution to the problem could be to simply store all of your media files in a single, central, accessible location that is attached to the network. There are now external hard drives that will take terrabytes of data, and will hold incredibly extensive media collections. The problem is that these still need to be attached to a computer in order for you to be able to access them over your home computer network.
In order to both store your media files and keep them accessible at any time, you might like to consider a NAS drive. NAS stands for Network Attached Storage, and it does exactly what the name suggests. Just like an external hard drive it will offer storage for your files, but is able to be attached directly to the network so that you can access those files from anywhere, without having to have an extra computer on.
What’s more a NAS drive can be set up with whatever amount of storage that you need. They often don’t come with their own hard drives, instead being more like a ‘shell’ to which you add your own drives. They are incredibly reasonably priced, and the drives that you fit into them are not expensive either.
As the number of people who rely on digital media instead of owning physical discs increases there will be a growing need for centralized storage solutions. NAS drives look to be the simplest way for a family to meet these needs, thanks to their flexibility and ease of use.