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DS Packages

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In the past, the packages Audio Station, Video Station, and Photo Station created default shares /music, /video, /photo, and got real unhappy if you ever tried to force them to use a directory in another share. So, this sort of dictated the file structure for these media files.

But are these "stations" and their associated DS Audio, DS Photo and DS Video really still the best ways to serve media off the NAS to our various iPhones, iPads, Fire Sticks, and smart TV's? Before I go and organize a huge part of my data according to these three packages, I'm wondering what others are running? Seems like a server package that plays better with the music and photo app's already built into the iPhone might be better, for iOS users, assuming this solution also works or leaves another option free for smart TV's, etc.

What madia packages are you running on your NAS?
 
Firstly, Synology Photos (and prior Moments and Photo Station) does use fixed folders so you can't add other locations to it. But Audio Station and Video Station don't have to use their default shared folders (except personal music must be /home/music). Just add your media folders (not in /homes, /home) to Control Panel's Indexing Service. Thesewill be picked up in Audo Station and can be used in libraries in Video Station. Likewise, Media Service will use them, indexed.

But for what I use that's Plex. It can use the same media locations that I've setup for the 'Stations' and I allow it read access to some of the /photo folder too. On iOS there's the third party app Prologue that's a really good audiobook player. I also use Media Server with my Denon HEOS-enabled amps and speaker.
 
Thanks, guys! Will check out Plex and Kodi. I also use VLC on some devices, always a sure way to get thru.

Our house audio is through a pair or Yamaha WXA-50's, which support Apple Airplay, and also has it's own MusicCast app from Yamaha. I honeslty don't remember what is serving the music to the Yamaha App, maybe Media Server, I set it up so many years ago I forget now. The music is not in the default share /music, but as a subfolder to a single large share we have mapped to all our PC's, so I guess I did figure out how to make Audio Station and other services finally work with that. It was configured maybe eight years ago, so the details are gone from my head.

I do plan to explore use of Synology Photos, since sorting our tens of thousands of photos is a never-ending chore, with four photo-happy users with iPhones. I guess I should let that dictate my org structure for storing photos?

Never looked at "personal music", I'm not even sure that that means, but I'm interested.

I did find at one point I had to move all of our public photos out of the subdirectory in the single large general purpose share we have mapped to our PC's, out to the default /photo share. I can't remember why I gave up the former organization and finally did this, but it surely had to do with being able to view the photos from some other network device, maybe a smart TV.

I guess I never really took the time to figure out which network devices in the house are using which service on the NAS (eg. Photo Station vs. Media Station vs. Advanced Media Services vs. VLC). My own fault, too many devices and services, and too little time spent sorting them out. I may be running services I don't even need, which I don't like for several reasons.
 
Synology Photos well for photos, and Plex for everything else. Can't say enough good things about that platform and I use it on multiple devices with close to 30 outside users, never had any issues. TV, movies, audiobooks, music, TIDAL integration, it just works (for my needs).
 
Synology Photos well for photos, and Plex for everything else. Can't say enough good things about that platform and I use it on multiple devices with close to 30 outside users, never had any issues. TV, movies, audiobooks, music, TIDAL integration, it just works (for my needs).
Awesome. Sounds like the direction I should be headed, then. I have some reading to do, as I've heard of Plex, but really know nothing about it. Same with Synology Photos, for that matter.

It's amusing that when I bought my first Synology NAS, I was coming from a world of just wanting a big network attached volume for storage, and thought it was silly and annoying that the Synology products came with all these services and app's. I created one big share (as I'd have done with an NT4.0 or Win2k server), mapped it to all our PC's, and ignored all the default share stuff associated with the various services. Obviously not the best way to use a Synology DS, but I'm still learning...

That said, when browsing the same photos or music from a PC, it actually would nicer to have them as subdirectories inside of a single mapped share. It's annoying having to map multiple drive letters, separately for photos versus music versus video.
 
I think Yamaha Musiccast is similar to Denon HEOS. Which I would guess supports accessing music via DLNA/UPnP where the app controls what the amp/speaker streams from Media Server (or similar). If it's like HEOS, still, I would avoid direct connecting to the NAS's SMB server as HEOS requires the well-known-to-be-vulnerable SMB version 1.

Audio Station allows for personal music libraries in a user's /home/music folder. You can then choose which libraries to access in the AS web interface and mobile apps. I guess if the NAS is being used for a family then using the shared library (default /music) folders will be used, but where people want their own libraries then the personal library will be useful.

Similar is Synoiogy Photos which has the user's personal space in /home/Photos and the shared space in /photo (with access controls). The personal space is the normal place to for a user to backup mobile devices. Photo Station has been defunct since DSM 7.
 
Rabbit hole coming...
I think Yamaha Musiccast is similar to Denon HEOS. Which I would guess supports accessing music via DLNA/UPnP where the app controls what the amp/speaker streams from Media Server (or similar). If it's like HEOS, still, I would avoid direct connecting to the NAS's SMB server as HEOS requires the well-known-to-be-vulnerable SMB version 1.
Yep, for the Yamaha products, you have to methods for playing from an iOS device, MusicCast app or Apple Airplay. I believe both probably use the Media Server service, I guess I could try stopping that service to see if it "breaks" either or both.

Audio Station allows for personal music libraries in a user's /home/music folder. You can then choose which libraries to access in the AS web interface and mobile apps. I guess if the NAS is being used for a family then using the shared library (default /music) folders will be used, but where people want their own libraries then the personal library will be useful.
Will have to check this out. Presently I have my wife's music library segregated from my own, so I don't have to browse thru all the crap I don't like everytime I open a player app. She likes all of my music, but she also has a bunch of crap that only middle-aged women would ever listen to. Just blow my brains out, if I ever have to listen to Sarah MacLachlan again. :D

Similar is Synoiogy Photos which has the user's personal space in /home/Photos and the shared space in /photo (with access controls). The personal space is the normal place to for a user to backup mobile devices. Photo Station has been defunct since DSM 7.
This might be useful. We presently sync our iOS devices and other random photo albums to the a public share, then manually sort them and move them to /photo, where they're hosted by DS Photo and viewable to any device on the home network (eg. screen saver on smart TV's, etc.). I suppose ew could use the /home/Photos option for syncing our personal devices, instead of the group share... although I honestly end up sorting everyone else's photos for them, no one else ever gets around to it.
 
Presently I have my wife's music library segregated from my own,
Yep. That was my reasoning too, and for daughter’s too. 😁 I too have a Tidal subscription that is added to Plex, eventually changed it to the family subscription so I didn’t have to have everyone’s favourites! I use it to find albums I want to buy.

@Telos is right that Plex Pass opens more features, and I have the lifetime licence bought when they do one of the semi-annual discount stuff. But Plex works as attested by my family using it, both at home but also now they have mostly moved out. I would suggest first trying Plex without the Pass and then trying a one month Pass if you need more features.
 
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I think I need a basic primer on what the "Media Server" app is doing, versus "Audio Station" and "Video Station". Am I correct in assuming the "Media Server" package is being used almost universally by smart TV's, VLC, Yamaha MusicCast, and pretty much everything except the Synology-specific DS Audio and DS Video apps?

Also, if using Synology Photos, it creates a personal /home/photos directory for each user. Should I just switch my iOS photo upload utility to upload all phone and tablet photos to these directories for each user? Presently, I use PhotoSync to upload all iOS device photos to subdirectories of a common share on the old NAS, and then manually sort out from there. I suspect Synology may by now have their own app for uploading from iOS devices.
 
Should I just switch my iOS photo upload utility to upload all phone and tablet photos to these directories for each user?
No need. Synology Photos mobile app has the upload option built in. Just select the upload folder inside your Photos structure, and each user can do that on their own. Keeping the content separated from other users. Also this upload/backup is optional and can include videos if needed (also optional). Additionally it can be configured to upload only when on wifi to not burn through the mobile data package. Finally it can be configured to deleted the backed up content from your iOS device if you choose to do so.

Works well.
 
I think I need a basic primer on what the "Media Server" app is doing, versus "Audio Station" and "Video Station". Am I correct in assuming the "Media Server" package is being used almost universally by smart TV's, VLC, Yamaha MusicCast, and pretty much everything except the Synology-specific DS Audio and DS Video apps?
Media Server is a DLNA/UPnP media server that provides access to media resources for DLNA/UPnP renderers and players. Many smart TVs, network-connected disc players, network-connected audio devices, etc. support DLNA/UPnP audio-video streaming (these are the renderers and players). It looks like Musiccast supports this, like my HEOS stuff does, but also blu-ray player and so on. You will see that Audio Station has the ability to discover DLNA/UPnp servers too, but not Video Station.

The DS audio app doesn't look to support DLNA/UPnP servers either, just the libraries on the NAS to which it is connected. But you can select which playback device the music is streamed to, so you can use AS/DS audio to stream direct from the NAS to the Yamaha amp, if you like. AS will see DLNA/UPnP speakers as well as Airplay devices: those devices that support both will be listed twice, each suffixed with ' (DLNA)' or ' (Airplay)'.

Likewise, when you use Musiccast app on you phone it will act as to control the selection of media and instruct the Yamaha amp to stream from the server, the phone is not part of the media stream path. I generally use the HEOS app when using my Denon amps and speaker, as it gives access to the NAS, Tidal and other features of the system (input selection, multi-room control and volume adjustments). When it's not for my amps then I use Plexamp app with Plex, or Tidal app directly.

One thing Tidal doesn't do well is gapless playback, such as concerts and concept albums where tracks run from one into the next. The same albums on Plex/Plexamp are gapless, and AS/DS audio. I was concerned for a while that they may have some players that wouldn't be gapless with single audio files, so I created album ALAC with CUE files. Only AS./DS audio could play these such such that the CUE file was read to create the track listings. I decided this wasn't really needed for me with the latest servers/players, maybe it was years ago.
 
No need. Synology Photos mobile app has the upload option built in. Just select the upload folder inside your Photos structure, and each user can do that on their own. Keeping the content separated from other users. Also this upload/backup is optional and can include videos if needed (also optional). Additionally it can be configured to upload only when on wifi to not burn through the mobile data package. Finally it can be configured to deleted the backed up content from your iOS device if you choose to do so.

Works well.
Thanks! I'll definitely check this out. It's probably better than what I'm presently using, particularly if it can go direct phone -> NAS without a PC in the middle, and without screwing up file dates.

The old Photosync app we use has worked great, but if run directly between phone and NAS (via WebDAV), all the photo and video dates get changed to the upload date. So, you end up having to run a widget on your PC, which "fixes" the dates as it moves the files thru PC on the way to the NAS. But then if all the PC's are in sleep or standby when it's time to upload photos, you have to walk over to the office or study to wake one of them up.

Media Server is a DLNA/UPnP media server that provides access to media resources for DLNA/UPnP renderers and players. Many smart TVs, network-connected disc players, network-connected audio devices, etc. support DLNA/UPnP audio-video streaming (these are the renderers and players). It looks like Musiccast supports this, like my HEOS stuff does, but also blu-ray player and so on. You will see that Audio Station has the ability to discover DLNA/UPnp servers too, but not Video Station.
Thanks, this is exactly what I needed.

The DS audio app doesn't look to support DLNA/UPnP servers either, just the libraries on the NAS to which it is connected. But you can select which playback device the music is streamed to, so you can use AS/DS audio to stream direct from the NAS to the Yamaha amp, if you like. AS will see DLNA/UPnP speakers as well as Airplay devices: those devices that support both will be listed twice, each suffixed with ' (DLNA)' or ' (Airplay)'.
So, keep Audio Station loaded, if you want to use DS Audio. I'm not sure why I've always been so averse to using DS Audio, always looking for any other option, I guess the recent versions really aren't that bad.

Yes, I do see the Yamaha amps each listed twice, both DLNA and Airplay. What's really cool is that, just poking around now, I see it can now do "Multiple AirPlay Devices". That's one thing that all other app's I've tried, except of course Yamaha's native MusicCast, seem to lack! Some newer receivers/amplifiers from Yamaha and others support AirPlay2, which actually has this multi-device syncing functionality built in, but mine are an older model that only has the original AirPlay.

Likewise, when you use Musiccast app on you phone it will act as to control the selection of media and instruct the Yamaha amp to stream from the server, the phone is not part of the media stream path.
I guess that's why I can't just use MusicCast as a streaming app to the phone, and ditch DS Audio altogether. MusicCast totally disables itself, until you select which receivers you're playing

I generally use the HEOS app when using my Denon amps and speaker, as it gives access to the NAS, Tidal and other features of the system (input selection, multi-room control and volume adjustments). When it's not for my amps then I use Plexamp app with Plex, or Tidal app directly.
Still on the fence WRT Plex vs. DS Audio/Video. Might just stick with the Synology stuff, for now. I think if I did more movie streaming from the NAS, then there might be a better argument to switch, but I really don't do much of that.

One thing Tidal doesn't do well is gapless playback, such as concerts and concept albums where tracks run from one into the next. The same albums on Plex/Plexamp are gapless, and AS/DS audio. I was concerned for a while that they may have some players that wouldn't be gapless with single audio files, so I created album ALAC with CUE files. Only AS./DS audio could play these such such that the CUE file was read to create the track listings. I decided this wasn't really needed for me with the latest servers/players, maybe it was years ago.
Good to know. I listen to mostly 1970's prog rock, so lots of long tunes broken into chapters, by track. But I'll also admit I've been doing less and streaming from the NAS, and more and more streaming from Amazon Music. They have almost everything I do, and it's fun hearing the playlists created by others, which have your favorite tunes plus usually a few nice surprises. To some degree, the music on the NAS is becoming just a repository, from which I can copy to SD cards for playing in cars, or download to a portable device for taking with me on travel.
 
Okay, Synology Photos... How do you folks organize your family's content? I have four or five family members regularly taking photos on about 8 devices. After uploading to NAS, it gets sorted into several folders, one of which is the public /photo folder that's viewable from every device in the house, others contain work stuff, house stuff, etc.

I assume Synology Photos will want each user to just put their stuff in /homes/[user]/photo, and then do their sorting from there. But I usually end up sorting everyone's photos, otherwise they'll just sit in the private /home folders forever.

On the sorted end of things, I guess I can keep the public stuff in /photo, and just create a separate directory full of subdirectories in a common share for the other misc stuff... unless there's a more advisable way to do this.
 
The Photos Mobile app allows you to select where the Photo Backup destination is that it uses: there's a default one but you can select personal or shared space and a folder in there.

I suggest you check out the Help and maybe try it out for yourself before announcing it to the family ;)
 
I assume Synology Photos will want each user to just put their stuff in /homes/[user]/photo, and then do their sorting from there.
Correct. As Fred said you can choose the destination where the photos initially land, but no way in hell am I sorting and taking care of other users' photos... :D
 
Correct. As Fred said you can choose the destination where the photos initially land, but no way in hell am I sorting and taking care of other users' photos... :D
I hear you, but in my case it's family stuff. If we go to Disney or a graduation ceremony, I need to go thru each user's photos to put together the combined album for that event.
 
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Whoa. Just installed and used Synology Photos on iPhone for first time. Tried to customize directory, but nothing was showing up, so just stuck with default. No issue, it created /home/Photos/MobileBackup/iPhone/[year]/[month]. All good, I can work with that, I think.

But it stored the images as HEIC, not JPG. I know HEIC is native to iPhone, but I don't think it's useable across most other devices from which we'd want to view photos. When I checked the help file on Synology Photos, about converting to jpg, it suggested opening and re-saving each image file, one at a time. There's no obvious setting in the app to convert files to jpg on upload, although I'm sure there are 3rd party bulk converters.

Isn't this a deal-killer for you guys? What's the frequency of compatibility issues of this format, with the various devices from which you're trying to view images? I know HEIC can have advantages, notably the amount of information included with the image (location, etc.), as well as better lossless or low-loss compression.
 

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