The Duo is designed to centrally and securely store your multimedia files and deliver them over a network to various different players. Toward that end, there are multiple streaming functions which have to be individually enabled on the Duo via the Services > Streaming Services menu option, as shown in Figure 8.
Figure 8: Streaming Services
The SlimServer delivers music streaming to Squeezebox music players and there is an iTunes Streaming Server to enable streaming media files to Apple's popular iTunes software.
With several iPod users in my house, I made copies of all our music and movies to the default media share on the Duo, which is a valuable operation by itself. Those files cost money on the iTunes Store, so having them backed up to the Duo is a wise move. I tested playing the audio and video files over our network and found both audio and video playback over a gigabit wired network to be smooth and flawless.
Video playback over my wireless network was choppy, however. Netgear's documentation indicates wired networks will provide optimal performance for media streaming, which matches my experience.
In addition to SlimServer and iTunes support, the Duo supports Universal Plug and Play Audio-Visual (UPnP AV) detection and Home Media Streaming services, meaning Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA) compliant network home media adapters as well as various network enabled DVD players will recognize the Duo's media share and be able to access and play media files directly over your network.
Finally there is a USB Print server that supports printer sharing over CIFS/SMB and IPP over HTTP (IETF standard Internet Printing Protocol) .
Additional multimedia services include ReadyNAS Photo software for sharing pictures and a standalone BitTorrent client for downloading files over the Internet independent of your PC. I didn't give the Torrent download feature a workout, but I checked out the Photo feature. The Photo software allows for sharing pictures stored on the Duo with family and friends over the Internet.
ReadyNAS Photos is an AddOn function that can be installed on any ReadyNAS running 4.x firmware. But getting it running required some fumbling and using it requires a machine running Windows, Mac OS or Linux.
Clicking the Install ReadyNAS Photos button shown in Figure 9 takes you to a readynas.com page with download links for the application that installs onto your PC.
Figure 9: ReadyNAS Photo enable
But after downloading and installing the Windows version on an XP SP2 machine, the application was unable to connect to the Duo, even when the IP address was provided. Some searching around on ReadyNAS.com led to this forum thread that provided the clue to the problem; I had not downloaded the AddOn itself from here and installed it using the System > Update > Local function. Once I did that, a restart of the ReadyNAS Photo application found the Duo right away.
Photo uses a combination of a Java-based web service that you install onto a computer, a ReadyNAS and a readynasphotos.com website. All three (plus a working Internet connection, naturally) are required for full functionality. The application installs a System Tray application (in Windows), which, when clicked launches your default web browser, that is used for Album creation and viewing.
Photo also requires access to the Media > Pictures directory, which is one of the Duo's default directories. But it doesn't automatically create albums from folders and pictures that are already located there. Instead, you must use the Import Albums feature. In Figure 10, I'm importing a folder that is already sitting in the Duo's Media > Pictures folder.
Figure 10: Importing a folder into Photo
The import automatically creates thumbnails and an album index (Figure 11). Once you've created an Album, you can share the entire album or selected pictures by generating an email invitation what contains a link to the album.
Figure 11: Photo Album Index
You can also share with other ReadyNAS photo members via a messaging system built into Photo and accessed from the Tray application. I had no problem viewing a shared album by using the email invitation link as long as I provided the proper account login information (which was not provided in the email). There's a good overview of Photo on the ReadyNAS.com website if you would like to see more screenshots of the interface.
I did some poking around to see what makes Photo tick and to find where it stores the photos. I found a directory in Media > Pictures named with my ReadyNAS photo username, but it was empty, even after I created an album. I couldn't find any other photo related directories on the Duo.
I also tried both turning off the Duo and quitting the ReadyNAS photo Tray app while viewing a shared album on readynasphoto.com. It looked like the Tray application wasn't required, but the Duo definitely had to be available. The mechanism seems similar to the Buffalo's Web Access feature, which provides a web portal through which any files stored on a Buffalo NAS are remotely available.
Note that you must have the Photo application running on a computer to view the albums locally; all functions run through the web service installed on the computer, not on the ReadyNAS.