Using Synology Video Station to watch RMVB Hong Kong TV Serials on iPad
I love Synology and the DSM operating system. The latest is DiskStation Manager 4.2 and in it, there are quite a few improvements (and pain.. ha)…
One of the recent improvements is the introduction of Video Station and its accompanying apps…
Recently, I finally used the Video Station software. I wanted to use it to “stream” wirelessly movies/TV serials from my Synology DS1511 to the iPad… I did considered jailbreaking the iPad and installing XBMC but when I found out about the Video Station, I decided this will do too 🙂
The Synology DS Video Station is like a Media Library software but only for videos (movies, TV serials, home made movies). And the reason for using it ? The apps ! The apps in iPad and iPhone (and Android and Windows) that allows you to watch movies/TV serials even in formats that you cannot do so in iPad. And all these without copying from the server to the iPad (e.g there are quite a few apps in App Store that can play RMVB and MKV but you need to plug into the iTunes and then copy the files over… great for travelling and watching on an airplane but un-necessary at home). The apps supplied in this case allow for streaming from the Synology NAS to the iPad…..
And I admit… I love the cover art that is used for selecting the movies and TV serials in this software too.. the OCD Virgo in me strikes…
Let me talk specifically about watching RMVB TV serials from Hong Kong on the iPad. RMVB is a very unique file format very popular in Asia especially for TV serials… but as it is rather special, it always present special problems (no, iPad does not read RMVB natively but then what does iPad read natively ? HA).
Let’s see how it works. Okie.. first let’s install the software from the DSM software package centre. You can find Video Station under Multimedia:
Once installed you will see the app on the programs folder. Drag it to DSM desktop if necessary. Launch it…
And to make it work, you need to point it to the RIGHT folder in your NAS. For example, I decided to start by looking at the Chinese Serials for 2013 in my NAS so I point to the 2013 folder of the Chinese Serials in my TV folder. I am glad it can go down to such detailed level (some media library software require you to only do it at the highest level of the folder…). Selecting down to 2013 level can allow me to test the software without touching the rest of the other folders… (I have a huge Hong Kong TV serials collection :p).
I am also glad I can choose the language. I realized later that the search is linked to several information providers and for TV serials, it does go to thetvdb.com database. Which yours truly (and a few others around the world) have also constantly and painfully maintained a lot of the latest Hong Kong serials metadata information into thetvdb database.. often on a daily basis ! These metadata… including TV serial details such as summary of the serials, poster, banners, fanart and even every day’s serials’ plot and screenshots ! I did so to make sure my XBMC contains the greatest and cleanest data for the Hong Kong serials (which, unlike the English serials, are usually not as well maintained)… And now the Synology Video Station is asking for the information (metadata) from thetvdb.com which means, technically, for TV serials, I am actually feeding myself 🙂 And since I maintained the data in the thetvdb.com under “simplified chinese” language, then I am glad to be able to also choose “simplified chinese” here. And looking good in Unicode format…
The sources where the software “pulls” the metadata for each video file from:
I must admit I am a bit disappointed the software chose to go to the internet to retrieve the data (instead of using NFO files that I have already created for each and every movie and serials for the XBMC sake. In that sense, it is unlike XBMC which reads the NFO first instead of going to the internet). But hey, it also works.. (except in movies and I had to manually correct for many Mandarin movies.. will cover in the next blog post .. SOB).
Okie.. how does it look like AFTER indexing (will take a while but faster than I thought.. about 10-15 mins for my 2013 serials):
As we like to say in Singapore, SWEE BO ?! 🙂
Each serials has its own episode details.
You can also see that the file type are RMVB file type.
You can also edit the details of each serial and episode and even add your own version of the screen shot of each episode…..
And you can see that it came from the thetvdb.com entry here: http://www.thetvdb.com/?tab=episode&seriesid=266036&seasonid=510454&id=4481379&lid=27
That’s nice but what about iPad ? Well, please go to Apple Store and search for Synology. You will find the DS VIDEO STATION app.
Install it and log on to your NAS (do this at home. You can also do this anywhere in the world if you have set up portforwarding in your router etc.. )
And click on the TV serials.. ta ta.. SWEE BO !
You can see the iPad word on the top left corner
The layout is slightly different from the DSM version but still lots of details ! 🙂
And you can of course adjust the settings to improve the streaming
And did I tell you that you can of course AIRPLAY the show from the iPad back to Apple TV for watching on big screen. So yes, you can watch a RMVB TV show on your big screen using iPad->AirPlay->Apple TV (no need for XBMC on a jailbreak Apple TV.. but still.. I love XMBC :p)
And an example of the Hong Kong serial watching on iPad, streaming over from Synology to the iPad:
I am a very happy guy 🙂 RMVB on my iPad.. for all my Hong Kong TV serials.. in the comfort of my bed… with a nice headphone ! HA HA.
I will share more on how to stream MOVIES (in MKV format) from Synology to iPad via Video Station and the pains of editing each movie !
A very nice write-up. Thanks.
Hi, thank you for the write up. I was planning to do the exact same thing with a Synology Ds214play but I read that after upgrade to DSM 4.3, transcoding is no longer allowed. Are you still able to transcode RMVB to your iPad or Roku, or did you not upgrade to DSM 4.3. Thanks for any info!
I am running DSM 4.3-3810 on a DS1813+. I can watch my RMVB files from Video Station app on iPad. Not a problem.
Saw this on Synology forum: http://forum.synology.com/enu/viewtopic.php?f=114&t=73110. Not sure why it is working for me though 🙂 and this: http://forum.synology.com/enu/viewtopic.php?f=222&t=75901
Hi, I’m using synology, but when I play rmvb files it says my iPad do not support. Do I need 3rd party app to play?
(1) As above, install Video Station on Synology and then set up movies/TV serials in Video Station. Then download Video Station app on iPad.
(2) Download 3rd party apps in App Store and copy RMVB files over to iPad via iTunes. Else some apps even allow you to use cloud to get the RMVB files. Some allow you to link to Synology via IP address.
Thanks for the response. I am awaiting my DS214play to arrive next week and then will fully test it out to see if it can transcode. It sounds like the transcoding was removed for DLNA but not from video station, so we will see.
Did you ever get the DS Video to work on your Roku 3? Great blog by the way!
Yes it works really well with my Roku too.
I thought I did a write up on that but realized I never :).. Will do one tomorrow then…
I can confirm that I CANNOT watch MKV files on my DS Video channel on Roku 3. In fact, I also cannot watch it in my DS Video app on the Synology itself (i.e. on the PC/Mac). But I can watch it on iPad because DS Video app actually “call” for another 3rd party app (ACE PLAYER in my case) to help out 🙂
No problem for RMVB though.
Are you able to airplay rmvb to appleTV? I tried with my DS214play (running DSM5.0) but the quality is so bad and unacceptable. The resolution is low. I have turned on hardware transcoding already. Do you think I have set something wrong?