It’s a little admitted secret, but one of the biggest reasons people like Network Attached Storage drives is for Torrent downloads. They’re the easiest ways to download obscure British TV shows, for example, that can’t be easily had here in the U.S. After downloading a couple of shows, users watch them via WiFi streaming on their MacBooks or iPads.
Trouble is, Torrent downloads slow everything on the home network to a crawl. Everyone complains when the network is clogged with Torrents of Shameless or The Killing. Well, not any more. You can set up one of Iomega’s new Home Media Network Hard Drive, Cloud Edition at work and use the office’s net connection to download Torrents at night. Then you stream them over the net to your home.
I’ve been testing one of the Home Media Drives for several weeks. There’s a been a few glitches, but on the whole, it works well. Now I’ve got my own little Amazon S3 system, with none of the monthly fees.
Just like Pogoplug and ZumoCast (the latter currently MIA from the app store), Tonido is a service that’ll let users stream media and access files on a computer from a mobile device. It sort of combines features from both — it’s completely free, works via a mobile app that connects to server software (free download from Tonido) running the user’s computer and allows access to music, videos, photos and even plain ‘ol documents. In fact, pretty much everything on a connected hard drive is accessable.
The big difference with Tonido though, is that virtually nothing is stored in a cloud — not even your account password (“think of the Tonido server like a giant router” says co-founder Venkat Ramasay). Don’t want to use your computer as the server? Tonido sells a remarkably-Pogoplug-looking NAS device for $99 that you can plug an external HDD or USB stick into. Ramasay says the software footprint is also very small, and that’s it’s also intended to run on home routers. The next version will also support Airplay.
The interface seems a little rough around the edges — I wasn’t able to stream music because I couldn’t figure out a way to simply select music to play, for instance — but it’s free, so worth taking a look at.
We’ve been keen followers of developments at CloudEngines, the outfit behind the Pogoplug network-attached storage device, ever since we reviewed the first one back in late 2009. This month, a little over two years after the Pogoplug debuted, brings a whole raft of new offerings from the company — including one that may bring a big surge to NAS popularity in general.