Seagate Central Review – A Media Server That Puts Plex to Shame


NAS drives have been around for years, but there have been few that really appeal to the mainstream home user. That said, we think that the Seagate Central has the potential to change all that. This easy to use drive connects to your home Wi-Fi network and is able to wirelessly back up all of the computers on your network. Plus, it’s also able to stream all of your video, photo and music files to your smartphone, tablet, and even your Smart TV or a game console.

Setting up the Seagate Central is a quick and easy process. We connected it to the Time Capsule on our home network with an ethernet cable, and our Mac recognized the Seagate Central on our network right away. No software is required when setting up the Seagate on a Mac, and the setup is all done using an easy to use web based interface. The Seagate Central’s web interface is also where you’ll create users which get access to the drive and its files.

When it comes to PCs, Seagate provides users with premium backup software. On Mac, you can use the Seagate Central with Time Machine for backups. We had no problem setting up the Seagate Central with Time Machine on our Macs.

Seagate offers their free Seagate Media app for the iPhone / iPod Touch, iPad and Android. The app lets you stream multimedia content to your mobile device. Streaming videos and media to an iPad or iPhone when using Seagate’s media app and connected to your home network is an absolute joy. We actually found the experience to be superior to using the popular Plex media streaming app. We observed videos starting to play faster than on Plex, and they manage to play super smoothly too.

Seagate also offers their Seagate media app for Samsung Smart TV. That means you can stream media directly to your TV, right from the Seagate Central, even if your computer is turned off. And like with the Seagate Media app for iOS, the streaming media experience on your Smart TV is seamless and a total pleasure. We also can’t emphasize how convenient this app is to use if you’re a Samsung Smart TV owner.

The Seagate Media app also has a remote access function for times when you want to access the files on your Seagate Central, but you’re not at home using your home network. Alternatively, you can also access files from access.seagate.com. We were able to access our files remotely and download them directly to our computer, or onto our smartphone with the Seagate App. That said, the app does not support video streaming when you’re off your home network – but you can download the video onto your smartphone or tablet. In addition, the Seagate Media apps for smartphones and tablet also let you upload files directly from your smartphone to the Seagate Central.

Verdict

The Seagate Central lets you easily create a centralized media library, while also providing all the computers on your home network with a complete backup solution. As a matter of fact, this is a NAS that does so many of the things that we wish Apple’s Time Capsule would do, including support for attaching an external USB drive. And when it comes to streaming videos over a home network to your tablet, smartphone and TV, the Seagate Central rocks and makes an excellent Plex alternative. Plus, the Smart TV app is super useful for owners of a Samsung Smart TV. And with a nice minimalist design, the Seagate Central will blend in your entertainment cabinet as well as does on your desk.

That said, we do wish there was a RAID option for the Seagate Central, for extra protection for our backups. Still, we highly recommend the Seagate Central for its ease of use and powerful backup and media streaming features. And for just $159.99 on Amazon for the 2TB model, the Seagate Central is very reasonably priced. Plus it comes with a 2 year warranty. Both a 3TB and 4TB model are also available. And you might want to consider getting the larger capacity models, because before you know it, you’ll be filling it up with backups and lots of media files.

Buy it!

The Good: Easy setup, easy backups, works as a great alternative to Plex, and Samsung Smart TV app is super convenient. Affordable pricing, lets you archive the photos and videos from your Facebook account, also works with DLNA and as an iTunes server. Lets you connect an external hard drive for additional storage. Remotely access files when you’re not home – even if you’re computer is turned off

The Bad: Would like to see a RAID option for extra protection

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  • A Mislead Reader

    Helena, you have compared two very different products based only in a few characteristics that they share in common. Plex, between other things, takes care of transcoding movies on the fly (if running on a minimum of a x86 machine) and very nicely organizes your media by downloading posters, descriptions and fan art for both movies and music. These are very nice features that the Seagate Central does not have. Transcoding being a feature that it won’t ever have because of hardware limitations and the metadata download being a feature I wish it had but I doubt Seagate will ever implement. Maybe some genius hacker may come up and implement that feature but I am keeping my hopes low. I am actually thinking about returning it as I find that feature a must as it is much easier to identify your movies with the posters.

    Plex is just software, not hardware so it is not intended to have all the NAS functionality that the Seagate Central has. Unfortunately, this article is comparing Apples and Oranges by referring to its fructose levels. :-)

  • Baffled Plex Poweruser

    You are comparing apples and oranges. An underpowered Nas cannot replace the core functionality (rich media scraping, organizing, transcoding, etc.) that Plex provides. Plex not only allows serving up media within a household, but also sharing of libraries and Zeroconf accessibility from anywhere in the world. This device could compliment Plex as storage, but it would never replace it.