Even though the TS-451+ is sold as a small business model, its features are more compelling in the home, where you can really take advantage of the multimedia capabilities. To be fair, HDMI output can be used to run a virtual PC, but that's be a progressive application of what this system is meant for. We simply believe that accelerated transcoding, HDMI output and a bundled remote control, when added to a traditional network-attached storage device, scream home theater. Bonus points for connecting the TS-451+ to a receiver able to decode high bit rate audio.
All of the NAS manufacturers have taken steps to streamline the initial configuration process. The whole network-attached dimension of these systems sounds like it could be complicated, but it's not. Within 10 minutes, you can have the TS-451+ up and running. And if you really do want to get elbows-deep, QNAP enables a comprehensive feature set for you to explore. Most of us don't sit down and spend hours setting up every capability; we'll usually configure the system and then enable the advanced extras as the need arises.
In order to make use of what the TS-451+ can do, you'll want more memory than what the 2GB model includes. I don't know where QNAP buys RAM, but I wish I was the supplier! The price difference between the 2GB and 8GB models is much larger than it should be. You're better off buying the lower-capacity version and adding your own 4GB DDR3-1600 SO-DIMM.
This system isn't perfect, though. It suffers a few negatives I've never encountered from QNAP before. The drive sleds, case structure and overall design fall short of the company's quality standards compared to its higher-end equipment. We expect to find a lot of plastic on appliances destined for home installations, but this thing costs more than $500.
The TS-451+ is also fairly redundant. QNAP's TS-453mini is nearly identical with the same processor, system memory, many of the same features, an included remote control and an extra USB 3.0 port. The TS-453mini's piano black finish also looks better, and it consumes less desk space due to a vertical drive design.