[Cialug] Odds 'n ends in harmony?
zach at kotlarek.com
Fri Sep 30 12:56:13 CDT 2011
On Sep 30, 2011, at 10:11 AM, jrnosee wrote:
> Where I'm starting at:
> To get content on my TV's I've got Win7 MCE on a laptop and and Xbox360 as a media center extender. Please don't ask me to change this part of the setup as it's just not going to happen. The laptop is actually half a laptop. I got it from a friend who busted the screen off. From what I can tell the external video connectors (HDMI & VGA) don't come online until AFTER windows/drivers load. At this point I have basically no way to reload this machine. Also, I need MCE to interface with my xbox for my other TV.
> Also, other devices listed below.
> Ubuntu 10.04 LTS. It hosts my VMWare server, file shares (including my media), CrashPlan backups, and currently the Serviio DLNA/UPnP server.
> Other devices:
> An android tablet and phones, and a Samsung Blu-Ray player with DLNA capabilities.
> 1.) (slightly off the rest of the topic) The MCE laptop has a problem where when playing back recorded TV stored locally (possibly other media) it will stop playing. Pausing for a bit usually helps. Almost feels like a youtube video that played up to the end of the buffer....
> 2.) Windows Media Player's "play to" feature is nearly PERFECT for controlling DLNA players and providing media from my Win7 PC (not the MCE) however "Play To" is not available on files stored on a network, so all my media files on my ubuntu server can't be "play to"'d my media center.
> 3.) Windows Media Player does not see any files on serviio (seems to be a known/nobody cares to fix issue)
> 4.) So far, any attempts I have made to use a upnp player/controller from my android tablet have been met with failure. If I pick a file on my Win7 PC and try to tell it to play either on the tablet or on my MCE I get a file not playable type message.
> 5.) So far I have not had the chance to attempt to connect my tablet to Serviio...will try tonight.
> 1.) Can anyone recommend a DLNA/uPnP server that would run on my ubuntu and play nice with all my windows equipment & software?
> 2.) any other suggestions for truly having a Digital Living Room Network setup like DLNA is SUPPOSED to work?
For multi-system playback you want Plex.
The server runs on Linux/Win/Mac. Clients are available for Win/Mac/Android/Apple iOS/LG smart media devices (as the native client)/Samsung smart media devices (as a plugin to the native client)/Roku (as a private channel) and it's based on a very straightforward HTTP API if you want to write one for something else.
Many clients also work as a remote control for other clients, so you can use your phone to queue up things on the TV. I know the iOS clients support it, and Android remote control is in beta (and works for me) but I haven't tried from anywhere else. The remote control is based on the same HTTP API, so it's something you can accomplish with `curl` if you're not happy with the existing clients -- that's how I do most of my automation and integration.
So it will work with your Win7 machine, your server, your android devices, and possibly even your blu-ray player. It doesn't work with your Xbox, but for $59 you could have a Roku to do the same thing.
The server takes care of any necessary container and codec transformations including capture of Flash/etc. streams that have no native playback on target client. Each client defines which media types it can consume and you can choose the maximum bandwidth available (or let it guess) so it can decide whether or not it needs to transcode. Full desktop clients are based on XBMC and so can play more or less anything without transcoding so long as there's enough bandwidth. Mobile clients are typically more selective as they need hardware decoding and may not support all containers/codecs/resolutions, but it's all automatic so you don't have to worry about it. It's even got pretty good support for streaming over 3G to mobile devices, so you can watch your media when you're away from home.
If you're consuming public media (like TV or movies) Plex will look up all the metadata and whatnot to keep your collection organized without any need to provide on-disk organization -- just make sure the title and date or season/episode are in the file path somewhere and it will figure things out. If you're consuming private content you can tell it not to bother searching for metadata and just display the files with the names you gave them.
The one thing it's not good at is sharing recently-aquired files. It wants to scan the library to add new things, so there's no "here's a new file play it on the TV" option. It does support inotify-based scanning, so it can quickly detect changes if you have a small-ish library -- for reference my scans take 1-2 minutes per TB for already-matched files -- but if your primary use is to display things you just fetched Plex is probably not the best choice.
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