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Old 17th November 2013, 01:10   #1
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Lightbulb The Ultimate Media Server Guide!

So, with parental pressure and a curb on DIY's on my car. I am here to do some DIY's in-the-house.

Its Party Time and you have all your friends, but unfortunately the best system in your house for satisfying your audio needs is nowhere even close to your desktop. The pain of transferring all your files to an HDD is a moodkill.

Here comes the ultimate solution, a DIY Home Media server.
Disclaimer : All possible explanations and guide's have been duly noted and included. Comments are welcome

1.What is a Media Server?(Thanks to Google)

By definition a media server is a device that simply stores and shares media. This definition is vague, and can allow several different devices to be called Media Servers. It may be a simple Network-attached storage, a Home theater PC (HTPC) running Windows XP Media Center Edition, MediaPortal or MythTV, or a commercial web server that hosts media for a large web site. In a home setting, a media server acts as an aggregator of information: video, audio, photos, books, etc. These different types of media (whether they originated on DVD, CD, digital camera, or in physical form) are stored on the media server's hard drive. Access to these is then available from a central location. It may also be used to run special applications that allow the user(s) to access the media from a remote location via the internet.

2.Tools and Knowledge Required?(And Suggestions added too)
  • A handy knowledge of Google
  • A Router or a LAN switch/selector to connect two computers.
  • Two Computers. One being the host and the second the access(Explained later)
  • Internet for Softwares.
  • A bare-minimum 4GB USB drive.
  • A good home theater(HTIB to Seperates)/Bookshelf combo is recommended

3.Softwares and Difference.
  • Plex Media Server [Our Software here!] :

    Plex Media was developed as a fork-off from XBMC as a media solution. The server allows for seamless wireless playback of music and movies from any remote or connected locations. Basically put the Plex Media Server allows you to have your music on one computer and allows you to play it from another computer on the network, thus bypassing the need for a seperate NAS/Seperate Storage(Critics are welcomed!)
  • XBMC[Xbox Media Center] :
    XBMC is a media player developed as a popular alternative to Windows Media Center for Home Theater PC. One of XBMC's main features is its customizability. A variety of skins can change its appearance and various add-ons allow users to access online content on services such as YouTube, Spotify, Grooveshark and Pandora Radio. The only flaw here is that, it does not allow server-capability/ playback of music via a dedicated server.

4.The Guide with steps!
1.The Software:

Plex Media Server can easily be downloaded from the website http://www.plexapp.com/connected/

Just confirm your OS option and download the English version from the said page. It works across all platforms including Linux/Windows/Mac/Roku/FreeBSD. The setup I am using right now includes a Linux Netbook and Windows Desktop.

2.Starting up! [ Credits- makeuseof.com]

One good part is that Plex does not actually move the files around. So, once you install plex on your system. The Plex Media Server will automatically start up in the background, putting an icon in your tool tray in the bottom right hand corner of your screen. Plex Media Server is now ready to configure via a Web UI; you can access it by either right clicking on the Media Server icon and clicking on “Media Manager…” or by entering “localhost:32400/manage/index.html” into your browser. You will then be taken to the Plex localhost page with a boomerang icon.

By default Plex Media Manager automatically starts when you log in, but this can be turned off by right clicking on the Media Server icon.

3.Advance Set up! [ Credits- makeuseof.com]

The first time you start the media server you will be prompted to add sources to your media server. You’ll be asked where your movies are stored, followed by TV shows, followed by music (although this isn’t really necessary if you manage your music in iTunes; that’s all accessible anyway, as are your photos through iPhoto).

If you have one kind of media stored in multiple locations, you can add all of the different locations to the one Library section.

Once you’re out of the wizard you’ll be presented with the main Plex Media Manager window. In the sidebar on the left hand side you’ll see the different Library sections you set up in the wizard, and in the main area you can see the items in the currently selected Library section. You can sort items by name, year or the date it was added to your Library.

If you want to add more Library sections, just click on the “+” symbol in the bottom-left hand corner of the screen. You can then choose the section type, a name for the section, metadata settings (not that you’ll need to change these), and select the directories to search for media. Then you can click “Add Section” and you’re all done.

Plex immediately starts scanning the selected directories for media. Once it identifies the media, it automatically downloads matching artwork. For movies, that’s the movie poster; for TV shows, that’s the box set artwork (and the theme song!); for music, it’s album art and a photo of the artist.

Plex will occasionally scan the directories to check for new media, or you can manually force it to rescan either all sources (by clicking on the arrow at the top of the screen) or just the selected source (by clicking on the arrow in the bottom-right hand corner of the screen).

So, that is it on the install, you can similarly install it on the other system and via the option on the top right, choose your server!

4.Wireless Remotes and Tricks and use! [ Credits- makeuseof.com]

One of the great things about Plex is that you don’t need to keep your keyboard handy, nor do you need to have a special remote (although the Apple Remote and many others do work). Instead you can use an iOS or Android device as the remote.

Unlike the desktop apps, the Plex app for iOS and Android is not free ($4.99), but it makes controlling Plex extremely easy. All you need is the Plex app (from the App Store or Android Marketplace) and to be connected to the same network that the server and client are on. The app does the rest – it automatically detects any available servers and clients, allowing you to select the client you wish to control in the “Settings” section. This area also allows you to choose where media is played by default (always on your device, always on the client, or asking you each time).

For further customizations, you can also use the very effective http://www.makeuseof.com/pages/plex-...dia-with-style guide!

After you’ve meticulously archived your DVDs containing your favorite movies and TV shows, your CDs containing your favorite music, and your pictures of your favorite memories, it’s great that there’s finally a solution which allows you to easily access it all using pretty much any device.

While media center applications have been available for years now, very few come as polished out of the box as Plex. With a media server that works on Mac, Windows and Linux, and client software available for Mac, Windows, iOS and Android, Plex is arguably the best media center out there.

Add in MyPlex, which lets you access your media away from home and share your media with other MyPlex users, and Plex becomes pretty much unbeatable.

Credits- www.makeuseof.com and their team for the amazing guide.

An HTPC guide coming soon!

Last edited by devilwearsprada : 17th November 2013 at 01:17. Reason: Editing issues
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Old 17th November 2013, 13:43   #2
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Default Re: The Ultimate Media Server Guide!

Interesting thread you have started devilwearsprada. Look forward to the upcoming edition. BTW, last night flying in to the IGI, I was watching 'Devil wears Prada' on the in flight entertainment system and right now am 30 Kms from IGI as I post this, coincidence or what?
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Old 17th November 2013, 14:43   #3
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Default Re: The Ultimate Media Server Guide!

Might be a coincidence sir!
Devil Wears Prada is another co-incidence :P
A write up for HTPC vs Raspberry comparison coming soon.

More Comments/criticism invited!
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Old 6th September 2015, 11:49   #4
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Default Mini PC - Convert Your TV Into A Computer

Hi folks,

I am thinking of converting our TV into a computer and was browsing through some mini PCs. The TV is a HDMI enabled Videocon LED. Don't know precisely but it should be more than 30".

The only channels I watch on it are History TV18, Discovery, Animal Planet and around five to six Hindi/Hollywood movie channels. The total viewing time of the TV daily is around an hour or two max, unless there is an interesting movie somewhere which I decide to watch till the end - happens for once in a couple of months maybe.

So the usage of the TV is not much, and I was thinking of doing away with the cable connection and just turn it into a smart TV so I could watch content from YouTube if needed - I have a 5 Mbps broadband connection from Hathway.

While thinking about it, I chanced upon the idea of buying a mini PC and convert the TV into a fully functional computer. I browsed through some of the online reviews of the mini PCs, and have a few queries:

1. Which OS? Choices seem to be Windows (budget end), Chrome (middle) and iOS (Top)
2. Which brand/model? Choices again seem to be from iBall Splendo at 8999/- to Apple (multiply that iBall price by 3 or 4 maybe)

It doesn't have to come with a wireless keyboard or mouse, I could buy it separately.

Has anyone done this? What are the results? What kind of a box would I need if I were to play graphics intensive games on it such as Mafia 1/2, Half-Life 1/2?
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Old 6th September 2015, 13:11   #5
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Also consider ChromeCast and see if suits your need. It is not a computer like the others but can stream content by controlling with your phone.
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Old 6th September 2015, 16:05   #6
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Default Re: Mini PC - Convert Your TV Into A Computer

I am thinking of converting our TV into a computer and was browsing through some mini PCs
You can pick something like

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Old 6th September 2015, 16:47   #7
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Chrome cast is not a full pc, and the iBall stick with Win 8.1 is less costly than it.

What's the difference between the Intel stick and the iBall one?

Edit: Checked the specs and both Intel and iBall sticks have identical configuration. Only iBall website promises a free keyboard and mouse too.

Last edited by honeybee : 6th September 2015 at 17:08.
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Old 21st January 2016, 20:07   #8
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Default Re: The Ultimate Media Server Guide!

Honeybee, why are you looking at mini-PC? If you are looking at just video watching, that too Youtube. Chromecast should work for you. If you want to browse from TV, then you are looking at a mini-PC.

Among the cheaper mini-PC alternatives, you can look at Minix which comes in Android and Windows versions. Comes with XBMC preloaded, so doubles up as an entertainment box.

I've been using Plex Media Server on computer->Plex App->Chromecast, Plex Media Server on computer->Plex App->Apple TV, Netflix on Apple TV, Youtube on Chromecast/Apple TV as my primary entertainment sources. All my entertainment has been totally wirefree and USB free for more than 3 years now.
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Old 21st January 2016, 20:14   #9
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Default Re: The Ultimate Media Server Guide!

I have a Raspberry Pi connected to router via LAN and Wifi. It has 2 64 GB Flash drives attached via USB port.

I run Plex Media Server on it.

It cost me ~4K for the Pi + 2.5K for Chromecast.

Its also a great way to listen to songs/music by streaming it to the phone while retiring for the day.

I have a 6 year old humble 30" LCD and I am not a Hi-Def movie buff

Last edited by freedom : 21st January 2016 at 20:19.
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Old 18th May 2016, 23:53   #10
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I recently got an raspberry pi 3 model B and running openelec kodi and absolutely loving it. Such nice and capable setup for 4k rs. I felt this is much more capable and cheaper than the WD tv I was considering.
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Old 19th May 2016, 00:12   #11
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Yup. Raspberry pi is a sweet little device. I've even conducted a couple workshops for the same in college. Currently I have model A and pi 2 . Model A is configured as a print server and pi 2 is a media server. Have even got AirPlay working on it.
Next plan is to make a dash cam for car. Will work on it in June.
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