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Older Computer: Streaming Media Servers

Recently I had a notion after I bought my PS3 about media servers. The PlayStation 3 is pretty neat. Being just a little computer (with a big graphic card) it is able play audio, videos, and display pictures. The PS3 has categories of its’ differing abilities: Music, Video, Game, Network… On the Music, Video and Picture categories I noticed there is an option to find ‘Media Servers’. This got me intrigued: I have a basic wired/wireless home network that connects my PS3, Laptop and Printer (this also is pretty neat, a minuature Cisco router does this seamlessly) and I wondered if the media I had on my laptop could be shared with my PS3. With it I’d be better able to view/listen my media by using my TV, but would it be able to run decently on an eight year old laptop?… Yes.

MediaTomb

This is what I was recommended first when I first asked about media servers. I think this may have been because it is the most commonly used media server on Linux. MediaTomb was easy to install, configure (all three media servers I tried are just basic daemons with easy to edit configurations), and didn’t bog down my system when it ran normally. MediaTomb does provide nice thumbnail support and after editing the configuration and restarting the daemon it showed up immediately on my PS3. After running MediaTomb for awhile though however, I gave up using MediaTomb because at times it would get heady. MediaTomb appears to rescan the library from time to time and then it appears to do some parsing of files. Doing this would run up my fan on my laptop which is generally reserved for heavier tasks like working with ffmpeg.

uShare

Not sure I want to mention much here as it probably isn’t worth the time. A bit after installing uShare (a day) I discovered it wasn’t being developed anymore. uShare ran nice for one day but after adding a video that wasn’t support (or maybe just a new start to the PS3) The PS3 gave a “A DLNA Protocol Error (501)” that I could never fix. I tried waiting for the library to fully scan on my laptop before turning on the PS3, removed any questionable media files (unsupported codecs, DRMm have reported to cause problems) with no luck. uShare has not been maintained since 2007. When it did run, it ran well and light. uShare does not have support for thumbnails, and it does not monitor (or rescan) directories while running (the daemon will need to be restarted if you add new music for instance).

miniDLNA

Never got this to work, but I heard it is fast and cool.

Notes

Since I’ve written this article I’ve been using Rygel which is an ok media server. At least it is doing the trick now.

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About Todd Partridge (Gently)

Good times, good people, good fun.

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