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Free media server setup


docj

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We have a large iTunes library (~3,500 tracks) which is resident on a couple of our computers as well as on an iPod. For a while I've been looking for a simple and inexpensive solution for listening to our music on our primary audio system without the need for physical cable connections. Listening to music on computer speakers or small speaker sets just wasn't all that satisfying, especially when the main system can deliver >300 watts of sound power. We use Pandora through a Roku feeding that audio system, but, at times, it's nice to hear your own music.

 

Unfortunately, our audio system is ~5 years old, just before Bluetooth connections became common. So I've been looking for a simple way to get an audio signal to it without wires. I had identified some add-on Bluetooth adapters, but was concerned about how well they worked and, of course, they cost $$.

 

Recently, I came across the Plex Roku "channel", a free Roku app that, when used with the Plex pc app, turns the pc into a media server that can transfer music (and video) files from the computer to the Roku. The signal is transferred using wifi rather than Bluetooth and it works pretty well. The Plex Roku app displays the music available on the server and makes it easy to select albums, tracks, artists, etc.

 

I don't think it takes a particularly powerful computer to be an audio server, although operating as a video server does make my laptop rather warm. I'm sure some of you are probably doing something similar but I suspect there are others who may benefit from this information.

Sandie & Joel

2000 40' Beaver Patriot Thunder Princeton--425 HP/1550 ft-lbs CAT C-12
2014 Honda CR-V AWD EX-L with ReadyBrute tow bar/brake system
WiFiRanger Ambassador
Follow our adventures on Facebook at Weiss Travels

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I moved all my media to a WD MyBook Live hard drive, it has built in media servers as well as basic network file sharing. It is small, silent and happy to be stuffed in a cupboard or closet, out of sight and mind. It doesn't seem to have issues with power being removed without notice as long as it has been a while since you wrote to it and the disk has spun down, there is a shutdown web option if you want to make sure all the buffers are flushed though.

 

I just plug it into a spare router port and it shares both wired and wirelessly. I've fooled with Bluetooth a bit but find the paring requirement and limitations to be an aggravation.

 

A newer version than I have: http://smile.amazon.com/Cloud-Personal-Network-Attached-Storage/dp/B00EVVGAC6/ref=sr_1_1

First rule of computer consulting:

Sell a customer a Linux computer and you'll eat for a day.

Sell a customer a Windows computer and you'll eat for a lifetime.

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I moved all my media to a WD MyBook Live hard drive, it has built in media servers as well as basic network file sharing. It is small, silent and happy to be stuffed in a cupboard or closet, out of sight and mind. It doesn't seem to have issues with power being removed without notice as long as it has been a while since you wrote to it and the disk has spun down, there is a shutdown web option if you want to make sure all the buffers are flushed though.

 

I just plug it into a spare router port and it shares both wired and wirelessly. I've fooled with Bluetooth a bit but find the paring requirement and limitations to be an aggravation.

 

A newer version than I have: http://smile.amazon.com/Cloud-Personal-Network-Attached-Storage/dp/B00EVVGAC6/ref=sr_1_1

 

Were you able to interface with directly with your iTunes library? What I like about Plex is that it "reads" my iTunes library and makes it available to the Roku without having to export it. Therefore, anything I add to iTunes immediately becomes available to Plex to play through the Roku. All the other approaches I considered still required me to essentially make a copy of iTunes.

Sandie & Joel

2000 40' Beaver Patriot Thunder Princeton--425 HP/1550 ft-lbs CAT C-12
2014 Honda CR-V AWD EX-L with ReadyBrute tow bar/brake system
WiFiRanger Ambassador
Follow our adventures on Facebook at Weiss Travels

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Sorry, I don't do Apple stuff so I can't tell you about itunes.

 

I don't do Apple stuff either, but iTunes has become nearly ubiquitous as a program for cataloging music. Plus it's the easiest method I know of for adding albums or single tracks to that library. In addition for a small annual fee our library is "in the cloud" and is accessible on up to 5 (?) devices of my choice, including non-Apple pc's. I still won't buy a Mac or an iPhone, but sometimes you have to say "uncle"! :D

Sandie & Joel

2000 40' Beaver Patriot Thunder Princeton--425 HP/1550 ft-lbs CAT C-12
2014 Honda CR-V AWD EX-L with ReadyBrute tow bar/brake system
WiFiRanger Ambassador
Follow our adventures on Facebook at Weiss Travels

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I don't do iTunes either. I have one of these: http://www.amazon.com/Lenovo-Media-Back-up-Center-70A29002NA/dp/B00EJ3H95I If you scroll down to the 4 reviews you'll see mine as the top one under DB Gore. Specs here: http://shop.lenovo.com/us/en/servers/network-storage/lenovoemc/ezmedia/#tab-tech_specs Windows Media Player and VLC do all I need to rip mp3s and catalogue my albums, all of which I still have in CDs and albums, stored in case ever needed.

RV/Derek
http://www.rvroadie.com Email on the bottom of my website page.
Retired AF 1971-1998


When you see a worthy man, endeavor to emulate him. When you see an unworthy man, look inside yourself. - Confucius

 

“Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.” ... Voltaire

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BTW,

I just copy my music or part of it, on either 64/128 Flash Micro SD cards or USB thumb drives. I plug them into the micro computer next to the Home Theater. My Bose Wave radio and big music systems all have Bluetooth receivers plugged into the Aux 3.5 mini plug inputs. They work very well, and are the Best Buy Rocketfish ones here: http://www.amazon.com/Rocketfish-RF-BTR212-Bluetooth-Music-Receiver/dp/B009XE6ZT4

RV/Derek
http://www.rvroadie.com Email on the bottom of my website page.
Retired AF 1971-1998


When you see a worthy man, endeavor to emulate him. When you see an unworthy man, look inside yourself. - Confucius

 

“Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.” ... Voltaire

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We have a small form factor HTPC attached to our "living room" TV that runs Plex Server with several TB of content (mostly ripped content from our DVD / BD collection).

Then we use Rokus (on both TVs) with Plex, and the Plex app on our tablets / PCs as secondary options.

I don't run music through it though, as we've used Rhapsody as our primary music service for close to a decade, so don't have many stand alone music files.

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I just plug the iPod into the Bose Docking station or my Fender Rumble 75 Bass Amp when I want to listen to our 3600 Plus tracks. Either choice will provide quality sound. I use the Rumble 75 Bass Amp when I want to play along on my Bass. Ya Got to love "That Damn Rock and Roll"

 

Dennis

USA Master Sergeant Ret.

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