Media Server

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Media Server provides access to a Media Center Library from another computer or device on the network or on the Internet. It is preferable that both computers run the same version and build of Media Center.

It provides on-demand access to or streaming of files (video, music and images) from a server to a client. The server is the one that makes its library available to another computer or device, while the client is the computer that sees those files. It allows the user to share the library from one computer to another computer, or across the Internet.

You can listen to your home computer's Media Center library at work. You need to run the Server on your home computer, and the client on your work computer. Both computers must have the same version and build of Media Center.

Configuration of Media Server

Configuration is under Tools > Options > Media Network.

Check the option "Use Media Network to share this library and enable DLNA"

Click the "Access Key" options. In the options, you can ask MC to generate and e-mail an "access key". Choose "Enable access" to generate this six character key. You can send it to yourself or a friend or copy it to the clipboard.

On the client PC or device, just enter it to gain access to your Library server.

Access from another PC over Internet

If you choose to connect from another PC or phone, you can use the access key (see above) to open up access to your home PC. The port must be accessible (not blocked by a firewall) and you must use the outside address of your network. A cable modem, for example, has both an inside and an outside address. The outside address is the only one accessible from the Internet. You can find out what your outside address is by visiting whatsmyip.org although this is often on a lease and will change periodically.

Access from another PC on your LAN

To use Client/Server working, on your client PC:

1. On the client instance of MC in Standard View, in the tree in the left pane, expand "Playing Now" and "Playing From".

2. Under "Playing From" select "Add Library". A window will pop up to enter details. Name the Library then enter the Access Key from the Library Server of your Library instance of MC (see above). Click OK.

3. The client PC will now access the Library Server and load the library. Note that the media files are not transferred and don't need to be, just the meta-data stored in the Library.

4. On the Library Server PC, it is important to share any folders where the media is stored. In Windows Explorer, find the relevant folders, right click and select "Share with" then select "Homegroup -read/write" (assuming you have a Homegroup set up).

4. In order to be able to play all file types on the Client, it is important that the media file path is the same for the client as described in the file paths of the Library and used on the Library Server system. This may require mapping the drives used on the Library Server MC on the Client. You will need to do this in Windows Explorer on the Client.

You should now have access to all of your media held in your Library Server. The settings of the Library Server instance of MC will also be used.

If your Library Server instance of MC18 has a TV Tuner set up, you can also watch the TV Channels tuned.

Note that you don't need another MC licence for this client if you own it and use it.

Using Library Server (older versions)

On the server, in the Organization Tree, select Services & Plug-ins, Library Server and click the start button. You need only start the server once; it will automatically start whenever Media Center opens.

On the client, from Media Center go to File > Library > Search for Library Servers. Media Center automatically finds any Library Servers running on your local network. Or you can specify the server in your list of libraries (if the Library Server is not running on your local LAN), go to File > Library > Library Manager and select "Add". Type in a name and enter the server's IP address in the location field.

To disconnect, on the client go to File > Library and choose a different library.

To stop the server, expand Services & Plug-ins, choose Library Server and click the Stop button.

Library Server cannot share a library that is not loaded. It will only share the library currently in use.

Automatic File Conversion/Transcoding

You can set Library Server to automatically convert some lossless file types (ape, wave) to mp3s to conserve bandwidth.

To enable, on the client go to Tools > Options > Library, check this option and then select the original file type in the drop down-menu. Some file types permit more advanced settings.

If transcoding is done, then you will not be able to seek in the track. Transcoding makes it harder or impossible to jump to random parts of the track.

The option must be set on the client, not on the server.

Auto-Detection

By default, Library Server advertises its presence on the local network, so that clients may connect without knowing the address of the server. This works by sending the IP address and port the server uses via UDP's broadcast mechanism. The broadcast will only go to the local network, it will not cross routers (Auto-detection will not help when trying to listen to your home collection at work).

If your server is not at home, in a secure environment, turn off the auto-detect feature.

On the client, searching for Library Servers (File->Library->Search for Library Servers) will automatically connect to the server if it finds only one, otherwise it displays a list of the servers it found for you to choose.

Choosing a Port

Library Server is configured to choose the first available port number between 80 and 90. Port 80 is quite common, and often used by other programs. If you are not using auto-detection, choose a port explicitly in the options.

Authentication

If your Library Server is available to the Internet (or if you are not sure if it is), use Authentication. In the server options, enable Authentication and set a user name and password that must be provided by the client before the connection is allowed.

Proxies

The Library Server client uses Internet Explorer's proxy settings.

One case that may require more care: when a proxy is used for general Internet access, but the Library Server and Client are both on the LAN. In this case, set the Client's IE Proxy settings to include an exception for the Server's IP address. Thanks to StarBand Guy

After the Library is Served

You can play your media on the client, and create playlists. But any changes you make on the client are not saved on the server until you select Library Sync... from the Library menu selection.

A possible way to use personal playlists is a conversion to M3U (File -> export playlist -> export to M3U). Store your converted playlists in a separate folder on your local drive and add this folder to auto-import. Your playlist(s) will appear in "Imported Playlists" Note: Don't forget to update your M3U playlists if you made changes

The client will send play count and last played information back to the server.

Library Server and Video

Some types of video files can be streamed, some can be streamed if you are willing to wait for the whole file to load first, and some cannot be streamed at all.

Files that are known to be streamable: .mov, .mpeg and .mpg. Files that will stream if you wait: avi, mp2 and wmv. Files that will not stream: DVD files.

Library Server and DVDs

Library Server cannot share DVDs across the network. Library Server uses the HTTP protocol to transfer files: where there is a filename in a local library, there is a URL in a shared library.

Playing a DVD relies on 3rd party code: J. River does not control this code. The 3rd party code does not correctly handle URLs, only filenames. This may be by design, to prevent sharing DVDs over networks.

To be more technical: DVD playback is different from other video file playback in that it uses a DVD Navigator filter instead of a regular file source filter. Therefore the URL source filter is not useful here.

Sharing DVDs between multiple computers on network is achievable using Network Sharing.

Library Server and Audible

Library Server can share Audible files, but only without conversion.

Burning CDs

Library Server does not currently support remote burning of CDs (on the client).

Tracking Down Problems

Checking the IP address and port

To check the IP address, open a command window (start->run and type cmd). Then use the command:

ipconfig

It will return a result like (many lines not shown):

Windows IP Configuration

Ethernet Adapter ...:
...
IP Address: 10.0.0.1
...

This means the server is using IP address 10.0.0.1. The port that the server uses is displayed at the top of the status page on startup. Many problems arise because of confusion over the port number. To be certain, choose a port number on the server, start the server, and make sure the server starts. Then use this port on the client.

Manually Test the Server Connection

With a web browser, connect to

http://1.2.3.4:80/GetLibrary

Replace 1.2.3.4 with the IP address of the Library Server, and 80 with the port the Library Server is listening on. The web browser should ask if you want to save a file. If it doesn't, there is a firewall or proxy preventing access.

If a large library is failing, create a new smaller library and share that. You must load the smaller library on the Server machine before connecting from the client.

Examining the Library

On the server, the library is compressed into a zip file. This file is located in the temporary directory, in

JRTemp\Library Server Library - <random number> .zip

The temp directory is usually something like:

C:\Documents and Settings\<username>\Local Settings\Temp

Firewall Considerations

Library Server uses 1 TCP port, this port is displayed on the status page at Startup. This port must be allowed through any firewalls between the client and server.

Library Server also uses 1 UDP port for "Search for Library Servers". If you want to be able to search, the port 5556 on UDP must be opened. The client sends a UDP packet with destination port 5556, destination address 255.255.255.255, and the server replies.

NAT Considerations

If the client and server are not on the same network segment, the client must know the IP address or name of the server. "Search for Library Servers" will not work. One way to find this out is to enter in a command window:

ipconfig

However, most home machines are behind routers that do NAT (Network Address Translation). They'll have addresses that look like 192.168.x.x or 10.x.x.x. The router translates this into a real internet address as needed. If your server is behind a router like this, you will need to know your server's IP address (http://www.whatismyipaddress.com will show it) and you must configure your router to port-forward traffic to your Library Server.

For example, my server's IP is 192.168.1.1, and my router's IP is 192.146.151.161, and I run Library Server on port 80. From inside my router, I connect to 192.168.1.1:80, and from outside I connect to 192.146.151.161:80. In addition, I have to configure the router to forward all traffic destined for 192.146.151.161:80 to 192.168.1.1:80

Library Server client / server change syncing

The program can be configured so that changes made on the server will flow to any client, and changes made on a client will flow back to the server and out to other clients. This feature is called Library Server Sync. There is more information here: Library Server Sync