How to watch your media
Your server is now fully populated and operational, so discover the best way to stream media to just about any device you own.
EmbyMediaServer is now up and running, and your media library is accessible in all its technicolour glory. It’s time to look at how you can consume your content from other computers, mobiles and smart devices – and the good news is, pretty much anything you own can be configured to access your Emby server. Here’s our rundown of what you need to access your media.
IBM PC Computers
Although there’s only an official release of EmbyTheater for Windows (which will only play media if you have an Emby Premiere subscription), you can – if you’re feeling brave – download and install the latest alpha of the EmbyTheater for Linux app with the following commands: sudo apt-get install npm sudo apt-get install nodejs-legacy sudo npm -g install electron sudo apt-get install mpv sudo apt install git cd ~ git clone https://github.com/MediaBrowser/emby-theaterelectron.git cd emby-theater-electron sudo npm install node-mpv sudo chmod +x et.sh ./et.sh
Speed up performance by following the advice at http:// bit.ly/2yEfqR0 to add hardware acceleration and audio options to a .mpv config file.
If this sounds like too much faff, then you can also access your Emby media library outside of your web browser on Linux, macOS or Windows by installing the Kodi ( https://kodi.tv) MediaCenter app followed by the free Emby add-on – Ubuntu users will find Kodi in the Software
Centre. The step-by-step guide reveals what you need to do in order to obtain and install the add-on. Once in place, your media will be instantly accessible through the regular Kodi libraries, from movies and TV show to music and photos.
Portable telephony devices
Emby provides official apps for iOS, Android and even Windows Phone, but while you can download and use this to browse your media for free, the major catch is that playback isn’t. You can make a one-off payment of £4.99 to unlock playback on that specific platform, or it’s free to Emby Premiere subscribers. But don’t despair, because if this is a deal-breaker there are other options.
Android tablet users are best served by installing the free Kodi app through the Play Store, then following the guide to install and use the free Emby add-on. Otherwise, keep reading to find out how to access Emby via its DLNA server.
For now there’s only one TV platform directly supported – newer Samsung TVs. If your TV has a HTML5-compatible web browser, such as selected 2016 LG TV models, then you can access your media through the web version of EmbyTheater at https://tv.emby.media. Note you’ll need an Emby Premiere subscription to play as well as browse your media.
If you have a Chromecast you’ll find the official Emby apps can cast media to your TV, as can the Chrome web browser from your desktop or laptop. The latter option enables you to play your media for free by logging on to the server from your desktop’s web browser, then casting to the Chromecast plugged into the back of your big-screen TV.
“The good news is that pretty much anything you own can access your Emby server”
Otherwise, it’s a case of pairing the right box with your TV. There are official apps for Roku, a range of Android TV devices (including Fire TV and Shield TV), and the Apple TV. Unfortunately, since Sky removed Developer Mode from its NowTV boxes, you can no longer sideload the EmbyRoku app on to it.
Other set-top boxes that support the DLNA streaming protocol will also be able to access Emby, but you’ll have to make do with a more basic user interface. Examples include the WDTV Live range of boxes.
Emby offers support for a range of games consoles. There’s an official app for Xbox One users in the Microsoft Windows Store, while PlayStation 4 users are sent to the web version of EmbyTheater. If you have an Xbox 360, then you can add Emby as a free plugin for Windows Media Center – download the stable version at http://mb3admin.com/downloads/ release/mbc/setup.exe (substitute ‘beta’ for ‘release’ in the URL to download the latest development version instead).
Other games consoles may support Emby, but only if they either support the DLNA streaming protocol (as is the case with the Sony PlayStation 3) or have a HTML5-compliant web browser (the Nintendo Wii U).
The Raspberry Pi
A cracking playback device for your new Emby media library is the Raspberry Pi paired with a suitable remote control (Search eBay for ‘Kodi remote’ to uncover some excellent choices for around £5). Even the Pi Zero is capable of working as an Emby client, although we’d recommend choosing the Raspberry Pi Zero W to free up its solitary USB port for your remote control.
You’ll need to set it up running the OSMC ( https://osmc. tv) operating system, which is based on Kodi. Hook it up to your TV via its HDMI port and you have your own low-cost streaming media box. Then follow the step-by-step guide to install the Emby add-on, which should work perfectly. Note that switching skins may reduce performance, particularly on the Pi Zero, so tread carefully. You can also configure a Pi as a headless music player – see the box ( belowleft) for details.
If all else fails, then Emby also advertises itself as a DLNA (or UPnP) media server, making it visible to a much wider range of devices and apps without requiring payment. Most smart TVs and many plug-in devices like Blu-ray players and set-top boxes support DLNA, and you’ll find a range of mobile apps do too, including VLC for both iOS and Android. The user interface isn’t as slick, but it’s perfectly navigable and you can at least see your artwork.
If you’ve set up a music library in Emby, then you’ll find you can access it through a range of music players too, including Rhythmbox in Ubuntu – here you’ll need to first select Tools>Plugins and enable the Grilo media browser plugin. Then open a Terminal window and type the following: $ sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install griloplugins-0.2
Once done, restart Rhythmbox and you’ll see your Emby DLNA server appear in the left-hand pane.
Emby Theater is available to Linux users as an alpha build. There’s lots of testing still to do, but it’s a usable product.