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.

Linux Format - - STREAM IT! -

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.

Gog­gle boxes

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.

Elec­tronic toys

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.

DLNA stream­ing

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.

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