Linux Format

Stream films, TV and music

Jellyfin can cover almost all of your media streaming needs…


Once Jellyfin is set up, you’re taken to your home screen, which offers a variety of ways to view your media library: at the top are shortcuts to individual libraries, followed by the Next Up section, which helps you track your progress through TV shows by helpfully displaying partially played episodes as well as queuing up the next available episode for viewing. Beneath this you’ll see the latest additions to your libraries.

You’ll find plenty of on-screen aids to help you navigate even the largest libraries. At the top are a range of library views, from Suggestion­s to Genres. Look out, too, for Favorites – which lists any media you’ve marked by clicking the heart icon next to it – and Collection­s, which enables you to group movies by your choice of criteria, such as franchise or lead actor.

Below are three buttons, enabling you to change from the default poster-based view to show banners, lists or thumbs. Next to this is the A-Z button, enabling you to sort your library by different criteria, while the final button allows you to apply filters to the view, from features and genres to parental ratings and years.

When you select a specific movie, TV episode or other media, you’re whisked to its own page, where you’ll hopefully see a synopsis as well as a summary of the media’s audio and video type. If the media item contains a choice of video, audio or subtitles, look for drop-down menus enabling you to switch from the default choices before playing your movie.

If you’ve gone the extra mile to add supplement­s to your media library, such as featurette­s or deleted scenes, you’ll find these here, too – embedded alongside the movie, or at season level with TV shows. See movies for more pointers on how to name and organise these in your libraries.

Fix metadata

As you browse your library, you’re likely to come across the odd series or movie that has been incorrectl­y identified. To fix this – plus make other metadatare­lated changes – click the hamburger ( ) button in the top-left corner of the screen to slide out the main Jellyfin menu and choose Metadata under Admin.

The Metadata Manager reveals an Explorer-like view of your media by folder. Drill down to a movie title, or parent folder for a TV show, and you’ll see its metadata in the right-hand pane. You can manually edit this if you wish, but if you’re trying to fix an incorrect match, a quicker method is to click the vertical ellipsis button next to Save and choose Identify.

This brings up a search tool – you can search by title and/or year (which should resolve most issues where an identicall­y titled show or movie from a different year has been selected), but if this doesn’t yield a result, go online to or to manually locate your show and grab its ID. Enter this into the relevant search field and you’re guaranteed to get the correct match when you click Search.

Manage your server

To configure your server, open the main menu and choose Dashboard under Admin. There are four main sections: Server, Devices, Live TV and Advanced, with Dashboard at the top. It provides a handy overview of recent changes, which devices are connected and what content is streaming – and who’s streaming it.

Beneath this, the General section enables you to change your server name and preferred language, followed by Users. If you’re planning on sharing access

to Jellyfin with other users – both locally and remotely – set up individual accounts for each person with their own custom access to your libraries. In return they gain their own personalis­ed user experience, including their own Up Next deck. Simply click + to set up your first user: assign them a name and password, and choose what libraries to give them access to. Click Save.

Once a user is created, you gain access to four tabs of settings: Profile, Access, Parental Control and Password. Under Profile, you’ll see options for enabling or disabling remote streaming, management of the server and access to specific features, such as Live TV, SyncPlay and media downloadin­g. Access is where you manage their access to both libraries and from specific devices, while Parental Control gives you handy control over children’s access to content on the server, with options for setting a minimum parental rating, plus limiting access by day and time. Use the Password tab to assign a new password or add a PIN code for easier access. Click Save when you’re done.

Libraries is – of course – where you go to manage existing libraries, plus add new ones (the process is identical to that in the first-run wizard). The final setting under Server is Playback. Available options here include whether to use hardware accelerati­on for transcodin­g if supported – remember, there may be a price to pay in terms of image quality, so experiment with toggling it on or off. You’ll also find advanced conversion settings for transcodin­g to x264/x265 – Handbrake users should recognise most of these options, and this flexibilit­y is something that sets Jellyfin apart from other media servers, such as Plex.

If you’re planning to access your server remotely (or share it with others), you need to configure Jellyfin

accordingl­y. While its Advanced > Networking section enables you to do this manually, we recommend setting things up through a reverse proxy, such as Nginx Proxy Manager (which we featured in LXF306).

First, configure Jellyfin – because the reverse proxy is doing all the hard work, all you need to do is ensure Allow Remote Connection­s To This Server and Enable IP4 are both ticked under Advanced > Networking.

Now get yourself a suitable domain, subdomain or free dynamic domain, as outlined in the Nginx Proxy Manager tutorial, make sure it’s pointing to your public

IP address (as revealed at and then click Add Proxy Host in the Nginx web interface.

Enter your domain name, leave Scheme set to http and set the Forward Hostname/IP to your server’s IP address and the Forward Port to 8096. Switch on Block Common Exploits before selecting the SSL tab. When setting up your free SSL certificat­e, don’t forget to flick the Force SSL switch on to ensure all connection­s from outside your network to the server are secure.

Manage playback

If you’re planning to allow remote access to your server, you also need to be mindful of the speed of your internet connection. Benchmark your connection using a website such as Speedtest (www.speedtest. net). You need to compare your connection’s upload speeds with the typical bitrates required to stream content to determine how many remote streams your connection can handle simultaneo­usly.

Once done, ration your available bandwidth under Playback > Streaming. Here you can set a per-stream bitrate limit – any media with higher bitrates is transcoded to fit whatever limit you set, so bear this in mind if you’re streaming from a low-powered device, and remember that offloading transcodin­g to the GPU under Playback > Transcodin­g enables you to handle many more streams simultaneo­usly, albeit with a slight hit to streaming quality.

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 ?? ?? Jellyfin does the legwork of importing metadata into your server, but you can still edit individual aspects of it.
Jellyfin does the legwork of importing metadata into your server, but you can still edit individual aspects of it.
 ?? ?? Jellyfin provides a wealth of informatio­n about the content in your media server – as well as playback options.
Jellyfin provides a wealth of informatio­n about the content in your media server – as well as playback options.
 ?? ?? Jellyfin’s Dashboard contains access to all the settings and preference­s you need to fine-tune it to your needs.
Jellyfin’s Dashboard contains access to all the settings and preference­s you need to fine-tune it to your needs.
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