Android tablet as media server

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    wprager
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    Android tablet as media server

    Post by wprager on Sun Dec 01, 2013 11:30 am

    I want to start using my tablet as a media server. I've installed a couple of BitTorrent clients, uninstalled one of them. Getting the downloads onto a USB to then stick it in my PS3 or tv was not simple, so I figure I should try a media server app.

    So, what are the best apps? What are the tricks and tips I need to know? For the record, this is what I've got so far:

    BubbleUPnP media server
    uTorrent client (got rid of the kick Donkey torrents client due to questionable popups when searching)

    On the other side I've got a PS3 and aan LG tv that both support DLNA. I prefer subtitles, so if anyone can recommend the easiest way to include them I'd appreciate it (I can include an srt file with the same name as the video and the player in my tv automatically includes then, but no idea how to do this with a media server. )


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    Re: Android tablet as media server

    Post by shabbs on Sun Dec 01, 2013 2:33 pm

    Take a look at XBMC on Android. Maybe what you want.

    http://xbmc.org/download/

    Love XBMC. Use it with my jailbroken AppleTV. Wicked awesome for managing all my movies, TV shows etc.... as it hooks in direclty to the various on-line media databases for the info.
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    Re: Android tablet as media server

    Post by wprager on Sun Dec 01, 2013 4:26 pm

    shabbs wrote:Take a look at XBMC on Android. Maybe what you want.

    http://xbmc.org/download/

    Love XBMC. Use it with my jailbroken AppleTV. Wicked awesome for managing all my movies, TV shows etc.... as it hooks in direclty to the various on-line media databases for the info.
    I've heard of that one before from a guy at work, too, but that was a while ago and he was primarily talking about running it on his Mac. I see they support everything now. I installed Bubble because it was the first one in the list on Google Play when I searched for DLNA. I've played with it for a bout 10 minutes and while it immediately found the Mary Poppins I had downloaded a while back, it did not find the first few eps of Homeland S3. Weird, because they are both in the Downloads folder (when using a File System viewer app). And I could not find any way using options/settings/menus to add locations to where it searches for media. I'll try XBMC.

    By the way, are there any media server that will let me control the playback from the tablet itself? Right now it serves up the media but it's the playback device (TV) that has controls. I'd prefer to control it from the tablet.


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    Re: Android tablet as media server

    Post by shabbs on Sun Dec 01, 2013 5:10 pm

    XBMC Remote for Android.

    https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.xbmc.android.remote

    XBMC has come a LOOOOONG way since it was first created for the original XBOX. It is awesome.
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    Re: Android tablet as media server

    Post by wprager on Tue Dec 03, 2013 10:19 am

    Man, went on Google Play and searched for "xbmc". Maybe I was dumb to just expect the server app and the remote and nothing else. Anyhow, I'm pretty sure I can figure out which is which.

    Quick question, Shabbs, how does the remote work? Basically, what is my flow of operations here? I turn on my TV with the xbmc server app running, click Inputs and select the media server (that's how I started with BubbleUPnP). Now that my TV has connected to the media server, can I then use the xbmc remote app on my tablet to browse for content, and then control the playback?

    Another quick question. How do I add downloaded stuff to the media server library? Going back to my BubbleUPnP experience, in my Downloads folder on the tablet I have a "Mary Poppins" folder with a Mary Poppins.avi file inside -- that one it found, no problem. In that same folder I have a couple Homeland episodes with the extension .x264-. Since the media server uses an external payer for playback anyway (I chose MXPlay) then shouldn't it at least have an option to display *everything* even if it doesn't know if it's a media file or not?

    Edit: Correction on the file extension. It's actually .mkv (I guess the file browser truncates the displayed name). The full name is something like Homeland.S03E03.720p.HDTV.x264-IMMERSE.mkv.


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    Re: Android tablet as media server

    Post by shabbs on Tue Dec 03, 2013 10:32 am

    Hmmm - not sure how it would work with the tablet acting as both media server and remote... the XBMC Media server will provide you with an interface that lets you access and play your media content (videos, music, pictures etc...) as well as leverage the various plugins (weather and other apps...) that are setup.

    I don't have any Android devices, so I won't be of much help there. I use XMBC on my Apple TV controlled using my Harmony remote.

    For XBMC you can add sources such as network drives on your NAS devices, local drives, SMB drives etc... that it will pull media from. You'll need to tell it where it is and what type of content it is (TV Shows vs Movies) so that it can scan it and pull the right info from the 'net (ie: The TV DB or IMDDB for example). To add it to your library there should be options to scan for new media etc...

    The XBMC Wiki has a ton of good info and screenshots ...

    http://wiki.xbmc.org/
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    Re: Android tablet as media server

    Post by shabbs on Tue Dec 03, 2013 10:35 am

    XBMC can play .mkv files no problem. Most of my HD tv shows are in that format.
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    Re: Android tablet as media server

    Post by wprager on Tue Dec 03, 2013 12:29 pm

    shabbs wrote:XBMC can play .mkv files no problem. Most of my HD tv shows are in that format.
    I didn't think the media server itself does the rendering.

    In any case, I think I could have resolved the issue by renaming the file with a .avi extension. For fun I tried that on the tablet itself and MXPlayer played it with no issues; so I only needed the media server to realize it was a media file.


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    Re: Android tablet as media server

    Post by wprager on Tue Dec 03, 2013 7:36 pm

    Having issues, here.

    Downloaded something called XBMC Host. No idea what that does, but after downloading it and the XBMC Remote and not being able to get anything talking to anything else, I uninstalled both (nothing much in the settings either).

    Then I went to the download link at xbmc.org and downloaded what looked a lot more like a media server than the "Host". However, again, no matter what I tried to configure I did not a "DLNA Server" come up on the list of Inputs for my LG TV (by comparison, BubbleUPnP appeared a few seconds after I started it -- no changes to any settings.

    I'll have to look into this more tomorrow.


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    Re: Android tablet as media server

    Post by shabbs on Tue Dec 03, 2013 7:59 pm

    I'm going to assume you downloaded the .apk from here:

    http://xbmc.org/download/

    Install that sucker on your Android device. It will run as a native Android app. It will be your Media Server.

    You'll need to tell XBMC where to find your media files, either locally or on your network somewhere. They'll need to be defined as sources.

    Connect your Android device to your TV (HDMI cable I assume?) so that you can display the output from your Android device on your TV.

    Play media on your Android device.

    Enjoy on your TV.

    The wiki has a lot of good info, spend some time there:

    http://wiki.xbmc.org/index.php?title=HOW-TO:Install_XBMC_for_Android

    http://wiki.xbmc.org/index.php?title=Home_screen_and_basic_controls

    When you run XBMC on your Android device, it will look like this:



    This is what you should expect to see on your TV.
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    Re: Android tablet as media server

    Post by tim1_2 on Wed Dec 04, 2013 7:27 am

    I run Plex Media Server on my PC, and then have the Plex app on my wife's iPad (they have one for Android too). My WDTV Live Hub and Roku 3 media players can connect to Plex Media Server no problem, in addition to the iPad and iPod Touch (music streaming is handy). Plex Media Server transcodes video on the fly so it'll play on pretty much whichever device you want. MKVs stream flawlessly onto the iPad.

    Of course, this doesn't solve your issue of wanting to use your tablet as a media server, but it is another thing to think about.
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    Re: Android tablet as media server

    Post by wprager on Wed Dec 04, 2013 11:34 am

    I'm not wired in. The TV and the tablet are both on the wireless network. Like I said, when I started up BubbleUPnP it came up in the list of Inputs as a DLNA server, but XBMC did not.


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    Re: Android tablet as media server

    Post by wprager on Wed Dec 04, 2013 1:17 pm

    Was talking to a co-worker. He said by default XBMC is a media player and you would need to enable the other features (like being a media server). Googling around a bit I found this, which talks about a "Services" menu (which used to be called "Network" prior to v12 Frodo). I thought I had downloaded the latest, but I don't recall seeing a "Services" menu/tab, or any other menu items like the ones shown at the above link.

    Hmm, must have missed something.


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    Re: Android tablet as media server

    Post by shabbs on Wed Dec 04, 2013 1:47 pm

    Yes, you can enable UPnP in XBMC. That would allow you to steam media to any UPnP client. The .apk you downloaded should have been Frodo v12.2. That's the latest stable build...

    http://wiki.xbmc.org/index.php?title=Settings/Services#UPnP

    Android 12.2 Frodo download:

    http://mirrors.xbmc.org/releases/android/xbmc-12.2-Frodo-armeabi-v7a.apk

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    Re: Android tablet as media server

    Post by wprager on Thu Dec 05, 2013 9:49 am

    shabbs wrote:Yes, you can enable UPnP in XBMC. That would allow you to steam media to any UPnP client. The .apk you downloaded should have been Frodo v12.2. That's the latest stable build...

    http://wiki.xbmc.org/index.php?title=Settings/Services#UPnP

    Android 12.2 Frodo download:

    http://mirrors.xbmc.org/releases/android/xbmc-12.2-Frodo-armeabi-v7a.apk

    Finally found the Services menu (wasn't where the wiki said it was). Worked pretty well but I still have to figure out how to add subtitles. I had downloaded the subtitles but for some reason they always insist on zipping them up. So now I have this zip file sitting inside my Downloads folder and I'm not sure how to extract. Man, I miss the right-click button. I tap and hold (in the ES file manager app) but there is no option to extract).


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