Linux Mint Box as a Media Server - Any Tips

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smurphos
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Linux Mint Box as a Media Server - Any Tips

Post by smurphos » Fri Sep 05, 2014 12:48 am

Hey all,

In the process of breathing a new lease of life into an aging XP laptop by converting it into a Linux Mint based NAS/Media Server and was wondering if any folk with similar use scenarios could point me in the right direction for some tips, software suggestions, avoid pitfalls etc....Linux newbie but reasonably tech savvy and know my way around Windows and Android so not all lost.

Primary use will be to serve media to my Android mobile devices, and to my TV via a Chromecast Dongle. My newer Win 7 laptop undertakes this role currently, but I don't like having to run it 24/7 and it's not convenient to have it wired to my router and Chromecasting local media via Wifi is a bit flakey.

Intention is that the machine in question with be an always on or even better wakeable from LAN, wired into my router and with a 1TB portable drive (yet to be purchased) attached via USB to hold video, music and photos.

Software wise it will run a Plex Media Server, a SubSonic Server, management will be via Samba shares of the Home and the external disk to the Win 7 laptop, along with Teamviewer.

Further down the line I may want to use it as a DVT receiver and PVR - not sure what is best in terms of hardware/software there - ideally it should be able to cast recorded media to Chromecast and be easily controlled via Android devices. - I do have an old DVT USB dongle which I hope has got Linux drivers.

So far I've got Linux Mint up and running, Plex, Subsonic and Teamviewer installed and 'home' shared to my Win 7 machine. Not quite worked out how to make it wakeable from LAN yet (it might be the network card doesn't support this - not sure how to find out). Going to purchase the external drive in the next week or two once it's loaded with my media collection will sort out the servers properly with port forwarding etc - don't envisage any problems there.

So really after any other tips - it is worth stripping any of the bundled software in the Mint distro (17 Cinnamon) to speed things up - the machine will occasionally be doing some transcoding as well as streaming to reducing other load on the CPU will be helpful. Any security issues I should be concerned about? Any good solutions for DVT/PVR software with Chromecast compatibility? Any Linux Plex/Subsonic users with tips - I use both on Win 7 with no problems.

Thanks....
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PatH57
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Re: Linux Mint Box as a Media Server - Any Tips

Post by PatH57 » Fri Sep 05, 2014 3:27 am

Mint distro (17 Cinnamon)
that would be my main concern, it is an overkill on an older laptop (cinnamon is graphic hungry and Mint 17 brings a lot of new features that the older laptop may not even know about)
keep it as simple as possible and boot a couple of live dvd or usb to test drive it. Mint 13 Xfce is light and the engine under it is powerful enough for the needs of broadcasting and the occasional video editing (also this will more depend on you cpu, ram and video card)
Once you booted into a live session of Mint run

Code: Select all

sudo inxi -U

Code: Select all

inxi -Fxz
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Re: Linux Mint Box as a Media Server - Any Tips

Post by Spearmint2 » Sat Sep 06, 2014 11:33 am

Intention is that the machine in question with be an always on or even better wakeable from LAN, wired into my router and with a 1TB portable drive (yet to be purchased) attached via USB to hold video, music and photos.....Not quite worked out how to make it wakeable from LAN yet (it might be the network card doesn't support this - not sure how to find out).
Have you checked WOL in the BIOS? Turn that on. Portable USB drive means you need to mount it at start up. Samba sharing should avoid permission problems with accessing.
Further down the line I may want to use it as a DVT receiver and PVR - not sure what is best in terms of hardware/software there - ideally it should be able to cast recorded media to Chromecast and be easily controlled via Android devices. - I do have an old DVT USB dongle which I hope has got Linux drivers.
Good luck with that one. I have a KWorld USB TV device I've never gotten to work in Linux, even under WINE.
it is worth stripping any of the bundled software in the Mint distro (17 Cinnamon) to speed things up - the machine will occasionally be doing some transcoding as well as streaming to reducing other load on the CPU will be helpful.
Not worth the effort in my opinion. From a cold boot my MATE version only uses about 350MB and right now I checked (inxi) and using about 800MB. If worried about video playing capability, see this video that was recorded using a Sempron 145 single core chip at 2.8Ghz. It plays 2 streams at 720p while recording them also, or one 1080i while recording it too.
Any security issues I should be concerned about?
Just the usual when sharing a folder or drive to everyone on the LAN.

Might also look at XMBC, some like it.
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Re: Linux Mint Box as a Media Server - Any Tips

Post by smurphos » Sat Sep 20, 2014 5:04 am

Thanks for the tips guys - got the basics all up and running now after a few false starts (gnome-disk-utility and system-samba-config both causing me grief - ended up using GParted for repartioning and formatting the disk and setting up the mount and share manually)

Mint 17 XFCE, Seagate external drive repartitoned and reformated to EXT4 and mounting automatically under root ownership at mnt/shared. My user has read/write access all others read only. Drive shared successfully with my windows machine restricted by user & password. Plex, Subsonic & Teamviewer all up and running with the UFW firewall set up to deny all incoming and outgoing ports other than what's necessary for those services, smb and basic internet access.

All is working as it should - the processor is a Dual Core running at 1.66Ghz - and is proving adequate for transcoding upto 720p media for Chromecasting. Overall my streaming experience is much smoother with this box wired to my router. Job well done.

I'm going to leave it always on as it stands WOL looks like to much of a headache. I'll leave the DVBT stuff for another day as-well. I can set this up on the Windows machine and move recorded shows to the shared drive manually.
For custom Nemo actions, useful scripts for the Cinnamon desktop, and Cinnamox themes visit my Github pages.

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