How I made Android my multimedia system

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Edited by psczarny at Thu Jan 8, 2015 08:51

@ChrisP

Thanks for your feedback.
  1. Regarding NAS capabilities, I do not consider Android Network Layer stable/efficient enough for that.
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What would you suggest? I've tried BanaNAS but could not figure out how to run a mediaplayer interface (e.g. Kodi) on the platform. It' s Plex Server compatible setup but then you need a client... Also the official applications that are available for android are inferior to those available for Kodi (e.g. Netflix for Android vs. XMBCFLIX) so Android is a good starting point.

It leads to one question:

How can you make the ultimate media server setup with local and remote file access on one BPi that would replace a NAS, a cloud drive and a Apple TV/Roku/Nexus Player? There's a great reward waiting for the person that solves that issue ;)

ChrisP  
I am willing to do more or less the same thing, having the ultimate (or at least a pretty decent) TV Box to replace my good old but now underpowered Popcorn A110, based on android to have an easy user interface, but I do not consider to have it to replace my beloved Synology box

dlanor  
@psczarny:
To be honest I think you are looking for a solution that can never be satisfactory in real life.
Combining media server and playback client in the same system demands quite a lot from that system.

A generic media server, Plex Media Server compatible, is not able to do all its work properly in parallel with a high quality media player client on so simple a platform as a BPi. It simply doesn't have sufficient processing power to handle both high bitrate transcoded streaming from the server simultaneous with high bitrate playback in the client. For this sort of usage you need a 'real' computer.

I run my own 'Plex Media Server' on my main PC, a 3.6 MHz i7 system running Win7pro_x64, but anything from a 1.8MHz i3 system and up should suffice.
My own system has a lot of overkill for just a PMS server, since I use it for all kinds of other work too (but always with PMS running in background).
Having a powerful PMS system is especially nice when you share your media sections to other Plex accounts of your extended family.
Thus my brother and several nieces daily access my PMS media content from Plex clients in their homes.

Once you have a good PMS system running you can use any number of clients on the same or other platforms, including the BPi where you can use the official 'Plex for Android' client, the 3-rd party Plex client 'Serenity', or any XBMC/Kodi version with a matching PlexBMC addon, and the latter method can of course be used in other OS than Android too, as most Linux OS are able to run some XBMC version.

Best regards: dlanor

amo13  
Edited by amo13 at Sat Jan 10, 2015 15:47

Hey man!

glad to hear you are pleased with your setup.. Im kind of in the same situation as you that I want to use my Banana Pro as a HTPC. The thing I use it for the most though is to stream my movies directly from the web.. Can you if you know please help me to understand how I can optimize the videoplayer used in the webbrowsers to watch movies? I have tried diffrent webbrowsers such as Mozilla, Chrome, Opera... But it allways seams to be some stuttering to the movies.. Do you know if it can help to download some codecs or what do you think? this is the main site im streaming from www.swefilmer.com

Thank you in advice!

If you want music over the internet (not DLNA), I assume you want something like Orb (now defunct but as an example) or PlexPass where over the WORLD-WIDE-WEB (not just your local network) you can access your music? I'm pretty sure Plex has an Android app too, just for the over-the-web media streaming you need to pay for PlexPass. Why can't you use DLNA/UPNP, just curious?

dlanor  
Edited by dlanor at Tue Jan 13, 2015 11:38
Gaveroid replied at Mon Jan 12, 2015 20:23
If you want music over the internet (not DLNA), I assume you want something like Orb (now defunct but as an example) or PlexPass where over the WORLD-WIDE-WEB (not just your local network) you can access your music?
I don't recall the original poster mentioning just music specifically.

I assume that he wants/needs a generic media server, for all kinds of media, including music of course, but also movies, TV shows, picture collections etc.
This makes the Plex media server (aka: PMS) an obvious choice for the server end, with various clients for various platforms to choose from for the client end.
But I see no need whatever for a PlexPass subscription.

PlexPass subscription is mainly needed for 'early access' to new Plex releases, before they are released to the general public, though there are also a few features of the PMS server which are locked for non-PlexPass users at present. This is also a part of the 'early access' system for those features. Another way of looking at it is that PlexPass members are pre-testing late beta versions of releases and new features before they are released to the general public.

I'm pretty sure Plex has an Android app too, just for the over-the-web media streaming you need to pay for PlexPass.
No. That is completely incorrect.

The PMS server is free, and most of the official Plex clients are also free, including the 'flagship' client "Plex Home Theater" for Windows, OSX and Linux.
A Plex account is needed, but that account is free and does not need to have a PlexPass subscription.

The "Plex for Android" client does cost money, but it's a fairly cheap app for what it does, and it's a one-time cost that does NOT require PlexPass subscription.
There is a special fork of the "Plex for Android" client called "Plex for PlexPass" at Google Play, but this is basically the same as the non-PlexPass version except that it may be updated ahead of it and does include a check for valid PlexPass.

The non-PlexPass "Plex for Android" can of course be used for streaming media from a PMS server over LAN or Internet without having any PlexPass subscription.
There are a few features that do require PlexPass, but normal media streaming for watching videos or listening to music through the client does not require PlexPass.

Some forms of client-to-client media 'casting' and offline syncing for local storage of remote media are still PlexPass limited, if I recall correctly.

Why can't you use DLNA/UPNP, just curious?
One obvious limitation of DLNA/UPNP is that it is strictly a LAN protocol without any way to access the server from outside the LAN.
The closest you could get is to connect remotely to the LAN of the server through VPN (thus effectively joining the LAN).
Another limitation of DLNA/UPNP is that it offers limited meta-data access compared to a real Plex server connection.

Best regards: dlanor

dlanor replied at Tue Jan 13, 2015 11:26
I don't recall the original poster mentioning just music specifically.

I assume that he wants/needs ...

I was under the impression that he wanted something like Plex(Pass) that did it over the whole internet, which is why I suggested such a service.

dlanor  
Edited by dlanor at Fri Jan 16, 2015 08:06
Gaveroid replied at Wed Jan 14, 2015 15:55
I was under the impression that he wanted something like Plex(Pass) that did it over the whole internet, which is why I suggested such a service.
Ah, I see. I too agree that the media should be accessible over the whole internet. But for this one only needs Plex, not PlexPass.

You are confusing the normal Plex services (which are free) with the PlexPass subscription (which is a paid subscription).

A normal Plex account is free of any charge.
The 'Plex Media Server' software is free of any charge.
Many Plex clients for playback, locally and over internet, are free of any charge.
This includes the main 'flagship' Plex client "Plex Home Theater" for Windows, OSX, or Linux.
A version of that client is even available for the RPi, but since that is based on OpenELEC it can't be ported to BPi yet (no OpenELEC available).

Some Plex clients in app-stores do cost a one-time fee, but are thereafter free of any charge.
This includes the "Plex for Android" client which does work with the BPi (though not optimized for it).

A free Plex client for the BPi can be achieved simply by installing XBMC plus the XBMC addon PlexBMC, together with a Plex-aware XBMC skin like Amber.
When properly configured this too will allow access to all media of a PMS server both locally and over internet.

The paid PlexPass subscription is only needed if you want pre-release access to new versions, and early access to PMS features not yet released to the general public.
I do have a lifetime PlexPass subscription myself, but it's not something I recommend for the average user.

Best regards: dlanor

I'm very interested to hear if somebody has the infrared sensor working. I used to control my tv, amplifier and apple TV with my Logitec remote control and now I've to use Yatse on my phone for XBMC.

Just wanted to add to this with a bit of insight. I had an existing 1TB 2.5" SATA drive that ran previously on an OpenWRT router via USB.
The BPi is used to replace this, naturally with the brilliant BanaNAS enclosure: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:460603
for best throughput I have the drive formatted in EXT4 and was wrecking my head quite good to get it to run (not much Android hacking expreience), especially as it worked fine on my OUYA. Anyway, here's the solution from a vanilla Mattrix image:
- install ES File explorer, enable root explorer
- install sManager, add script: mount -o rw -t ext4 /dev/block/sda1 /mnt/sata, (best test it in the app*) run on root and startup
- *I had to install SuperSu to give sManager the proper permissions
- enjoy ;)

BTW, I'm using a MeleF10, still need to get some buttons to work...

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