It’s been a long-time goal of mine to have all my music in a central place so I can access it from all over the house. I can’t afford Network Attached Storage (NAS) at the moment, and I got a bit confused and distracted about what it was I really wanted – there are loads of guides to making media players (including Airplay receivers), but I was struggling to find how to make a media server. I wanted to use a RaspberryPi because its low power consumption means I can leave it turned on 24/7, and I already have one running all the time as a wifi print server.
I think MiniDLNA may be the answer – this is a lightweight media server that can run on the RaspberryPi and stream audio (and video, but I’m only interested in music) to DLNA clients on your network; this can include things like smart TVs, my Humax PVR (itself a DLNA server, but it’s not left on all the time), a tablet, laptop or smartphone running a DLNA-aware client (like VLC), or another RaspberryPi running a media centre like XBMC.
Browsing audio files on a Raspberry Pi using the OS X version of Boxee on a hackintosh netbook. Boxee was a lovely implementation of XMBC before it got bought by Samsung.
There are several guides to installing MiniDLNA on the RaspberryPi: http://www.megaleecher.net/DLNA_Streaming_From_Raspberry_Pi#axzz39J5Ol3ZF and http://everbit.wordpress.com/2013/04/01/minidlna-on-the-raspberry-pi/ for example (the latter looks pretty good). I mostly followed this guide: http://bbrks.me/rpi-minidlna-media-server/. This last guide explains how to get a USB drive (I’m using a 16GB memory stick at the moment) to mount, though I did get confused because the magic sudo word is missing from the start of each command line. If you follow this guide, you should also check out what others say about file permissions, or MiniDLNA won’t be able to create its database of media files. My music files are on that 16GB USB stick, which I formatted as FAT32, rather than Linuxy formats like EXT3 or EXT4 so I can easily transfer files onto it from another computer, Mac or Windows. (16GB isn’t quite big enough for my music, so I’ll swap this for a 64GB USB stick soon – this would easily be large enough as I’m not serving video files.)
Using VLC on an iPhone to browse and play music from the RaspberryPi
I’m still having a few teething problems, but I’m a step closer to realising my dream of playing music anywhere in the house from a central pot of tunes. Next I need to modify my kitchen PiRadio so it can play my own music as well as internet radio stations.