Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) is a set of computer network protocols that allows devices to connect and share files seamlessly. It is like accessing a computer and sharing files in your local network except that there is zero configuration required and you can simply plug in your device and get connected.
By setting your Linux computer as a UPnP AV server, you will be able to access your collection of music, photos and videos that reside in your computer wherever you are within the house.
Below are some of the applications that can turn your Linux computer into a UPnP AV server:
1. MediaTomb [No Longer Available]
MediaTomb is an open source (GPL) UPnP MediaServer with a nice web user interface. It can be easily installed and configured and is compatible with a variety of UPnP compatible devices.
Some of the features that I like about MediaTomb is the ease of use and the simple Web interface. There is not much configuration required. On my Ubuntu machine, I installed it via the repository and got it running in less than 5 minutes.
It supports a variety of file formats including mp3, wma, wav, flac, ogg, avi, mp4, jpg, png and gif and is able to transcode the media files from one format to another.
FUPPES stands for Free UPnP Entertainment Service and is one of the most popular UPnP server around. If you have tried MediaTomb, you will find a great deal of its features and media support are also available in FUPPES. It also supports on-the-fly transcoding and is able to stream to various devices, including your PS3 and Xbox 360.
One thing to note about FUPPES is that it is not included in the repository and one has to compile it from its source to get it working in your computer. Alternatively, you can download the deb file (for debian-based Linux only) and double click to install.
The initial configuration will require you to manually edit the config file. After that, you will be able to make all changes via the Web interface. Once you get it running, it will be a great software with a lot of versatility and tweaking options.
GmediaServer is a UPnP compatible media server that receives no or little love. While it is not as feature-rich as FUPPES and MediaTomb, it is lightweight and readily available in most Linux repositories. Although it has stopped development for the past year, it still has a small group of Linux fans who loved its simplicity and stability.
There is no Web interface for GMediaServer and you’ll have to use the command line interface to configure and get it started. While most people are put off by the command line interface, most seasoned Linux users still find that the CLI is still the best way to get things done quickly and efficiently.
GMediaServer only serves audio and video files and does not support transcoding.
uShare is a UPnP and DLNA server that is designed to provide access to multimedia content to GeeXboX. It can also be used as a standalone media server for most UPnP devices.
GeeXboX uShare is lightweight and is able to provide access to images, videos, music or playlists files. It supports a wide variety of file formats, including the following:
[Video]: asf, avi, dv, divx, wmv, mjpg, mjpeg, mpeg, mpg, mpe, mp2p, vob, mp2t, m1v, m2v, m4v, m4p, mp4ps, ts, ogm, mkv, rmvb, mov, qt, hdmov
[Audio]: aac, ac3, aif, aiff, at3p, au, snd, dts, rmi, mp1, mp2, mp3, mp4, mpa, ogg, wav, pcm, lpcm, l16, wma, mka, ra, rm, ram, flac
[Images]: bmp, ico, gif, jpeg, jpg, jpe, pcd, png, pnm, ppm, qti, qtf, qtif, tif, tiff
[Playlist]: pls, m3u, asx
[Subtitles]: dks, idx, mpl, pjs, psb, scr, srt, ssa, stl, sub, tts, vsf, zeg
Installation of uShare is easy as it is included in the most Linux repository. There is a Web interface that you can use to add media folders and view your share details. It is also fully compatible with PS3 and Xbox360.
If you like to download a lot of media files via torrents, Vuze would be a great choice of uPnP software that you can use to share your files. Vuze is previously known as Azureus and it is a bit-torrent client as well as a media server. On the first look, most people will not realize that there is actually a uPnP media streaming component built into the software. Only when they venture deep into the backend (also known as the Options page) then can he/she discover the configuration to set it up as a media server.
The server module does not support any transcoding, but I found that the streaming speed and stability is rather good when I stream my music to a computer in another room.
This is the end of the Linux media series. If you missed the first two parts, here they are :