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Author Topic: Server capabilities of current MC Linux version  (Read 3572 times)

mwillems

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Server capabilities of current MC Linux version
« on: April 14, 2014, 09:01:59 am »

I have a quick question about using Linux MC as a media server.  I searched through the threads here, but most of the info I found was either non-specific or referred to older versions (so might not be accurate). 

My question: I know the linux MC version is audio-only for playback at the moment, but will it work as a media server for all file types?  Put another way, if I run the MC Linux distribution on a headless always-on server, will it (in its current state) serve video to clients as well as audio? 

I'm planning to redesign my server-client setup to incorporate an always-on server (my current server is also a power-hog HTPC, which has me wanting to turn it off, but that cuts off access to clients and TV recording, etc.).  It seems like linux is a natural for a server box, but I wasn't sure if MC for linux was far enough along to work as an all media server.  I assume even if it did work as an all-media server, I'd still need to figure out a work-around for TV recording, etc. right?
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bob

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Re: Server capabilities of current MC Linux version
« Reply #1 on: April 14, 2014, 02:39:19 pm »

I have a quick question about using Linux MC as a media server.  I searched through the threads here, but most of the info I found was either non-specific or referred to older versions (so might not be accurate). 

My question: I know the linux MC version is audio-only for playback at the moment, but will it work as a media server for all file types?  Put another way, if I run the MC Linux distribution on a headless always-on server, will it (in its current state) serve video to clients as well as audio? 

I'm planning to redesign my server-client setup to incorporate an always-on server (my current server is also a power-hog HTPC, which has me wanting to turn it off, but that cuts off access to clients and TV recording, etc.).  It seems like linux is a natural for a server box, but I wasn't sure if MC for linux was far enough along to work as an all media server.  I assume even if it did work as an all-media server, I'd still need to figure out a work-around for TV recording, etc. right?
For now, it only serves Audio. The reason is it needs to parse properties for serving video files and that is not implemented yet.
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mwillems

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Re: Server capabilities of current MC Linux version
« Reply #2 on: April 14, 2014, 02:45:39 pm »

For now, it only serves Audio. The reason is it needs to parse properties for serving video files and that is not implemented yet.


Thanks for the confirmation; sounds like it wouldn't work in my proposed application (at least not yet). I'll keep my eyes peeled as development continues  ;D
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Bizarroterl

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Re: Server capabilities of current MC Linux version
« Reply #3 on: April 24, 2014, 01:11:41 pm »

I'm anticipating this also.   8)
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JustinChase

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Re: Server capabilities of current MC Linux version
« Reply #4 on: April 27, 2014, 09:20:05 am »

I just came to search for this same answer, for basically the same reason.  I'm updating my unRAID server, which now allows Virtual Machines to run under XEN, which can/will allow for PCI passthru of hardware to a VM.

My Plan is to install Windows in a VM, and run MC in that VM, with the TV card and GPU passed thru to Windows (and therefore to MC), but with direct hardware access to the storage/drives, to allow me to replace my physical HTPC. 

My hope is to soon be able to run MC as a server in Linux, just to serve media to all my devices.  I want to use my phone/laptop/whatever to select media to display on the monitor connected to the unRAID server, or device via Gizmo or webmedia or whatever.

It sounds like this is not currently possible, but hopefully it can/will be possible soon.

I wonder, would it make this easier/possible if MC was 'restructured' to just 'serve' the media with the server portion of MC, and let all 'playback' duties be handled by the connected client/machine/device?  Meaning, don't try to process/decode/whatever the actual media files with a server install, just send the bits to the client untouched, to let the client/device handle any conversion/decoding stuff.

Anyway, fingers crossed for this to improve soon :)
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InflatableMouse

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Re: Server capabilities of current MC Linux version
« Reply #5 on: April 27, 2014, 10:05:17 am »

My Plan is to install Windows in a VM, and run MC in that VM, with the TV card and GPU passed thru to Windows (and therefore to MC), but with direct hardware access to the storage/drives, to allow me to replace my physical HTPC. 

I don't know about Xen, but with ESX passing hardware to a VM will prevent a lot of functionality to work, like pausing, snapshotting, etc. Make sure you aware of all the ins and outs concerning hardware passthrough with hypervisors.

Storage devices don't always work right when passed through. With ESX, I was simply missing a couple of disks for instance. The whole thing turned out to be flaky and unreliable I decided to ditch the idea of running ESX with hardware passthrough served to VM's.

My server now runs Debian Wheezy, a NetInstall, no GUI with ZFS on Linux for storage. I run VirtualBox headless with a Win 8.1 VM with MediaCenter as Library Server.
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JustinChase

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Re: Server capabilities of current MC Linux version
« Reply #6 on: April 27, 2014, 10:14:32 am »

Thanks for the heads up!

I think XEN is a Type 1 hypervisor, but I'm not sure about ESXI.  Perhaps that may help, I'm not sure.  I'm just starting to dip my toes into these waters, and have a long learning curve ahead of me.

I've not tried to do any PCI passthru yet, in fact, I'm still fighting to get the Linux OS running the way I want at this point.  I installed a pre-configured arch distro VM, and installed SABnzbd and SickBeard but could not get them to work correctly.  I kept getting weird errors and problems, most likely related to permissions settings.  I turned off that VM, and have been installing ubuntu starting last night, and just now finishing up.  In fact, I just tried to boot into the new OS as I type this.

Once I get the Linux OS working, and have SAB and SB working correctly, I'm going to work on the Windows VM.  From what I've read, it's not quite as straight forward, so that might not be too much fun.

Once I have windows7 running correctly, and get MC installed and working on that VM, I'll look to install MC on the Linux VM.

Small steps :)
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mwillems

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Re: Server capabilities of current MC Linux version
« Reply #7 on: July 11, 2014, 03:47:24 pm »

So I just wanted to check back in here to see if there's any news on whether a JRiver linux version that could act as a library server for all media types is on the short term horizon or no.

I previously used my HTPC as a server, but it's a power hog, so I just built a linux-based server box to try and provide access to other PCs in the house without having to leave the HTPC on. 

Unfortunately, I discovered that file access isn't really enough for the solution to work, and DLNA is a non-starter for a few reasons.  Long story short, I need the MC libraries to sync up too for a variety of reasons, which means my options are:

1) Pay for a new windows 8 license to run windows in a VM on the linux box (so I can run JRiver for windows on it) or

2) Wait for MC linux to develop the ability to serve video, and buy an MC Linux license.

Obviously I'd rather invest my software budget in JRiver than Microsoft, but I wasn't sure whether this was on the short list or the long list. I know that full video support is still potentially a ways off, but I wanted to check in on server functionality.

I'll probably wait to pull the trigger either way until I see the plans for MC Linux 20, but I wanted to weigh in and mention I'm still very interested in this functionality.
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JustinChase

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Re: Server capabilities of current MC Linux version
« Reply #8 on: July 11, 2014, 04:46:26 pm »

I'm in pretty much the same situation.  I'm consolidating my HTPC into my unRAID server, and either need to purchase a windows 8 license, or get JRiver running on Linux well enough to serve all my media to my other windows and android devices, including videos.

I don't need JRiver Linux to play video at this point (although it would be nice), I just need it to serve it to devices that can play it.

thanks.
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bob

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Re: Server capabilities of current MC Linux version
« Reply #9 on: July 11, 2014, 05:07:46 pm »

Serving the video of course means it needs to be able to support transcoding which in Windows MC is tied up in direct show for decoding.
This is one of the major hurdles to overcome.
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JustinChase

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Re: Server capabilities of current MC Linux version
« Reply #10 on: July 11, 2014, 05:28:16 pm »

I'm certainly no expert, but it seems like you could just send the raw data from Linux to windows, and let windows handle the decoding of the raw data. no?
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mwillems

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Re: Server capabilities of current MC Linux version
« Reply #11 on: July 11, 2014, 05:53:38 pm »

I'm certainly no expert, but it seems like you could just send the raw data from Linux to windows, and let windows handle the decoding of the raw data. no?

Without transcoding, Gizmo local video playback won't work correctly (per Hendrik, gizmo local video always requires transcoding right now), and streaming to many DLNA devices would also be broken.  So a video server without transcoding would potentially be confined to computer-to-computer playback (or possibly even JRiver to JRiver playback), which might not be ideal for a lot of folks.  You could potentially get around the Gizmo issue by logging into a windows client PC (I think the transcoding is done by whatever computer Gizmo is currently logged into).

But I can completely understand why JRiver would be reluctant to take a half step that would only be useful to a few folks, and might lead to support issues when people don't understand the limitations.

That said, an as-is server would "serve" my needs just fine.  If JRiver Linux provided a non-transcoding server that could host a JRiver library and keep it synced and serve files on an as-is basis, I would buy a linux license tomorrow.  I don't even need it to serve files, frankly, I just need library/database and view scheme syncing (I can setup samba shares and map the drives myself).  The processor in my server box probably isn't up to transcoding 1080p anyway.

But it if it needs to wait until full video integration, I get it.
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Hendrik

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Re: Server capabilities of current MC Linux version
« Reply #12 on: July 12, 2014, 01:21:14 am »

Luckily transcoding is easier to build then actual playback. ;)
We're all looking forward to video serving support, and of course video playback support as well. But all in due time, its not a small project.
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