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Moving my home media library from iTunes to Jellyfin and Infuse (jeffgeerling.com)
176 points by geerlingguy 10 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 171 comments

If you live on the command line I would like to highly recommend "beets" to manage your music: https://beets.io

It allows you to match your albums with specific MusicBrainz entries to get precise metadata.

It can be used in combination with playback tools like Jellyfin or Plex if you simply point them at your Beets library folder.

I've been using it for a few years and I would never go back.

Been going with this config[0] for some years already. Beets is awesome and gives me the organized flacs in my NAS, and the 96kbps opus files in my phone.

[0]: https://github.com/pimeys/nixos/blob/main/home.nix#L96-L126

I was very happy to see this tool mentioned and recommend it highly. Very nice tool to add album art and cleaning up the tags for your existing music

Unfortunately, it doesn't support multiple formats/versions of the same song.

beets supports custom fields, so you could trivially make it do so by adding something like a "trackdisambig" field and then adding that to the path definition.

Nice, thanks. I was using Picard and it's great but a little buggy at times.

They're a good complement to each other. You can "pre-tag" files with Picard before having beets ingest them if you prefer a GUI to check what you're getting.

I love Jellyfin and the fact it exists is amazing, but I try it every three months or so and it feels like while there's amazing progress, it's still on the last 20% of work left before it's entirely painless. The web player would just not load subtitles every other video, and there's no native player (yet!) for my family's TV. From what I've gathered from Github, all problems I encountered are being worked on (I even tried to fork it and fix a thing myself but failed miserably), so hopefully in a year or so it'll be the Emby killer.

I switched to Jellyfin fully (from MythTV) shortly after its fork from Emby a couple of years ago.

I would suggest taking another look at it. It has really improved over the last couple of years and seems to have a very active development community that is engaged with its users. They have a dedicated subreddit and they post there a lot. [0]

I find the web interface functional enough, but the dedicated "Jellyfin" apps for Roku or Android are slightly disappointing still. They are definitely usable, just not as slick as better commercial apps. However, there is an excellent Jellyfin for Kodi addon, and that is what I use on PC and Android TV. [1]

I do have an actual mini ITX PC to host the media, an old-ish i3, which I would strongly recommend over something like a Pi.

[0] https://www.reddit.com/r/jellyfin/

[1] https://jellyfin.org/docs/general/clients/kodi.html

Yeah I literally meant that I try it every three months or so, and it really does improve continually. As they say, I'm watching its career with great interest, at least until the time I'm using it and I don't find a frustrating bug where the easiest workaround is to go back to Emby.

Came to say I too am quite happy with the Kodi Jellyfin plugin. (The webapp is great too).

> The web player would just not load subtitles every other video

I had the opposite problem where it would not stop showing subtitles every time I opened a new video. I think it's reading a default provided by the video file and just using that.

Yeah, I tried Jellyfin, but I had problems when running from a Pi 4. Severely slow and unplayable on both Roku and Android clients, with and without hardware acceleration. Emby seems to work fine though, as does Plex.

I've got it running from a Pi3 with no issues serving to multiple roku clients simultaneously. I'm also really happy with how the roku client has gone from just working to well polished in the past year, even on my first gen device.

I've gotten it to work hosted on an RPi4, but only if you can completely prevent video transcoding.

I am frustrated with music streaming. Whenever an artist or label revokes the right your precious music turns “grey” and when clicked on the “fantastic with over 600 million tracks available” streaming service throws a popup in your face saying “this song is not currently available in your country or region” which I read as “you pay for access to our library, you don’t own anything mate, get lost!”

I want to purchase songs and access them in the “cloud” from around the globe and from Mars and I want to own them!

Haven’t researched the question. Are there any approaches to throw your library behind authed CDN or aws s3 with a frontend ios/android/desktop app to get rid of those fancy subscription models?!


I purchase music from Bandcamp, where everything can be downloaded DRM-free. https://bandcamp.com/

I have a VPS with Navidrome as a web streamer/front-end. Navidrome also provides an API compatible with Subsonic. https://github.com/navidrome/navidrome

For iOS, play:Sub has a pretty nice UI, streams everything from the server, transcoded on-the-fly from FLAC to Opus. https://apps.apple.com/us/app/play-sub-music-streamer/id9553...

It's quite a joy to use and it feels good that the artists (especially lesser known) get paid more than through spotify/apple. I also throw a little bit of money at the Navidrome dev every month.

If you buy the songs on iTunes, you get to access them from the cloud and backup the actual audio files to whatever local or cloud storage you want.

All iTunes songs are DRM free and available from the cloud on all devices that can run apple music. https://support.apple.com/guide/music/intro-to-the-itunes-st...

You don't even have to buy the songs on iTunes to have Apple stream them to all your devices. With iTunes Match (included with Apple Music subscriptions or available stand-alone) you can build a "cloud library" from local files: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT204146

Watch out, iTunes Match and the Apple Music match service are subtly different: the former will match to (and failing that, upload, transcoding to AAC 256 if needed) DRM-free versions, while the latter will match to/upload for sure but downloading them on another device (or the same if you delete the source file) will get you a FairPlay protected file.

This is how I manage my music library, and other than the fact that iTunes Match could potentially 'eat up' a song you import into it if it matches to a different but similar-name/time track, it's been great.

I always keep a second copy of all my original rips just because I'm worried that kind of thing could happen—if not immediately, then later on when I sync a new computer and iTunes Match finds some new song that conflicts.

Plex is pretty solid, I run it on a low power Linux box at home with a few hard drives of media.

It’s great for sharing with friends and stuff too. Has decent mobile apps, but haven’t used it much for music.

+1 for Plex.

I can access it from anywhere on all of my devices and I own all of the media.

But do you _really_ own all of your media when Plex, a proprietary black box, is acting as gatekeeper, and requires authentication with a Plex, Inc. account to gain access?

My biases are clear, just food for thought.

Yes absolutely, plex is just the player. All the media is still files stored where you want, and you can use another player any time.

>But do you _really_ own all of your media

Yes, 100%. The media is stored locally on your own hard drive. Plex is just the player.

Yes, because I can always play it from the NAS.

They're the interface.

I’d drop them for other options if they became a bad choice

"...and I own all of the media" This.Yes.This.

> Are there any approaches to throw your library behind authed CDN or aws s3 with a frontend ios/android/desktop app to get rid of those fancy subscription models?!

You can use an S3 compatible storage provider and either mount it via NFS[1] or s3fs[2], and point Jellyfin to it.

[1] https://docs.aws.amazon.com/storagegateway/latest/userguide/...

[2] https://github.com/s3fs-fuse/s3fs-fuse

Do watch out for automated scans. Plex, for example (side-eye glare) will automatically scan your music library regularly and rack up your costs. I was spending $30/mo before I tracked it down without help from official sources. I now pay $2.50/mo for always-accessible music. But I’m still in the comments looking at alternatives.

Although - if you host Plex in EC2 in the same availability zone, that's not a problem is it?

Yes, technically if you have free traffic between your storage blocks and your Plex instance then the excess scanning won’t affect you, but I’m using B2.

Does that ever happen on YouTube? One reason I prefer YouTube premium to Spotify: I can always rely on someone else (other than artist) to have uploaded any song in existence to YouTube.

It happens all the time on YT Music. While you can often find the same song uploaded as a video by somebody, the possibility of it happening means you can't trust your playlist. Slightly related, right now I have a song that consistently plays but brings back a 404 if I click "go to album" -- this is a song whose official YT video has 7M views, so it's surprising the metadata isn't working but does say something about YT Music data quality.

Great read. Open question to any other readers: is there a best practice or common pattern to managing media and playlists? If I want to create different playlists referencing the same media (audio and video playlists), can I have one or more folders containing playlist files as long as the media stay put? Are playlist files compatible across media players?

My real-life goal is to have a library of media on a NAS and then various playlists played through various clients: my PC, a raspberry Pi, a PS2 with Freemcboot, etc. I also want to be able to combine playlists, like "rock" and "metal" music for example. Not sure where to get started.

In general, use the filesystem hierarchy consistently.




and construct your playlists in .m3u format, which is the nearest thing to a cross-player standard.


Thanks very much, I remember that format now from before I streamed media. Seems like that should be at least a good starting point for what I want, I'll look into that further.

Jellyfin has full playlist support. AFAIK it keeps the playlists themselves as text files on the Jellyfin server that just reference the media files themselves, wherever they may be. Adding playlists to your Jellyfin server does not seem to add files onto your NAS, in my experience. That's just the default behavior, though. Could be that you could set it up to save the files to a folder in the NAS.

That's awesome, thanks for the response. I've been looking for a free and open source solution to media so this adds to my interest in jellyfin

The key advantage to Plex is that it has apps for just about any platform you need. Most smart TVs will have a Plex app, there are Plex mobile apps, and apps for the PlayStation, NAS devices, etc, etc... Plex often muddies the water by trying to push their paid/premium offerings on you, but it's these paid services that keep the core platform functional and free for everyone else.

The main users of my Plex server are not tech savvy. They are my parents/aunts/uncles/cousins/brothers in law/etc. I could consider other platforms but Plex works because it’s stupid simple for clients. That’s my number one requirement. Less support calls.

Came here to say exactly this. I'll add that my media library is very music heavy, and Plex is doing a pretty good job on its music player Plexamp.

I do wish there was one for the Nintendo Switch.

I have all my media on a NAS (Synology) exposed via Samba. Kodi is running directly on a TV. This setup has worked great for me in the last decade or so, before Kodi I was using an external media player (Mede8er) that also had access to the same share.

When the time came to change media players I didn't have to touch the NAS at all.

I did this for years but my TVs and boxes were over WiFi and I couldn’t get fast enough network to play high res media files.

I switched to Plex running on Synology and that’s worked much better with the synology transcoding to match the app (usually appletv and smartphones nowadays)

Note that Infuse, the Jellyfin client app he recommends in this write up, uploads your usage data (so, what you're watching) to the app developer, even when playing your own local media.

Even selfhosting doesn't give you privacy anymore because all the client apps spy on you. :/

Maybe stick to the web interface if this is something you care about. (Does Jellyfin itself phone home?)

The only data Jellyfin "collects" is the download count from our mirros, which resets every ~24h, and can be viewed here[0] Note that this number is a count from all of the mirrored files, not just the server.

[0] https://repo.jellyfin.org/mirrorstats

Disclaimer - I am a Jellyfin maintainer.

That's awesome, and thank you for respecting the privacy of your users. :) I wish more people took the approach that you do.

Maybe I’m old school, but a simple NFS server for media has worked well enough for me for decades. Entertainment-center-connected devices were once Linux PCs, now cheap ancient Mac Minis running XBMC/Kodi. All connected over wired Ethernet. This setup has been bulletproof for as long as I’ve run it.

I've come around to thinking just having a cheap computer with a normal OS with a wireless keyboard + touchpad combo hooked up to the TV is less of a pain than the "friendlier" alternatives, for DIYers, because it's so much simpler to set up and maintain, at least for video libraries. About the only thing I miss with that is last-episode tracking for series.

Main down-side is that it can be harder to get e.g. surround sound and HDR working reliably with a VLC + filesystem-browser solution.

I disagree actually when compared to something like the vero 4k+ Running osmc & kodi.

Agree. What is HN's budget recommendation for Linux friendly wireless keyboard+touchpad?

How important is the touchpad part? The Logitech K400 is pretty good.

I would encourage you to look at the 'airmouse' category of products, though. I have the Wechip one and it works pretty well and detects as a standard mouse/keyboard. It has a mini keyboard on one side and a D-pad on the other, with a wii-mote like function for moving the cursor.

Thanks, I'll search for airmice. A touchpad is not essential if I can attain the same functionality.

edit: Some review of air mouse remotes https://fixthephoto.com/best-air-mouse.html

I do that too, mostly. The only real downside is no transcoding. That's fine as long as you stay on wired Ethernet but a 50G remux via trans-pacific nfs is... suboptimal. Recently I've started running a Jellyfin server on a spare NUC for those times when transcoding is needed, but sticking with direct nfs access when it's not. Seems like the best of both worlds so far.

Totally agree, own your own client hardware and connect to a central server on your LAN.

My RPi3 kodi was performing wonky after ~30+ hours of uptime.

The duct-tape fix was scheduling a reboot at 3am.

I have my media collection mounted via NFS on Jellyfin and it's pretty nice.

Could someone suggest the solution that is easiest for highly non-technical users? I'm talking about users for whom Netflix is too difficult and YouTube crosses that threshold if anything goes wrong. (And don't criticize the users, criticize your UI.)

I don't care how proprietary it is or who runs it, as long as they can use it. I am arranging to have their CDs ripped (they don't use the CD player and saw me using my music library - which is just files in the file system and VLC - and liked the idea of hearing their long-unheard, beloved music) and need something they can actually use. Otherwise, they won't get to listen to their music.

All they need to do is select a track and play it. No other UI needed; it will only confuse things.

In fact, something that handles ripped music and new downloads and streaming would be optimal.

What are the specifics? What kind of devices do you have to support, what kind of network? What kind of media?

If Netflix is too hard, then my goto Plex, wouldn't be much easier. Before they added all their cruft, it was by far the easiest solution, things just worked.

How do they fair using iTunes? Apples stuff integrates really well together. You could get them an iPod Touch and let them control it all from that.

Lowest rung for just music would be load all the media onto a drive and use Winamp. But that is assuming just a computer playing music.

> What kind of devices do you have to support, what kind of network? What kind of media?

Apple devices, including phones, tablet, laptop; as well as an old high-end stereo (I'll need some digital-to-analog adapter, but I assume those exist).

Standard home WLAN, with wired connections available for devices that don't move.

Media - whatever works, but I assume it will need to be on a server to be available to all those devices, and therefore I assume I will prefer it in the cloud so that I don't have to setup and manage the server. Ripped music will be in ALAC format, I expect, though possibly FLAC. They will also want to play newly downloaded tracks in whatever format provided, and stream music.

> iTunes

> Winamp

How user-friendly are those? WinAmp I used long ago, and certainly it was too geek-oriented, and there was too much going in that GUI.

> well as an old high-end stereo (I'll need some digital-to-analog adapter, but I assume those exist).

Those adapters exist, look into Airplay 2 compatible devices.

iTunes is pretty easy to use, my older parents don't seem to have much of an issue with it. Admittedly, I don't regularly use iTunes anymore, only for the occasional iPod sync or restore.

Once you have Apple's HomeSharing setup, it's really easy to play stuff on your apple devices.

The Winamp 2 default skin was pretty basic. It had a stereo layout (play, stop, skip buttons), an equalizer, and a playlist. It was a great stand alone app. If you were just wanting a simple way to play stuff on one computer, it might be the better way to go.


Not totally sure what you’re looking for playback wise. But you can give https://asti.ga/ a try.

Basically, you point it to one or more online storages. It scans and combines all music on there and presents is as a library you can play from via a web browser.

It also exposes this library as a SubSonic library, which makes that library usable in a lot of apps.

I'm working on mStream which is a server that aims to be as simple as possible to setup and run


Its slow progress development wise. Making this easy takes a lot of time. Currently the sever is in good condition but it desperately needs a mobile app

That's very cool. For my purposes, I'm less concerned with the server-side; I'm kinda hoping to put the music in the cloud somewhere and outsource server administration. In any case, these users are in no way going to be setting up server themselves. They don't know what "server" means and don't use the word in sentences.

My goal is to combine mStream with this project.


With this mstream server could automatically tunnel through a cloud service that gives them a domain and SSL certs.

This way I dont have to pay to host any of the users files on the cloud. All I need is a unlimited bandwidth vps to do the tunneling. And the user doesn't need to know what a server is, they just need to be able to run mStream.

I actually made a proof of concept which worked well. I just couldn't justify scaling it until I get a mobile app finished.

Yes! Seconding this request. For my purposes, a range from this level of non-technical to some light Googling would be fine, but it seems like so much of streaming hasn't reached levels of approachability for people outside the command line and scripting. Much appreciated!

i know he settled on emby, but for anyone who uses Plex in a web browser, i created an extension that adds widescreen zoom, random sorting, a dynamic audio compressor, and links to movie trailers. its open source, check it out!


My HTPC simply runs the browser for the various streaming platforms. Dynamic range is making life awkward in our little apartment.

I suspect that a dynamic audio compressor alone will get you many converts.

Hey thanks, just installed it! These are all super useful additions.

I am very late to the Media Library game, having amassed quite a bit of "stuff" (which I do not feel too terribly about giving the propensity of that stuff to vanish from streaming services), but I keep wanting to construct a kind of "TV channel," wherein multiple logged-in users can see the exact thing at (nearly) the same time.

I would manage the queue myself. This way, I could host watch parties of hard-to-find material, perhaps with intermission material ("let's all go to the lobby" or other nostalgia). Plex, from what I read, seems to be heading in a more legal direction, and Emby closed its source ...

Jellyfin supports "Watch parties" which I've used for movie nights in the past. It works well enough.

But if you want this going real-time and continuously it sounds like you want more of an RTMP stream setup. I recommend MovieNight[0] but you can handle it natively in Nginx I think. Then it's just a matter of setting up OBS[1] or something similar to stream to it and you can do whatever you want.

[0] https://github.com/zorchenhimer/MovieNight [1] https://obsproject.com/

That's interesting. We have the chat part already set up in Discord.

I had heard of the OBS Project but I wasn't sure if it would handle my somewhat specific use case.

I know Jellyfin had been working on a feature called SyncPlay but I didn't know how far it had gotten in various clients yet. Out of curiosity, why would you like an RTMP stream setup over Jellyfin in my case? What are the pros and cons?

(I know wanting to set up my own little TV channel for a dozen people is kind of a silly thing to do, but that's the itch I have)

Ah, sorry, SyncPlay is the watch party feature I was thinking of. I know it's available in the web client (what we used) and the Android app.

RTMP gives you lower latency and more control over what's being shown when combined with OBS. Jellyfin's SyncPlay works great when you want to watch a shared movie with a set group of people, but it gets buggy when you watch multiple episodes in a row or people drop in and out. Doing OBS with RMTP (I used MovieNight) means it's just one continuous stream that people tune in to. You can use OBS to queue up arbitrary video files, and with different scenes set up you can even do bumpers and "commercials".

And it's definitely not silly! I used an RTMP stream to do a "Saturday Morning Cartoons" stream for my friends a while back.

It sounds like your use case and mine are very similar. That sounds fantastic! How well does this handle user authentication/authorization? Are the clients widespread enough?

This is definitely going on my Potential Solutions list, which has been interesting to navigate, to say the least.

Jellyfin supports all the major platforms[0] to some degree. The web client is definitely the most polished though. I've only used web, Android, and Kodi; Kodi being the flakiest. RTMP is a very well supported protocol, you can watch it in browser or throw the URL at pretty much any given media player and it'll work.

For user auth, Jellyfin has it's built in db and I have it hooked up to an LDAP server with authorization for a certain OU. RTMP I never tried to restrict, though if you use the nginx/apache method you probably use .htaccess or something similar?

[0]: https://jellyfin.org/clients/

If you're using nginx-rtmp-module auth is actually extremely easy: use the on_play and on_publish callback directives[1] to implement whatever auth you want, a la [2][3].

[1] https://github.com/arut/nginx-rtmp-module/wiki/Directives#on...

[2] https://github.com/Nesseref/nginx-rtmp-auth/blob/master/pyth...

[3] https://github.com/Nesseref/nginx-rtmp-auth/blob/master/pyth...

Ooooh! Neat!

RTMP is looking really interesting for this. And your cartoon use case matches something I had been considering. Thank you!

CyTube has performed well as a synchronized watch party. Though it was tricky to install and the UI was quirky.

There's a Plex approach to this, in fact.


There are many forks of this, namely ErsatzTV[0] which also supports Jellyfin

[0] https://github.com/jasongdove/ErsatzTV

Thank you both, this gives me additional options for my search space.

I'm glad Jellyfin served his purposes. As a user of both Plex and Emby, I will say that Jellyfin is still quite behind for my use cases (e.g. Live TV streaming and DVR).

Interestingly, Live TV/DVR is on my list of "will look into it later". I've had an HDHomeRun plugged in for years, but only really use it once a month or so.

It would be nice to set up DVR and now that I have Jellyfin (which has a UI for it) running I might see how well it works. But since that wasn't one of my primary use cases I didn't really look into how well it functions.

Last time I tried Jellyfin (months ago), I couldn't get Live TV to work. I'm sure it does work, but the config wasn't straightforward. Once you have it working, you then have to figure out TV listings, and I don't think there's a good free way to do that in the US. I looked at the costs, and it seemed the same or more than just paying for a lifetime Plex Pass.

With Plex, it's literally plug and play - I don't think I had to configure anything to get the TV tuner card to work (other than to scan for channels). And its TV listings are pretty decent.

Plex certainly has its warts. But it's much less "trouble" than Jellyfin.

However, if all you want to do is stream media that's on your HD, and don't need fancy features (e.g. autodownloading subtitles), Jellyfin is probably good enough.

I'm convinced Plex is going to be looking at some kind of lawsuit from rights holders[1] in the future, so I'm not keen on investing time in that platform.

[1] https://www.inputmag.com/tech/copyright-lobby-calls-out-plex...

It's a concern, but if they go down, I can always switch to Jellyfin. I suppose I'll lose all the info on what stuff I've played and where I was in it - I should look into whether there's a way to import that into Jellyfin.

Something I like with Kodi is that I can create short text files with .strm extension to refer to Youtube videos. This together with .nfo metadata files allows me to create a "metadata library" of content on Youtube. Since the Youtube plugin lost most of its browsing capabilities, I have now scripted download of metadata from my favorite Youtube channels and view them that way.

FWIW there are also two alternatives for Jellyfin plugins for Kodi (depending on how tight you want to integrate with the libary), they play quite well together.

I didn't know that was a Kodi feature. It's actually enough for me to consider migrating away from my Plex setup, or at least running them in parallel.

It might be a feature by accident. All documentation about this is about it's use for local media but it works for Youtube. You need the Youtube addon, and the .strm file contents should refer to the plugin with the video id.

Kodi and plex were once one in the same codebase. Depending when they added the feature it may work in plex as well.

Kodi has a plugin for Plex, so you can do both.

> Since 2008, I've ripped every DVD and Blu-Ray I bought to my Mac

It's been years since I've ripped DVDs (I probably stopped when this guy started) but the last I remember getting around copy protection was ...tricky. I have an archive of DVD's I'd love to digitize - anyone have a good ripper recommendation (Windows)? To be clear, these are DVDs I legally purchased and own.

In my experience, ripping my DVDs is easy. On most Linux distros, mplayer will either do it out of the box, or you'll need to download a single extra library.

Blu-Ray is another matter. As far as I can tell, it seems to involve a lot of tracking down the right keys from the internet. Maybe someone who's better plugged into the digital piracy scene and will have more perspective. I just wanted to copy movies onto my NAS so I don't have to look for a physical copy on my shelf. Maybe it's easier now, but when I tried a few years ago, the effort of tracking down decryption keys so I could copy my Blu-Rays wasn't worth the trouble.

The problem you're referring to is how BD encryption keys are rotated as they are compromised. When a player gets reversed and the keys dumped, the organization basically revokes those keys for any new discs going forward. Practically, this means that things like when your particular BD was pressed matter for what keys you need. It's a pain in the ass; deCSS was much nicer.

e: apparently since I last used it makemkv now finds as many of these on its own as it can: https://www.makemkv.com/svq/

MakeMKV is the easiest route. On Linux I found it was way easier to just rip the disc with MakeMKV and watch the file than to get a Blu-ray to be read by VLC.

MakeMKV makes it incredibly easy. There are still a few Blu-Rays I remember giving me trouble, but it was a matter of untangling a web of annoying track numbers that weren't in chronological order (something like that).

4K UHD Blu-Ray discs are another matter though; I still have a couple of those I haven't been able to rip.

I recently ripped a Bluray after years of not using optical media at all and found MakeMKV to be a quick and effectively free way of doing so.

Is audio sync still an issue with ripping/encoding? I used to rip all of my DVDs and transcode to DivX. Getting the audio & video to sync up was always a pain. I've been thinking about ripping my Bluray & DVD collection again (in better quality) since I don't have the room to store my media in the same room, let alone the same floor of my house, as my TV.

I have ripped close to 1,000 Blu-Ray and DVD discs with MakeMKV and never encountered audio sync issues. It’s not a thing anymore.

There was a time I used handbrake to reduce the file sizes by encoding to x265 and that never resulted in any audio sync issues either.

BluRays are fully digital so just moving it from the disc into another container on the computer, without touching the actual video and audio data, is a possibility. It's called a "REMUX".

MakeMKV. It's mainly geared towards Blu-rays but it does DVDs too. Basically you put in a disc and maybe select what tracks/audio options you want and it spits out an MKV.

In addition to the Handbrake suggestions, you can use HandbrakeCLI if you're on a headless media server.

Before, I used to use dvdbackup then ffmpeg for DVD ripping.

I found HandbrakeCLI did a better job, though, of handling errors in the stream which seem to be much more common in DVDs than CDs.

Or, more likely, the defaults were just more idiot (me) proof.

MakeMKV rips everything except the extremely rare DVD-Audio. Even 4K discs.

Encryption hasn't been a problem for a while.

I've used MakeMKV! Odd because I remember having to run "helper" applications in order to break DRM - maybe that was another software package. Good to know, now I just need a rainy weekend!

I think it did need helpers in the past. It's all integrated now.

I use Handbrake on my mac, and it looks like there's a windows version. For me it's pretty much perfect. I set up my favorite settings as a preset, and now it's basically a one-click ripper.

Handbrake is probably the most popular software for that on Windows. You might need an additional library to work around copy protection. Google it.

IME there are so many impersonators it's difficult to find an unadulterated copy. I've seen family members get infected with malware trying to use the top results.

You can use the releases page of their github https://github.com/HandBrake/HandBrake/releases

DeCSS has been a thing for quite some time for unscrambling DVD content.

I remember I looked at Docker hub and found something I used.

Try Handbrake

I've been using Jellyfin for a few years after crossing from Plex.

What we want to do is just watch video via Chromecast.

However both platforms make this very hard. The Android apps are just not reliable and are very confusing. Jellyfin seems to "hint" there's a queue of content somewhere... but how do I find it? Sometimes, choosing a video to play is a game of chance - I'll choose an episode half way through a season... and the first episode of the season will play.

On some phones it just loses its Chromecast "session" and we lose the ability to control it. Other apps don't do this.

It's a shame because it's almost there...

I should perhaps go back to Plex and see whether the app has improved there... it has been a while.

One feature Plex offers that I don't see from anyone else is the ability to install their media server software on the router itself. IMO this is a super simple and cost effective way to distribute your media. Most routers already come with a USB port and USB thumb drives are way cheaper and don't require any additional hardware/setup like a NAS. Only issue is that this appears to only be available on one router:


This is primarily about movies, with music handled by iCloud Music Library. Several years ago, I ripped my CD collection to whole-album FLAC files with CUE sheets using XLD. This works reasonably well in VOX for Mac and foobar2000 for Windows.

When I looked into media server software, I got a bit overwhelmed. I can't necessarily tell that something doesn't support CUE sheets properly until after I've spent an hour or two setting it up. Can anyone recommend something that will let me browse and stream a big pile of album FLACs by track?

I'd love to switch to Jellyfin, but I'm still using Plex as their apps are ubiquitous...It comes pre-installed on most Smart TVs and is available on pretty much every platform.

There's an Android TV client that works well with Android TV, Chromecasts and the Amazon Fire Stick.

There's also Roku, Samsung TV[1], LG webOS[2] and iOS/tvOS[3] apps in development if anyone wants to work on them.

[1] https://github.com/jellyfin/jellyfin-tizen

[2] https://github.com/jellyfin/jellyfin-webos

[3] https://github.com/jellyfin/SwiftFin

I mainly use Plex, but every now and then there is a file that it won't play on my Samsung TV. Sometimes it will play the se file on another TV I have, an old Sony.

I also have Jellyfin installed and serving up the same collection of media for exactly this reason - sometimes it plays stuff that Plex won't. But the Plex app on my Samsung TV is far superior to the generic DLNA app I use for Jellyfin (I can't even remember the name of it; I tried multiple, and none were even close to as nice as the Plex one).

It seems like the author wanted to stick with open source. If that's not a concern, I think Plex wins handily.

Does plex let you just play media from a device on the network? I'm a huge noob to the home media game. If I plug a usb hard drive into my router, can I download media from my PC to the hard drive, then play it on a plex device like a smart tv directly from the hard drive?

If you have Plex running on that router, yes. Same for Jellyfin (which I recommend) and Emby - as long as you have a corresponding app/client, DLNA, or a web client. If you connect with several clients you can "cast"/remote between them seamlessly so you can play to your TV from your phone, for example.

The library is centralized, though, so you need all the medial files on one place. Also, I'd recommend not running it on your router but on a separate device for various reasons (security, performance especially if you need to transcode). If you want to stream 4K without having to think about codecs you'll need decent CPU and GPU. For 1080p you should be OK with an integrated AMD or Intel, or even a decent SBC.

Thanks very much. I've been slowly trying to learn about NAS/home media stuff as I've gotten more into watching TV shows and movies, and your comment is making me lean towards plex/jellyfin/emby on a NAS to centrally store my media and stream it to devices.

I've got my entire library on a Jellyfin server at home, its port forwarded and available on a subdomain.

I've got enough upload capacity to stream 1080p to my workstation at the office. Its really great software, the only annoyance was figuring out that I needed to setup a hairpin NAT so I could cast video to my TV's around the house.

My other slight gripe is that the bookshelf plugin for handling ebooks is a bit picky with nested directories when scanning for new media.

Thanks geerlingguy. I used Emby for a long time, but somehow missed the whole Jellyfin thing.

Definitely going to try out the setup from this article.

I've got a setup with Emby instead, Jellyfin is just far too immature and unstable for my liking. Great setup though.

Jellyfin is emby. It is an open source clone of emby, minus the spyware.

Not even a clone– it's a fork from when emby was FOSS

Sorry, yes, I meant a fork.

It's a fork of an older version of Emby, in my testing the experience isn't as good as the original.

What's the spyware you speak of?

When was the last time you tried Jellyfin? I've been tolerating Jellyfin since I set it up, but 10.7.0 onwards (released March 2021) has been pretty stable for me.

About a month ago, I tried it on a Windows server and it was very slow, crashed a lot and the Web UI was much buggier than Emby's. Plus they don't have a Samsung TV app as far as I know which is a dealbreaker.

If you need to organize a home media library this tool is amazing https://github.com/Unmanic/unmanic

I also highly recommend Jellyfin, it has come a long way!

I run the server inside a Proxmox linux container and use the Google TV client. The UI on the Google TV app isn't quite as polished as the Web UI but gets the job done.

Trying to move away from Plex since it became more "online" focused and less hosted, but can't find a way to export my podcast subscriptions to OPML, only import

Looks like I fell hook line and sinker for Plex :/

It seems easy enough (so far) to ignore/disable all of the new features, and the new features seem to provide a nice legal raison d'être for the software.

It's possible that it'll be harder in the future, but so far Plex still compares favorably to all alternatives I know about.

A lot has happened in Jellyfin over the past year - it's been a bit bumpy until fairly recently but if you haven't checked it out recently it can be worth another go.

Once they complete the full migration to Entity Framework I think everything will fall in place.

The main issues I’ve faced with Jellyfin are chromecast streaming and the auto-organize plugin failing. I’ve been using it for 2 years now, and still very shaky.

I wasn't aware it was even supposed to be able to support Chromecast :o

And yes, the library management is pretty arbitrary, I gave up on that pretty quickly. I recommend sonarr/radarr/lidarr for that!

I gave Emby another shot earlier this year, but abandoned it after a couple of days.

A lot has happened and a long time has passed since the fork. The two are extremely different now.

For me, at least, Emby handled movies with non-English titles very poorly. I have a lot of those, so it was a lot of work getting those matched up correctly. At some point I realized that the fastest/best approach would be to check the Plex metadata, which matched the same movies up correctly and had the Chinese or Korean title for me, and use that to match up Emby. Saved a few steps, but I could save even more steps by abandoning Emby.

Has anyone else used Asustor NASs? Just learned of them, they seem like a competent alternative to Synology (especially after their security debacle a couple months ago).

Honestly I hadn't heard about them much until this year (I guess a big marketing push?). They seem to have offerings about on par with Synology/QNAP (at least in terms of features), though at a slight discount.

I've been happy enough with the Lockerstor 4 that I finally gave up my Mac mini setup entirely and am routing all my home data to the NAS. I'll be adding a second NAS soon for two local copies of _all_ data (not just the active projects I'm working on), plus a backup to Glacier.

How do you do backups to Glacier? Do you stuff all your media in there once a month?

I have a weekly script that uses rclone to sync all the relevant folders from my NAS to an S3 Glacier Deep Archive bucket. It works well enough, though my slow 35 Mbps uplink from my home is the limiting factor.

Sometimes when I do some large video projects that are 30-60 GB in size, the upload to the bucket can take a couple days :(

They've been around quite a while, but just seem to be gathering momentum.

Synology have put a few feet wrong just recently. With QNAP also on a marketing push I'm looking forward to some competition in this space.

While these are appreciated, why not create 2 Google accounts and dump the MP3s in there?

Can this handle 4K HDR?

Jellyfin supports 4K HDR playback depending on the client. I don't personally use Infuse but I believe it supports 4K playback depending on the hardware it is running on.

Infuse does, but that's part of the paid 'Pro' version (in-app upgrade). I haven't done it yet because most of my content is still 480p! But I may once I start getting more 4K content.

How much time and money do people spend on collecting music/movies?

How many times can a person watch Cars?

This just seems crazy.

I canceled cable in 2009 and have been collecting media for 10+ years. It's grown into around 60TB and has become effectively my own personal streaming service that I share with my family and a handful of close friends.

Question: What hardware/software solution have you adopted?

> How many times can a person watch Cars?

You don't have kids, do you? ;-)

Truly, two things drive me to care about having this kind of personal media library, which is absolutely not worth it otherwise on a cost basis alone, let alone the time it takes:

1) Works that are only available via piracy, of which there are a handful of entries I'd hate to give up, and

2) Inability to create curated cross-service playlists for my kids, and lock them down to only watching items on those playlists. Only way to get this is by keeping your own digital copies of everything you want on those lists, or by using only physical media, which takes up more space and is prone to being broken or lost (especially when handled by kids)

Parent here as well. I see so often people or unfortunately the grandparents just using youtube for a child song to play. I am very happy with my children playlists and avoiding the kids beeing expose to ads and unlimited consumption/ endless scrolling modes.

I still enjoy a lot of the movies—more especially since I can relive the 'first watch' experience with my kids. It's hard to make sure I don't reveal some of the fun plot twists in older movies but it pays off.

Sadly, since my kids saw Toy Story 2 before Star Wars Episode V, the whole 'I am your father' bit didn't land with the same impact it did on previous generations :(

I swear I've seen every episode of Abbey and Teal at least a hundred times.

(There are 50+ episodes)


It's a beautifully put together show, to be fair. Nice and calm! And porridge.

Yes, Abney. Autocorrect etc. It is a gorgeous show as you say. I'd take it over Cars any day..

Reminds me of the show Modern Family. Was something like "we've got finding nemo on endless loop in the den"


I used to use stuff like this when I had a TV. I didn't collect anything, in that I would delete things after I watched them. All of it was for easy sharing/streaming between computers and media devices.

I’ve been ripping Blu-ray and dvd for 15 years or so and have hundreds of movies.

Watching all of LOTR each year without switching discs is nice.

Having kids watch their stuff over and over without ads is nice.

I have a large collection of DVD/bluray/CDs. The real issue is management and storage of the physical medium. I had this ridiculous setup with DVD/CD carousels. Ripped it all and it is now some files on a share on a NAS. Wildly easier to use, also instead of 5 remotes I have 1.

Before I bought the movies I was going to the theater a lot. The cost ratio was clearly in advantage of just buying the movie. With the advent of streaming that cost ratio shifted significantly towards renting/streaming again. However, the fragmentation and region lockouts of which service a show/movie is on that may switch back to discs again. Also some studios are starting to like the idea of re-editing the movies on the fly. You may be better off just buying again. I am already invested in 'buying' but if I were starting today I probably would not bother and just go all in on streaming.

The GP basically is like a lot of people. They watch a movie and they are perfectly good never seeing it again or maybe a few years later. Renting is a perfectly good option for someone like that.

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