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Building a Simple Streaming Media Server?

Cliff posted more than 9 years ago | from the on-demand-tunes-remotely dept.

Media 51

neomage86 asks: "I'm looking for a simple Network Jukebox. I want to be able to stream media from a Windows (it has to be Windows for other school work) server to remote machines over a LAN (only 1-2 clients at a time). I want to be able to choose the song that's playing from the remote machine, video would be nice, but not necessary, and it should be free (as in beer, I'm a student). Any ideas?""For some quick background, I'm an undergrad with a desktop PVR with several hundred gigs of media on it. I also have a laptop, and use computer labs fairly often. Anywhere on campus, I can expect to get a minimum of 10 megabits/s between my current machine and the PVR. My first thought was just Windows file sharing, but it breaks often (I'm not sure why, I have an Apache web server, and FileZilla ftp server running on the same machine that never go down) and I can't install Samba on the Solaris lab machines. Ideally the client should be web based, so I don't need to download anything to receive, but that is optional."

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Check out VLC.... (3, Informative)

(H)elix1 (231155) | more than 9 years ago | (#11790287) Multiplatform, works great.

Re:Check out VLC.... (1)

tibike77 (611880) | more than 9 years ago | (#11790550)

That one was my first thought too as I started reading the question, but then suddendly I read this "[...]able to choose the song that's playing from the remote machine[...]".
You CAN'T pick anything from the remote machine in a VLC streaming session - you get to look/listen to what's served.

What this guy is looking for is some form of file sharing rather than media streaming.

Re:Check out VLC.... (1)

(H)elix1 (231155) | more than 9 years ago | (#11790826)

Yes, but this is only for one or two clients. I set up a video server for my little one's movies after she mangled the third copy of a bug's life. She sees a list of movies icons, clicks one, fires up a server instance on the backend, and repeatedly streams the movie until she selects another or hits a time interval. It is fast enough for movies, so tiny sound files should be a breeze. The client bit comes with a nice API that lets you do a fair bit of manipulation.

Re:Check out VLC.... (4, Informative)

sploo22 (748838) | more than 9 years ago | (#11791796)

You CAN'T pick anything from the remote machine in a VLC streaming session - you get to look/listen to what's served.

As a matter of fact you can - it has an HTTP remote control interface, at port 8080 by default. See 2533499 []

Search on freshmeat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11790322)

for samba web. you will get some helpful results (2, Informative)

NZheretic (23872) | more than 9 years ago | (#11790358) [] is one solution. You can set it up on one PC letting only clients on the local network connect.

iTunes (1)

2nd Post! (213333) | more than 9 years ago | (#11790596)

This is the feature you're looking for, right?

Streaming across a LAN, free, media jukebox, runs on Windows.

Re:iTunes (1)

2nd Post! (213333) | more than 9 years ago | (#11790699)

Oops, I didn't see the follow up on the Solaris lab machines!

Re:iTunes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11790705)

oops, that wont save you from bad karma!

just for clarification (3, Funny)

croddy (659025) | more than 9 years ago | (#11790598)

wait ... lemme get this straight ... the server's gonna run windows, and the clients are gonna run solaris?

Weird Arbitrary Requirements (1)

SA Stevens (862201) | more than 9 years ago | (#11790609)

I want to be able to stream media from a Windows (it has to be Windows for other school work) server

This is a weird set of arbitrary requirements. Is it really worthy of an interesting Ask Slashdot question? The questioner just describes a machine with a directory full of files that can be mounted by other machines.

Get an old Pentium II machine. Put Linux on it. Install and configure Samba. Or click on 'sharing' and share the folder the files are in.

I don't get why this is an interesting question.

Re:Weird Arbitrary Requirements (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11790681)

I don't get why this is an interesting question.
that's because you don't get it...

Re:Weird Arbitrary Requirements (1)

mindstormpt (728974) | more than 9 years ago | (#11791398)

Usually when someone says they're looking for something free they aren't looking to buy "an old Pentium II"

Re:Weird Arbitrary Requirements (1)

danielrose (460523) | more than 9 years ago | (#11792937)

When you understand that ask slashdot very rarely has interesting questions, then you will know why this one is not interesting.

A friend of mine does it this way... (1)

eno2001 (527078) | more than 9 years ago | (#11817058)

He did what all real men do and wrote a web interface in PHP that allows him to list out all of his music on a web page. He can select individual tracks, entire albums or a collection of albums by an artist and then generate a *.m3u file that gets sent to the client and with proper file association, launches the proper media player. The playlist just contains http URLs in it that point to what he chose. Since bandwidth restrictions aren't a part of what this kid is asking for, that should be fine. Oh yeah.. you also have to alter the mime types configuration on your Apache server so that the MP3 or Ogg Vorbis data is streamed via http rather than downloading it as a file I believe.

But kid... try this. Put a few MP3s in a directory on your Apache htdoc path. Then go to any box that has a web browser and some kind of media player that will play MP3s and put in a URL like this: stevens/wild world.mp3

If you are smart and you use Winamp or Xmms, Xine or MPlayer, you will just hear the song start to play. No SAMBA needed. Now... the part about not having to install a player, that's a different kettle of fish and much harder to achieve. I'd recommend that you search the net for Java media players. Once you find one, you'll need to figure otu a way to deliver that to the client and then send that player a playlist with http URLs.

If you don't get any of what I'm saying, then you really don't need to be asking the question.

GNUMP3d? (2, Interesting)

stevey (64018) | more than 9 years ago | (#11790659)

GNUMP3d [] is a perl based streaming server which allows you to share a music/video/multimedia archive across a LAN.

Whilst it's designed on Linux machines and only sporadically tested under Windows it should do the job you want - point it at a directory with your media files in it, then fire up a browser to choose your songs / stream away.

Failing that Andromedia [] should do a good job if you have PHP on your Windows version of Apache. Their personal edition is cheap, and I think there's a free version somebody wrote designed to mirror it - but I've spoken to the author and he's a good guy so I'm happy to recommend it.

Re:GNUMP3d? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11790706)

remember, people who write or use or recommend proprietary evil closed source thingies arent good guys

Re:GNUMP3d? (1)

ziekke (553197) | more than 9 years ago | (#11792760)

Thanks for the link to Andromeda. I've been looking for something similar to the OP, and short of writing it myself I haven't been able to find anything. I gave the evaluation a shot and it works perfectly.

Aside from the $35 price tag (which almost anyone should be able to afford), this software should be exactly what he is looking for.

Andromeda also has an ASP copy in case you don't want to have PHP.

Unless I can find something within a short period of time, I'll probably be getting myself a personal licence.

Just wanted to let you know that your advertising wasn't for naught.

Re:GNUMP3d? (1)

darkgumby (647085) | more than 9 years ago | (#11793765)

If you think that Andromeda is a good solution then you may want to look into Zina.
It's similar to Andromeda but free and PHP only.

Re:GNUMP3d? (1)

stevey (64018) | more than 9 years ago | (#11794385)

I was hoping to advertise the first one more - cos that's the one I wrote ;)

I just added the Andromedia link to be more balanced and because it seems like a nice piece of software too!

Some web based streams (2, Informative)

Sithgunner (529690) | more than 9 years ago | (#11790954)

Try RadioToolBox [] for php based or mod_mp3 [] for apache module based.

Or if you can write some php code, it's not so hard to write one up yourself.

Just list the files in a music directory and create playlist(pls or m3u [] ) upon click.

Re:Some web based streams (1)

WebCrapper (667046) | more than 9 years ago | (#11793186)

My parents required the same thing as the story parent and all I did was setup apache on a box they hardly ever touch, setup apache to startup and a PHP script to read a directory. Free, runs on windows, you can put in security if you want - I could go on, but we all know what you can do with it.

netjuke (2, Informative)

supersuckers (841107) | more than 9 years ago | (#11791010)

I've been using netjuke for over a year, it streams mp3's and other audio files. I think video might be in it's future. Check it out [] . I use it under linux, but works just as easily under windows.

Re:netjuke (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11795176)

I second NetJuke. It works great as a media server and it's plain SQL and PHP so it's fairly simple to hack around with and modify to your liking (if you're into that).

As parent mentioned, keep your eye out for v.2 which is supposed to be out any month/year/decade now. It looks like it should add even more awesome features (video, etc.).

Been doing it myself for years (3, Informative)

jorenko (238937) | more than 9 years ago | (#11791321)

Winamp and shoutcast. There's even plugins for winamp out there that give you a huge amount of control via a web interface. You'll need a windows client running winamp to receive nullsoft streaming video, but any mp3 player can pick up a shoutcast stream.

I suppose the only downside to this is that if you ever DO end up with multiple people using it at the same time, they can only watch/listen to the same thing. Though maybe you'd become something of a college net-radio operator, who knows?

SlimServer (4, Interesting)

MadChicken (36468) | more than 9 years ago | (#11791421) []

I've only used it on Mac, but it works very well. You can select media from a web interface.

Re:SlimServer (1)

smic (512194) | more than 9 years ago | (#11791775)

i use slim server too, its easy to set up
easy to pick songs almost, but its cross platform
just music though, thats the only downside

Re:SlimServer (1)

zxjinn (838768) | more than 9 years ago | (#11800532)

slim server is absolutely amazing, but i had a major problem playing .ogg files. so i dropped it and am looking for another solution.

free beer wanted!! (1)

middlemen (765373) | more than 9 years ago | (#11791981)

and it should be free (as in beer, I'm a student).

Hell !! i am a student and I dont ask for free beer.. maybe i shud start doing that!!

RealNetworks (1)

jackbower (862227) | more than 9 years ago | (#11792313)

Free to limited clients (maybe 25 concurrrent)

Re:RealNetworks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11793362)

You mean they have a Full-Featured version but only for 25 connection, or you just mean their stripped-down version?

Edna (1)

kupojsin (681728) | more than 9 years ago | (#11792335)

your problem mirrors what i wanted to do exactly one month ago. i got a lot of replies but nothing useful. then a random email came my way suggesting edna a small python script that can be run in linux or windows. it creates a small html web interface that passes m3u playlists so that your player does the requesting. its robust easy to set up and works great. Ive had friends from israel and japan stream my music on a cable modem no problem. the website is

The simple solution (1)

dtfinch (661405) | more than 9 years ago | (#11792341)

Apache (an most other http servers) can serve it all without any work on your part besides making your media directory the root and enabling directory browsing.

Is the content on this media server going to stuff you own or have permission to distribute?

Re:The simple solution (1)

node 3 (115640) | more than 9 years ago | (#11793065)

Is the content on this media server going to stuff you own or have permission to distribute?

Would that affect Apache's ability to serve the files?

Darwin Streaming Server (1)

Ster (556540) | more than 9 years ago | (#11792526)

You could try Darwin Streaming Server, the open source (Apple Public Source License) version of the QuickTime Streaming Server that is included with Mac OS X Server. ng/ []

My understanding is that it can stream MPEG files, and also pretty much anything that QuickTime can play.

Hope that helps.


xp rdp (1)

man_ls (248470) | more than 9 years ago | (#11792600)

Windows XP Remote Desktop.

Assuming the host is a Pro machine, it's simple.

Connect to the machine using the latest version of the MS-RDP client (the one from Windows XP, mstsc.exe)

You have an option to "bring sound to this system", "leave sound at remote system" or "do not play sound"

just bring it to your system. It's recompressed somehow, I think to 128 kbps, but its decent for most listening.

Hmmm... (-1, Troll)

Hugecocks Analthrust (863171) | more than 9 years ago | (#11793030)

If you're a student, shouldn't you be, uh, studying? Maybe I'm just old, but seeing a bunch of kids running around with thousands of dollars of computer equipment to watch movies in the bathroom, when there's diseases to cure, makes me think university is just a playground to park our kids in to keep them in debt and out of the power structures.

Why the hell are there so many kids in university? Don't they realize they're wasting the best years of their lives? It's not at 75 you'll take up skydiving... Assuming at 75 you're done paying off your debts and can still move after your corporate masters have squeezed you drier than a rock on Mars.

Re:Hmmm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11793379)

Alex Jones, Is That You?

QoS (1)

Bazman (4849) | more than 9 years ago | (#11793214)

"Anywhere on campus, I can expect to get a minimum of 10 megabits/s between my current machine and the PVR"

That'll be until every other student is doing this (unless your net techs have given you the bandwidth and some QoS guarantee)...

WinAmp & SongRequester Plugin (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11793348)

1- Install winamp 2.x/3.x/5.x
2- Install SongRequester [] plugin (or its source) that will run a webserver and gives people the options to add songs to the playlist. it has many options.

So actually you just run winamp and songrequester plugin on server and with its builtin webserver, you just point clients to it and they can add songs to playlist via web browser.

WinAmp's shoutCAST (1)

Iam8up (862740) | more than 9 years ago | (#11793605) excellent radio software, the "DJ" can be local or global

Beyond simple (2, Informative)

Solder Fumes (797270) | more than 9 years ago | (#11793673)

Seriously, this is a non-question. Not only does Google turn up hundreds of straightforward options, but in 1999 I was streaming MP3s off a 486 SX-33 running Linux and Apache on a 13-gig drive, using nothing more complicated than saving a Winamp playlist and using Notepad's find-replace to convert each entry into a URL. From that point it's like the files are sitting on your own hard drive.

Iceflow (1)

thebabelfish (213456) | more than 9 years ago | (#11793677)

Recently I wrote a slick web front-end (Iceflow) to a queuing system for IceS [] , an audio source client for the Icecast [] streaming music server. I haven't packaged up the code and released it yet -- I've been meaning to -- but if you email me (find my address on my website [] ), I'll tell you more about it and send the code your way.

It only deals with music, but Icecast apparently supports video streaming now, so with some changes it could support video too, I imagine.

little old asp page (1)

wcb4 (75520) | more than 9 years ago | (#11793797)

I wrote a little ole asp page that will allow you to flip through your directory structure, if there are no media files, it assumes it is part of the directory structure adn slows links to lall subfolders (if those folders cotnain folder.jpg, then it shows the thumbnail) this keeps going until you get down to the media folders themselves. If you have a folder.jpg there, it also shows the folder thumbnail (album art) and gives you links to all the media files in that directory (media files are defined as havign an extension that is contained in a user configurable string in the file itself) it also gives links to create a playlist in asx format (the xml file for windows media player) m3u or pls (whicha re really the same, just different mime types returned so you favorite player will open automatically) There is a drawback in asp (vbscript) in that it can not look into folders with a comma in the name.

It is somethig that I literally threw together in an hour or so and have been meaning to get back to and clean up, if only to have it spit out nicely formatted html that I can style better with style sheets, but I have not had the time.

If this is not a problem, I would be hapy to share my code with you. I use it at work to listen to music from my home computer all the time. I have never used it for video, but I don't see any reason why it would not work just as well.

Re:little old asp page (1)

wcb4 (75520) | more than 9 years ago | (#11793843)

I posted the code to my journal
unless slashcode broke it entirely, it should work.. three things to configure at top of script. Otherwise, it works as advertised

couple of things to note... since windows xp uses folder.jpg to create thumbnails for folders and uses it as album art for playing mp3, the code looks to see if that file exists and uses it for thumbnails....

If you put a file called folder.nfo or allmusic.txt (reviews or other info) in a folder, it will appear at the bottom of a folder view as well....

Its not pretty, but it works.

Jinzora? (2, Insightful)

Milhouse_ph (538432) | more than 9 years ago | (#11793976)

I was using Jinzora for a while and it's a pretty slick little php app that does pretty much what you are looking for: []

Remember to Reduce the Streaming Server Emissions (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11795252)

... or we wont get our Tax Refunds ...

Bah, guess you'd have to have been there.

-- Mr. A. Coward --

Depends on the type of media... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11802336)

If you're just talking music, iTunes streams music to other iTunes clients quite nicely, and would work on your windows machine. And it's free.

I personally am running daapd [] on a linux box to stream music to a couple of other machines in my apartment.

For musuc (1)

haplo21112 (184264) | more than 9 years ago | (#11802662)

Use Winamp with the shout plugin...
A shoutcast server
and wwwinamp from halo 8....

MP3Beamer (1)

tommyth (848039) | more than 9 years ago | (#11804064)

Just blow $400 on the MP3Beamer!

How about linux? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11831341)

I know this may not help, but if you are interested in LAN streaming, you can set up a linux box with NFS export.

It's not streaming per se, but you can have 4 or more clients accessing mpeg4 movies in 10Mbps LAN. Audio would be much less taxing. You can even view movies wirelessly. Just make sure to set up proper security.
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