Okay so I tried many of those media-servers and some of them worked pretty nice. But there's one thing that was really bothering me: All of them were just UPNP but now I wanted to connect the PC directly to my TV so save the energy of the media-client (my PS3) while watching a Film.

So I went back to XBMC and installed it on my debian system (I think my binaries were from debian-multimedia, but I am not sure). Configuration was pretty easy but it required some work to get it running like I wanted.

One problem I had, was that the server crashed each time I tried to run an AddOn. In debug mode I found that python was causing the crash. It searched for python2.6 binary. Although I had it already installed I just "--pruge remove"-d it and installed it again. No crashed due to python anymore!

Since I now had a debian server, a PS3 and a PC connected to my sound system (Teufel System with decoderstation3), I quickly ran out of connections. I had two optical inputs already used but for digital input, I still had coaxial input. I decided to use optical one and two for PS3 / XBMC and coax for PC which mainly was due to length of cables I already had and what I needed to buy.

Video-wise the problem was, that I only had one HDMI-connection available. Well at least I thought that would be a problem. Turns out it is even less of a problem than having to inputs on the TV (at least on some TV). I bought a switch, that automatically takes the latest signal. Having a permanent video stream on the XBMC-Server and only temporary signal on the PS3 this works perfectly! If I turn on the PS3, the TV switches to PS3, if I turn it off, we are back at XBMC. Only thing that would not work (without manually pressing the switch button at the small box behind the TV) was switch to XBMC while PS3 is turned on. Well it don't see when I would need to.

For remote controlling the XBMC I use my roommate's old wireless keyboard which, though a bit broken, serves the need of configuring and searching. But for just watching a movie a remote would be pretty nice. I bought the Hama MCE Remote Control (normally it's for Windows MCE, but it works).

This is the german Amazon link: http://www.amazon.de/Hama-52451-MCE-Remote-Control/dp/B000X1EL4W

On how to configure it I will write a post later on.

Next thing I did was ordering the Logitech Harmony One to only use one remote for all my devices. Now this (in combination with the Hama MCE) is pretty challenging if you are not that much of a technican. It involves a lot of writing XML-Files in XBMC and getting the logic behind which signal to be send where and when.

In the end I have four custom commands on my remote and also most functions programmed into the Harmony. The custom commands bring up the view of TV-Shows, Movies, Music and Video-Plugins (the last one being mostly for YouTube-Plugin).

I also configured a second page for some vital functions, that are not on the Remote by default. For example, I only use ONE setting for all XBMC-Actions (Movies, TV-Shows and Music). But while Movies are mostly AC3 or DTS (thus the decoder knows what to do), my TV-Shows are not 5.1 but 2.0, so Dolby ProLogic II is pretty awesome in making this sound 5.1. Music on the other hand is crappy on PL II (imagine the voice coming only from your center instead of all 5 speakers). For this the decoderstation3 has DSP setting on the remote.

Now here's the problem with that: You can't change between PL II and DSP without having an active sound-stream that could be switched between those two (MP3 or a typical avi-audio-stream). Thus, I can't switch it by selecting it without having the avi or mp3 already running. So making different actions here would be pretty senseless. So page two of my Harmony has several options being mostly manual power switches for TV and decoderstation, switching the TV display ratio and finally switch PL II and DSP (being named Sound: Music and Sound: Movie).

This is a technical limitation of the decoderstation3 which I couldn't overcome since I own it.

So this is the setup I use since then: XBMC controlled by Harmony One. It's absolutely awesome. But it's a lot of work to configure it perfectly (wasted several hours on it). I will write a post in the future on how my configuration of XBMC/remote and the Harmony looks.

One thing I want to add: The Harmony is somewhat slow on controlling the media-server. There's a small delay between the keypresses being sent. I already contacted support once to get this fixed. With the tipps I got I tried to solve it, but I was not able to, so I will have to contact them again. I hope I can resolve this, since it's pretty annoying...  And it's clearly the Harmony. The Hama Remote works pefectly and  fast.


MediaTomb as a UPNP Media Server

Thu 10 March 2011 by Javex

So XBMC failed. I would have to install X-Server and several other stuff and it is cleary not suited for a standalone upnp server. Maybe sometime in the future I will connect the box to my TV and use XBMC as my frontend. But unti then, I will go back …

read more

uShare Experience

Thu 10 March 2011 by Javex

After testing uShare for some time now, I will write down quick and dirty experiences I have made:

  • uShare does not support German "umlauts" like ö,ä,ü etc., at least not in the default setting
  • I could not get uShare to start at system boot. While I made a …
read more

Building uShare with DLNA-Support

Mon 28 February 2011 by Javex

If you ever thought about getting a media server to make accessing all your movies and audio files easier, you may have come across the term "UPNP" and such. This is basically what I want: A media server, that can serve media via UPNP (and possibly more).

Previously my Win7 …

read more