How to create a media server with VLC to stream music and videos
VLC Media Player is a powerful media server. It allows you to store a large collection of videos or music files on a PC and transfer that content to any computer in the home.
Enjoying music or movies via Netflix or YouTube is great, but what about when there's no Internet? If you set up a VLC media server, you will be able to entertain anytime, anywhere.
VLC Media Player is a powerful media server for a number of reasons. It allows you to store a large collection of videos or music files on a PC and stream that content to any computer or mobile device in your home.
After setting up a VLC media server to stream video and music with the instructions below, you can sit back and watch movies, listen to your favorite music, or even enjoy videos at home. Suspension from any device in the home that accepts content streaming.
How to create media server on Linux using VLC to stream media at home
- Ways to stream from VLC
- Set up VLM configuration
- Add media to the streaming library
- Launch VLC Video on Demand
- Set up the VLC Streaming Client
Ways to stream from VLC
Before going into the approach to streaming media from a VLC 'server', you should know that there are many ways to stream media using VLC. The options you choose will depend on the complexity you want.
- Using HTTP allows you to use the remote interface but not always works, unless you know the correct protocol settings to use.
- Using VLC's 'stream' command from the file menu is the simplest approach, but requires configuring the personal computer IP address that you can stream to.
- Using VLM (VideoLAN Manager) and Video on Demand (VOD) via command line code is the fastest and simplest way to stream online on the home network.
For the following settings, VLM is chosen to run on a Linux computer running Ubuntu, because it simplifies setting up the server and any client in the house with just a few quick lines, as long as You remember the names of the media streams.
If you don't have a Linux computer to use as a 'server' for streaming media, you should use it. Set up a PC running Linux because these PCs are lighter, faster, stream more seamless and reliable than anything else.
Set up VLM configuration
To use the VLM tool, you need to access it using VLC GUI. If your VLC installation does not display the VLM tool like the screenshots below, then you need to upgrade your VLC to the latest version.
Open VLC and select Tools, then select VLM Configuration.
The VLM Configurator tool you see here makes it easy to stream content. All you have to do is add media (eg MP4 or MP3 video files) to Media Manager List with a specific name.
The name you give to these streams is very important, because that's how you will determine the stream when you set up the clients, so remember the name you chose (note the name does not include spaces).
Add media to the streaming library
First select the Video On Demand (VOD) from the list. Then, specify a simple name for the streamed video or audio.
Finally, click Input and select the media file you want to stream. Leave the Output and Muxer fields blank .
Click Add and you will see the stream with the name specified displayed in the Media Manager List .
After adding all the media you need to stream, you'll have a list of media displayed here (ignoring Bcast items).
The idea here is to build a rich content library. These can be video files that you have downloaded from the Internet, DVD movies you have saved to your hard drive or any other video or audio file, in any format that VLC can handle.
After you've set up the media library, it's time to export the VLM configuration to a file. This will allow you to launch your streaming service according to the steps below. Note the .VLM file needs to exist.
Click Export and put a memorable name for the file. Save it to any folder, but you should save it to 'Video' or 'Documents' for easy remember.
That's all you need to set up everything in VLC GUI.
You don't have to worry about having to click the 'Stream' for each file you will play online, because in the commands below, you will launch all the media files that you have configured in VLM at the same time. This will save a lot of time.
Launch VLC Video on Demand
The 'Video on Demand' streams you just set up in the video manager will allow any PC to connect to any available stream, at any time.
But first you need to start all the streams. Open a command window by typing Ctrl + Alt + T.
Start VLC with the following command. Enter it carefully and accurately.
vlc -vvv --color -I telnet --telnet-password --rtsp-host 0.0.0.0 --rtsp-port 5554
Replace with the password you chose (for the telnet connection you will use below).
This will move an entire paragraph of text on the command window. And don't worry too much about any errors (which means you've clicked on some settings that don't work in VLC) - important parts are set up correctly by the command you just launched.
This command activates telnet, but now you need to load the newly created VLM configuration file to properly launch streaming media files.
Open a new terminal window with Ctrl + Alt + T and navigate to the folder containing your media files (in this case, the Documents folder ). Then, connect to the new telnet server created on port 4212 (default for telnet) with the command:
telnet localhost 4212
Enter the password you created above to login.
Replace with the name of the exported VLM file you created above, when you export the list of media files. In this case, it is PlayList2.vlm (remember, this is Linux, so it is case sensitive).
You will see the reaction of "load".
That is, your media server is now fully configured with the full list of downloaded media files available for streaming, with any client application on the same network.
Now, let's see how you set it up for the first time.
Set up the VLC Streaming Client
On each of your clients, whether it's a Windows, Mac or Linux PC or even a mobile device, you will still be able to open streams from your new VLC streaming server in the same way.
You will only need to build the available media library for the client once. After that, the GUI maintains a library for all of them, and you can view them whenever you want.
First, open the VLC interface on the client device. Then, click on Media in the menu and select Open Network Stream .
In the Open Media window, fill in the Please enter a network URL field with the address IP of the server, including port 5554, and prefaced with 'rtsp: //' .
End the string with a forward slash and the name of the media (the name you set when you created the online media playlist above). For example, with Patrick James's music video added to the online playlist, the string will look like this:
rtsp: //192.168.1.22: 5554 / PatrickJames
The name of the media is "PatrickJames".
If you don't know the server's IP, go back to your Linux machine, open a command prompt (Ctrl + Alt + T) and enter 'ifconfig' to see the current IP address.
If your Linux server is not static, you might consider assigning a static IP address. Or, if it's too complicated, just use DynDNS - it's a simple, smart solution that will really allow you to stream media outside your home network.
This will launch video or audio streams immediately. To add more threads to your library, just return to the VNC interface, open another stream and enter the URL with the new media name at the end. Repeat until you load all of that client's library.
To view the library, simply click the menu from the navigation bar at the bottom of the video viewer window and the navigation panel will open on the left.'Playlist' will show you all the videos you have downloaded.
As you can see, VLC player looks great and many media streaming boxes, used to watch Internet content on TV today, also often include VLC streaming options. Just use the same URL there and so everything is done.
This is the content from the Linux VLC streaming server example that is playing on Android (using VLC for Android).
Because VLC is popular on many devices, you definitely have access to your growing media library, no matter which device you use and where.
There are many media center solutions, like Plex and even PS3. But some of them have a powerful command-based solution that allows you to stream all your personal storage media, which is stored locally as simply as possible.
Do you use VLC for your streaming needs? Which features of VLC do you like best? Share your own experience in the comment section below!
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