How to Setup a Raspberry Pi Media Server in 7 Ways

Would you want to install a Raspberry Pi media server? Here are a few ways you can start using your Raspberry Pi as a media server now.

The low-cost Raspberry Pi computer is often used as a media center. While a Model A or Raspberry Pi Zero will function, a Raspberry Pi 3 or 4 will get excellent results. If you want to make a low-budget versus power trade-off, a Raspberry Pi Zero 2 should suffice.

All models may deliver a portable, reasonably priced, low-power media center solution, even if certain models offer superior performance.

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Several media server options for Raspberry Pi are on offer. Looking at the features, benefits, and drawbacks of each, we're going to walk you through them below.

Why Use a Media Server Distro for Raspberry Pi?

There are several media server solutions for Raspberry Pi. With the majority handling all types of media, they range from video-only servers to audio-only solutions.

The best Raspberry Pi media server solutions have been rounded up:

  • ReadyMedia
  • Kodi
  • Mopidy
  • OpenMediaVault
  • Plex Media Server
  • HiFiBerryOS
  • Emby

These are all suitable for a Raspberry Pi 3 media server or a Raspberry Pi 4 media center. On the SD card of your Raspberry Pi, however, which media server application should you install?

Read More: How to Setup a Raspberry Pi: A Beginner’s Guide

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1. Build a Raspberry Pi DLNA Server With ReadyMedia

ReadyMedia, which was formerly known as MiniDLNA, requires installation on the standard Raspberry Pi operating system. Use the standard installation command after mounting the disc drive(s) that have the media data on them:

sudo apt install minidlna

As shown in the video, manual configuration is required, unlike the other examples given here.

Once installed, MiniDLNA/ReadyMedia is DLNA/UPnP-AV compatible, and thus your Pi should be detectable by any DLNA-compatible device connected to the same network. The device will then receive media streaming from your Raspberry Pi DLNA media server.

If you want a streaming Raspberry Pi server, this is the option to choose from since it is quick, light, and simple to configure. Take into account alternative solutions for media indexing.

2. Use a Raspberry Pi Media Center as a Media Server With Kodi

Kodi can run on the Raspberry Pi, making it the most recognized name on this list.

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Several Kodi builds for Raspberry Pi are available, including whole distributions like LibreElec and OSMC, even if Kodi's best days are undoubtedly behind it. All models of Raspberry Pi support the installation of both Kodi options.

However, you can also manually install Kodi on an existing Pi operating system using:

sudo apt install kodi

Wait a moment, however. Surely installing Kodi will result in a media center, not a media server, on your Raspberry Pi? So, you're somewhat correct. Kodi is included on this list since it includes both types of functionality.

The inclusion of DLNA/UPnP means Kodi (and its forks) may function as a media server.

You don't need a media server if you're already using Kodi-based distribution since you have one. Open Settings > Services > UPnP to enable UPnP. Here, enable Share video and music libraries through UPnP.

From your Kodi-based system, you may now stream media to other networked devices. Set up a Raspberry Pi 4 media server to get the best results.

3. Raspberry Pi Music Server With Mopidy

Looking for a Raspberry Pi audio-only media server solution?

Mopidy is more than simply a music server; it also supports custom extensions and has Python, JSON-RPC, and JavaScript APIs. It can play music from the following sources, making it maybe the most powerful Raspberry Pi music server available:

  • A disk-based library
  • Spotify
  • SoundCloud
  • TuneIn
  • Mixcloud
  • YouTube

Mopidy is installed on a Raspberry Pi and embedded in a classic cassette player in the following video. Custom volume extension is used for audio playback, with the volume and buttons hooked up to the Pi's GPIO. NFC tags included in the cassettes trigger the playback of specified Spotify playlists. This is just one way that Mopidy's extension support might enhance your audio enjoyment.

Download: Mopidy

Read More: How to Install an OS on a Raspberry Pi

4. Build a Raspberry Pi Streaming Server With OpenMediaVault

The best choice for Pi owners wishing to access their media files from any device on the same network is OpenMediaVault, which is admittedly closer to a NAS than a media server.

The setup process is simple yet time-consuming. Any hard disc drives that you have attached to your Pi may initially have mounting issues. However, this should be quickly resolved, allowing you to properly setup the system.

Support for a UPS (uninterruptible power supply) and statistics to help with system monitoring are some of the capabilities offered by OMV. Additionally, RAID may be set up for HDD mirroring, and file systems like EXT3/EXT4/XFS/JFS are supported.

Direct connections to your OMV device are supported by SSH, FTP, TFTP, SMB, and RSync. However, you'll typically access it by opening the IP address in a web browser.

There are also several OMV plugins available, including a USB backup option and other tools to increase their usefulness. Your personal Raspberry Pi home media server will be ready for use after it has been properly installed and configured.

Download: OpenMediaVault

5. Use Plex as a Raspberry Pi Media Server

Client-only versions have given way to more sophisticated options as Plex support for the Raspberry Pi has developed over time. It is now possible to create a Raspberry Pi media server using Plex because of the power of the Raspberry Pi 3 and 4.

You'll be able to access media streamed from a Raspberry Pi using Plex on a variety of devices because of Plex's widespread use. Both Android and iOS have mobile applications available. Plex clients are also available for media streamers, including Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, and many smart TVs.

Clients are available for current and previous-generation consoles, Windows, macOS, and Kodi, not to mention the RasPlex client for older Raspberry Pi models.

Plex requires that your files be named in a specific manner. This allows the software to be able to pull the necessary metadata from the web. Plex will then display information on the media files in your library, such as album or DVD covers, track listings, and so on.

The Plex website has a support page that explains file organization and naming.

Currently, Plex should be your primary choice for a Raspberry Pi media server. For the best results, use the Plex Media Server build for Raspberry Pi. Also, keep in mind that you may subscribe to Plex Pass for even more features. More information may be found in our guide on turning a Raspberry Pi into a Plex media server.

Read More: How to Make an Android TV Box on a Raspberry Pi 4

6. Build a Raspberry Pi Music Server With HiFiBerryOS

HiFiBerryOS, a smart replacement for the now-discontinued Pi MusicBox, is meant to run on Raspberry Pi 3 and Raspberry Pi 4 devices. It will run on the Raspberry Pi 0W and Raspberry Pi 2; however, these devices are untested.

The inclusion of Ethernet, which is more reliable for music streaming, is an advantage of using the Pi 3 and Pi 4. The CPU and RAM upgrades are essential to enhance performance, so they are also more powerful than older models.

With HiFiBerryOS installed, you'll be able to stream music from a web radio station, Airplay, Bluetooth (which isn't supported by the Raspberry Pi 3B), DLNA, Logitech Media Server/Squeezebox, MPD, Snapchat, Spotify, Roon, and more. That's quite a hi-fi experience, kept together by a slick user interface based on Bang & Olufsen Beocreate, a separate endeavor by the top electronic music developers.

HiFiBerryOS may also be used with the HiFiBerry DSP and other DAC (digital-to-analog converter) boards available from the HiFiBerry store, together with the tools to create a Raspberry Pi music server.


7. Use Raspberry Pi as a Media Server With Emby

Set up Emby Theater on Raspberry Pi

With support for music, videos, and photos, Emby is a media server solution. Your data may be streamed to tablets running Android, iOS, Windows, and Apple products, as well as Android TV, Amazon Fire, Chromecast, Roku, gaming consoles, and even another Raspberry Pi!

The perfect family-based home media server for the Raspberry Pi is Emby, which allows parental controls to be set up. Emby fulfills Raspberry Pi's photo, video, and audio server roles.

To simplify the streaming of content to and from your server, Emby now adds DLNA support to Raspberry Pi.

To install Emby, you have several options. Using the low-footprint DietPi Raspberry Pi distribution is the simplest solution. When using this installation, simply select the Software Optimised menu option, followed by Emby Server.

See our guide on how to turn your Raspberry Pi into a media server with Emby to find out more about Emby.

Download: Emby for Raspberry Pi

Create a Media Server With Raspberry Pi 4 and Below

We've presented you with seven options for setting up your Raspberry Pi as a media server, capable of streaming movies, music, and photos to devices across your house with the touch of a button.

Each solution's setup is quick. In a matter of minutes, you should be able to have a Raspberry Pi media server up and running, ready to stream files easily across your house. Regardless of the model, it's simply one of the fantastic uses for a Raspberry Pi.

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