XBMC Backend

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aptalca Offline
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Post: #1
I am just wondering if there would be any interest in an "optional" XBMC backend server designed to run on a NAS/unraid box.

Meedio had a server application that ran in the backround, had a very basic gui, and it handled all updates to the database such as library, weather, etc.

What this supposed server app could do and what advantages it could have:

1) Very lightweight server application. Uses little resources (much less than xbmc) and can be run as a service on NAS/unraid. Basic gui.

2) Handle library updates
[INDENT]- replace use of a mysql server - when a media management software is used to create nfo's and download covers, etc. it can send a command to the server application. (I know it currently happens in xbmc, but it only works when xbmc is running. The problem is that I turn off my xbmc boxes when not in use, the server app would be always on since it would be running on NAS)[/INDENT]

[INDENT]- xbmc can be put in client mode through settings and be pointed to the server. Then every time xbmc is started it could download the library updates/covers from the server app, that way everything would remain local to minimize lag[/INDENT]

3) Transcoding media serving support

[INDENT]-Could be incorporated with mobile applications such as the android remote. It would be pretty awesome if the android remote asked you when you clicked on a movie if you wanted to play it on xbmc or on the mobile device. (Could be like Airplay)[/INDENT]

[INDENT]-There could also be an api, so that other applications such as XBMC Web Control could play videos in the browser[/INDENT]

[INDENT](When I used to use an iPhone, I had this app called AirVideo. It had a lightweight server application that did the library population and transcoding, it worked really well.)[/INDENT]

4) Handle Weather/RSS updates

[INDENT]-It could locally cache weather and RSS updates at preset intervals such as every 30 minutes during the day and every 2 hours at night. (I use weather plus and a lot of times when I scroll to weather, it shows a blank page while it is scraping and then the values show up 5 seconds later. If they were cached locally on the server, the lag would only be a split second)[/INDENT]

5) The server could keep track of which xbmc boxes are currently on and connected so a seamless AirPlay-like feature could be implemented in the remote applications


I am sure there could be many other uses for the server as well, that's all I could think of.

Let me know what you think and if you have any other ideas about other functionality, chip in.

Thanks
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topfs2 Offline
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Post: #2
Essentially UPnP MediaServer. There is some work on allowing extra backends to xbmc clients, when that is done creating a specific backend (probably very sane to base it on UPnP MediaServer:4 spec) would be possible.

Checkout the unified music addon thread for discussion regarding hooks for addon to be backends.

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pecinko Offline
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Post: #3
@aptalca

This would be very welcomed by the vast majority of users, IMHO. I would not insist on upnp but rather making best usability. If it could be done with upnp - fine, if it would imply restrictions then - no. I DON'T want to use any other frontend than XBMC thus consider main upnp advantage of no importance here.

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topfs2 Offline
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Post: #4
pecinko Wrote:@aptalca

This would be very welcomed by the vast majority of users, IMHO. I would not insist on upnp but rather making best usability. If it could be done with upnp - fine, if it would imply restrictions then - no. I DON'T want to use any other frontend than XBMC thus consider main upnp advantage of no importance here.

Sure, I was mostly suggesting UPnP since its a great standard (which sadly almost all servers bastardize) for home use where simplicity matters.

But yeah, its imperative it should not be tied to a single technology from an API standpoint

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fional Offline
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Post: #5
I would be very interested in this.

Currently I have my entire library configured on an XBMC machine in my sitting room. Not all drives are connected at the same time (a limitation I'm likely forever stuck with.) That said, it handles well because the skin I use is modded to inform me when a drive isn't connected etc.

What I'd like to be able to do is stream music, pictures, tv shows, and movies to "client" XBMCs, such as in the bedroom or study. The mysql suggestion hasn't been working for me, because I'm probably doing 100 things wrong; a simpler solution would be most welcomed!

Though it was suggested to me that this would suit my needs, I've not yet figured it out:
http://wiki.xbmc.org/index.php?title=UPnP_Sharing

But in brief, yes, I think this be cool Smile
(This post was last modified: 2011-07-20 20:11 by fional.)
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aptalca Offline
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Post: #6
topfs2 Wrote:Essentially UPnP MediaServer. There is some work on allowing extra backends to xbmc clients, when that is done creating a specific backend (probably very sane to base it on UPnP MediaServer:4 spec) would be possible.

The one problem with upnp is that (as far as I know) upnp is only for local networks.

If I'm staying at a hotel across the country, the fact that I have a very large movie library at home does me no good. I cannot access it with upnp. Same with my cell phone too. If I'm on the train, commuting to work, I can't just stream one of my movies or shows to my cell phone.

A server with adjustable transcoding capabilities that can deliver over the web would be ideal. The "AirVideo" app I mentioned does just that. On my iPhone, I could set a higher bitrate for transcoding if I was on a wifi broadband connection somewhere and have a really good quality feed, or set a lower bitrate if I was on a 3G connection and have reasonable quality.


For the library syncing/serving, I guess an addon could do that?!? Maybe with binary addon support it might be more feasible where a server application could communicate with each xbmc machine's addon that runs in the background to sync the library and thumbs at startup and every time something in the library has changed such as a movie being marked as watched?? But that wouldn't allow for updating the library through the server application unless the person who wrote the addon wanted to go the extra mile. I think it would be more of a project that would involve at least a few members of the xbmc team
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topfs2 Offline
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Post: #7
aptalca Wrote:The one problem with upnp is that (as far as I know) upnp is only for local networks.

If I'm staying at a hotel across the country, the fact that I have a very large movie library at home does me no good. I cannot access it with upnp. Same with my cell phone too. If I'm on the train, commuting to work, I can't just stream one of my movies or shows to my cell phone.

A server with adjustable transcoding capabilities that can deliver over the web would be ideal. The "AirVideo" app I mentioned does just that. On my iPhone, I could set a higher bitrate for transcoding if I was on a wifi broadband connection somewhere and have a really good quality feed, or set a lower bitrate if I was on a 3G connection and have reasonable quality.


For the library syncing/serving, I guess an addon could do that?!? Maybe with binary addon support it might be more feasible where a server application could communicate with each xbmc machine's addon that runs in the background to sync the library and thumbs at startup and every time something in the library has changed such as a movie being marked as watched?? But that wouldn't allow for updating the library through the server application unless the person who wrote the addon wanted to go the extra mile. I think it would be more of a project that would involve at least a few members of the xbmc team

I said for home use Smile yes, upnp is not for streaming to your devices cross internet. TBH though I wonder how many would really use that (out of those using it just to stream over the network). But this is why I said that an API should not be tied to a single technology, your suggestion is still valid to have as another backend with another technology.

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MrCrispy Offline
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Post: #8
fional Wrote:I would be very interested in this.

Currently I have my entire library configured on an XBMC machine in my sitting room. Not all drives are connected at the same time (a limitation I'm likely forever stuck with.) That said, it handles well because the skin I use is modded to inform me when a drive isn't connected etc.

What I'd like to be able to do is stream music, pictures, tv shows, and movies to "client" XBMCs, such as in the bedroom or study. The mysql suggestion hasn't been working for me, because I'm probably doing 100 things wrong; a simpler solution would be most welcomed!

Though it was suggested to me that this would suit my needs, I've not yet figured it out:
http://wiki.xbmc.org/index.php?title=UPnP_Sharing

But in brief, yes, I think this be cool Smile

How is this done? And would you mind sharing the skin name? In MediaPortal I think there's an option that if you try to play media from a location that's not present, it will prompt you to connect that disk (and it knows the name). Can Xbmc do this?
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MrCrispy Offline
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Post: #9
aptalca, I would be very interested in this. Sounds to me a lot like Plex Media Server though (except for the Upnp part).
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fional Offline
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Post: #10
MrCrispy Wrote:How is this done? And would you mind sharing the skin name? In MediaPortal I think there's an option that if you try to play media from a location that's not present, it will prompt you to connect that disk (and it knows the name). Can Xbmc do this?

I've never found that option in media portal and currently, at least for me, XBMC just asks you if you'd like to remove it as it's unavailable.

Such an option in XBMC would be brilliant, or if not ever possible, I certainly would love to figure out how to turn that query to remove off, because I'm worried when someone else uses this system, they may select accidentally select YES, like when my parents come by... and then remove something from the library without me knowing!

I use Aeon Nox and I edit the lowlist xml to just show me the path when I select over a show I want to watch.

I have this USB programme enabled in Win7 that monitors drives and essentially sets any drive larger than 1TB as X.

My drives are all in these anti-shock rubber yokes and set on a shelf, nicely labelled.

I have all my drives essentially organised where the first directory is EXTXX, where XX is a number. Then inside that is Films or Shows.

So it's X:\Ext01\Movies\Suicide Kings

See, so when I hover over Suicide Kings, it shows me that it is in Ext01. Then I know which drive it is.

It's hacky, but it works for me and it's upgradeable, in that when they have 4gig drives cheaply available in Ireland, I can get a couple and essentially merge some drives together just by xfering over the EXT directories. Then the database doesn't even have to be cleaned or anything, as everything will still work!
(This post was last modified: 2011-07-23 00:35 by fional.)
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fional Offline
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Post: #11
I would absolutely love to get a local XBMC client/server bit to work on my local network, where the library modes work. I've been reading the wiki and I'm going to be experimenting with the uPnP options this weekend, see if I can get it to work now that I reversed my mysql attempts...

http://wiki.xbmc.org/index.php?title=UPnP_Sharing

Does this mean that this sort of local network XBMC server/client thing is possible? Could I use my main XBMC in the living room, with all the .nfo files and libraries already created - and then install XBMC with a light skin on my laptop - and access the living room (library and all) through uPnP?
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jmarshall Offline
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Post: #12
Yes.

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fional Offline
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Post: #13
jmarshall Wrote:Yes.

Wow, cool that is great. Certainly seems nicer than the mysql approach!
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jmarshall Offline
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Post: #14
It's not ideal as not everything is shared exactly as you may wish, but give it a go and let us know how it goes (I suggest starting with confluence).

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aptalca Offline
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Post: #15
MrCrispy Wrote:aptalca, I would be very interested in this. Sounds to me a lot like Plex Media Server though (except for the Upnp part).

To be honest, I wasn't too familiar with Plex before as I don't own a Mac, but a quick look into it reveals that Plex Media Server does most of the things I suggested such as centralized library management and adjustable transcoding and serving for remote mobile devices.

I guess running plex media server on unraid would be a solution for streaming to remote mobile devices and since plex is based on xbmc, I am assuming it should be able to easily populate its database from the same nfo's and metadata saved alongside the content.

But I don't think I would be able to stream that content to my windows laptop, it would only work on ios or android.

And it wouldn't help with the centralized but locally updating database issue with xbmc.
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