My parents generously got me a Gigabyte Brix, which is a small PC (5cmx11cmx11cm). In my case, with 4GB of RAM and 250GB of SSD in it.
I've installed Plex on it (so far as I can tell, the best media server software). And because (a)it's free and (b)I fancied playing with it I decided to install it under Ubuntu Linux.
This worked remarkably easily, for the most part. I grabbed the install files, stuck them on a USB stick, plugged it into the Brix (along with a monitor, keyboard, mouse, and network cable), hit Next a few times through the install process, and within half an hour was sitting at a Ubuntu desktop.
Installing Plex was also fairly easy, albeit needing a small amount of copy/pasting command lines into a terminal. Nothing terribly hard if you've ever used a command line before though.
The tricky bits were:
1) Giving it access to my existing files on my NAS. To do that I followed these instructions
2) It wouldn't boot without a monitor plugged in. As I want it to run without mouse, keyboard, or monitor plugged in, this was vital. Turns out the Linux bootloader (grub) didn't like that. These instructions fixed that
3) I do want to be able to remotely connect to it, in order to carry out any maintenance, or to reboot it. Ubuntu comes with remote desktop options which work using VNC. But it has encryption turned on (as of very recently, so far as I can tell), and the clients I found didn't support that. So I had to turn it off using method 1 here
Now everything seems to be running smoothly, and Julie and I can start watching an episode of something on the TV in the living room, and then move to watching it on the laptop in bed, with Plex remembering exactly what we were watching, and where we were up to. It's rather neat.
I am, of course, astounded to discover that nobody is selling Plex servers readily set up. Someone competent could easily put together an image that they could put directly onto a tiny PC that had just-sufficent specs to run it. But no, I had to go off and source a tiny box myself and then install everything myself.It does WiFi perfectly well, but for video files I really wanted it on the fastest connection possible.
It located me as in Scotland, and guessed what my timezone and keyboard layout was. Fancy!
Actually following the instructions for these wasn't tricky. Finding the right instructions was what took about three hours in total. Asking questions when you don't know the right terminology is a pain.
A standard for allowing remote graphical control of any PC from any other.
Using the Plex client on the PS3.
Original post on Dreamwidth
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