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Wednesday 29 March 2017

MinimServer as your uPNP Media Server: Part 1: Introduction

Go forward to Minim Server:Part 2
Go back to     Introduction to UPnP AV using MinimServer


Installation and Start

MinimServer is developed in Java meaning it can be made available for a large number of computer devices, from Macs  and PCs to Network Attached Storage devices (NAS) such as Qnap or Synology and purpose built media servers such as the Melco N1

There is a full list of installations available here but for this blog we are going to use a PC based installation. We are also going to do a brief comparison with another popular UPnP server called Asset just to show what difference it makes using a different media server. Since this is a music metadata blog we are currently just concentrating on the metadata features rather than control of the media renderer.

We already have Asset installed and have scanned a folder containing approximately two hundred songs in Flac format. Now with MinimServer installed, we double click it to start in system tray, the first time it starts it asks for a content directory, we then select the same two hundred songs folder to scan for music.

And when it is ready it can be seen in the system tray as a green icon containing of course a Minim

View with Control Point

Now lets view with the Linn Kinsky control point, although branded Linn it seems to work quite reliably with any media server. We have the same set of music files available to be served by both Asset and MinimServer

Asset UPnP

Lets select Asset UPnP first

The first thing to notice is that when served by Asset various pseudo lists are available such as Top Artists and Top Albums and we have nice icons for different types. 

We can browse by Artist, Album, Title, Composer and Genre

MinimServer UPnP

Now lets take a look at MinimServer

With MinimServer we don't have these additional list or icons ( I think icons would be a nice to have Simon).

However as well as browsing by Artist, Album, Composer and Genre like Asset we can additionally browse by Conductor and Orchestra. You can probably configure Asset to browse by conductor, I'm not so sure about Orchestra. But the key thing is this demonstrates the different focus of these media servers. MinimServer better supports Classical and is more album orientated. Note that MinimServer doesn't have a Titles index because individual files can be accessed via the n items folder.

MinimServer Configuration

Everything can be configured via MinimServers configuration panel, simply right click on MinimServer in the system tray and select Properties.

This will bring up the MinimServer interface

This is not the prettiest interface, nor is it very intuitive since to view the instructions for the various options you need to read the User Guide on the website. 

But it is very effective, and not prescriptive, there is alot of flexibility available to you in this simple interface. The trick is to understand what you want the end result to be, how your songs are tagged and how to properly use the options to achieve what you want.

In the next post we show the first simple customization to make better use of metadata added by Jaikoz and SongKong.

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