Part 1 dealt with the hardware selection and the very basics of the OS and software installed to get things going.
Remember the initial goal:
With a family and therefore numerous listening and viewing tastes I wanted to set up a Home Media Server that would act as a single reference point for all. I wanted to be able to serve data to a number of clients ranging from Android devices, IOS devices, networked PC’s, Home Theatre Systems and Televisions. Obviously this unit would need to be able to push and use data required by such software as ITunes, XBMC, Windows Media Player, and Air Video Server just to name a few.
I also wanted a device that would minimise my power consumption, as I intended to leave this unit on and running 24/7. This is of course possible from my current home PC’s, but with their power usage ranging from 230W up, I needed something better. Currently this HP unit usage runs between 35 and 40W offering an excellent solution.
Finally I was after a unit that would minimise my time spent gathering aired television content. Automation is the key!!!!!
Current software I am running at time of Post for Automation
Sick Beard alpha build 497 Link: Sickbeard
SABnzbd 0.7.4 Link: SABNZBD
CouchPotato (Latest as of 10 Nov 2012) Link: CouchPotato
XBMC 11.0 Eden Link: XBMC
Subscriptions needing to be Setup prior to following next Paragraph
astraweb subscription (I just go a Pay by Download subscription of 180GB to initially test it out approx $25) link: news.astraweb.com
NZBMatrix VIP Account (approx $11) link: nzbmatrix.com
Current ISP Newsgroup allocation (if you have or need one)
How to Manage your Media
All in all its pretty easy to manage you TV and movie files, but I will suggest that you do undertake this activity prior to setting up the automation detailed within the following steps.
Ensure that you use a standard and known naming convention and that files are placed in their appropriate folders. Things can get messed up really easily, so take a little time and do some house keeping before you get into it. I utilise the naming conventions promoted and detailed on the XBMC website (within their WIKI). If you stick to this all will be good.
Automation Software Setup (This is where the really good information is)
To save us all a heap of time I have added a link to a Tekforums guide. The individual has done a brilliant job at detailing the steps involved to integrate Sickbeard, SABnzbd, CouchPotato and XBMC and deserves full credit for his work. I have no intention of rewriting this work and can state that for the current software versions that I am running, his write up still hold as being correct and usable.
Now that you have done that
Ensure that all software you want to start when windows starts is placed within the Startup folder.
Bounce the server a few times to ensure that you are comfortable with this occurring and that everything performs as a solid start. Don’t be in too much of a rush, because if you end up with a set up like mine. you will have ITunes, Sickbeard, SABnzbd and CouchPotato all start in order with ITunes minimising to the tray with the other software staying present within your internet browser. Just for completeness I am running Google Chrome here.
As a side note
For my configuration I have XBMC installed and set up on Home Theatre PC’s throughout the house, not on the HP Micro Server itself. I am not using the HP device for this function. What it is doing is simply serving the media to the clients which have XBMC installed onto them. The client XBMC simply looks back to the server as the repository for this data, thereby I keep a single library that the automation tool can go off and collect the media then reconfigure, post process and deposit in a known location waiting for the XBMC clients to pick it up and display.
So if the Home Theatre PC’c are on they will get the signal from Sickbeard and update. If they are off they get updated as XBMC starts. This only takes the units a mater of seconds to complete depending on how much data you have added since the last update.
After testing I can confirm that this unit can handle the needs of a busy family. I have had this unit serving across my network playing HD video content onto 2 PC’s and one home entertainment system TV, whilst streaming ITunes music content as well as family holiday pictures via 2 separate Apple TV’s throughout the house. The whole set up did not skip a beat and the network consisted of both wired and wireless devices.
All in all it was a very successful project made easy with the work done and previously posted by the individuals mentioned above. In total it took me about 3 hours to set this system up, and I have reasonable but still general level of computing skill and before doing this little to no knowledge of the inner workings of Newsgroups. Enjoy and let the machines do the work.