As my latest project for ‘what to do when incredibly bored in the evening’ is to find a way of creating a central server for all of my media (starting with music, the rest is pretty easy) and then being able to play it off any device, preferably with some kind of specialised app for iPhone that would let me download tracks and playlists for local playback. If anyone has undertaken a similar project, I’d love to hear about it!
So – the task list so far:
- Stable running media server
- Automatic feed-in of new content (from download server – will blog about that one some other time!)
- Automatic tagging (ID3 etc) of new content (this may be a step too far!)
- Playlist viewing/editing
- Access over the network
- Access over the internet
- Access from the iPhone (including local playback)
- Front end media player (using XBMC or similar) for video/picture
Sounds like another one of those pipe-dreams, but I’m off to a pretty good start it seems! I’ve struck upon using some sort of DAAP server (currently running forked-daapd, will probably end up with the original daapd as it seems a bit more stable) off a dedicated test machine (so I don’t bork up my other running server, I’ve got plenty of old machines lying around the house at the moment!) which can then be connected to anywhere off the internal network, and some simple port forwarding should sort that for the wider world.
The only gripe at the moment is the lack of playlist support – the DAAP protocol isn’t designed to have anything to do with playlist editing, and that’s a pretty major feature I want to have! I may end up with some kind of web interface to the server that’ll let me edit playlists directly – not ideal, but I guess it’ll do the trick.
I’m currently struggling with the iPhone access part – I’ve found a single DAAP client (Simple DAAP Client), but that doesn’t support any caching, and is very basic (but free). I may have to resort back to some kind of manual syncing to get the iPod functionality, which would be a shame, but not an insurmountable problem.
The automatic tagging is definitely a big problem – what I’m envisaging at the moment is a daemon running on the server that uses Musicbrainz or something similar to update ID3 tags on MP3s as they are added on to the server, however such a thing may be slightly beyond the realms of possibility at the moment unfortunately. One day maybe…
I’ll try and keep this post up to date with my progress, but it’s likely to be slow work as my entire ‘server farm’ is being uprooted and moved to London in a few weeks. Flat hunting later this week, better make sure it’s got plenty of cupboard space for all these machines!