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Rilhas Server NFMC - No-Frills Media Center for the Raspberry Pi
Rilhas HTML Server (www.rilhas.com)

NFMC - No-Frills Media Center for the Raspberry Pi

This is yet another free media center for the Raspberry Pi. So, why another media center??

My Raspberry Pi has been running a lot of things for a long time now, but when I tried using it as a media center with XBMC it started hanging every once in a while. This meant I had to use a second Raspberry Pi just for playing videos, and although I did have an extra one lying around I didn't like the solution.

For some time I used XBMC on a second Raspberry Pi, but, while the response time was adequate most of the time, sometimes it took more than a minute to respond (be it start a new video, list videos in a source, etc.). I don't understand why it gets so slow at times, since that Pi was doing nothing more than running XBMC. I turned on debug mode and noticed that many times the CPU usage info would not update while in this "low responsivness state". Also, sometimes the audio started but the screen would be black for as long as 30 seconds, which can be very annoying.

Truth be told, the files were all comming from the first Pi through SSHFS, but this never caused any slow responses in other computers that access the same files also through SSHFS. So this led me to conclude that the slowness was all due to excessive cuteness of XBMC, with all its transparencies and cover art, and whatnot.

I decided to write my own media center, one that would try hard to not be as ugly as a dead rat, but that would also try its very best to respond quickly. And so the NFMC - No-Frills Media Center was born.

How does it work?

The NFMC is, essentially, a web server. You set it up through a web browser (defining its sources, ports, and the like) and to command it to start or stop playing videos.

The playing itself is done by omxplayer. The NFMC calls it to start playing, and detects when it finishes to move on to the next video. This makes NFMC a very simple application, which helps bring development costs down and make it available to you for free! :-)

You can control playback with a browser, so you can use a PC or a smart phone.

Is NFMC truly amazing??

Well, I wouldn't go that far, but it does get the job done and provides for 90% of my media center needs. It is blazing fast, scanning 10000 local files in less than 5 seconds, and omxplayer is very quick to start a video.

You may notice that it is not very pretty to look at, but there is a reason for it: the HTML generation framework is designed to be interpreted by an Android smartphone App, which will make the NFMC controllable by an Android phone without using the browser but (often) without requiring the application to be upgraded on the phone as the server goes through upgrades.

Roadmap

The following is a list of features to be added to NFMC in the near future (in order of importance):
  1. Implementation of direct controls (volume, play next, prev, ...)
  2. Android application
  3. Make more things configurable, remember selections, ...
  4. Ability to play music (mp3)
  5. Ability to display pictures
  6. Ability to play karaoke
The hard work is all in items 1 and 3. All the others will rely on external players to do the heavy lifting, so I don't expect them to be troublesome.

Download

WARNING: This is not a nice application, it is rude and ill-mannered. It doesn't need to be installed, you can just copy it to any location and execute it. This application cannot be uninstalled, and the best way to get rid of it is simply to delete it. The author is not liable for any damages that could result of the improper or proper use of this application. If you are unsure of whether it is risky or not for you to use this application I recommend you get yourself one of the many others out there and never look back.

Installation: Just download, and decompress to a folder you might consider definitive. I assume you already know how to do this, to copy files I use WinSCP, and to get to a shell I use PuTTY. After you get the decompressed file on the Pi make the application executable to everyone:

sudo chmod 777 NFMC_RPI_CON.exe

Then install omxplayer:

sudo apt-get -y install omxplayer

Then run the application:

sudo ./NFMC_RPI_CON.exe

After displaying a few lines of information it will start the web server. The default port is 8994 and you cannot change it (in this version). At this point you can start your browser and type the address:

http://192.168.1.50:8994

The 192.168.1.50 will have to be replaced with your actual Pi's IP address. And the browser must be able to access it, so be sure you are not trying to access your home network through your mobile phone's 3G connection or anything like that, unless you have already configured your home router. The simplest way to access the Pi is using a PC connected to your LAN, or a mobile phone through WiFi (usually it will also be connected to your LAN).

From this point on I think it will be easy to use. You add sources (which are locations that contain video files) and then select them to get them to play.

Version history

  • NFMC v1.00 2013-09-19 (Raspberry Pi)
    • Initial version. No bugs have been found yet, probably none exist whatsoever.

  • NFMC v1.00 2013-11-07 (Raspberry Pi)
    • Second version, but I forgot to change the version number to 1.01. It has many new features, but I don't remember which exactly because it has been upgraded in November 2013 but I forgot to make it available for download and it is now Apr 2014. Still no bugs found, their existence even more unlikely.

Any comments or suggestions?

Please feel free to send me an e-mail about it to comments@rilhas.com.




Rilhas Home Page (webmaster@rilhas.com) running on a Raspberry Pi.
Page "NFMC.html", modified 3 years 5 months ago
Page issued on 2017-10-19 06:20:34.958
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