Welcome back to my Home Media Center series. We’re finally ready to install a Media Server so we can start watching all the media that we’ve painstakingly created and cataloged.
More in this series –
- Part 1 - Setting up a Home Media Center
- Movie Night at Home
- Part 2 - Using Freemake to Import Media
- Part 2b - Backing up DRM Protected DVDs with DVDfab
- Part 3 - Using Handbrake to encode media
Emby is a recent addition to my media center. Originally I was just using XBMC (Kodi) and was quite happy with that solution – until I started wanting to stream or play my media on other devices (or even away from home). At one point I had installed PLEX media center in addition to Kodi, but there was no real integration – which is really important to me.
Emby is fantastic, Kodi actually runs on top of the Emby server – so it is full integration. Kodi doesn’t maintain it’s own database or information, it pulls it all directly from the Emby server, so everything is basically maintained in real time between the two platforms. It’s actually really cool once you see it happening.
Enough talking (typing?) more showing of the coolness.
First, hop over to Emby and download the server for your computer: http://emby.media/download/
Make sure to download the stable release, no need to get in to BETA territory.
The install is basically automatic. Just set it to run and let it download and install itself. Once it loads a webpage will open and walk you through the initial setup. You’ll also see an Emby icon in your taskbar, right clicking gives you a few options for management.
First we need to select our default language. I’m Canadian, so I swap over to English UK.
Clicking next brings you to the “about you” page.
Here you just need to fill in a username, and if you have an Emby connect account, add that in. To sign up for an Emby account just head here: http://emby.media/connect/
You’ll need it later, so go ahead and do that now.
Clicking next will pop up the confirmation window for adding this server to your connect account. Make sure to authorize it by clicking the link in the email it sends you.
Clicking OK sends us to the media locations selector. Click on the “Add Media Folder”. In the new window select the type of media we are adding (we’ll need to do one Movies and one TV). As you can see there are lots of other options – photos, music, music videos. You can get to those later on.
Clicking OK will add the content type to the panel. From there click on the Media Locations and navigate to the folder on your computer. Select that, then add the next media location. When you’re done click Next.
Since we are using Ember to manage our media you can de-select the Download artwork and metadata from the internet. Alternatively you can select Both options (download and save to media folders), and Emby will download base data and you can always customize it with Ember.
Click Next twice (note the windows service information if you’d like to set it up that way. I don’t bother). Accept the terms and click next again.
Hit finish and you’ll be presented with a login screen.
Click your picture to log in and manage the server.
That’s all it takes to get things set up. There are a TON of features in Emby, I recommend taking the tour and reading up, and then just exploring all the options. If it doesn’t make sense, take a quick minute to look up what it does. There are so many ways to customize Emby that it would take a whole series itself to showcase them all. The great thing is, it will work just how it is. No need to make any changes. So you can start using it right away.
There are a few things you should do though to make sure everything is working properly.
First, click on “Advanced” and select “Run server at startup”. This will make sure the service is always running. Pesky reboots and power bumps can’t stop us!
Next click on the “Hosting” tab at the top and enter your External WAN Address. Mine had tons of trouble with the automatic detection – better safe than sorry. If you don’t know your external ip address go here: Google knows the answer
At this point you will also need to forward port 8096 (Public http port number) on your firewall to your emby computer. I’m sorry but I can’t really help with that step because there are so many different kinds of firewalls. Google your brand and “port forwarding” and see what you can come up with. Normally logging in to the router web interface will have a section somewhere in the advanced settings where you can port forward. Remember to port forward to your internal IP address – if you don’t know it – Find my IP address
Now head over to your library.
Do a quick initial scan. It’s probably already found everything by now, but doesn’t hurt. If it’s still running just leave it. This is also where you can add or delete media sources as you need them.
Optionally – we can turn off real time monitoring. I did this on my system because I found it unnecessary, and because my downloads folder is inside my media location so I don’t want Emby always adding stuff before I’ve had a chance to catalog it properly.
Click on advanced, and change the setting to “No”. Make sure to click the “Save” button at the bottom.
Now you can go watch some media! Surf your collection, take a look at all the cool stuff you’ve done so far. Click on the Hamburger icon on the upper left and click the home button to get started.
You can watch the files, but only in the web player, we don’t have a native application yet. That’s our next step! We’re almost done. Installing and setting up Kodi is our next step, and we’ll have a fully function media center.
At this point you can also watch your media away from home, as long as your firewall rules are set up properly, you can log in to Emby Connect and your server should appear there as an option. Select it, and use it just like you do locally. Enjoy!