There are multiple ways to stream media from a Linux computer to other devices, but I’ve only found one that works flawlessly for me. It’s called “Emby”. The basic functions are as free as the software. There’s an option to subscribe to Emby Premiere, but I won’t bother. I don’t need any more than what the software provides.
I tried other software solutions before Emby, but they didn’t work half as well. The so-called matching clients on Android left a lot to be desired. VLC was the only thing that worked right, and it didn’t always work. Emby has its own matching client, and it works extremely well.
It works, and then it doesn’t work, depending on your perspective. My original goal was to stream media to my Android phone, being able to control it from the phone. My first attempt followed this tutorial: How To Stream Audio From Your Linux PC To Android. Unless you want to use your phone like a headset, I wouldn’t recommend it.
I read about DLNA applications and set up MiniDLNA, which hadn’t been updated since August 2017. After running it for a couple of hours, I dumped it in favor of Gerbera. After multiple uses, over multiple days, I decided a DLNA server wasn’t the best solution and dumped that software as well.
I installed and attempted to use the Stremio software. I don’t even remember the issues I had with it. After reading the comments in a couple of forums, I saw the mention of Emby and how well it works. I installed it on my laptop and entered “http://localhost:8096/” in the web browser address bar. Clicking on the gear icon let me set up everything.
I installed the matching client on my Android phone, and it worked without any issues at all. Unlike the DLNA solutions, it didn’t drop the Wi-Fi connection at random intervals. The music player doesn’t work quite the way I like, but it works nonetheless. Casting to the Chromecast device on the TV in the living room worked without a hitch.
Any experienced Linux user can set things up, without needing instructions. If you’re just coming from Windows, you’ll need instructions.
Until I felt comfortable with Emby, the way I listened to local music files and videos was by copying them from one device to another. It’s tedious and time-consuming. Even though I have all the time in the world (I’m retired), I don’t want to spend most of it messing with the same things over and over again.
Once I got used to using Emby, I was impressed by the simplicity of it all. There are limitations, of course. I only have it working over Wi-Fi. It probably wouldn’t work for an outdoor party in the Philippines, for example, unless the Wi-Fi signal can reach that far. I have an MP3 player standing by if it doesn’t. I prefer using a cell phone because its interface isn’t as limited as an MP3 player, but quickly running out of battery power is a major drawback.
Image Attribution: firstname.lastname@example.org Larry Ewing and The GIMP / CC0
Edited and updated. Originally published at one of my other websites in June 2020.