Streaming personal collection over internet
Hi good folks,

I have searched through this site and other sites using my good friend Google, but I just couldn't piece together enough knowledge from the relevant search results to come to any conclusions about what I wanted to know about - namely Kodi and streaming home libraries over the internet. There are posts here and there, but information either appears incomplete or is written for other platforms and scenarios that don't apply to me.

Bear with me while I explain ! And thanks in advance for your time.

I have all my media set up as locally attached storage to a Win10 PC, which was slightly less costly than setting up a NAS. I have the PC running all the time mostly so it's not a problem. I stream it to other machines in my small apartment over the local network using SMB paths in the Kodi v16 client running on my HTPC and my laptop, which works quite well. I'd like to wipe the config from the laptop and start fresh, and add the same media to the library on the laptop client using one of the available methods in the Add Videos wizard that will allow it to be run outside my home network. I've got my DVDs ripped to the server in VIDEO_TS format with all the extras and menu structure, which is how I like them, even though they do take up a bit more space I have lots of I don't necessarily want to have to go back and compress all of those VOBs into an .mp4 if I can avoid it. When I use SMB paths to scan my video folders (containing movies) to the Kodi library, it scrapes perfectly, and aside from a few obscure titles I might have to og in and re-scrape, Kodi does not only an excellent job scraping from either of the two major scraper add-ons, but it also can play the DVDs from the server still in the VIDEO_TS folder structure seamlessly.

I took some advice from the internet and set up my shares containing all my media to be served from an FTP server. After setting the server up, punching holes in the router and Windows firewalls and testing on an external network, it works swimmingly....except..for some strange reason, it scrapes anything still in the DVD folder structure (about 35% of my 1800 movies) terribly, registering each VOB separately so that one DVD title ends up with about 10 or 20 entries in the library. I've gone back and tried every combination possible, for shits and giggles - telling Kodi not to scan recursively, un-toggling the setting telling Kodi the movies are in separate folders, checking the 'selected folder contains a single video' option all to no avail. After wiping the Kodi AppData each time and re-testing fresh, it would scan the library in a similar way regardless of which combination of those scanning options I selected, with some variations, but never able to group a title with a VIDEO_TS folder into one library entry like you would expect with SMB.

If Kodi can scan the DVD structure into the library using the local SMB path perfectly while at home, and plays the DVD folder without any issues, but FTP can't seem to scan it properly, does that mean FTP causes the issue, because it can only read the files a certain way? Or is this something that's supposed to work normally regardless of whether I'm using SMB paths to my local shares or FTP paths to the same shares remotely? Is there a known workaround? Like I said, if possible I'd like to avoid compressing the DVD folders into single files - it's just a lot of extra work I'd rather not have to do, and I enjoy having the DVD extras available along with the films.

Another post on this site that I saw spoke of using BubbleUPnP DLNA server to be able to stream personal content over the internet to a Kodi client, but now that I've installed BubbleUPnP Server on the PC that hosts the media, I'm having a really hard time finding where I add in my media to do that, and not much online about it, even on BubbleUPnP's site. Before I go down the rabbit hole with BubbleUPnP, does anyone here know if I'll end up having the same problem with the DVD folder structure streaming from BubbleUPnP Server over the internet to a Kodi client? Are there any other UPnP servers out there that work well streaming home libraries over the net to Kodi running on Windows?

Would there be any benefit to going with a VPN solution? Once the laptop is connected to home VPN from somewhere else, do I just add the network source under Network File System (NFS) or can I still use SMB the way I did at home (since with the VPN connection I should have an IP in the same range as my other natted devices sitting at home, should I be able to add it with SMB using the UNC path?)

Sorry for so many questions .

Thanks everyone, and have a great holiday.

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