FTP vs DLNA for remote content
#1
Hello everyone,

I’m trying to setup my media across the house: a Linux server as a back-end, and RPis (LibreELEC and Linux) as front-ends. I don’t need to sync the clients, as they’re in different rooms for different people. Also I have few other clients, such as iPad, iPhone, Android Phone, smart-dumb TV.

When I had just a server (same) and one client (RPi with LibreELEC), it was quite easy: I shared my library from the server via FTP. Though when a 4K TV added to our household, I found out it cannot see FTP, but it sees DLNA. I installed DLNA software on my server (btw Kodi can be a DLNA server as well, you can turn it on in Settings), and now our TV sees the content from the server with no problems. 

I decided to switch the settings on my client Kodi from FTP to DLNA as well. And here I faced this problem: I can see all the content via file manager, but when I scan my library I see no content. This works when I add my source as FTP instead of UPnP: I scan for new content and it’s in my library, so it can easily be played with a remote app from a smartphone or web-interface. I have tried that on my macOS Kodi install (as a client and a server as well), it has the same problem: no UPnP media is visible in the library, but I can easily browse from File manager and see/watch the content, so I believe it’s distro agnostic, and is not a bug. I have the latest (non-beta) Kodi installed, as of today it’s 18.5 Leia.

Here is my question: am I doing something wrong? I thought DLNA\UPnP should work even better than FTP. Is it recommended for a remote library? If not, what is the recommended way then? Is it FTP? Anything else? All the media is on a Linux server.

Thanks.
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#2
Maybe it’s worth clarifying: the 4K TV and other clients (iPad, iPhone, Android) has no Kodi installed, and I mentioned them just to show why the switch from FTP was made: for the new dumb-smart 4K TV to see the content via DLNA\UPnP. It isn’t smart enough to have Kodi installed, but is smart enough to play files via integrated file browser, which I plan to continue using, as it plays HEVC 4K Blu-ray movies from the server quite well, with no problems noticed.

I may add RPi 4 for the aforementioned TV, but much later. I think I’ll wait till RPi 5 or alike or newer, as it’s not difficult to use it as it is right now and it’ll take some time before it’ll turn into a pumpkin, not being able to play modern content any longer. So that UPnP thing is mandatory for me now, but it looks like I’d better continue using FTP for my Kodi setups. Shall I? 

As for the other clients I have mentioned (phones and tablets), I just access my server with VLC, which works well with UPnP. I may test how this works there, but I expect it to be the same as I have mentioned. I’m not trying to unify this, because I almost never use my phones for this, since when I’m in the house I can freely use my TVs.
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#3
DLNA/upnp source can not be handled by Kodi media library.
Quote:Currently, due to technical limitations (dynamic file paths) UPnP file sources can't be scanned into the local library. However, since many UPnP servers can provide metadata as well as the files themselves, then this may not be an issue.
If you have read the wiki UPnP/Media_source (wiki) you'd already know this.
Edit: upnp part of Kodi is mostly unmantained, I'd suggest to totally avoid dlna if possible.
From Kodi POV FTP is a suboptimal protocol for a LAN.

> a Linux server as a back-end, and RPis (LibreELEC and Linux) as front-ends.
Use NFS or SMB. If all your clients run linux - NFS is the way to go.
If you still need DLNA for not-so-smart tvs - you could put minidlna on your backend server.

If your media is on the same server you could setup mysql shared database and all your client boxes will share the same media library.
MySQL/Setting_up_MySQL (wiki)
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#4
(2020-01-10, 20:12)asavah Wrote: DLNA/upnp source can not be handled by Kodi media library.
Quote:Currently, due to technical limitations (dynamic file paths) UPnP file sources can't be scanned into the local library. However, since many UPnP servers can provide metadata as well as the files themselves, then this may not be an issue.
If you have read the wiki UPnP/Media_source (wiki) you'd already know this.
Edit: upnp part of Kodi is mostly unmantained, I'd suggest to totally avoid dlna if possible.
From Kodi POV FTP is a suboptimal protocol for a LAN.

> a Linux server as a back-end, and RPis (LibreELEC and Linux) as front-ends.
Use NFS or SMB. If all your clients run linux - NFS is the way to go.
If you still need DLNA for not-so-smart tvs - you could put minidlna on your backend server.

If your media is on the same server you could setup mysql shared database and all your client boxes will share the same media library.
MySQL/Setting_up_MySQL (wiki) 
Excuse me for missing the reading part, I just don’t know how to use the wiki properly yet. Thank you for linking the proper article!

Yes, I use minidlna on my server currently. I am curious why is FTP the suboptimal protocol, and why NFS is better? I don’t mean to argue on here, I just never configured NFS before on a server, but it looks simple, I’ll try that. As I understand, it’s the optimal way? When I used SMB on Windows it was worse then using FTP (it was like 10 years ago, my last time I used Windows, maybe things changed).

I’ll try to check the MySQL part, but later I may add some computers to the setup, may be easier not to get the system too complicated.

Will report on my findings later here, thank you for such a quick reply.
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#5
(2020-01-10, 21:34)walteweiss Wrote: I’ll try to check the MySQL part, but later I may add some computers to the setup, may be easier not to get the system too complicated.

It won't make it more complicated, it'll make it easier!  Basically, you set up a MySQL/MariaDB server on your file server.  You set up one client initially to do all the scraping and database stuff.  Scrape all your stuff and get it added to the libraries.  Then you set up the other clients and point them all to the databases on your file server.  Magically, all your movies, tv shows and music will appear on all of them.  You can now also watch something in one room, on one client, stop it, go into another room and resume it from where you left off on another client.
Learning Linux the hard way !!
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