Preferred Streaming Protocol - XBMS vs SMB vs UPnP vs FTP...etc
#1
Question 
I hoped to hear some thoughts on how the community is sharing media to/from XBMC. In short, I'm using FTP but am thinking of changing to UPnP or SMB. Thoughts? Any life-changing or horror stories out there?


Some personal background for those who are interested (most of you can skip the rest of my post).

I've been happily using XBMC for a few years now, but have only recently gotten involved in using it for videos. I originally used XBMS to stream my media files to my Xbox, but didn't like running yet another server on my PCs and I wasn't impressed with the Server's features and reliability (perhaps it's improved?).

I was already running an FTP server so I started using it as the main method of getting media to my Xbox, but I've had many problems with it. Namely, videos will abrupt exit after being paused for long periods of time (probably connection timeouts), and I was unable to add multiple sources to a single share point (XBMC simply deleted my shares! How rude!). Performing a 'Library Clean' also seems to delete all FTP accessed media.. although I haven't looked into why yet.

From what I've read in the online documentation linked above, only XBMS and SMB can be used in this manner - has anyone tried this using UPnP shares? I was hoping the documentation is simply out-of-date...

UPnP looked to be the most promising option, as I see it being more and more useful in the future (1 protocol for PC to/from Xbox, PC to Xbox 360, etc, etc). My media is spread across 2 main PCs (main PC, old-PC-to-become-file-server), and I recently ordered a larger hdd to store most of my videos locally.

With media in all these places, plus more-or-less removable sources such as 3+ notebooks and the desire to share media to/from other Xboxes over the Internet (likely a VPN), UPnP looks to be one of the most promising options going forward. It would require installing another server on my PCs, but would fit other needs (i.e. Xbox 360, user-friendly, etc). FTP and XBMS seem to perform badly for me, and I like keeping the MS-bloat on my WinXP machine to be as light as possible so enabling SMB doesn't sound like a super appealing option.
-Thracx

"Man wants to know, and when he ceases to do so, he is no longer a man."
-Fridtjof Nansen
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#2
I've been using SMB shares for my movies on my server for a few years now with no problems.
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#3
Local network = use SMB/Samba. Over the internet = use FTP, XBMSP, or UPnP http://forum.xbmc.org/showthread.php?tid=13167
Always read the XBMC online-manual, FAQ and search the forum before posting.
Do not e-mail XBMC-Team members directly asking for support. Read/follow the forum rules.
For troubleshooting and bug reporting please make sure you read this first.
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#4
I love samba and XBMC. I have both XP and Vista Ultimate installed on one PC. - Set both installation "PC Network ID"s to the same thing and I can use a single Samba entry for video playback regardless of which OS is running.
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#5
Went down this path about a year ago.

SMB works well.
My personal setup =
1) WindowsXP used as fileserver (mainly because I found Linux to be a pain as SMB server and for remote desktop from a WindowsXP laptop)
2) XBMC on Xbox
3) Linux Gutsy7.10 running XBMC

Went down the path of running uPNP previously, but had varied results when trying to use XBMC library feature. SMB much cleaner.

Another note: instead of using SMB folder names, I force XBMC to use the IP address of the file server, found name resolution to add delay to folder access in XBMC.

I now focus more on content and appearance rather than connectivity because everything works well.
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#6
Question 
Thanks for all the responses everyone - much appreciated!

bionic1234 Wrote:Went down the path of running uPNP previously, but had varied results when trying to use XBMC library feature. SMB much cleaner.
Bioinc1234 - could you elaborate on the UPnP issues with the Library? What kind of problems did you have with UPnP, and how is SMB 'cleaner'? The more details the better - thanks!

I had problems with FTP, the worst of which was when sometimes all my remote files would just be gone from the library - perhaps the same thing happened to you with UPnP? However, I suspect this would also affect SMB if the share wasn't available when XBMC was started (as that's my only clue as to why it happened to me with FTP).Huh
-Thracx

"Man wants to know, and when he ceases to do so, he is no longer a man."
-Fridtjof Nansen
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#7
Thracx Wrote:I suspect this would also affect SMB if the share wasn't available when XBMC was started (as that's my only clue as to why it happened to me with FTP).Huh
That is correct, see => http://forum.xbmc.org/showthread.php?tid=30638
Always read the XBMC online-manual, FAQ and search the forum before posting.
Do not e-mail XBMC-Team members directly asking for support. Read/follow the forum rules.
For troubleshooting and bug reporting please make sure you read this first.
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#8
Thracx Wrote:Bioinc1234 - could you elaborate on the UPnP issues with the Library? What kind of problems did you have with UPnP, and how is SMB 'cleaner'? The more details the better - thanks!?

I might post some impressions as well since I tried to use UPnP first but was quite dissapointed.

With upnp xbmc doesn't seem to be able to even add stuff to the library thus rendering the library basically non functional when using upnp.
Btw. I used twonky media installed on a nslu2 slug.
Streaming worked tho.
SMB worked like a charm, however I would prefer to use upnp to be honest.
Also for some reason my videos showed up under the photos folder instead of the videos on (when browsing for the upnp source).
This never happened with any other device (ps3, n810,pc)
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#9
Ghostface Wrote:With upnp xbmc doesn't seem to be able to even add stuff to the library thus rendering the library basically non functional when using upnp.
Btw. I used twonky media installed on a nslu2 slug.
Streaming worked tho.
SMB worked like a charm, however I would prefer to use upnp to be honest.
Also for some reason my videos showed up under the photos folder instead of the videos on (when browsing for the upnp source).
This never happened with any other device (ps3, n810,pc)
Wow. Thanks for the info, I may try to use UPnP to see if that is still an issue and if it is, see if there's a bug report for it or not. UPnP seems like it should be the preferred streaming method, but SMB is what we'll have to use for the time being as it's the most supported.

Gamester17 Wrote:That is correct, see => http://forum.xbmc.org/showthread.php?tid=30638
Thanks for the pointer! I was only able to scan the thread for now, but there seems to be a resolution for it so I will try that - thanks again!
-Thracx

"Man wants to know, and when he ceases to do so, he is no longer a man."
-Fridtjof Nansen
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#10
When trying to add a uPNP source, I browse to my Linkstation Pro Duo and it displays the path in plain english, however when I select "MUSIC" lets say, the address is a blur of: upnp://9839098f0a:098f:0980 etc......

I can't make heads or tails of that, and when adding multiple sources, it becomes quite a mess..
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#11
(2008-08-13, 19:42)Ghostface Wrote:
Thracx Wrote:Bioinc1234 - could you elaborate on the UPnP issues with the Library? What kind of problems did you have with UPnP, and how is SMB 'cleaner'? The more details the better - thanks!?

I might post some impressions as well since I tried to use UPnP first but was quite dissapointed.

With upnp xbmc doesn't seem to be able to even add stuff to the library thus rendering the library basically non functional when using upnp.
Btw. I used twonky media installed on a nslu2 slug.
Streaming worked tho.
SMB worked like a charm, however I would prefer to use upnp to be honest.


Same issue here. Except that SMB does *not* work like a charm. When Windows boots, you invariably get 'Unable to connect all network driives' error (I presume because the network hasn't initialized yet, and Windoze is too dumb to wait for it to be done). So, you need to use the file explorer and manually click on each of them to reconnect them again, or XBMC can't see them.

I also use TwonkyMedia; and I get the impression its buffering is superior to what a SMB drive offers. Plus, TwonkyMedia turns a collection of video locations, and turns them into a single media source: much, much cleaner than silly SMB drives to every location.
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#12
This is an impressively old thread to dig up.
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#13
(2014-08-21, 08:00)natethomas Wrote: This is an impressively old thread to dig up.

And impressively still relevant, at that. Wink
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#14
(2014-08-21, 07:11)meimeiriver Wrote: Same issue here. Except that SMB does *not* work like a charm. When Windows boots, you invariably get 'Unable to connect all network driives' error (I presume because the network hasn't initialized yet, and Windoze is too dumb to wait for it to be done). So, you need to use the file explorer and manually click on each of them to reconnect them again, or XBMC can't see them.
Don't be blaming Windoze - XBMC is what's not properly waiting for the connection, or rather, for some reason don't (or don't wait for) the network connection to be established. I can think of quite a few apps that can access network shares, and while most don't handle threading properly (i.e. 'Not Responding' bugs), they all work once the connection is established.

I've seen what you are talking about though - XBMC doesn't like to wait. I (mostly) get around this problem by using the UNC paths directly in XBMC. Assuming you don't need to use a different authentication, try adding the UNC path directly (it might require manually editing the sources.xml file, I can't recall off the top of my head, but I do remember XBMC not playing nice with non-*nix style filesystems). This should work fine, the only issues I've had through the years has to do with my custom RamDrive portability layer which you won't have to deal with.

If you do need to use mapped drives for the authentication feature, perhaps create a StartUp or LogOn script?

(2014-08-21, 07:11)meimeiriver Wrote: I also use TwonkyMedia; and I get the impression its buffering is superior to what a SMB drive offers. Plus, TwonkyMedia turns a collection of video locations, and turns them into a single media source: much, much cleaner than silly SMB drives to every location.
TwonkyMedia sounds interesting, I'll have to look into that. Also, since this is such an old thread, maybe it's worth re-trying UPnP - the more recent builds of XBMC might handle it better.
-Thracx

"Man wants to know, and when he ceases to do so, he is no longer a man."
-Fridtjof Nansen
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#15
(2014-08-21, 18:11)Thracx Wrote:
(2014-08-21, 07:11)meimeiriver Wrote: Same issue here. Except that SMB does *not* work like a charm. When Windows boots, you invariably get 'Unable to connect all network driives' error (I presume because the network hasn't initialized yet, and Windoze is too dumb to wait for it to be done). So, you need to use the file explorer and manually click on each of them to reconnect them again, or XBMC can't see them.
Don't be blaming Windoze - XBMC is what's not properly waiting for the connection, or rather, for some reason don't (or don't wait for) the network connection to be established. I can think of quite a few apps that can access network shares, and while most don't handle threading properly (i.e. 'Not Responding' bugs), they all work once the connection is established.

Much as I'd like to blame XBMC - *g* - it's really Windoze that's at fault here. It boots with the infamous "Unable to reconnect all network drives" at startup. XBMC can't help that (in fact, XBMC can't even see the SMB's 'connect' status: it just sees the defined drive). Once I have double-clicked on the SMB drive, in the File Explorer, XBMC can access it too.

(Uing gpedit.msc) I found a partial workaround for SMB drives, adding a Logon script like this:

"C:\special\MapDrive.exe" W: "\\192.168.75.81\Twonky" 20

That has Windows retry and wait (for 20 secs max, in this case) to connect to the SMB drive. Works flawlessly, but the prog sadly does not support passworded SMB drives.

Quote:TwonkyMedia sounds interesting, I'll have to look into that. Also, since this is such an old thread, maybe it's worth re-trying UPnP - the more recent builds of XBMC might handle it better.

Sadly, UPnP still (since 2008) seems unsupported for video library scrapers. Which still baffles me. Especially since music scrapers can access the UPnP drives just fine. And why not, even?! All the video scraper needs is a (properly formatted) movie file-name; and it can find that on the UPnP drive.
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