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I have a ubuntu 12.04 headless server. I got alot of video on the server. Most of it is in x264 in .mkv. I have a samsung nexus phone, and a nexus 7 tablet.

Whats my options when it comes to streaming from the ubuntu server to android? I got smb up and running. Some friends of mine was talking about DLNA, the "playstation media server" could be a solution?

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On your Android Device you will have to install a DLNA client to be able to access media shares you have on your server.

On your server you will have to run a DLNA/UPnP server that makes the shares accessible. Your network settings need to allow UPnP and Multicast (check with your router).

There are several solutions for an UPnP server you can choose from. With MiniDLNA, a leightweight but powerful DLNA server we able to stream MKV, and x264 content. This application is my recommendation for running on a headless server.

We can install it from the repositories with

sudo apt-get install minidlna

For help on setting it up see:

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Worth noting would be that not every version of Android supports all kinds media formats. While newer devices with version 4.0+ support the most common formats, older versions and processors with limited feature sets may have issues here and there. On top of that device manufacturers can still mess up the platforms default format support. Of course Android offers players that do decoding in software, but thats mostly a workaround and costs battery life. – LiveWireBT Aug 29 '12 at 14:49

For media streaming using the UPnP media server specifications, I would look at:

  1. Mediatomb - runs in the background serving media, has a web interface which you can use to build the library.

  2. XBMC - normally used as a client, but you can enable media serving under the Network options within it.

You can find both in the Software Center.

As far as Android clients go, I believe there are ports of both VLC and XBMC in various (early) stages of completion, but there may well be better android-only options.

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On your server:

  • Install minidlna: sudo apt-get install minidlna
  • Configure /etc/minidlna.conf

On your android devide:

  • Install bubbleupnp or any other dlna/upnp client
  • Select your server
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The simplest possible solution is HTTP in combination with an Android video player that can do HTTP streaming, such as VLC, MxPlayer, etc - just use any of the many available HTTP servers.

Here are some one liners.

Python 2.x

$ python -m SimpleHTTPServer 8000

Python 3.x

$ python -m http.server 8000

Twisted (Python)

$ twistd -n web -p 8000 --path .

After you start the web server, open the browser on your Android device and type the IP and port of your Ubuntu box e.g.

You can use ifconfig on Ubuntu to see the IP address.

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