A Media Server software is essentially like a do-it-yourself (DIY) Netflix, Hulu, or Spotify. Whereas a paid streaming video service allows you to watch or listen to a library of digital media, in this instance you’re hosting your own files such as movies, TV shows, music files, and even photos. By syncing that content with media server software, compatible client devices will have access to that content anywhere. You can run a media server from pretty much any PC so long as your media server application of choice remains compatible with that hardware and operating system.
For a low-cost solution, you can even run programs such as Plex and Emby on a Raspberry Pi or another single-board computer. Aside from a host computer and compatible media server app, you’ll need a client device such as a streaming device, smartphone, tablet, or another PC.
Media is the cornerstone of every good home theatre setup so making sure you’ve got the best DLNA media server at your disposal is important.
Over the years, you’ve probably amassed a collection of DVDs, movie files, photos, and music. The next logical step is to start streaming media throughout your network and share it across your devices such as your HTPC, Android TV Box, or Smartphone.
To do that, you’ll need to get a DLNA media server. There’s a number of home media servers available which will do this either free or economically.
What Is DLNA? What does DLNA mean?
It is often used interchangeably with Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) protocols. However, this is not accurate as DLNA enhanced the UPnP protocol with a focus on media.
Why Do I Need DLNA Media Server Software?
So now that you know about DLNA, you’re probably wondering why you need DLNA media server software. Basically, a media server lets you share your movies, music, and photos via the DLNA protocol.
This means that DLNA-compliant devices such as TVs, game consoles and media players can readily playback your media from your home media server over the network easily.
DLNA media servers often add additional functionality too, such as scraping metadata like movie covers and transcoding your video files to ensure playback on a wider variety of devices.
12 Best Media Server Software 2020
So what’s the best home media server software out there? Luckily, Their team pulled together a handy overview to help you pick the right DLNA server for you.
Jellyfin is the youngest media server on this list but its multiplatform nature and comprehensive feature set have seen this media center solution rapidly grow in popularity.
This software aims to be a completely free alternative to popular media servers Plex and Emby. This makes it an attractive option for those frustrated with the increasingly commercial direction some of these platforms have taken.
It’s got native Jellyfin clients for a wide range of platforms including Android TV, Apple TV, and Chrome with more under development so there’s a good chance your platform of choice is either already supported or will be supported soon.
Universal Media Server
Universal Media Server is a free, cross-platform, and open-source media server software for Linux, Windows, etc. It focuses on system stability and a wide range of file compatibility. This home media server software comes as a nice and clean web interface and easy subtitle integration.
PlayOn is easily the most feature-rich DLNA media server available and that’s why it’s made our Best DLNA Media Server Software list.
Aside from being able to stream your movies, music, and photos from your PC to DLNA-compatible devices, PlayOn’s home media server software can also record from various sources, skip ads from recordings, and more.
It’s also one of the few media servers that offers support for online streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu. Those wanting to access their media on the go can either use the built-in web interface or PlayOn’s dedicated mobile apps on iOS and Android.
Subsonic Personal Media Streamer
Subsonic is a solid, feature-rich, and secure home media server for Linux, Windows, macOS, etc. It supports all the major file formats and offers a collection of 25 supported apps that help to stream music and movies into various type of mobile devices. It’s highly configurable and supports secure SSL connections.
Serviio is a java based free and cross-platform DLNA media server for Linux, Mac, and Windows. Like any other Linux media server reviewed here, it also streams various media files and supports both local and online content.
Madsonic Music Streamer
Madsonic is a well known, secure, and open source media server software for Linux, Windows, and other Unix based systems. This media server software is developed by using Java. It offers Madsonic API for the developer to make their own add-ons and scripts. Madsonic is basically a music streaming software with some unique features like jukebox functionality, Chromecast support, etc.
Plex Media Server
Plex is a secure and powerful media server software for Linux, Windows, macOS, and many other OSes. This home media server software comes with lots of amazing features which is very easy to install at users’ end. With this server, you can stream all of your personal media to any device and other Plex apps, as well as share it all with friends and family. Enjoy unlimited use of the free version of this app, and unlock its full functionality with a Plex Pass subscription -or- a small one-time in-app purchase.
If you are searching for a powerful, cross-platform, and simple to use media server software then Emby can be the best choice. You can run this neat and clean media server software on a machine running Linux, macOS, Windows, etc. It offers web client for browser-based access on various mobile devices or simply use emby TV app.
Once you get settled installing emby media server software, it will be very easy to manage personal videos, music, images, etc via an easy to use and intuitive graphical user interface. It also syncs media files on mobile and cloud sources seamlessly.
PS3 Media Server
PS3 Media Server is a DLNA compliant Upnp Media Server for the PS3, written in Java, with the purpose of streaming or transcoding any kind of media files, with minimum configuration. It is backed up with the Mplayer or FFmpeg packages. Originally written to support the PlayStation 3, PS3 Media Server has been expanded to support a range of other media renderers, including smartphones, TVs, music players, and more. Because it is written in Java, PS3 Media Server supports all major operating systems, with versions for Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X.
Kodi, erstwhile XMBC, is an open-source media software. Not to be confused with media server software, like Plex or the likes. And although many disregard it for the same reason, which is that, it restricts its media streaming abilities to a local network, its simplistic interface and a wider array of features, still puts it in the list of the best media server software in 2020. However, that is not to say that you cannot stream your stored media via the public internet, as the platform offers a bunch of add-ons to allow you to stream content online. But, over the years, it has attracted negative attention and has been called off as controversial among some of its users.
Gerbera UPnP Media Server
Gerbera is a unique Linux media server software that comes with a set of tools and features, allowing you to customize and set up the home media server as like as you just need. It let you get metadata from various file formats and allow you playback media through UPnP. There are lots of plugins and scripts available which let you flexible transcoding of various media formats.
How to Install Gerbera – UPnP Media Server in Ubuntu
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:stephenczetty/gerbera sudo apt update sudo apt install gerbera
TVmobili is a cross-platform and lightweight media server software for Linux, Windows, and Mac OS. This software also runs on low-end devices and demand very fewer resources. Embedded and ARM devices are also well supported. It offers easy server configuration and supports full 1080p high definition.
Conclusion of Media Server Software
This media server software is ideal for streaming media around your home. However, finding the best server software for your needs really depends on the functionality you’re after.