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Recommended codec and encoder for DLNA server?

Feb 25, 2011
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Not sure if this should go in here, but here goes nothing.

So, I set up my very first DLNA server. (miniDLNA plugin on a FreeNAS 9 box.)

Right now, I just have clients on a couple of iOS devices - I haven't tried anything more complicated. It's pretty cool.

The movies I've encoded recently (using Handbrake's "Normal" setting) work fine. They're all h.264 MP4s.

Older movies that I encoded years ago are .avi files, and are probably a majority of my media. If I remember right, they're mostly DiVX.

So, of course, the older DiVX/AVI movies don't play. They show up, the DLNA software on the server recognizes them as movie files, but the devices won't play them.

So, at what point is the video decoded - on the server, or on the client device? (Can I fix this by using a different software somewhere?)

Failing that, what's the best way to transcode all this mess? (I'd rather not have to re-rip everything.) It's probably a couple hundred hours of video all told - not a ridiculously huge collection - but if I could get acceptable transcode results using my video card it would save me a couple days of encode time, probably. (nVidia/CUDA.)

Thanks in advance.
 
Last edited:

Fallen Kell

Diamond Member
Oct 9, 1999
5,411
105
106
I believe with DLNA the video is decode on the device, not the server. PS3 for instance, use DLNA to connect to your PC. There have been people who have written DLNA servers which were mainly aimed at the PS3 which transcode the media on the fly (i.e. realtime when your PS3 asks for that file). You might want to look into ps3mediaserver. I know some people were attempting to get it working on FreeNAS, but not sure if they ever did (it is mainly Java based with just calls to some external transcoders which you can I believe edit to use versions available on FreeNAS).
 

glugglug

Diamond Member
Jun 9, 2002
5,341
1
0
DivX is a subset of h.264. So it should be possible to remix without recompression with something like avidemux.
 

smitbret

Diamond Member
Jul 27, 2006
3,388
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You are talking about codecs and containers and every device has its own set of each that it supports.

If you want truly seamless playback across devices, you're probably gonna need to get DLNA software that transcodes on the fly. DLNA is just a standard for supporting playback of media files between networked devices, but it won't guarantee file compatibility. You can send out a file via DLNA but if your playback device doesn't recognize the container and/or the codecs in it, then it won't play it back.

Plex, Mezzmo, Tversity, PS3 Media Server are some of the better known pieces of software that will transcode from an incompatible format. The transcoding takes place on the device where the file is originally stored and the DLNA server software would be installed and administered from there. You'll need to make sure you have adequate CPU power on the device that is transcoding
 

smitbret

Diamond Member
Jul 27, 2006
3,388
22
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DivX is a subset of h.264. So it should be possible to remix without recompression with something like avidemux.
This is flat out wrong.

DivX is a company that develops codecs/containers. Some of the newer DivX files utilize x264 but
otherwise, they have nothing directly in common.

And it's "Remux" not "remix"
 
Feb 25, 2011
16,546
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Okay, I'll give PLEX server a try. There is a FreeNAS plugin for that. (I tried building a Jail by hand once... did not work.)

That said, Handbrake's "normal" setting works on everything I've tried. So manually getting everything into that format will work if PLEX doesn't. Windows Media Player actually has a DLNA client built-in, so that's a pleasant surprise. (I've never been a fan of WMP, but it works well enough.)

The Celeron 1037U should be good enough to 480p/SD live trans coding, right?

Thanks.
 

smitbret

Diamond Member
Jul 27, 2006
3,388
22
81
Okay, I'll give PLEX server a try. There is a FreeNAS plugin for that. (I tried building a Jail by hand once... did not work.)

That said, Handbrake's "normal" setting works on everything I've tried. So manually getting everything into that format will work if PLEX doesn't. Windows Media Player actually has a DLNA client built-in, so that's a pleasant surprise. (I've never been a fan of WMP, but it works well enough.)

The Celeron 1037U should be good enough to 480p/SD live trans coding, right?

Thanks.
Plex is pretty much the standard for this right now and works great as long as your devices have the plug in support. I've never used the FreeNAS plugin, but it should take care of importing your library and make Windows Media Player kind of a moot point.

You could always transcode with Handbrake, but that can often be a time-consuming affair, depending in the type of media, library size and how fast the PC is that is doing the transcoding. You may want to consider a simple remux instead of re encode if fpr some reason Plex can't do the job.

That Celeron should be an excellent low TDP solution for transcoding and streaming multiple SD streams to multiple devices at the same time.
 

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