Streaming Media Servers
How can I watch my media from my computer on other devices?
This is a great question! I’m sure that I am far from alone in being frustrated with being unable to access my content no matter where I am. It has happened to all of us at one point or another. Maybe you are at a friend’s place, telling them about this amazing movie that you downloaded over the weekend when your friend says, “That sounds great, let’s watch it!” The only problem is, you can’t just pull it up on Netflix and stream it. Hulu doesn’t have it. It’s not on Amazon Prime Video, Disney Plus, or HBO Max. You go to pull out your laptop next since you know for a fact that you have it there … but, unfortunately, you forgot to bring your laptop with you.
So, what do you do? You’re just out of luck, right? Short of having your friend pay to rent or purchase the movie, you are all out of options, right? Well, not necessarily. There is one more thing that you can do. It requires a little bit of forethought, sure, but it isn’t the same kind of forethought that would prompt you to remember to bring your laptop with you everywhere you go. The one thing you can do to ensure that you have all of your media, regardless of where you are or what devices you have at your disposal is to be prepared with a solid media server.
If you have never heard of a media server before (sometimes also referred to as a media portal or media center), now is the time to familiarize yourself with all of the benefits that they have to offer. They are not only useful when you are hanging with a friend and find out that you don’t have your laptop with you. They are just as useful when you want to access any of your own content but do not have access to the original device on which they are stored. That means videos that you took, photos from your latest vacation, or songs that you have downloaded — so long as your original device is linked with a media center, you have nothing to worry about — everything is automatically uploaded to the cloud and accessible through a single app.
There is absolutely no reason to ever be without the ability to stream in this day and age. And media centers are the best way to make sure that you will never be at a loss, no matter what kind of content you need. So long as you can connect to the internet, you can access your entire media library.
The best streaming media servers do not even stop at offering you universal access to your own streaming and downloaded content either. Some of them, believe it or not, even let you watch live TV through their servers. If you really do your homework, a media portal might be the single most useful piece of software you ever download.
What is the best media server for streaming at home?
The answer to this question, it turns out, is not so easily answered. There are many different media centers for you to choose from. The best one for you really comes down to, with a few smaller concerns to take into account, which interface suits your needs and what devices a given server is accessible on. Everyone has their own personal favorites. And if you look at my list, you’ll notice that the highest-ranking one for me, personally, is called Plex. Again, this is just my opinion, but Plex TV is one of those programs that go above and beyond.
Alongside an elegant user interface that is easy to use and intuitive, Plex has much more to offer than your bottom line basic media center. Why you ask? Well, because it also lets you stream thousands of titles for free, directly from the Plex server. It’s a media server plus a free streaming service and, honestly, how can you beat that?
People who are interested in coding might argue that Emby might be better. And, don’t get me wrong, Emby is incredible too, but for other reasons. It is completely open-source and able to be (made to be, rather) customized and tweaked to your liking. So, if you have to know-how and the desire to test out your programming skills, Emby is a great choice. There are even several popular user-generated offshoots of Emby in circulation today, such as Jelly Fin. So, the best media center for you, as is the case with every streaming service, really comes down to what you hope to accomplish, what you hope to get out of it, and, of course, what you can afford.
What internet speed do I need for streaming with media servers?
This is one of the best parts of media center programs … they do not really require any special tools or hyper-fast internet speeds in order to make the most out of them. All you need in order to stream from a media center are the same requirements you would need to stream from a more basic singular streaming service such as Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime. A basic internet connection will get you there!
Of course, faster internet connections will yield better streams and higher resolutions. But that is nothing new. The same is true of any streaming service. The way a media center works is not entirely unlike the way that a basic streaming platform works — the content is stored on a network, only in this case, the content that is available for streaming is completely controlled by what you put on it.
At the very least, though, you will need an internet speed of 3Mbps. In order to stream in 4K, however, you will require at least 4 Mbps. So, it is very unlikely that you will ever be in a situation where you cannot stream content via your media center of choice.
Can I watch my media on the vacation?
Absolutely, you can! In fact, while you are on vacation is one of the best scenarios in which a media center can come in handy. So long as you are not going on vacation to a remote island that has not yet discovered the internet, you will be good to go. Just make sure you have a device that can access your media server and wi-fi, you will never be without all of your favorite movies, shows, music, and personal digital content again!
A media server is the perfect tool to help you access your content while on vacation, as well as, like I said earlier, access your personal photos and videos that you took of your vacation once you get back home. If you are looking for a way to open the doors of all your content from one convenient and universal media source, do yourself a favor and check out my reviews of media portals like JRiver, Jellyfin, Playon, Kodi, or Emby today!
Do I have to pay for streaming media servers?
A majority of media portals offer their most basic services for free. As is the case with many apps and programs, though, some of these are freemium services. That means that, depending on which media server you go with, you might have to pay in order to access the more luxurious features, such as live TV and DVR. However, if all you care about is being able to access all of your content in one place, regardless of device, regardless of where you happen to be, the free version of most of these media portals should definitely do the trick.
Honestly, I don’t know why media portals don’t get talked about more often … they are some of the most powerful and widely accessible forms of media streaming software I have ever seen. And if you aren’t already using one, there is no better time than now to check out my list and pick out the right one for you!
Streaming Media Servers
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