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Help me listen to my music (stored at home) when I'm not home.
January 6, 2010 3:56 PM   Subscribe

Please help me find a way to listen to my music remotely. Do you know of any media-player software that can access files stored on a different server requiring user authentication? Double bonus points if it's open source.

I have a rather extensive mp3 library at home that I would like to access from the outside world - either through a web browser or through standalone apps on both a Windows desktop and an Android smartphone.

I do not have the option of running a full-fledged webserver from home, because I do not have an always-on computer at home (and don't want one). I do, however, have my music files stored on a NAS device (a D-Link DNS-323), which is constantly accessible to the outside world through a dynamic DNS service, but which requires user authentication (for obvious reasons). Right now, I have the NAS set to accept only ftp connections, but with a bit of work I could allow http connections as well.

I also have a VPS account hosting a personal website, but I do not have enough storage space on the account to hold my mp3 library, and do not want to pay the exorbitant fees to expand my VPS storage to hold my mp3s. I can, however, install any application that runs on a 64-bit Ubuntu 8.04 system.

Is there software I can install on my VPS account that will stream media from my home NAS, even though the NAS requires user authentication? Bonus points for free software, especially open source.

Alternatively, are there applications I can install on a Windows desktop and an Android smartphone (can be a different app for each) that will stream media from the NAS? Songbird and some others will play individual files and playlists from an ftp connection, but I have not found a way to add whole directories, and it generally requires re-entry of the user authentication details before each song is played.

Thanks in advance, MeFi!
posted by dilettanti to Computers & Internet (10 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
 
Interestingly I had the same issue once. If your NAS is customizable, I would suggest what works for me: let it run the Music Player Daemon and connect it to an Icecast server also running locally (i.e. both run on the NAS device).

A small diagram is in order:
  +---------------------(NAS)+
  |   music files            |
  |       ||                 |
  |       mpd  --  icecast   |
  |        ^          ^      |
  +------- | -------- | -----+
           |          |
   (  i  n  t  e  r  n  e  t )
           |          |
  +------- | -------- | -----+
  |       mpd       stream   |
  |      client     player   |
  |                          |
  +(your favorite appliance)-+
With this setup you can use a MPD client and an audio streaming application from anywhere and enjoy your music. Plus, you centralize playlist management; and if you stop playing on one device you can resume playing on another, or play the same music on multiple devices at once.
posted by knz at 4:06 PM on January 6, 2010


Squeezebox Server
posted by AlsoMike at 4:09 PM on January 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oh I saw your comment about a VPS. So what you can do is as follows:
  +---------------------(NAS)+
  |   music files            |
  |        ^ (network fs)    |
  +------- | ----------------+
           |          
   (  i  n  t  e  r  n  e  t )
           |          
  +------- | -----------(VPS)+
  |        |                 |
  |       mpd  --  icecast   |
  |        ^          ^      |
  +------- | -------- | -----+
           |          |
   (  i  n  t  e  r  n  e  t )
           |          |
  +------- | -------- | -----+
  |       mpd       stream   |
  |      client     player   |
  |                          |
  +(your favorite appliance)-+

posted by knz at 4:10 PM on January 6, 2010


Check out lala.com. They were recently bought out by Apple, so who knows how long it will last, but if you run their MusicMover software, you can play your music collection from any browser that supports Flash.
posted by designbot at 4:50 PM on January 6, 2010


SimplifyMedia is exactly what you want. I use it all the time to listen to my home computer tunes at work and on my iphone. Not sure if they have an andriod app.
posted by theRussian at 5:35 PM on January 6, 2010


seconding AlsoMike - you really want squeezebox server (I'm listening to mine, right now.)

after a quick search, it seems like this should work.

another good option is ampache, which I've used pretty extensively, and works well. Bonus in that it has an integrated flash mp3 player. (I mainly use squeezebox server these days because, well, I have a squeezebox and have to run it anyway - but ampache's pretty great.)

If those options are too heavyweight for running directly on the NAS, you can try MPD (like others have mentioned) - but you don't need to bring icecast into the mix. As of MPD 0.15.0, mpd has built-in http streaming.

(feel free to memail me if you'd like help with any of this)
posted by namewithoutwords at 5:44 AM on January 7, 2010


oh, I totally missed the vps option. yeah - got with ampache, hosted via the vps, pointed at an NFS mount of the NAS (alternate directions here)
posted by namewithoutwords at 5:48 AM on January 7, 2010


Thanks, everyone. I'm not terribly familiar with any of the linked packages (which is exactly what I was hoping for - software I didn't know about!), so it may take me some time to figure out which to go with, and how to make it work. But thanks very much for the guidance. You folks rock.

I know some people have gotten NFS working on the DNS-323, so I may start on getting that working. I think pushing as much as I can off the NAS and onto my VPS server is going to be best in the long run. Thanks again!
posted by dilettanti at 6:29 AM on January 7, 2010


I use Jinzora on my linux box. It serves my needs pretty well.

I understand why you wouldn't want an always on server. Would you consider a wake on lan server? I did this with mine and it's a pretty happy compromise for my music listening needs.
posted by valadil at 8:02 AM on January 7, 2010


I don't know about the Android playability because I don't have one, however I think Winamp Remote would meet your needs for playing remotely on a Windows Machine. At least I am listening to my home collection of MP3's while sitting at my desk at work.

Free, but not Open Source.
posted by chocolate_butch at 12:42 PM on January 7, 2010


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