Jeff Sexton

Saturday, November 22, 2008

House Music - PS3 and Mediatomb

Today in my continuing efforts to improve my music system at home, I tried Mediatomb. This yet another UPnP server that can serve up media to the PS3.

I download the Mediatomb source, did the usual configure, make and install with no problems. I made sure also that I had id3lib installed. Mediatomb uses id3lib to parse tags in MP3 files. Also, in it's XML configuration file, there is an entry to be added to get PS3 support, they say. I did that. These appear to be the only things needed.

When running, the Mediatomb web application is at port 49152. Using this you can add a folder which it will scan, adding tracks to its database. I started with my Miles Davis albums. And it seemed to work fine. After the scan I could browse though the tracks via the web page, by artist and album, or by the physical directories. It looked good. It had correctly extracted all the ID3 tag information and listed everything accordingly.

When over to the PS3, things looked good also, at first. The PS3 saw the Mediatomb server right away and browsing into it I saw the artist, album and track folders, all correct, physical folder also. My optimism was short lived however. When I got down to the level of individual tacks, it would pause for a second or two and say "
there are no titles". I retried the scans, tried some other files, the behavior was all the same. The organization was right, but no tracks on the PS3. The tracks show up perfectly through the Mediatomb administration web application, but never on the PS3.

Just for fun, I tried a directory full of digital photos. The behavior was the same. Correct directories, but "
there are no titles".

But I also noticed something that leads me to believe that this wouldn't work well anyway. When, on the PS3, I open all-tracks, it would take it a good minute or more to come back with "there are no titles". The larger the set (that would have been there if it was working), the longer this delay. If I had tried to browse all artists under "rock" or something, it would have taken it all day! What's it doing? The drive on the PS3 is going, it it coping the files locally? I also noticed that, unlike fuppes, if I select "copy" on the PS3 it again tells me that there's no files. I also did not see any clear way to tie Mediatomb into playlist support the way I need, but I really didn't get that far.

Mediatomb looks like a bust...

Update:
The trouble turned out to be that inotify wasn't working on my filesystem for some reason. I thought was... But that's a problem for another day. After doing a timed (and recursive) rescan I was able to access the media by both metadata and physical layout.

There is apparently no playlist support, but there is an add on called Gravedigger that does that. I'll try that next. At any rate, it looks like Mediatomb is using a mySQL database (?), so there's got to be some way to create what I'm look for.

Accessing music by the tags of course creates it's own problems. Although I have put a lot of effort into cleaning these up, it's still a mess.

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