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What is Great About J. River’s Media Center?

April 6, 2007

One answer to the above question: the potential to get user requested features put into the application relatively quickly!

J. River Media Center is a full-featured application that maintains a database of users’ media and allows the playback of that media. It also has flexible and extensive features that enable it to function as different types of media servers. It may not meet your needs but it has met mine for the the last five years are so. Here are some of the features that I think make it unique:

  • The ability to connect remotely to media stored on a home server (like Orb, except it is not web based and doesn’t have the bugs orb has)
  • The ability to act as a UPnP server for networked audio devices like the Roku Soundbridge.
  • The ability to customize the menu structure shown to those UPnP devices.
  • A robust "smartlist" functionality that enables me do set up a preset on the Roku to do things like (i) play a contemporary album chosen at random, in track order, or (ii) play a one hour mix of 40% blues and 60% jazz.
  • A decent 10 foot interface.
  • The ability to play almost any audio or video format.
  • An extremely fast database (that put WMP 10 to shame).
  • Robust tagging functions for all types of media.
  • The ability to have a common media library index shared among all the PCs on a network.

But as I mentioned above, and the reason I linked to their forums is that they generate new builds of the software at an amazing pace, almost all have some new feature or improvement rather than just bug fixes. Many of the new features are direct responses to requests circulated in the forums.

Case in point: they just added a feature at my suggestion that makes managing a library shared among multiple PCs on the network, while running a media server much easier: the ability to specify that instances of Media Center are limited to read only access. This frees up write access for any PC I happen to be using at the time. I suggested this April 3 within two days the feature was in the application!


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