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How J River Media Center 14 Allows Sharing a Media Library Between Multiple PCs

September 4, 2009

In my last post I explained why sharing a media library between PCs is a really useful thing to be able to do.

Here is how that capability is implemented in J River’s Media Center 14 (MC) and used on our house: We have a server in the unfinished part of our basement designed for (mostly) unattended operation. MC runs constantly on that server and acts to download audio and video podcasts when they become available, to serve as the UPnP (DLNA) server that provides media to our three Roku Soundbridges, and acts a Library Server for the five PCs scattered thoughout our house that also run MC. When MC starts on those PCs, they contact the version of MC on running on the server and download its library providing each PC with the same metadata on media files, the same playlists, the same algorithmically generated smartlists and the same view schemes (customized drill down menus for finding media) as on the server. I can also connect to the Library Server from the PC in my office outside our home.

What is new in version 14 of MC that has prompted me to write these posts is the ability for versions of MC running on the client PCs to make changes to the library on the server: at the end of each session on a client I select to menu item Library Sync and the changes I have made to the library on the client PC are replicated on the server. (Without this ability in prior versions I had to access the server itself before making library changes either physically, by remote desktop, or by ending the instance of MC running on the server so I could edit the library (which resided on a network share) on a client.)

Now my wife will be able to make a playlist or rip a CD herself, something too cumbersome to do before. Now I can easily create smartlists from any PC in the house. This change has made a big difference in the usefulness of the shared library.

That is a big step forward in the practical enjoyment of our media!

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