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UPnP/DLNA clients in Ubuntu 13.04

Banshee and UPnP remoteStream­ing con­tent from a UPnP server (in my case, the XBMC media cen­tre in my lounge room) to an Ubun­tu machine is fair­ly sim­ple. But there didn’t seem to be any doc­u­men­ta­tion that I could find, and I end­ed up spend­ing a sur­pris­ing amount of time futz­ing around mak­ing it work. This is how I did it in Ubun­tu 13.04. I use GNOME for my desk­top, but con­firmed that it also works just fine with the default Uni­ty desk­top. Oth­er envi­ron­ments may need to tweak how the ser­vice starts, as well as clients.

Install software

We’re using the Rygel UPnP pack­age, specif­i­cal­ly its MPRIS inter­face to enable UPnP ren­der­ing to desk­top media play­ers. In addi­tion, we install GUP­nP to provide a UPnP Con­trol Point, and final­ly ban­shee. I had a crack at using Totem as a ren­der­er, as of April 2013 the ver­sion in Ubun­tu reg­is­tered as a Medi­aRen­der­er but qui­et­ly refused to play any con­tent I asked it to. The upnp-inspec­tor pack­age is nice for check­ing every­thing works.
sudo aptitude install rygel rygel-preferences gupnp-tools banshee upnp-inspector

Configure rygel

Open Rygel’s con­fig­u­ra­tion file:
nano ~/.config/rygel.conf
And enable the MPRIS inter­face by adding the fol­low­ing at end of the file:

Rygel is designed as a UPnP media server, and by default will start offer­ing up local video, music and pic­ture shares as media servers. If you don’t want this, it can be dis­abled by run­ning the Rygel Pref­er­ences GUI tool, or by adding this to the [gen­er­al] sec­tion of your rygel.conf:

Autostart Rygel at login

cp /usr/share/applications/rygel.desktop ~/.config/autostart
Log out and back in to start the Rygel ser­vice.

Configure Banshee

Final­ly, the MPRIS inter­face needs to be enabled in Ban­shee. Start it up, nav­i­gate to Edit -> Pref­er­ences. Click the Exten­sions tab, scroll down to the util­i­ties sec­tion, and ensure the MPRIS D-Bus Inter­face is enabled.

Playing things

UPnP Inspector window

Inspec­tor win­dow show­ing my XBMC server, the local Rygel share, ban­shee, and Bub­ble­UP­nP on my android phone.

Start UPnP Inspec­tor. It should list any avail­able Medi­aServers on your net­work and, if you didn’t dis­able them, local shares from Rygel. Start ban­shee, and it should also appear as a Medi­aRen­der­er in the inspec­tor win­dow.

Any UPnP con­trol point on the net­work will be able to send con­tent to ban­shee (I’m fond of Bub­ble­UP­nP on Android). Or start the UPnP AV Remote con­trol pro­gram. I’ve only been play­ing with it for an hour or two, but get best results from exter­nal con­trol point soft­ware. The GUP­nP remote occa­sion­al­ly stalls try­ing to play things.


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