Universal Media Server
Universal Media Server allows you to host your entire library of video, music, and pictures, and broadcast them conveniently to a wide variety of different devices.
- Access all of your media on a wide range of devices through your network
- Functions with all DLNA compatible devices
- Supported by a number of user generated add-ons
- Completely free to use and 100% open source software
- Automation settings mean that any media added to your network will be automatically available
- Works on both wireless and wired home networks
- No ability to stream from your server to outside networks
- Configuration and setup can be a confusing process
- Web interface is plain without the use of third party add-ons
The way in which the average person consumes media is changing fundamentally and rapidly. Traditional cable and satellite TV services, along with classic radio, are going the way of the dinosaur, and streaming services are stepping into the limelight. We rely on the cloud instead of traditional scrapbooks to hold on to our treasured memories. But relying on existing cloud servers to access your stored media isn't always the most practical option, and that's where Universal Media Server comes in. It can transform a computer or hard drive into a media hub for your home. All you have to do is upload your videos, pictures, and music to Universal Media Server, connect it to your wired or wireless network, and you can stream that saved media to any Digital Living Network Alliance device. DLNA is the long-running standard protocol for digital media sharing protocol, meaning that Universal Media Server will work smoothly on everything from video game consoles to cell phones or tablets to digital camcorders. Universal Media Server is a powerful media sharing tool, but it does require a bit of configuration on the part of the user. While it works smoothly on most devices, particularly those manufactured by Sony, there are occasionally bumps along the road when trying to sync it up with a new device. The server also scans your entire computer or hard drive by default, which can fill your media server with unnecessary clutter and make sorting through your library a real chore. Users who have plans to genuinely make this their media sharing hub are going to want to take the time to sort their media manually and designate set folders for UMS to scan so that everything is cleanly presented and quickly updated. While user oversight is required, the configuration tools are your disposal are vast. A comprehensive log keeps track of every change you've made to your server, and you can control the audio and video settings intimately through the Transcode tab. Once you've set up your server, you can access everything through a traditional web browser. The web interface is a bit cluttered and simplistic, but it gets the job done well. Everything you need is presented right before you, and a free add-on marketplace makes it easy to customize a server that's catered specifically towards your aesthetic and practical preferences. While Universal Media Server boasts that it downloads metadata from each video, song, and picture so as to provide convenient navigational thumbnails, this is sometimes a bit inconsistent in practice. There may be a somewhat high barrier to entry in getting your server up and running, but once you've finished the configuration, maintenance and navigation is a breeze, and UMS manages to give rival software like Plex a run for their money.