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Wanted: A Good UPnP Music Server

I’m looking for a good UPnP music server.  So far, the closest I’ve found to meeting my needs is Nero MediaHome, but it’s far from perfect.  Just last night I installed Yahoo Music Engine, with their UPnP plug-in.  I left it cataloguing and went to bed around midnight.  This morning, I checked it out (another reject), and then uninstalled it. 

What I want is something that:

  1. Runs as a Windows service.  It must not be a requirement that a specific person be logged into the PC.  Nor can it be a requirement that a specific media player application (like Windows Media, or Yahoo Media) be running in order to power my media devices around the house.
  2. Uses a database to store track information. It must not reload all the track information from scratch when it starts.
  3. Collects and represents all the tracks I have on the network as a single music collection.  It must not require that I know which server has which tracks, and whether or not that particular server is online.  It would be really nice if the media server could use the "wake on network activity" feature that most PC’s support in order to wake the server up if the music was offline.
  4. Can handle a large number of tracks.  Most of the servers I’ve seen are optimized for a few hundred, or maybe a couple of thousand.  The design point seems to be "how many tracks could you fit on an iPOD".  I’m pushing 10,000 at the moment.  Nero Mediahome takes over 30 minutes to load the track list each time it starts, for example.  The brain dead Netgear media server that came with my MP-101 devices takes 1.5 days to recatalog the collection when I add a new track. 
  5. Exposes a rich set of features to the UPnP media end-point device.  A few that I am looking for right now include playlists, play by genre / artist / album / year / mood, internet radio.
  6. Acceptable interaction speed with my MP-101 devices.  Some of these servers can take 30 or 40 seconds to respond to a request.  The designers seem to have forgotten that these things are consumer electronics devices.

What have I tried so far?

  • Twonkyvision – rejected because of an incomprehensible setup / user guide, impossible to use UI, and inadequate feature support. 
  • Windows Media Connect – doesn’t catalog files except on the local PC.  Most of mine are located on a Request Audio ARQ-1 Pro media server. Windows Media Connect doesn’t run as a server either.
  • Windows Media with the On2Share UPnP plug-in – Doesn’t run as a server, and requires Windows Media player to be running at all times.  Lousy feature support on the end-point device.
  • Yahoo Music Engine with the UPnP plug-in – Ditto.
  • Netgear MP-101 Media Server – terrible UI, no database, slow slow slow.  Good feature support though, except no support for playlists.
  • Nero Mediahome – This thing is a major CPU hog.  At random times it pushes my CPU to 95% capacity, and pegs it there for 30 minutes or more.  Poor feature support.  Slow startup. Slow interaction with the music player device.

My ideal scenario would be for the good folks at Request Audio to support this stuff natively on the ARQ-1. 

Does anyone out there have any other suggestions?

{ 43 comments… add one }

  • wilksy June 2, 2005, 4:16 am

    i think you need to look again at twonkyvison. I had it up and runing in about 2 mins, installation is really a case of putting a file in a directory and running it!. I have a philips streamium, which was useless with twonky. I have 20,000 odd mp3s and iy was taking 10mins+ to search for 1 track. Twonky does it under a second.
    The installtion is a breeze, although it might look confusing as it is quite configurable. out of the box works just fine.
    The UI has been untouched by me. I have found no use for it.
    Twonky can run as a service, not probs.
    All other software i've seen is seriously bloated and due to the speed of twonky it make the whole media streaming thing work.

    …and it only costs 10 euro
    Feel free to ask any questions regarding installation.

  • JP Hebert June 2, 2005, 5:04 am

    Hi Alec,

    Researching SW for the DLink DSM-320 (now at Costco!) one person on Amazon recommended http://www.tversity.com/ – might be worth a look, and for the time being is free (version 0.6….)

    'hope this helps.

  • Dik Spies November 11, 2005, 6:10 am

    I've also tried a lot of programs and the best for me was J. River's Media Center v11.
    This is a perfect program!


  • Alec November 11, 2005, 6:34 am

    Thanks Dik. I just checked out the website. It looks very good. Will look at it over the weekend.

  • sundance December 5, 2005, 12:49 am

    Hi Alec,
    did you find what you've been looking for by now?
    My needs are similar to yours so I'd like to know what you've choosen…

  • Alec December 5, 2005, 3:14 am

    For the time being, I'm sticking with TwonkyVision. I upgraded from their free server to the commercial version, though, because the search capabilities on the free server are too limited. Twonky's latest update includes a configuration tool, but it's still not super intuitive. However, of the servers on the market this is the smallest, fastest, and most reliable I've seen. It's more difficult to set up, but once set up it works better.

  • sundance December 7, 2005, 1:13 am

    I also came to the conclusion that TwonkyVision is worth a try.
    How many audio files do you distribute with their server?
    Are you using any software UPnP client to access the media (any recommendations here?) or just stand-alones?

  • Alec December 7, 2005, 4:10 am

    I distribute over 10,000 files. At the moment, these are just going to hardware based standalone media players. I access the files directly from other PC's using Windows Media Player if I want to play the files from a PC.

  • emo December 24, 2005, 6:07 am

    Alec – thanks for the info – I have the same requirements & have put up with Twonkyvision mainly because it is free (and I would only consider buying another software app if it came as part of a newer media device – and ditch my MP101). But Twonkyvision does hammer on my drives when I restart my PC & if I remote desktop to my PC it drops the MP101 (does not run as a service, like you state in your requirements). But I've got over 50,000 files indexed (thanks to years of emusic.com subscription!)

    Please let me know if you do find something better.

  • alex b March 31, 2006, 2:42 pm

    I would definitely go with the http://www.tversity.com/ which is the best I have found for what you listed as needing. However, it is still under development as well, but with the benefit of a large and involved user base. The support forums are very active as are the developers themselves on it. I have the DSN-320 and am still having some problems because of this getting internet radio streams to work (which is one of my big things), but nothing else is better, and most are worse. Other devices have worked better I hear. It's nice that is free for the time being. I think the next version should help fix some of problems from what I hear.

  • CoccoBill December 9, 2006, 1:54 pm

    Hi everybody.
    I've tried TVersity, but I had some trouble in getting my MP101 and Philips Streamium SLA5500 work together. Only ONE device at a time can access to the server. At the moment I'm mumbling about Twonky…

  • Alec December 9, 2006, 5:54 pm

    I've had good results with Twonky, but the latest upgrade has caused me problems accessing networked media sources. It wants all the files to be on a local hard disk.

  • Rolf December 16, 2006, 1:24 am

    Did you have a look at Musicmatch ?
    I recently installed the Noxon streaming client from Terratec. On their website they refer to Twonky media and Musicmatch (incl instructions). I tried both. The music match took about 5 minutes (incl switching on the service) and works perfect. Finally I use the Twonky media/audio in linux version on my server where the music is stored . This took a little longer 😉 but it runs forever. The only thing I am still wrestling with is to get the internet radio through my firewall. Via the Twonky it works, but the list is 'incomplete'.
    grtz, R

  • Mark December 27, 2006, 2:39 pm

    I'd put in another voice recommending JRiver's offering in this area. Good (active) support for the MP101.
    With this software I'm seriously considering getting another MP101 cheap (second hand).

  • Alec December 30, 2006, 8:37 am

    Hi Rolf and Mark — I looked at both MusicMatch and JRiver. There are two issues: one is support for the music being stored on a server elsewhere, and the second is running in background mode. The best I've found at this point is Twonky. However, the latest version no longer runs against a server (which they haven't been able to help me with) so I am downgrading to a previous version.

  • Peter January 2, 2007, 10:58 am

    Interesting read above. I have similar requirements and have found that Twonky is about as close as you can get. I have an AV Amp (Denon) with simple 3-4 line browsing, hence I need something which gives flexiblity when it comes to the tree structure for browsing. Twonky is so close, but can't do Album Artist (rather than track artist), which leaves me with a huge list of Artists that I don't recognise (from soundtracks and compliations). I think that since they were bought out (Oct time) the support has gone down hill. Hopefully this will improve. If I find anything better (still looking) I'll let you know.

  • Paskal January 5, 2007, 11:39 am

    Good to see that many are searching for a similar set-up as I'm doing. However, still no one has found the "holy grale" for a media server. Adding maybe one additional requirement: future compatability & support. I want to make a choice that has the best outlook for the (long-term) future. If I'm setting up my server with 10.000+ MP3's, and 5.000+ photos, I don't want to do that all over again due to the fact that suddenly development has halted. If that happens, you need to convert to a new set-up and thus Twonky is still not my choice. Their proprietary software sollution withholds me. Did anybody look into Jinzora?

  • LEW January 7, 2007, 11:48 am

    I have about 6000 tracks and store them on XIMETA network drive. This way I have access from any computer. I am using the following: 1)Musicmatch Jukebox 8.2. I am not using 10.0 because this version doesn't support multiple libraries and I need this feature for reasons other than listening music. UpNP server runs in backgrouns, it is not needed to run Musicmatch. Once UpNP option is activated, UpNP server starts when the system starts and runs forever. No problem with network drives. I am using OMNIFI client; all necessary information accessible and content presentation in form of album, artist, album/artis. genre and such. However, no playlist supported by OMNIFI 2) Twonky Music. Easy to install, almost unlimited configurability. Works with network drives, no problem. Nice thing is that it is possible to stream to any machine on the network that has Windows Media or WinAmp installed. Works fine with OMNIFI

    Currently I have both, but using Twonky as UpNP server; Musicmatch is used only to rip/edit CDs

  • LEW January 7, 2007, 5:08 pm

    To Pascal: About what "set up" you are talking about? All your MP3 and photos sit on dick drive. UpNP server "set up" is simple: just tell the server where is your media disk and folder. 10 minutes later you are done. This is true for all server I have tested.

  • Paskal January 8, 2007, 10:49 am

    To Lew: With set-up I meant, getting everything again the way it was after a long time of usage. For example: I like to listen to my music, organise it in playlists, and somethimes rate individual tracks for automatic playlists or quick access. All this information I want to have independent from the clients (and operating system) I'm using on whatever PC or device. So, on every device I want to be able to select my "four-star-rated" tracks (or photographs, or whatever media). This "meta data" about my media is often provided by the software sollution you are using. Windows Media Player or Apple iTunes store this in their own databases. Supose you have been doing this with Musicmatch, and after a couple of years the development of this software is halted. Microsoft has just launched the second successor of Windows Vista which doesn't run Musicmatch version 8.2. What would you do then? Keep your old PC with old Windows and Musicmatch 8.2 or find a new sollution? What about all the information (ratings, etc.) you would have created with Musicmatch 8.2? Just start over again?
    This is why I'm trying to find a sollution that is independent from the operating system and has an open approach to keeping the meta-data for my media and thus providing the best change for future conversion in a new platform. Maybe I'm paranoia or just asking too much? :-)

  • LEW January 8, 2007, 11:13 am

    To Pascal: Probably a paranoia. I am not using DOS computer any more, and I am not using WIndows 3.11. I have a lot of information stored on not readable media: 8 inch diskettes, 5 inch diskettes, 70 MB Bernoulli drives, ZipDisks or SyQuest disks. I was smart enough to copy the stuff. I will be not using Vista for some time. But this what I know: MP3 pretty likely will be MP3 for some time and JPG will be JPG for some time. And all this stuff sits on my network disk that is system independent. Well, I don't know too much about playlists since I don't use them (I listen classical music and for me CD is the "unit") but most likely this is not a big deal. The largest part of the work is actually creating your MP3 library, and this part of work does not depend on server and operating system.

    Ach, by the way, MP3 "plain" will be soon replaced by MP3pro and MP3surround, and I am building new library using FLAC (lossless encoding). Nothing lasts forever, and technology gets obsoleted very quickly… And I really don't care what will happen to MusicMatch 2 years from now. Or tomorrow.

  • Paskal January 8, 2007, 11:39 am

    To Lew: you're right. I'll put the time into listening instead of searching for the perfect sollution. I agree, most of the time went to conversion into MP3. I'll probably stay with Twonkyvision or GNUMP3. :-)

  • LEW January 8, 2007, 3:13 pm

    To Pascal: Good luck!

  • Jaak January 9, 2007, 2:30 pm

    I've tried different ones with my pc server and d-link dsm320 digital media receiver. D-links original server was slow, MS Media Connect 2.0 was slow, Media Player 11 is slow (nice for using locallly on fast PC).

    Twonky is VERY fast. I agree about not so user friendly UI, but it works very fine. Trying many servers I keep it.


  • Mateu January 19, 2007, 7:15 pm

    Google lead me here. Have you looked at slimserver? Not sure it meets all your needs, since I run it on Linux. But it's another option, anyway.


  • Best uPNP server January 28, 2007, 5:36 am


    I agree that Twonky is very good, but on my Helios X5000 it doesent work. The Twonky Music server work, but the full innstall refresh very often so i get back to the main menu before I find a file.

    I use now the EZlinkNG at http://www.ezlinkng.com/ and i works but the GUI could have been better.


  • Leffe April 25, 2007, 3:17 am

    Try TVersity. http://www.tversity.com/

    It handles my 30.000+ collection nicely… :-)
    Wonderful tagging features, also!


  • misha June 11, 2007, 6:30 am

    Any solution for uPnP server with Windows 2003 and ps3 ???

  • Zulan June 17, 2007, 4:40 am

    I tried TwonkyVision on windows 2003 x64 and it works fine!

  • Zulan June 17, 2007, 4:46 am

    Oh, I wanted to say that it works fine on ps3. I blame it on the party yesterday 😉

  • misha June 18, 2007, 4:07 pm

    Thanks Zulan,
    but for me not worked…

  • Paul August 10, 2007, 10:18 am

    any UNpN servers that work good with large amounts of data? Say A TB? I have the DSM-320RD, and need to find something that runs well and I can acutally organize! TVersity sounds cool,. I've tried it, but Can't get my files to play back on my DSM-320…It connects to it, but When I add files to the server on my desktop..nothing happens. Even when I go over to view the library on my deskptop, the added files don't appear. I might try twonky

  • Frank February 15, 2008, 10:50 am


    Just got a roku soundbridge couple of days ago. I've done many search and tried many different software (firefly, Windows Media Player, Nero, TVersity, etc)… None was either working great or doing what I was looking for. I read many comments here and I decide to give a try at J River Media.. and wow, this software/media server is awesome. I really suggest this one too.. first of all, it can share music that are on a network mapped drive. Also, It's really easy to make playlist. But the best option is that you make all the different kind of listing you want. By example, I added the possibility to navigate my music by year through.. More powerfull, I added the option to listen music by decade.. 70-79, 80-89, 90-99 etc..

    Jriver is without any doubt the most powerful media server!

  • Colin March 14, 2008, 11:16 pm

    I have just installed Jinzora. Setup I have now is 7.5k tracks installed on an SMB share on a Linux server. I have xbmc on an Xbox plugged in to my AV receiver and consequently can initiate play via xbox remote and TV or via xbmc's browser interface. With the addition of Jinzora I can play music locally via my laptop (am currently listening to The Doors while am typing this – have two firefox tabs open). Next step, I think, will be to acquire a Playstation Portable with the intention of using the PSP wireless browser to access Jinzora – less bulky than the laptop.

  • Matt May 14, 2008, 7:20 am

    TVersity works extremly well for me, and its free

  • dave May 18, 2008, 7:53 am

    Lots of UPnP servers out there;


    J. River Media Center
    Phillips Media manager


    Windows Media Player 11

    Slimserver and TVersity are some of the better ones.

  • Marcel June 6, 2008, 2:14 am

    Be sure not to forget to trie Swisscenter, at http://www.swisscenter.co.uk! Works perfectly and is updated frequently! Easy to use with a good UI!

  • Jeremy H. August 3, 2008, 12:40 pm

    I have found using the Synology NAS device to be a great way to centralize and store your media and data. It has a built-in UPnP server as well as iTunes.

    Many versions available. I use the DS-108j. Great little box and no more having storage restrictions as I do on my Dell PowerEdge 1300…An oldie but a great web server. PS. Use to run Philips Streamium software to run my D-Link 320. Slow software but as reliable as I can ask..Had Folder Watch function, which is mainly how my media is arranged.

  • Tjäna Pengar December 8, 2008, 6:17 am

    I also use the Synology NAS (DS-101J) and for the price this is a great way to centralize your media. The problem is on some PS3 updates the NAS stops working and it takes a while before there comes and firmware patch for the NAS.

  • Bryan Y December 31, 2009, 12:01 pm

    I have been using J. Media Music Center for a few years and love it for FLAC files. CUlrrently I am looking for a new product since it has issues with Windows 7. Note Windows Media will not play FLAC formats. This is my requirement.

  • Mark January 11, 2010, 1:45 pm

    check out Asset upnp dlna from Illustrate:

    from the guys that bring us DBPowerAmp and a bunch of other great audio tools. Asset beats the heck out of all the others mentioned here as it can run as a service, does transcode on the fly (great for my large collection of Musepack and FLAC files) and is simple to set up.

  • Carol April 11, 2011, 10:29 am

    Tversity sucks .. the only UnPn player that does what it sais is Samsung PC Share Manager (flawless on both TV and Mobile) and XBMC. Tversity sucks at both playing some formats on any devices and transcoding. I will go with Samsung PC Share and XBMC (xbmc.org)

  • Jonas August 28, 2011, 12:47 pm

    I have had great success with FreeNAS. The only caviot is that it requires a dedicated machine. Other than that it provides a number of streaming servers (all free) available with it such as iTunes and Windows Media sharing and MUCH more. It has a simple web interface once installed and very good detailed support on their site, forums, and chat.

    I realize that everyone has different needs based on what they are trying to do, but this one solved all of my needs for my HP Touchpad, iPad, Laptops, and PCs. Prior to that I fought with a lot of the soutions that have been mentioned in this post with both Server2003 and Win7(64 bit) and some devices would work and some wouldn't.

    I encourge those that have the time to check it out at http://www.freenas.org

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