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Linux and Video Storage Server Setup

written by: Matthew Ruane•edited by: Eric Stallsworth•updated: 6/8/2011

Using VLC on Linux enables you to setup a simple, cost effective video storage and streaming server for your local network. With a few simple steps your Linux system can serve any computer on your network with hours of video content.

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    Making a Video Storage Server With Linux

    Linux and video storage servers play nice when handled correctly. Linux is a very secure operating system (kernel arguments aside) and can do pretty much anything you want it to, provided you know how to make it do it. Using Linux as a video storage server can also allow you to stream videos over the network. Using the open source, multiplatform media player, it is quite easy to stream video content from your Linux server. Let's focus on using VLC to create a simple video server in Linux.

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    Streaming Video Content from VLC

    If your Linux distribution does not already have VLC installed, grab it from your distributions repository. Once it is installed and working you will be able to begin creating a live video stream from your Linux server. VLC is a very versatile application, and is prepared to playback almost any video format you can find. With VLC, you will be able to watch your video content from any computer with VLC installed, and control the playlist and playback settings from an intuitive web interface.

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    Preparing The Server

    So, now for the good stuff. Open VLC and access the Open File dialogue by clicking File > Open File. Your file browser will be displayed, allowing you to search out the files you wish to use. To make this part easier on yourself, it may be a good idea to store all of the video files you wish to stream from your Linux server in one folder.

    You can select multiple files to open by holding the Ctrl key while clicking.

    Once you are satisfied with your selection(s), tick the checkbox labeled 'Stream Output'. Now we get to set up the stream.

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    FInalizing Settings

    Still within the 'Settings' dialogue, tick the checkbox labeled UDP, and type in the IP address of the computer you want to accept the stream. So, now the hard part is done (I know, it wasn't hard at all). Just click the 'OK' button to close the 'Settings' Dialogue and then 'OK' to close the 'Open File' dialogue. Now you can enable the web interface in VLC by clicking Settings > Add Interface > Web Interface.

    To open play the stream from your new server on your computer, install VLC if it is not already installed. Once VLC is running on this computer, click File > Open Network Stream. The stream will automatically load and begin playing. To control the playback and other settings, point your web browser to http://your-server-ip-address:8080. For example, if your Linux server with your video storage has the IP address, you would type This will load the VLC web interface.

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    Controlling Your Linux Video Server

    Within the VLC web interface you can remotely control the VLC player on your Linux Video Storage Server, just as if you were using the server itself. This will work great for local networks, however some additional modifications may be necessary in order to access your server outside of your network. In addition to using your servers public ip address, you may need to place the server outside of the DMZ, beyond the protection of any firewall which may be active on your router.