How to make Android a Media Server

An image of a man accessing Kodi on his mobile phone
Transform Your Android Device into a Powerful Media Server

Don’t break the bank on new hardware for a media center when you already have the solution right in front of you.

Unlock the hidden potential of your forgotten Android device tucked away in a drawer.

Transform your old Android device into a media server to save time, space, and money on your electricity bill.

Yes, you heard it right – your Android device can be configured to stream content to compatible devices within your home network, and chances are, it’s already loaded with your cherished collection of music and movies.

You may have heard of Android set-top boxes that stream online videos, but why spend on new hardware when you can repurpose your existing Android phone?

The process is effortless – just install the appropriate media server software, and you are good to go.

Although it’s possible to run it on battery power, it’s recommended to keep your old Android device plugged in for a more reliable solution.

So dust off that old Android phone, give it a quick charge and let it shine once again as a valuable media server.

It’s time to put it to good use and unlock its untapped potential.

What is a media server?

A media server is an application that facilitates the connection and management of media files on other devices using a widely used protocol called DLNA.

For Android users, Kodi stands out as a prime example of a reliable media server.

However, it’s important to note that you will need to install a compatible media streaming application on your Android device to fully utilize Kodi or any other media server.

Even if you are a Windows user, you can still stream media to your Android device with ease.

Simply download a media player designed for Windows, which is available for free, and install it on your Android device.

Once you have set up the application, you are all set to start enjoying your media content.

For Windows users looking to access their Windows computer, Plex is a recommended option that offers greater convenience compared to Kodi.

However, do keep in mind that you will still need to install a media player designed for Android alongside Plex to ensure seamless media streaming.

How to connect to media server on Android

Enhancing the media prowess of your Android device can be achieved through the installation of an authorized media server application.

In this article, we will delve into the various types of media servers available and how to establish a connection with them.

If you have already installed Kodi on your device, you can take advantage of its capability to connect to a DLNA server.

The best part is that this method is not limited to Android devices, as it is also supported on Windows.

To get started, you will need to enable DLNA on your device and then install a free media player app specifically designed for Android.

Once the app is successfully installed, it will automatically establish a connection with your media server, allowing you to effortlessly access and view its content on your device.

It’s a seamless process that requires minimal effort.

Best media server app for Android

If you are looking to transform your Android device into a media server, there are several tools available to you.

But the question is, which one should you go for?

Among the various options, Kodi stands out as a top choice.

With Kodi, you can easily convert your Android device into a powerful media server.

It offers a wide range of features and customization options, making it a popular choice among users.

Another great option is BubbleUPnP, which allows you to cast media to any DLNA/UPnP-ready device, such as a smart TV, game console, or streaming device.

It provides seamless media streaming and offers a user-friendly interface.

In this article, we will take a closer look at each of these options in detail, and explore why setting up a Plex server on an Android device may not be worth your time.

So, let’s dive in and explore the best media server tools for Android.

How to install Kodi on Android

An image of the Kodi interface

To enable UPnP in Kodi on Android, follow these steps:

  1. Tap on the Settings cog icon.
  2. Access the Services menu in Kodi on Android.
  3. Click on Services, then select UPnP / DLNA.
  4. Switch on the Enable UPnP support option.
  5. Similarly, switch on the Share “my Libraries” option.
  6. Your Kodi server is now ready to use. To access it, you’ll need another device running Kodi on the same network.

How to setup Kodi on Android

  1. Open Kodi on the second device.
  2. Click on Videos, then select Files, and click on Add videos.
  3. Select Browse.
  4. Look for UPnP devices in the list.
  5. You should see the Kodi device listed, along with its IP address.
  6. Add the UPnP source in Kodi on Android by selecting it and clicking OK.
  7. You can repeat the process to add the server as a source for music, or any attached devices as sources.
  8. To play media from the Kodi server, go to Videos, then Files, and select the Kodi server.
  9. You’ll be able to browse the library and play your chosen media.
  10. Note that using the Kodi client app instead of the HTTP interface on a browser will give you better results.

How to use Bubbleupnp Android

An image of the Bubbleupnp interface on Android

If for some reason you do not like using Kodi, BubbleUPnP is a viable option.

It allows you to set up your Android device as a network source for devices such as set-top boxes, networked Blu-ray players, and game consoles.

Keep in mind that BubbleUPnP lacks a library or browsing option. You need to have the media cued and ready to play on your Android device before initiating playback.

You can easily get BubbleUPnP for free by downloading it.

Here’s how to use BubbleUPnP:

  1. Launch BubbleUPnP.
  2. Browse through your device and select the media you want to play.
  3. Tap the Cast button to choose a destination.

Once the media starts playing through your TV you can use the BubbleUPnP app to control playback or the remote control.

How to use Plex media server on Android

An image of the Plex media server interface on Android

Plex on Android can be a bit confusing with its two options: the client app and the server app.

However, the server app is exclusive to Nvidia Shield devices, though some users have reported finding workarounds or using build.prop hacks to bypass Play Store restrictions for non-Shield devices labeled as “incompatible.”

Nonetheless, the reliability of the Plex Server app for Android is questionable based on our testing.

We tried streaming from an Android-powered Plex Server to another Android device set up as a client, as well as from a Windows PC, but encountered issues.

On the other hand, when exploring the Plex client app for Android, we discovered a Sharing menu in the Settings screen that includes an option to “Advertise as server.

Enabling this feature allows other Plex apps to stream content that is synced to the device.

However, it’s important to note that this feature only applies to content streamed from Plex and does not extend to files stored on your Android phone, which cannot be accessed from another Plex client.

Conclusion

Although Android devices boast impressive hardware and networking capabilities for media serving, the selection of media server apps is somewhat limited.

However, Kodi rises to the challenge and remains a reliable option, while Plex is poised to potentially offer a formidable alternative in the future.

On the other hand, if your goal is simply to stream media from your Android device to a Chromecast or DLNA device, BubbleUPnP is the perfect choice for a seamless experience.