One of the best Media Servers tested in the last period is Emby, provided free of charge and with an open source license, capable of providing all the necessary tools to be able to view the contents of our multimedia collection without having to move files from a device to ‘other.
In this guide we will show you how to install Emby, how to configure it and how to access its resources from Smart TV, from other PCs or from mobile devices (smartphones and tablets).
Complete guide to Emby
In the following chapters of the guide we will show you how to integrate the Emby Media Server on our computer (which will act as a server for the whole network) and how to view the content addressed to other devices on the network (first of all TVs, but also other PCs and devices mobile).
How to install Emby
Emby can be downloaded for free on all PCs with Windows; alternatively we can download it on a Mac, on a computer with GNU / Linux or on a NAS device, network units specialized in storing data and making it available to all connected devices.
For the guide we will show you how to install it on Windows, but the steps to follow are practically the same also on other operating systems.
Once the setup downloaded from the site has started, it will ask us to install missing add-ons (provided they are not already present on the computer); after this phase it will start extracting and installing the actual server.
After a few minutes the installation will end and we will see a browser window open, together with a firewall request (to be accepted). What we will find ourselves in front of is the management interface of the Media Server (we are not browsing the Internet, but loading a local Web interface).
We choose the Italian language in the bulleted list and press on Next; in the next window we choose an access password for the interface, we also memorize the username (we will need it later) and click on Next.
In the next screen we will have to insert the collections or multimedia folders that we want to be indexed by the server.
We press on Add Media Library, we choose the type of content to be indexed (Movies, TV Shows etc.), choose a name to be given to the collection and finally press the + symbol next to the item Folders to add folders where movies or TV shows are present.
Once added one or more folders, we scroll in the window to set the indexing engines, which will provide a cover image and other useful information on the contents.
Make sure to set all the fields displayed in Italian and to tick the items under the section Movie metadata downloaders; to conclude we scroll the window again, choose whether to download the Italian subtitles and conclude the configuration by pressing the button OK.
We will return to the screen to add the libraries: if we do not have to add other elements, we press the button Next to continue.
In the new screen we set again the entries in Italian for the metadata and press again on Next to open the remote connections screen, where we can safely remove the check marks present.
At the end we press on Next, we accept the conditions of use by placing a check mark on the item I accept the terms of service and conclude the configuration by pressing on Next is Finish.
The contents included in the Emby collections will be analyzed and shown on the server complete with a poster and information on the film or TV series (preview, year, producer, user rating, etc.).
Adding or removing video files from indexed folders Emby will modify the collection in real time, so that we can always have just the material we want to index just a click away.
To access the server settings, click on the gear symbol at the top right (Settings).
To facilitate access to the newly configured new Emby server, we retrieve the IP address of the PC or device on which we have installed it; we can get help from our guides Find another computer’s IP address is Network and IP scanners to find connected computers.
View Emby content from TV or Smart TV
The first device that we recommend configuring to access the resources indexed by Emby is definitely the TV in the living room or in any other room in the house.
Luckily the Emby reader is available as app to be installed on most Smart TVs, especially on the Samsung and LG models.
Once we find the app, install it on our Smart TV, start it and log in to the server indicated on the main screen (we will have to enter the username and password configured during the server installation).
If we can’t find the Emby server, make sure that the Smart TV is connected to the home network via Ethernet or via Wi-Fi, then enter the IP address and port number of the server in the app’s start screen ( that is basic 8096).
Once we get access to the server, we can start any multimedia content using the TV remote control; if we stop viewing before the end of the film, the server will remember where we were staying and the next time we access it it will ask us if we want to resume viewing from the exact point.
If we have a Smart TV but the Emby app is not present, we can start playing the content via the DLNA server offered by Emby as a base: connect the TV to the home network, start the multimedia content management interface or press the button Source (or Source) and select the DLNA Emby server, which will show you all the contents indexed even without using the specific app. To learn more about DLNA, we invite you to read our guide on how See Movies and videos on Smart-TV from PC, web and smartphone.
If we don’t have a Smart TV, we can fix it by connecting a Android TV Box (also Fire TV is fine) via HDMI and installing the app Emby for Android. Alternatively we can use the Amazon Fire TV Stick (on which the server is available as a native app) or the Chromecasts (to be used together with an Android smartphone and the Emby app for Android) to start the indexed content.
View the contents of Emby from other PCs
If we want to view the contents of Emby on another computer, all we have to do is start the file manager (on Windows it is the app File Explorer), access the computer resources (section This PC) and click on the DLNA server with the Emby icon and with the name chosen at the time of configuration (in the section Network paths).
After the click we will have access to all the folders and indexed videos: to start playback, simply double-click on the chosen file, so as to open the default operating system player. If we don’t know which player to use to view the contents indexed by Emby, we advise you to read our guide to Alternatives to Windows Media Player.
If we use Windows 10 we can also download the Emby Theater app, which can automatically connect to the Emby server on the network and show the contents as if we were in front of the TV.
View the contents of Emby from your smartphone or tablet
Do we want to enjoy one of our films or TV series indexed on Emby from tablets or smartphones? All we have to do is install the Emby app, available for free for Android and iOS / iPadOS.
To view the content, simply add the Emby server on our network (also manually via IP and port number) and enter the login credentials. The features are practically identical to those seen on the TV app, with the ability to pause or stop watching and resume it at a later time.
Emby is probably the best media server that we can install on our network, since it allows you to target any multimedia content in an extremely precise way and to provide useful features such as the restoration of interrupted content, the dynamic choice of quality based on resolution and device in use, the integrated DLNA server and the transcoding system for incompatible files (very useful on old Smart TVs or on Chromecast).
A good alternative to Emby is Plex, as we have seen in ours Complete guide to Plex, the media player with active transcoding and in How to download Plex on PC, TV, Android, iOS, NAS.
If we are looking for other similar servers, we advise you to read our in-depth analysis Guide to DLNA servers.