Raspberry Pi as a media server and torrent box.

A few weeks back I bought a Raspberry Pi 2 with a vague idea of using it as a device for downloading torrents and streaming videos. Using a PC for this work seems like an overkill. But work, travel and other stuff didn’t leave enough time and I could work on this project only for a few minutes every week. There were  a few problems and it delayed the whole project further. But after some effort, almost everything is ready and working fairly well. There are still some things which need to be sorted out, but it meets my needs for now. I will keep on tinkering to improve and sort out the kinks. This post is about the equipment, it’s configuration and use. I am not writing down all the details as most of procedures I used are easily found on internet. To begin with, I bought the following stuff:

Raspberry Pi 2 Board.
A plastic case.
Power adapter and USB cable.
A USB WiFi adapter.
HDMI cable.
HDMI to VGA adapter.
Cat5 Ethernet cable.
A memory card with OS pre-installed.
A pen drive I already had. Will replace it later with a hard disk.
Used keyboard, mouse and monitor of my existing PC.

1st Phase, WiFi:

First step of the project was to assemble everything and connecting it up to a monitor which was trivial. essentially it becomes a matchbox sized personal computer. As the seller had already installed an OS on it, I just booted and started working. But the WiFi adapter included just refused to work. I must have spent more time on this adapter troubleshooting than rest of the steps combined. Then I gave up on it, reset the system and downloaded a new version of OS. Surprisingly my older and new USB Wifi adapters both worked fine without any need of installing any drivers.
2nd Phase, Command Line and GUI access:

Once connectivity issue was solved, I configured SSH server and installed NoMachine for remote GUI login as unplugging and plugging in monitor and keyboard wires was becoming annoying. SSH had some problem in beginning, but was fixed easily. After this, I could access the Raspberry from my phone and PC. NoMachine can also be used from android.
3rd Phase, External Storage :

Adding this was pretty straight forward. Make a folder, mount it, apply necessary permissions and make it mount on every boot.
4th Phase, Torrent client :

Installed a torrent client, Transmission. I needed a torrent client which can be accessed via a web GUI. There are 3-4 options available and I tried them all before settling on Transmission. I still can’t get the web interface to run on every boot, but I am working on it and hopefully will be able to sort it out soon. I also tried Deluge and rTorrent, but wasn’t really satisfied with them. In the meanwhile, Transmission works fairly well.
5th Phase, External IP access:

Another step which I still haven’t figured out is how to allow access to Raspberry from an external network. I have downloaded and installed NoIp client which works well. But for some reason, port forwarding is not working as it should. So I can control the setup only when I’m connected to home network. It’s not really a big issue right now and I expect it to be solved soon.

6th Phase, Media Server:

Next step is to stream the videos to my TV and android tablet. Thankfully, it’s a smart TV so there is no need to buy another gadget like Chromecast to enable networking. Enabling this feature on Raspberry pi was achieved by installing MiniDLNA. Takes 2-3 minutes to install and configure. My android tablet can stream movies to TV but can’t play streaming videos by default. I tried ES File Explorer first which worked, but didn’t really liked it that much as it seemed too bloated. Installed iMediaShare which works pretty well.

So this is the basic overview of my new setup of downloading movies and watching them on TV and android tablet. I can access media on my Raspberry Pi, Tablet and  Still needs some fine tuning but does the job for now.

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