Recommendation for external database server / skin

Hi all,

coming from Dune HD Max I’m upgrading to Vero 4K+. I’m completely new to OSMC and Kodi (my Vero 4K+ just arrived today) and would like you guys to recommend a solution for the following scenario:

With the Dune players I was used to host and manage a centralized catalog of movies and TV shows on my Windows Home Server. All players in the household could access the catalog and play the media stored on the Windows machine from the network share. I’m looking for a similar solution for the Vero 4K+ with Kodi, especially I don’t want to scrape and edit the catalog on the Vero itself but rather on the Windows machine.

My initial research tells me I should use Emby server on the Windows machine and the Emby sync addon for Kodi on the Vero. Am I correct or can you recommend a better/similar solution for what I’m trying to do?

Also about the skin. How do I install a different skin on the Vero 4K+ and are all the skins compatible with the “remote catalog” via Emby or similar media servers? Can you recommend a skin? It should be available in german and at least allow to display both the original and localized movie/TV show title… Thanks!

That can be done using either Kodi or some specific medimanagers on Windows with a central MySQL database (e.g on your NAS or the Vero.).

What’s wrong with the OSMC skin?

You could run mysql on the servermachine, install kodi and configure it to use mysql on all machines and map the same shares with network paths. that will let you use the same library on all installs. guide is on the wiki MySQL - Official Kodi Wiki

You can then set up different users in kodi one for each user, so that each can track what they have watched and continue from there…

As you are already running a Windows server using MySQL (you would actually probably install MariaDB) would give you the best Kodi experience. The only reason to use Emby (or Plex) is if you needed your library outside of your home. Even still you could run both from your Windows server. I run my MySQL for my house and have Plex installed on my Server so my daughter can connect to my library from her house. I have plex set to automatically scrape the same sources so I never have to touch that thing.

As far as not scraping on the Vero this should not be a problem. You can install Kodi on Windows and connect it to the same database. Any changes you make there propagate without issue in my experience. My preference though is to actually use the Kodi Web interface and kick a library scan off with that. After adding new media I just open my web browser, hit a shortcut to the library scan, and i’m done in a matter of seconds. When I need to tweak something then I normally just open Kodi in Windows to take care of that.

I run a centralized server running Mezzmo on Windows 10 and serving up content via DLNA. I have a huge video and music database with over 300TB of storage. Mezzmo has an extremely flexible database to allow you to customize what Kodi sees, share data across all client devices, allows customization of content for clients, and much more. I host 4K UHD with no issues across Wi-Fi and wired to multiple Vero 4K+, LibreElec and Android clients. I find DLNA solutions like Mezzmo, Plex and similar easier to manage and maintain vs. SQL running on Kodi. They also have web interfaces, metadata scrapers, Android clients and much more. My 2 cents worth.

If you do this, each profile/user has to have their own copy of the database since the current MySQL database does not track watched status per user.

We also need to think of the difference between users and clients. To track users some form of login or user tracking is required so that if a user moves from one client to another you are able to track the user vs. the client device. If users never move between devices then this isn’t an issue but I’ve not found that to be the normal usage pattern except for mobile devices.

What is the point of running Kodi in your setup? If you are exclusively browsing dlna shares and casting what is the benefit of using a full blown Kodi client vs. just a smart TV or Firestick? Last time I looked Kodi did not have library integration of dlna sources and without that I personally don’t see much appeal in going that route.

Actually I see a DLNA server with Kodi as the best of both worlds and a very strong combination. Kodi is a superb DMR DLNA rendering device. I tried some of the manufactured solutions like Netgear, WD Live etc. Kodi beats them hands down. Also many of the DLNA servers (including Mezzmo) have a Kodi addon which extends it further to add more functionality. DLNA servers are great at serving up multiple content streams, organizing data and more.

I have tested over 200mbps of streaming to clients across 5 streams simultaneously (a combination of UHD and Blue-Ray rips) via Wi-Fi and wired with the DLNA server barely breathing hard. I don’t have to deal with NFS mounts and other issues I often see here. I also have a full OTA integration with a Kodi PVR client and SiliconDust’s HW/SW combination. I often have 3 or more DVR recordings going at a time while serving content or watching live TV. I have 8 OTA tuners. It’s all a pretty seamless solution.

The original poster said they already had a server running WHS, which is a fairly standard DLNA platform although most folks are moving to Win 10 since MS is moving away from WHS long term (or at least they keep hinting at it).

Windows Home Server is a dead product and MS have stated it is not coming back.

My question with dlna wasn’t about the backend though. When I use my library I have lots of information, searching, watched status tracking, etc. which to me is the primary reason to use Kodi vs. some other player. I like the way it acts, and I like the way I can make it look however I want. When I pull up a dlna source in Kodi though it is just browsing folders with thumbnails and honestly it just seems like a huge step backwards. A few years back it looked like Kodi was going to go all in with dlna and integrate with the library so you could have the same experience with these types of sources but that seems to have been completely abandoned and what we are left with is exactly the same as I can get with WebOS on my TV.

Don’t get me wrong, i’m not trying to argue a point. I have seen a few people posting here that they really dig using dlna. I just don’t get it, and I was wondering if there was something I was missing (on the UI side) that makes the experience better for the people who are actually using it vs. what i’ve seen.

Thanks a lot for all the useful replies! I have successfully set up MySQL on my windows machine and am managing the database from a Kodi client on my Laptop. For fine tuning the database I’m using Ember media manager and the Kodi web interface. This is fun :smile:. Thanks for the head start!

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Localization is being worked on for the skin strings that are not yet available in other languages than English.
Showing both translated and original title of TV shows and movies was something I’ve thought about before as well. Will check some time how this could be achieved and where it would be useful to put that information.

I agree with you that basic DLNA browsing is limited. However, modern database driven DLNA servers and Kodi Addons like Mezzmo provide much more capability and can do all of what you mentioned and more. My goal was a centrally manage publish once and read many times approach. With Mezzo I have an extremely extensible database that allows me to organize my content in any way I want, change how it is presented to each client, time of day restrictions, parental controls and so much more. Dynamic and smart playlists automate much of the data organization. Full user defined search capabilities are there but I rarely use them because the database organization is so good. Full metadata scraping and support is there along with playing trailers etc. On the fly media transcoding is included but I don’t use it because Kodi’s codec support is so good.

It has live stream capture integrated for Internet based streams (or even your own home video monitoring). Plugins exist for Internet radio stations, podcasts and more. I wrote my own Mezzmo plugin which allows playing, searching and organizing all iHeart radio stations on the Internet including by genre, location and adding user defined favorites for your own preferred stations.

Anyway, it looks like the ooriginal poster has a solution. My point was simply that some DLNA services have really advanced far beyond the original browsing (although as you point out, some are still limited to that) and can be a very powerful solution depending upon your needs.

I’m running Emby since a while with the Emby-sync addon. Works OK most of the time. Still some issues (e.g. with Trakt) but the developer(s) are usually quite responsive.

I used to run a MySQL solution but that is AFAIK officially not a supported solution and you like some nice features like metadata editing which is possible in Emby.

Install addons and search for skins. If you cannot find one to your likings you can either download one and install from zip or add a new repo which contains the skin.
Skins usually just display the metadata they have (possibly with some additions from other plugins) so all should be compatible with Emby AFIAK. Not sure about the possibility of displaying both original and localized movie/TV show title. Emby and Kodi do not support this AFAIK. Metadata grabbers usually are configured to show only 1 of those.
The skin I’m currently running is Estuary Mod V2 (Estuary is the default Kodi skin); it’s a souped-up/tweaked version of Estuary. You can find it here with installation instructions: GitHub - Guilouz/repository.guilouz: Guilouz's addons repository

Just remember that DLNA won’t easily work across subnets, so if you partition your local network you might have a problem.

Agreed, the discovery multicast broadcast packets may not replicate across a router unless enabled to do so. Enabling multicast or pointing clients directly at the DLNA server will resolve. I like the TCP/IP DLNA performance. No issues with NFS shares and similar to deal with. I run UHD over 5Ghz wireless with no issues, even with concurrent streams going to multiple Vero 4K+ clients.

Thanks that sounds great. When do you think this could be available? Looking for something similar to my “old” Dune skin…

If and when this ever becomes a feature it would be nice to be able to choose which title is the ‘main’ title and which is the ‘translation’ – e.g. although I am a native English speaker (and my interface is in English) the majority of my library is non-english language films, and I prefer to identify them by their original titles rather than the English ‘translation’. I hope that makes sense.

I’m not sure that would work: showing the original title in library views. I’m quite sure Kodi does sort by primary title which would normally be the title in your own language - depending on what you’ve configured in your scraper. If Kodi does indeed always sort by the primary title in your library, we’d show a title that isn’t used for sorting. I hope, you see the issue. I’d rather add it as a secondary information in the video info dialog.
Would have to think about whether there’s space and a good place to also add the original title to the normal library views.

Sure, I get that it probably needs to be fundamental feature of Kodi, rather than just the skin, to able to sort by original title etc. Still, it would be useful to be able to at least see the original title where possible.

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