I’m getting tired of streaming services when I have media on my machine that I’d like to stream. Having things gathered up allows for a more reliable source for the media. I also wanted to have a uniform experience across devices accessing my own personal media library.

Finally, I wanted the option to extend access to my media library in the future in a way that is at once secure but also not overly cumbersome for friends trying to just watch a movie or whatever. This external access is an aspirational goal for the future.

Problems with the old way: VLC

Previously I would use VLC to stream video to other devices. VLC can supposedly stream to Chromecasts via choosing it as the Renderer output in VLC. However, there are specific codec requirements for the Chromecast and there’s the option to use something like Chromecastize to attempt to convert the library in advance to stream more quickly. Streaming on the go can be time-intensive and who wants to bother looking up ffmpeg errors when the script invariably encounters some media that requires intervention to continue conversion.

The Alternative: Jellyfin

Jellyfin is an open-source way to access media on a network. It’s a service that basically does the same thing that Plex does without the extras.

There are ways to get it to work over the internet, but this is not interesting to me. This post is intended to briefly address the little troubles I ran into along the way getting this program working on a LAN.


I won’t bore you with installation details, apart to say that allowing network access is important. I’m new to Jellyfin, so it also took me a slightly embarassing amount of time to realize that network settings aren’t under settings per se but under “Dashboard”.

I also wanted to say that this service does not require your router to be set up in UPNP (Universal Plug and Play), which is good! I had put off exploring this for some time because I was under the impression that the router had to be in some configuration I consider undesirable. This is not the case! Yay!

Network Configuration

I had to make sure my windows machine (the media server running Jellyfin) believed the network was a Private network. I had previously set it to public. Oops!

Similarly, on Linux, any firewall settings had to allow for connections over the port chosen for the Jellyfin connection.

On the server side, filtering can be enabled. I think this it could be a good idea to whitelist a number of known “safe” devices, especially if I ever do decide to open things up to the wider internet.

Quirks on iPhone

Android is well-supported but iPhone appears to not be able to cast to the Chromecast when it is running Jellyfin as a connected device.

This barely matters as the Android Jellyfin app is able to connect to the Jellyfin server and one only has to use the Chromecast remote for media control.


After working out quirks, the system is quite nice for accessing my personal library without having to use an ineffecient option like copying the files over (i.e. Dropbox or external drives) or using software which can feel inconsistent (VLC, ffmpeg, and all the rest of the myriad details of video encoding/conversion).

I am hosting a movie night tonight and we shall see how smoothly the user experience is then.