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Media Browser Architecture Overview

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Posted 04 September 2013 - 09:59 AM

Media Browser Universe

mb3overall.jpg

 

With version 3, Media Browser is no longer a single program that runs under Windows Media Center.  It is now a complete suite of products anchored by a server engine that can centrally manage your library and feed multiple clients on multiple platforms.

 
Therefore, it is a bit more complicated than previous versions but we're doing everything we can to keep it simple and easy to install and setup.  There are some good tutorials being created to help you with step by step instructions on installation and configuration.  Look for those in the Tutorials and Guides section of the Knowledge Base.
 
This document will help you understand the big picture of the system, some of its key components as well as which of those components should be installed for your particular situation.
 
 
 
Media Browser 3 components
 
Media Browser 3 is made up of a server program that manages your whole library and any of a number of client applications with which to view and play content.
 
Media Browser Server
 
This is a windows-based application that should be installed on one machine on your network to manage your entire library and feed all of your clients.  You only need this on one machine on your network, and that machine needs to be available with the server running for any of the clients to be able to access your media.
 
Media Browser Theater
 
This will be the new premier HTPC client for Media Browser.  It is a stand-alone program that does not require WMC or specialized codecs in order to view and play your media.  It is currently in development and not available for testing yet.
 
Media Browser Classic
 
This is the new Media Center client for MB3.  It looks and behaves much like the old MB 2.x and still relies on WMC for its presentation and playback.  If you are coming from MB 2 and like or need WMC for its other features, this client will allow you to stay in that environment.
 
MBC also has many of the themes you have come to love under MB 2 available for it.
 
The Dashboard
 
The Dashboard is the new web-based configuration interface for Media Browser Server.  It is a centralized hub for configuring your library, user profiles, metadata options, plug-ins, etc.  Being web-based, it is accessible from many different platforms including mobile phones and tablets.
 
Web Client
 
Within the Dashboard interface there is also a fully-featured web client for MB 3.  This client gives you a very rich interface into your media library including advanced views and searching capability.
 
It is also web-based so it is fully mobile-compatible and can be used to browse and play your collection, and can even communicate with and control clients connected to the server. Remote features vary by client.
 
Other MB3 Clients
 
In addition, there are several other MB clients currently in development. There are specific clients for the following platforms:
 
- Android
- Windows/RT
- Roku Streaming Media Player
- iOS
 
 
 
Example Installations
 
The following are a few example installation scenarios and what you need in each one.  These are just a few examples - there are many possible configurations but the one thing each one has in common is that you will need one, and just one, installation of MB Server for any Media Browser 3 installation.
 
Single HTPC
 
If you only need to access your media on one computer, you can do that! You can have the MB Server, and MB Classic or MB Theater (coming soon) installed on the same computer, along with all of your media files.
 
Local Network with basic HTPC(s)
 
If you have more than one computer on your network, you can install the MB Server on your primary HTPC only, and install MB Classic or MB Theater (coming soon) on the others. In addition, the computers on your network can also access the Media Browser Web Client. With User Profiles, you can control what media collections each user has access to.
 
Advanced Local Network with multiple types of clients and NAS
 
Maybe your network is a little more complicated. If your media is stored on an NAS, and you've got tablets, smartphones and a Roku you want to view your media on, MB3 can handle that with ease. Simply install MB Server on a PC and direct it your network storage shares. Then, install your choice of MB clients on your other computers and devices.
 
Local and WAN access

 

In addition to being able to access the MB Server from any computer or client on your network, you can expand your reach to anywhere you are connected to the internet by configuring your router to forward the ports used by the Server.


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