Streaming media from a Drobo FS to PS3 or iPad or iPhone

After months and months of grueling searches, annoying config files, and very little success, I’ve finally uncovered the solution to streaming media from my Drobo FS to other devices in my home (e.g. my Playstation 3 and my iPad).

I’m posting the solution here in hopes of helping others in my situation, because I cannot believe how difficult it was to find, and how dead-simple it was to implement. It’s simply maddening I spent six months living with the problem and only 5 minutes to finally solve it.

The solution?

Install Media Tomb on your Drobo FS. That’s it. I’m not even joking.

You can read on to learn the backstory and hear additional details about my debacle.

The Back-story…

I spent a lot of months (a few hours here or there, on and off) trying to make FUPPES work as my media streaming solution. It’s promoted on the Drobo Apps page, after all, and so I assumed it was the only correct answer available. I tried every combination of search strings I could think of to solve my problem, like “Drobo FS and PS3″ and “Stream media from Drobo FS” and “Drobo FS DLNA server” and got nowhere…

Then, after recently getting an iPad, I decided to search “Drobo FS iPad” to see if there were any neat tips for accessing or managing my Drobo via iPad. While I didn’t find anything of that nature, I did uncover this article about how great the Drobo FS is at everything EXCEPT streaming media, which only further cemented my feelings about the situation.

However, as I got to the bottom of the article I noticed two lonely comments, the first of which simply made a casual reference to MediaTomb and linked to http://drobo.jhah.net/apps/mediatomb/start.

I couldn’t believe it. Nowhere else, in all my searching, had I even heard of the open-source application… and here’s this guy simply saying, “I had better luck with this”. Understatement of the century!

MediaTomb isn’t just a UPNP NDLA video streaming solution for the Drobo FS…

MediaTomb is the Only  Solution…

This is such a better solution for Drobo FS and media sharing than FUPPES. I’d say the biggest benefit is that it actually works (unlike FUPPES), and it requires no configuration (unless you wanted to do the same alteration I mention below). And, best of all, unlike FUPPES which can take hours to update its database after you manually tell it to do so, MediaTomb updates the database quickly and automatically.

It took about 5 minutes for me to install on my Drobo (3 of which were remembering how to even access the Drobo Apps admin), and another 2 minutes to disable the auto-scan running on the entire file system and instead enable an auto-scan for only my Media share. Within about 60 seconds I was able to access all 200 of my full-length movies on my Drobo directly from my PS3 (no extra setup needed there) and via my iOS devices (using Meia Link Player Lite). Plus, any time a file is added/removed/changed those changes will be made instantly and automatically to the database.

Did this help you?

Please sound off in the comments!

39 comments on “Streaming media from a Drobo FS to PS3 or iPad or iPhone

  1. Brian,
    I had very similar experience. My frustration level was pretty high until I finally found your site. Your comments about FUPPES are spot-on. It also amazes me that Drobo doesn’t work more closely with developers to integrate 3rd party applications into their products; to make great products even more appealing.

    I uninstalled FUPPES and installed MediaTomb and with a little bit of exploring the interface, I was able to get it working!

    Thanks for your article.

    • Bingo! I’m going to see if I can get in touch with someone at Drobo and get them to trade out their links to FUPPES for MediaTomb.

      Happy to hear my article helped you!

    • if you go to your dhcp table on your router, you will see what the drobo’s ip address is. mine is 192.168.1.192. so to access mediatomb after installing you go to (in my case) http://192.168.1.192:49152 and that pulls up the configuration panel for mediatomb. you need to drop in what your drobo’s ip address is on your local network.

    • I haven’t heard of Plex, but their website looks fantastic! From the sounds of it, you would need to have a computer running it at all times in order to access the media on your Drobo via your other devices, just like you would need iTunes running on your computer in order to browse it’s library from other devices.

      MT, on the other hand, is running on the Drobo itself, which is always running. So, within about 5 minutes you can have a fully-functional media server, ready to stream your movies, music and photos to any compatible device (e.g. PS3, iOS devices, etc.).

  2. Man this sounds like I found the right app. Now all I have to do is figure out how to run it. hahah along with FTP app. I have no clue how to even start running the apps. I’m probably intermediate level of tech savvy. But networking isn’t my forte. Do you know of any novice guides to help with this? I’d greatly appreciate it. Are these apps mostly command lines you have input?

  3. THANK YOU for this article. Having found this, I charged in and installed MediaTomb on my new DroboFS, and it is working like a dream, and has enabled me to stream my kids shows from the Drobo to whatever device is closest to the kids. Watching shows on the iPad together while in our pyjamas is now a happy treat.

  4. Hi, thanks for this useful article. Which video formats work out of the box with MediaTomb?

    I ripped my DVD collection to MKVs using MakeMKV and I’d like to be able to stream them to my iOS devices and Apple TV without using a PC to transcode as well (as much as I love Plex, I would prefer not to have a PC running all the time). Cheers

  5. Great help!!, Fuppes barely works for me , I have 2 drobos , seagate theater + for streaming *(hard wired) via a switch. Been on the phone with drobo several times. they told me to reset my system ( wipe out 3+ TB of media) and start over.I m going to try this and report back . THANKS BILL!!

    one question : How do I disable the auto-scan running on the entire file system and enable an auto-scan for only my Media share ? is this in dashboard Admin settings? Or can I just uninstall fuppes and install MediaTomb?

    Thank you all

  6. Hi Brian,

    Please excuse me I am not a super user, I am trying to do the same. I have the drobo and an apple 2nd gen unit. I wish to transmit media through my wifi to the television connected with the apple tv and different ipads. How do i do this?

  7. Hey Brian, thanks for the tip! I’ve installed MT, but I’m not 100% sure where to go from there. Do I have to adjust settings in the config file or via the web interface to get things going? Or should things work right away?

  8. HI Brian,

    Great tip. I am all set up, but not sure how to add the absolute path to my droboshare which has my media files – any help would be appreciated.

  9. Holy Shit. 9 months trying to get FUPPES working on the Drobo FS, and i come across this page by accident!

    Have now bookmarked this page and I know what I will be doing tonight.

  10. ive installed it and now in the drobo apps, and into the configure Media tomb… now what.?? this is so comlicated.
    my movies and music are on a different share what do I do…… argh please help.. thanks

  11. can you do a video link, youtube or something to show how to use this program and make drobo FS work with video. and also my music with itunes…Pleasssssse. thanks

  12. Hi, thanks so much for this great advice. I installed Media Tomb in my drobo apps folder on my FS but now I can’t remember how to access the drobo apps admin panel to configure Media Tomb. Also, if there’s a username/password, is there someway to find that? Is it the same as the Drobo Dashboard? Anyone have any suggestions? Thank you!

  13. How can you uninstall the app, I installed this and it’s tottally tanked the system on my drobo pro, all my HD lights are green, I can see the drobo but the system is stuffed… How can I uninstall media tomb from the drobo via my mac 10.8 without using dashboard as it’s crapped itself system talking wise… I was excited but maybe now not so much…

  14. I figured out how to install media tomb and it’s working perfectly while I’m on a shared network with my drobo fs but I can’t get it to work remotely. Any suggestions on what I’m missing? Do I need to open up a port in my airport router and if so, does anyone know which port? Oh, and I’m using the Airplayer app for viewing on my iPad. Thank you!

  15. Can you give me more hints, at least I can get old version of fuppes work, thru it is difficult (it download as tgz). The new version or Media Tomb shown as tgz in the web, but download as tar. I tried to place it to Drobo App share, or expand and place it to Drobo App share, or rename it to .tgz and place to drobo app share. All do not work…. ip:49152 or Drobo App admin – config do not bring its interface up. Thanks in advance

  16. I went to the MT page and… yikes. This appears to be some combination of rocket science and brain surgery. I spent a fair amount of time doing tier 1 and 2 desktop support and troubleshooting network issues at layer 1 & 2, so I consider myself reasonable tech-savvy. But it looks like one must be, at minimum, a server admin to even begin to comprehend the setup and management of MT.

  17. Here’s what I did…
    Once in the config website, make sure FileSystem is highlighted, and not Database.
    Open the mnt folder, then DroboNAS, then select the folder that holds the media you want to add. If you have more than one, do this next step for each main folder.
    Once you’ve clicked on the folder you want to add, hit the button in the top right corner that looks like a plus sign, with a circle behind it. I chose Inotify, recursive, full, and hidden, then added.
    With this, I was able to see the folders in the app. But, all my files are MKV, and the media player mentioned here isn’t able to play them, or so it seems right now.

    • This comment helped once I got mediatomb installed (which took awhile). Seems best to visit your drobo adminapp URL and append the install task token provided on jhah.net. After I did that it installed and started correctly.

      How has everyone done their database on the Drobo? My drobo doesn’t have SQLite or MySQL on it (yet). I assume it’s best to install one of the two directly on the Drobo for better access to the files from any device. I read for large media directories to use MySQL.

      Anyway, thanks for the article. Definitely helped.

  18. Ah, I was so pleased to stumble upon this article (having been frustrated and disappointed at how bad Fuppes is); thought I’d finally found a decent DLNA solution for my Drobo.

    Unfortunately, MediaTomb does not (currently) support Xbox 360 (I have no PS3) – and I see on the Sourceforge page that development is currently “stalled” and has been for quite a while.

    *sigh*

    So, back to square one…

    Anybody happen to know of a good DLNA solution for Drobo that works with Xbox 360, doesn’t crash if you have more than a couple of GB of music and will automatically update its DB when you add new files (without crashing repeatedly)?

  19. I wouldn’t mind getting my hands on this either as I’m really excited about what I’ve read about Media Tomb but cannot find it to download anywhere :(

  20. Hi Brian,
    Your words of wisdom have gotten me a long way down the long road to accessing my Drobofs Media on my ipad2, I now have MediaTomb droboapp working & Media Link Player app in ipad2 also working, can see all my movies nicely listed, but they are all mkv. & m4v files, it doesnt seem to want to play either of these file types, am i still left dissapointed or is there still hope for me yet?

    MarkyG

  21. Would you please help me with getting mine to work. What is the default username and password? How will I be able to stream to playstation remotely?

  22. I can’t get MediaTomb to finish the database build of the folder I only want it to use. Granted it’s 5TB of data, but how long does that take? I’ve let it run for 2 days and it seems like its stuck.

  23. Brian

    I appreciate the post, but you say it took you 5 minutes. c’mon, for us noobs, do you mind posting the link you used top configure mediatoomb, their website talks about pre-reqs, sqllite etc, do I need to install that on my drobo FS?? please share with us any guide that you used, if you did follow your nose, how about a auick heads up? we’ll owe you forever!! thanks

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