Zero-config MiniDLNA/ReadyMedia

Quick and dirty way to stream video
Published on February 26, 2020 under the tag linux


You can use ReadyMedia without configuring it as a daemon. Just cd into any directory that has media files, and run this script:

Your television/phone/toaster should see the media server pop up within seconds.


In this day and age, there are literally thousands of ways to get video on to your television screen, especially if you have a (somewhat) smart TV. If not, there is a plethora of devices that will let you stream from different sources.

For simply watching video files on my local disk, I used to just hook my laptop up to the television using a simple HDMI cable, which always worked – until the HDMI port on my television broke.

I don’t really want to get any of these devices, and I’m also not sure if I need a newer television that phones home.

In either case, most televisions that support any kind of networking will also support the DLNA protocol. For Linux, there’s ReadyMedia (formerly MiniDLNA), a relatively old project. But despite lacking some maintenance, it is pretty solid and reliable software.

By default, it runs as a daemon that stores a database of media. This makes it very cumbersome to use. The database gets out of sync easily when you move files around when it’s not running. The fact that it’s a daemon means that it could be running when you’re working from a coffee place. The daemon needs to be managed through a file in /etc/.

I don’t want to go through all that pain! I just want to be able to fire it up like you can get a quick HTTP server with just running python -m http.server in any directory. Then I can cd to whatever I want to watch and just run the thing and then kill it. I don’t care about keeping this media database, since scanning a single directory should be quick.

Well, it turns out you can do that fairly easily. Just drop the script I linked to at the top of this post in to your $PATH and you’re good to go.