Many of us have ended up with extensive digital media libraries over the years of old movies, shows, and music. A way to curate and watch this content is extremely useful, and it turns out pretty easy to set up. Furthermore, if you don’t have a digital media library, and you have a spare hard drive kicking around, then I recommend torrenting classic content from the likes of the Internet Archive, Public Domain Movies, and PandaCD.
Previously, I recommended Plex as a sort of “roll your own Netflix”. Since then Plex has moved to being more or less a paid service, and isn’t very open source. Thankfully, many other pieces of software have emerged to serve the same purpose. Jellyfin is an open source program that allows you to stream media from another computer. So, for example, I have a USB hard-drive and a raspberry-pi which, after installing and configuring Jellyfin, allows me to browse and watch the media library in a similar style to Netflix or other similar services. For a more in-depth “why Jellyfin” check out this article, but stop before you get to the install instructions. The documentation on the Jellyfin website is up to date and fairly straight forward. I followed the Debian install instructions on my raspberry pi and it worked the first time. Configuration was self explanatory.
It’s important to note that this is local only, as in if you set this up and configure it at home, you’ll only be able to access it at home. You can configure your router to port forward traffic such that you can access Jellyfin from everywhere, however instead I would recomend setting up your own vpn. A VPN is a useful thing to have, not least of all because it gives you access to everything on your home network, including Jellyfin. Installing a VPN is for another day however.