Serviio Media Center on Debian

Awhile back, I raved about MediaTomb and how great it was but there was one little issue that made me try Serviio: streaming subtitles support.

Being able to actually see the subtitles is sort of a big deal when you’re watching someone scream craziness in a Takashi Miike film, so I killed an evening learning how to install Serviio on my Debian LAMP server.

Here are a few preliminaries:

Download and install Serviio:


Unpack it. I did this from my home directory for the hell of it (but you can unpack it anywhere):

tar xvf serviio-0.5.2-linux.tar.gz

Install java and ffmpeg if you haven’t already

apt-get install default-jre
apt-get install ffmpeg

Now for the fun part and the major fail of Serviio. Serviio’s one major flaw is that it doesn’t have a web interface. This means that you have to configure it FROM the place that you installed it. Basically, if you’re serving movies or music with Serviio on your network, you have to configure it ON the machine where it’s installed. What is this, 1994? You can workaround this by using VNC or connecting a monitor to your server or whatever your setup is. Up to you.

First run Serviio from the bin directory (you should create an init script for this later)


Now launch the serviio console:


When the console launches, you can configure the paths to your media folders, i.e., video, music and photos. Pretty straightforward.

And that’s it! You don’t even need to configure Serviio’s profiles.xml, where you need to tweak mediaTomb’s config.xml to get it to work properly.

Now someone please tell me: How is it that mediaTomb hasn’t figured out how to stream subtitles AND have a kick ass web interface, yet, Serviio DOES support streaming subtitles but DOESN’T have a web interface? How is this possible? Please, someone introduce the mediaTomb people with the Serviio gang so that they can have sex and give birth to a fully functioning piece of software.


12 thoughts on “Serviio Media Center on Debian

  • August 18, 2011 at 6:16 pm

    There are a few ways how to configure Serviio remotely.

    1) run the console remotely from another PC
    2) install PHP WebUI (3rd party sw)
    3) install Ajax WebUI (3rd party sw)

  • August 22, 2011 at 4:13 pm

    Thanks for the heads up, Zip. I tried those out and they work great! We’d love to see a complete package one day that the novice can use for an easy and clean install.
    mike´s last blog post ..Fiesta Les Paul: Pickups!

  • October 15, 2011 at 4:53 am

    Thanks for this simple guide! Works like a charm. Wasted a few hours trying to get ushare to work on Ubuntu 11.04 to no avail, and read mixed reviews about the success of streaming media Linux -> Xbox360 using mediatomb and xbmc. This took only a few mins and appears to work great, pity it’s not packaged up yet.

  • October 16, 2011 at 10:14 am

    You’re welcome, RatX. I’m still using it and it’s still a great little package.

  • October 29, 2011 at 4:30 pm

    Actually, you can manage it remotely (apart from some basic config that can be done via ssh) with serviio console. I have serviio on my debian and the console on ubuntu desktop. You just have to enable remote connection.

  • November 4, 2011 at 5:54 pm

    Mike, send me a PM on the serviio forums.

  • February 14, 2012 at 6:01 pm

    hi I install serviio 0.6.2. and run all with your manual.
    but in
    is still waiting and nothing happend.
    pls help

  • February 14, 2012 at 6:26 pm

    Yeah Joseph, Serviio works very well with DLNA, so if you have a DLNA compatible TV, you should have no problem.
    Mike´s last blog post ..Yamaha FG-75 Resurrected

  • April 16, 2012 at 1:30 am

    My god, this is so frustrating… cant get the console to work, the official page wont even let me register, dont knwo what im doing wrong… dont even know how to uninstall this f!”#$ program. I love ubuntu but some times, a lot of times, its a pain in the ass…

  • May 26, 2012 at 4:53 am

    check your /serviio-0.6.2/log/serviio.log

    if there is something like “ERROR [ProcessExecutor] Fatal error in process starting: Cannot run program “ffmpeg”: error=12, Cannot allocate memory”, than we’ve got the same issue.

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