If you've had a chance to the try the CinemaNow offer that came with your MediaSmart Server (MSS), then you have experienced the simplicity of downloading content to your home, and how much easier this is than running to the store, or waiting 3 days for the mail. If not, then you should try it.
Since the MSS is a "headless" device, downloading movies at home means using a PC to access the CinemaNow Website, finding and ordering the movie and downloading it to your PC. From there it can be streamed to any Digital Media Receiver (DMR) that supports protected content streaming, in the house. But you've got this great home server and may have wondered how to use it to store, protect and stream your movies. There are a couple reasons you might want to do this:
- Your MSS is an always on device - so you can enjoy the content anytime.
- Your MSS can protect the content file from disk failure by using its duplication mechanism to automatically keep a backup copy. Note that most content providers only allow a file to be downloaded once.
- Some studios only allow 1 license for their content; so if you want the content on the server, you need to download and license it there right away.
This paper will describe how to download your content and licenses directly to your MSS. But first a couple of caveats:
- The solution described in this paper uses advanced techniques and should only be attempted by those familiar with technologies such as Remote Desktop Connections and Adding/Removing Windows Components.
- Enabling this capability, requires decreasing some of the security settings for your MSS
- When the content is downloaded and licensed on a MSS, there are several limitations on where you can move or play the content:
- You may not be able to transfer it to a portable player; or it may require similar access techniques to accomplish the transfer. We'll describe some potential solutions for this in another paper.
- It cannot be played on (streamed to) any PCs running Windows XP, without acquiring an additional license to the content on that PC.
- You may not be able to use the Burn to DVD option (since there is no DVD burner on the MSS). We'll discuss some potential work-arounds to this in a future paper.
- We are only enabling the download, license acquisition and streaming of Windows Media DRM content (not Fairplay == iTunes content). Also note that WMDRM only allows streaming to devices directly on the same LAN as your Server (you cannot go through a router to another network).
- Microsoft often provides a number of ways to accomplish any task. I'll describe one way to accomplish each task; but if you know another way that you prefer - feel free to use it.
OK, now that you've been warned, let's discuss how to download movies to your MSS. The first technique that you need to get comfortable with is creating a Remote Desktop Connection (RDC) to your MSS. Now, the Home Server Console Connector that comes with the MSS provides a type of RDC; however, it is a special RDC that only provides remote access to the Home Server Console window on the MSS. We will need to create a true RDC session to the Server desktop.
One note of caution: once we create an RDC session to the server, this opens up access to all of the Server settings. Changing such settings can break some of the applications and features of the Server. So, be careful when performing operations on the server.
To create an RDC session to your MSS, perform the following steps:
1. Start Remote Desktop Connection.
- On XP this can usually be found in either start->All Programs->Accessories or start->All Programs->Accessories->Communications
- On Vista this can be found in start->All Programs->Accessories
2. In Computer, type the name of the MSS - this is the name you gave the Server when you first configured it. Alternatively, you can type the IP address of the Server. Since it usually uses DHCP to obtain its IP address, you may have to access your DHCP server (usually your router) to find out the IP address of the Server. Then click Connect.
3. You will then see the Windows logon dialog appear for the Server. You should specify "administrator" for User name and the appropriate Password. This should be the same password used to connect to the Windows Home Serve Console from the client operating system.
4. You should now see the full-screen replaced with an RDC view of the Server. Note that there is a trapezoidal control set at the top - indicating the Server's name or IP address. The screen will probably be filled with an Internet Explorer window showing a Warning about being on the Server's desktop. You can close this window. Note: the screen shot below does not show the trapezoidal control set.
5. You should now see the actual desktop of your Server.
You now have full access to the console of your MSS.