Guide: Setting Up and Using Remote Potato

by Damian on September 29, 2011 · 52 comments

in Guides

About 4 months again a major update for Remote Potato was released. I had been planning to put together a detailed walkthru on setting up and using, but it seemed like whenever I started something would always come up that would derail me. Well, since I have been using Remote Potato fairly consistently for the past month I figured now would be a good time to get this guide up and running. For those who don’t know about Remote Potato (no it is not a potato shaped like a remote), here is a brief description:

RemotePotato brings your media to you, wherever you are. Videos, recorded TV, music, pictures, it’s all instantly accessible over the Internet, streamed live from your home.

Wherever you are in the world, all you need is a normal web browser to access your media. (watch demo) Videos are streamed in stunning quality – AVI, MP4 files, Quicktime – most major formats are supported.  If you have an iPad, iPhone or mobile device,we have an app to make things even neater. Never sync your mobile again!

Windows 7 Media Center owners benefit from full integration with their home PVR – schedule recordings, browse the EPG, stream recorded TV shows and more…

Downloads:

The full list of downloads available can be found here. For the purpose of this guide I will be downloading Remote Potato Server and Streaming Pack (x32)

Requirements:

The Remote Potato Server is only supported on a Windows based PC (Windows XP, Vista, and 7). You can also install on Windows Home Server, but since Windows Media Center is not part of WHS you will lose the EPG/Recorded TV functionality. Also, keep in mind that if you plan on using Remote Potato to stream your video collection transcoding may be involved. Since transcoding can be a very CPU intensive process, a more capable CPU (i.e. quad core) is recommended.

Installation:

Installation is straightforward, really just your typical stuff here. For the Remote Potato Server:

The usual License Agreement, you agree to use our product in exchange for two major organs, etc…

If you plan on using Remote Potato to access your music library, enter in the User name and password of the PC you are installing on. You can go back later and set this up in the settings.

Installation complete, nothing broke…yet

For those also installing the Streaming Pack. It is not necessary to install this. However, if you do encounter issues with audio then odds are this should fix your issues.

Setup Wizard:

With Remote Potato installed on your PC, it is now time to get all the goodiness set up. The Setup Wizard is straight forward and takes only a few minutes to run through.

The first screen will ask if you want security enabled which will require you to log in with a User name and Password anytime you want to access Remote Potato. Also, in the bottom right hand corner there is an option to “Show expert options while running the wizard”. I believe I had this checked, mainly because my wife told me I am an expert (actually she said I am an expert in doing nothing, but an expert nonetheless!).

On the next screen you will assign what port Remote Potato will run on (the default is 9080)

An adjustment will need to be made to your firewall settings to ensure it doesn’t block Remote Potato. Unless you would like to handle manually Remote Potato will take care of this for you.


If you want to access Remote Potato either outside your network or on a machine in your network different from the one where Remote Potato is installed, you will need to enable port forwarding for the ports you assigned. This can be done in your router configuration page and is very easy to do.

Aside from forwarding your port, if you want to access  via a remote internet connection, you will need to point Remote Potato to either your external IP Address (which the setup wizard should list out) or by using a DNS service.

Since I already have a DNS service I chose the “No, I already use my router or another app to do this” and simply entered in my domain name (example: www.DutchOver.HomeServer.com if that happens to be your site name)

With everything set up a handy summary screen will appear showing your settings and the address you need to use to access Remote Potato.

As you scroll down the wizard will show you what the web address should look like.

Also, the wizard will show you what settings you need to input on your mobile device

Server Settings:

With the Setup Wizard complete you should now see the Remote Potato toolbar appear. If the server is active you will see a green light at the far right. If it is stopped you will see a red light and a notification that the Server is stopped. In order to access the Remote Potato Server settings the server needs to be stopped

Now, along the way you may be greeted by a message from Carlos. Turns out his marriage is in doubt and you, yes you, are the only one who can save it. If his marriage fails, well, then that is something you the reader will have to live with…

With the server stopped hit the little cog icon which will bring up 4 tabs (General, TV Guide, Channels, and About)

General:

Under “General” you will have options to adjust some of the settings for your Shared Media, determine if Remote Potato should start up with Windows, and set a few Appearance options.

If you recall in the Setup Wizard there was an option to set up your music library. If you did not do but would like to set up, clicking on the “Music Library” button will bring up this option again. You must have Windows Media Player installed on your PC (and ensure that your music collection is already scanned in to WMP)

TV Guide:

Assuming Remote Potato Server is installed on a Windows Media Center PC, you can adjust the TV Guide options and what Remote Potato will show.

Channels:

As with the TV Guide option, this only applies if installed on a Windows Media Center PC, allowing you to add custom channel logos and adjust your favorite channels.

About:

Under the About tab is a list of credits for all the developers who contributed to Remote Potato.

Remote Potato On A PC:

All screenshots below are for Remote Potato installed on my Windows 7 PC. However, I eventually uninstalled and currently run Remote Potato on my Windows Home Server (reason being my Windows Home Server is on 24/7). For this since Windows Media Center is not present only the Recorded TV, Music, Pictures, Videos, Settings, and Exit menu items appear.

Here is a screenshot of the main menu in the internet browser (fancier Silverlight version)

Here is what the main menu looked like in the basic html view (I need to use this view at work since I cannot install Silverlight)

TV Guide listings

Selecting a listing brings up an option to record the show or series (Don’t ask me why I would record or even watch a Mets game…)

Use the Search TV Guide option to search for a specific show

Under the Recorded TV item you can see all Windows Media Center recordings as well as view them (note that you cannot watch live TV, only your recorded TV shows)

Get a closer look at upcoming recordings

Make any changes to series currently scheduled to record

See a list of all movies playing

Accessing your Music Library

Accessing your Photo Library

Accessing your Movie Library. I believe this keys off of recorded movies and/or the Windows Media Center movie library (neither of which I use/have which is why the screen is empty)

Under Videos you can access your archived video library in a basic file browser mode.

Select a movie for playback (same applies for Recorded TV content) and you will get an option of what application you want to use for playback.

One final option before playback is to determine the quality of the video stream (depending on how you are streaming and the quality of your connection will most likely determine what quality you use)

Here is a picture of a Windows Media Remote if you are looking to use Remote Potato to physically control Windows Media Center

There are several settings you can adjust from within Remote Potato (otherwise you can just go into the Server settings).


Remote Potato On An iOS Device:

I am running the Remote Potato HD for iPad App

Remote Potato On An Android Device:

Running the Remote Media Center app from the Android Market. Note that this App is not created by the Remote Potato developers. It works great on my EeePad Transformer tablet, but you will notice the look is less polished then the official iPxx App

Final Thoughts:

I mostly use Remote Potato on my EeePad Transformer tablet to watch my movies/TV Shows streamed from my server and have been using it quite often of late. For the most part playback has been flawless running at the Highest quality on my home network (high bitrate Blu-rays don’t fair so well but I have never had luck having these transcoded properly and streamed wireless). Of course streaming wireless will vary based on your setup and your wireless connection, so bare that it mind. As mentioned earlier, the one thing that Remote Potato does not do is stream your live TV feed (although if they ever figure out how to do this, oh boy!).

Whether it be managing your TV recordings/scheduled or watching content remotely via a web browser or mobile device, I highly recommend giving Remote Potato a whirl and freeing your media.





Article by

Hi, my name is Damian, and I'm tech gadget addict! Although I always had some interest in technology, it wasn't until I got my EX470 and more importantly found Mediasmartserver.net, that my interest became an addiction. My goal, aside from world domination and to see the Mets/Broncos win another championship, is to set up the perfect digital home where all my media is available at the click of a button. When I am not writing for Mediasmartserver.net you can find me over at my blog at http://www.adigitalhomeblog.com or follow me on twitter


{ 52 comments }

Comp1962 September 29, 2011 at 3:22 pm

Has it been 4 months since you first mentioned Remote Potato? Wow times flys and what can I say have installed Remote Potato various servers for testing. Remote Potato has worked out so well for me that I stopped using ORB and lost interest in streaming video with SubSonic but still use and think SubSonic does a much better job than Remote Potato even thought Remote Potato does a great job I just like SubSonic for music better.

I tested this on servers with single core, duel core, 2 duel core and quad core processors. I recommend a good quad core processor to handle the transcoding part. I can tell you from my observations that Remote Potato when transcoding can put a big hit on your processor. I am abe to stream without issue Blu-Rays in MKV format but am not an expert in the high bit rate stuff as I just rip the things using makeMKV and thats as involved with ripping as I desire to get.

Over all my family and friends love using Remote Potato. The only real thing is that it can only do 3 streams at once. For this purpose I have left Remote Potato on my other servers for those with access to use if needed.

I am not a person who has time for TV so I never tested that function and can not comment on that.

I have Remote Potato running on WHSv1 and WHS2011 Servers. Here is a listing on the servers I have tested it on:

EX470 – 2 GB RAM – Stock Processor 1.x- Poor- Fair Performance
EX470 – 2 GB RAM – BE2300 Processor 3.x – Good – Very Good Performance
ProLiant DL145 – 3 GB RAM – 2 Duel Core CPU – Excellent Performance
DIY Build – 8 GB RAM – Quad Core Processor – Excellent Performance

Regardless if you install it on a PC or your server I highly recommend Remote Potato.

J October 1, 2011 at 1:17 pm

Can you use a network share? Example, if I install on my Windows 7 machine can I keep my media files on an unraid server? Thanks

Damian October 1, 2011 at 1:19 pm

Yes, I use it with my WHS network shares when I had it installed on my W7 machine. The only requirement using W7 is for Recorded TV functionality (although if you move your recorded shows to a shared drives you can at least access)

Eric October 2, 2011 at 10:59 am

Is anyone else having issues seeing their videos under the “videos” area? What directory does this folder map to? I saw the known issues FAQ (pasted below) that says it won’t work on mapped shares. I have a WHS v1 – I installed Remote Potatao on an Windows 7 machine and I can’t see any videos…

Videos or pictures stored on a mapped network drive do not show up in lists
There is an issue with Microsoft .NET that means you cannot directly view media from mapped network drives within Remote Potato – instead you must do the following to get it to show up:

In the Remote Potato Settings Application, click to edit the appropriate shared folders: Recorded TV, Videos or Pictures.
In the window that appears, if you’re using Windows 7, un-tick the box marked ‘Use my Windows 7 library’
Click the button ‘Add Network Path’ and enter the name of the network server and share into the box that appears.

Damian October 2, 2011 at 11:05 am

No issues for me (I tested on my W7 PC with all my videos on my WHS). In the Video Library settings my WHS videos shows as this:

\\MyServer\Videos

What does yours show?

Eric October 2, 2011 at 11:11 am

\\Server\Videos

If I may ask, what format are your movies? I use MyMovies so all are formatted to .vob files. I take it Remote Potato wont’ play vob’s? Perhaps that is my issue.

Damian October 2, 2011 at 11:25 am

I just played a vob without issue. The only PITA, if your movies are in folder structures (i.e. Video_TS) remote potato will only play each individual vob instead of playing as one vob movie. I only have 2 or 3 movies in vob format because I wanted the menu

Bo October 15, 2011 at 8:36 am

Hmm, what a shame – I have downloaded the rp sw and was about to install. I have my 500+ movie collection in Video_TS structures. It is quick to rip and it works well with my SageTV HD300. It is a major pain, however, that I cannot seem to find a solution that can stream my format to iOS platforms because they don’t support Video_TS VOB structures. I guess there is no other way around it than reformatting the entire library?

Damian October 15, 2011 at 8:55 am

Correct, you have to navigate to each individual vob, basically useless unless you used VOBMerge to create one big vob. I haven’t seen a solution yet for the tablets that support Video_TS or BDMV folder structures (I know XBMC for the iPad does not support currently). Fortunately all my movies are mkvs or Blu-ray folder rips (where I only have 1 m2ts file)

Eric October 2, 2011 at 1:37 pm

I was able to play parts of the VOB – thank you for your help. I did try an mkv and for some reason, mkv’s won’t show up in the directory. Is there a preferred file format for playing entire movies? Is there a reason MKV’s wouldn’t show?

Damian October 2, 2011 at 2:46 pm

MKVs work without a problem, a majority of my library is mkvs and I watch them all the time via the Remote Potato app streamed to my iPad and Android tablet

Comp1962 October 2, 2011 at 3:02 pm

I have no issues playing MKV’s on my end after using it now for several months. I and others stream content online daily and I have have used my Android Phone as well to show others how cool it is.

Eric October 2, 2011 at 3:10 pm

What plugin do you use to view the videos from your browser or andriod device? I tried to view via browser and it says I need a plugin to view both MKV & MP4. I tried via android, using remote media app, and it says “video cannot be played.”

Damian October 2, 2011 at 3:14 pm

I use MX Video Player and the respective codec:

https://market.android.com/details?id=com.mxtech.videoplayer.ad

Matthew Sawyer October 4, 2011 at 7:45 am

Thanks for sharing this Damian. This is certainly something I am going to check out, especially having two tablets in the house (an iPad and an HP TouchPad). It will be nice to pull up content remotely for sure, but even if we’re at home, we can free up some space on the DVR for recorded programs my daughter likes (classic Scooby Doo, Clubhouse Disney) and put them on the home server.

Although my daughter loves my iPad. If I install this, I may never see my iPad again. Although I do have the TouchPad, which I plan to cut over to Android when Cyanogen releases the Android build for it. :)

Damian October 4, 2011 at 7:53 am

My wife and I have already lost our two iPads to the boys. My EeePad Transformer I don’t let anyone touch!

Eric October 6, 2011 at 9:07 am

Thanks for all your help guys, I appreciate it. I also read on the forum that some users were having issues when they had Microsoft Security Essentials installed – which I did. Using the codec and disabling MSE I was able to get it to work.

Damian October 6, 2011 at 9:09 am

Glad to hear it is working. Odd that MSE would cause the conflict since I use MSE on my W7 PC and had no issues when I was running RP on that PC. Maybe you just needed to add an exception to the firewall?

Ken October 11, 2011 at 2:25 pm

Thanks for the write up! It helped a lot with trouble shooting my issue. I had the same problem as Eric and installing the MX player on my android device solved it. No problems with Security Essentials for me tho.

Damian October 13, 2011 at 1:31 pm

Yeah, MX Player rocks! Nice to also be able to play back my less “heavy” video files directly from my EeePad without a need for converting

Peterbus October 12, 2011 at 2:19 am

Hi damien,
I have a small prob with rp,on my ipad i only see october tv recordings even though i have 6 months of recordings on my server,i was able to access all up to last week so i know its something im doing wrong.
All my recordings are wmc and are easily accessed by wmc but only oct is showing on my ipad,can you help,cheers,pete

Damian October 13, 2011 at 1:32 pm

Hi Peter,

Hmmm….that is the first I am hearing of this. I know a Remote Potato update for iOS just came through a few days ago, did you try updatiung the app to see if that fixed the issue?

Cheers
Damian

Adidas4275 October 16, 2011 at 2:29 am

For live tv…..

Just set a recording and 3mins you can watch it.

It is 3mins delayed but it is almost live.

Ian October 21, 2011 at 1:33 pm

I cant find remore potato anywhere, fatattitude and remotepotato.com seem to be down.
Has this product been pulled ?

Damian October 21, 2011 at 2:12 pm

I am on their website without issue:

http://remotepotato.com/

Myron October 22, 2011 at 2:57 am

Have you been able to stream copy-once drm recordings from the windows home server archive? From the machine that recorded it?

Cuberob November 27, 2011 at 10:08 am

Any experience with plex media server here? Lovely gui and dedicated apps for android (tablets) and iOS.

I’m currently using a synology ds210+ which i love but am looking for some more power. One option is the ds1511+ (running on a dual core atom)
The other is building my own WHS2011 pc (based on an i3 2100).

Both will be able to run the plex media server but the i3 based one can transcode 1080p to my tablet when i’m on the go. Which would be useful since all my movies are in 1080p.
What keeps drawing me back to the synology though is the SHR (synology hybrid raid, an easily expandable raid 5 like config)

There is some very precious data on my current nas and i don’t want the risk of losing any of that. I could ofcourse build a raid 1 array and create another drivepool on my nas with drivebender. But i just don’t like the idea of having to manage the seperate disks on my Nas. What do you guys think?
- play it safe and go with de ds1511+, but lose the ability to easily watch video on ALL my devices.
- or go with WHS 2011, and figure out a way to manage my data/disks, tips!?

Damian January 11, 2012 at 7:17 am

Sorry, I somehow missed this post.

I actually started testing out Plex this weekend (should have a post up soon :D )

I personally would stick with the Synology. Honestly, once you find a storage solution that works for you I am a fan of sticking with it as long as it is practical.

Louis January 2, 2012 at 11:36 am

I have my movies and music on a WHS. I can play movies ok but I cannot get to my music. Do I have to install WMP on the server to be able to access music? What info ( RP user name? server user name?) should be placed in the Music Library tab – user name/password?

Another issue: On my iPod Touch, Safari indicates that download of Silverlight failed. How can I get this to work?

Damian January 2, 2012 at 11:43 am

Yes, you need to install WMP on your server. I had to do this for my WHS to get music to show up. In the Music tab you can just put your username/password that you use to access your server

As far as iPod touch, are you trying to view via the web browser or are you using the Remote Potato app?

Louis January 2, 2012 at 12:38 pm

Thanks for your speedy response. I have tried via the browser and RP app but no luck.

On the MediaBrowser Community Tracker, there have been comments about WMP messing up the music tags. Have you had any problems after placing WMP on your server?

Damian January 2, 2012 at 1:06 pm

The browser definitely won’t work, you need to use the RP app.

Not sure it the tags get messed up. I use mp3Tag for all my music

Louis January 2, 2012 at 12:58 pm

Which WMP should I install? Thanks.

Damian January 2, 2012 at 1:05 pm
Louis January 2, 2012 at 2:27 pm

Thanks very much. I now have the music working. Based on your response, am I correct that I have to use the RP app to access Silverlight. If so how would I do that? If not, what’s the procedure?

Damian January 2, 2012 at 3:02 pm

I think Silverlight is specific to playback via a browser. If you want to play on a mobile device you need to use the App (not the browser)

Louis January 2, 2012 at 3:11 pm

Thanks.

Louis January 3, 2012 at 9:39 pm

Here I am again. I have noticed that my music shows using Remote Potato on my iPod Touch, however I cannot play some of it. They try to load but can’t. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Would you need any additional information?

Louis January 8, 2012 at 12:07 pm

Damian, any suggestions? Also how can playlists be set up ?

Louis January 8, 2012 at 8:59 pm

Playlists issue resolved.

Louis January 4, 2012 at 12:36 pm

I have since also noticed that my mp4 do not show up in Remote Potato. Any help?

Louis January 8, 2012 at 12:06 pm

I have since converted all to mp3

Damian January 11, 2012 at 7:18 am

Not sure what would have happened here, I have mp4s and they show fine in Remote Potato

Rich January 14, 2012 at 2:23 pm

Hi

I am about to install rp on my windows 7 pc, and I have a really basic question that isn’t covered on any of the sites where I’ve read about remote potato. That may be because it’s such an obvious point but I was hoping someone coul confirm anyway.

Aside from the video streaming that sounds like a great feature, I also plan to use rp to remotely control my pc whilst viewing the desktop via my direct connected hdmi tv.

My stupid question is whether the video output controlloed by remote potato is displayed on the pc’s own screen (on the desktop of the host pc) vs just via the video stream output that is seen on the iPad etc? I realise it’s also possible to stream the video content from an iPad back to a tv via apple tv but I don’t have one of those.

My pc is out of sight for a regular ir remote control to work, hence my interest if remote potato can be used to fill the gap.

Thanks
Rich

Damian January 20, 2012 at 6:17 am

Hi Rich,

I haven’t used the remote control features, but as long as you can specify the IP Address of your PC connected to your TV you should be able to control. This is similar to using My Movies along with the App.

PoorX January 19, 2012 at 9:48 pm

MKV’s work great over Remote Potato. However, has anyone figured out how to get Remote Potato working with MKV’s with subtitle tracks (like anime)? I’ve got the cccp codec pack installed on my PC, with the option checked to force subtitle rendering in environments like WMC (where there is no native support for either mkv’s and subtitle tracks). Wondering if there’re commands that can be added to the “Custom FFMPEG Options” field of Remote Potato that’ll do something similar — force the rendering of the subtitle track as part of its video transcoding function…

Damian January 20, 2012 at 6:19 am

TBH I rarely use subs so I don’t have much experience with. Hopefully others have and can help with your question.

Mike June 8, 2012 at 11:56 pm

Hello everyone. I have been using rp for a while now but for some reason I can not play a recorded TV show or any videos. When I select confirm selection it launches MX player and trys to load but then just jumps back to the confirm selection screen. Can anyone please help me out with this.
Thank you!

Comp1962 June 9, 2012 at 6:01 pm

If your using Android try RockPlayer Lite it works well but they put their emblem in the upper right corner of the screen. Previously I use to use Mobo but then they upgraded it and it did not work well anymore then they upgraded it again and it worked and now it will crash the phone when using it with Remote Media Center. After reading your message I gave MX a try and it too use to work but I get the same results. My guess and this is just a guess it that it probably got updated and the update broke its ability to function with Remote Media Center. But RockPlayer Lite still works so give it a try.

Mike June 10, 2012 at 10:01 pm

Thank you so much that worked.

Comp1962 June 11, 2012 at 11:36 am

Your welcome. Just keep in mind that sometimes these programs get updated then stop functioning the Remote Media Center and its annoying. While I only use it to show others what can be done its my gf which is the heavy user of it so when issues pop up I have to find a solution for her.

Damian June 11, 2012 at 11:49 am

I use I think MX PLayer with my Android and Remote Potato, or I use BSPlayer (when I don’t need transcoding)

Comments are closed, visit the forums to continue the discussion.

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