J River – Advanced
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All rights reserved. This guide and its contents are copyrighted by Assassin HTPC.
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JRiver Advanced Setup
Table of Guides (with quicklinks):
Adding a 3rd Party Skin to Change the Look of JRiver
As you`ve probably noticed from the screenshots so far, my J.River skin doesn`t look like the default ones which you select upon installation. Adding a 3rd party skin involves going to the Tools button in the normal interface (not the Theatre GUI), like in the picture below, and selecting the “Plug-in Manager” option.
Next up, you will find a button called Download Plugins, when you click on that, you will be taken to a webpage that looks like below. The first skin in the list is the Fusion X2 skin, the same skin I have used in the pictures of this guide. Under it, you will find a “Download” button, click on that
Now normally, most skins come as a single file with the .mjp extension, and will be installed once you double click on the downloaded file. Now, the Fusion X2 skin comes with some modifications that could not be included in the .mjp format, so the installation of the skin is a little more complicated, but I consider it to be one of the best looking J.River skins, so I think it`s worth the extra steps.
When you click on the Download link, you will be taken to the skin authors deviantart homepage, which includes the download link to the skin files, in the top right side of the page, like in the pic below
After you click download, the skin, in a .rar archive, will be downloaded. Un-Rar the files in a directory, and go into the folder, where you will see 2 folders, Data & Skins, like below
Close the JRiver application first, and then Copy/Paste these 2 directories in your JRiver installation folder : C:\Program Files\J River\Media Center 17 . Windows will ask you to overwrite the folders, click Yes.
Now start JRiver, and click on View -> Skins and select Fusion X2, like below
Gizmo Tablet Control (HTPC Setup)
This guide will show you how to add the JRiver Gizmo which is an Android application to control JRiver with your tablet device.
Before loading Gizmo on your Android, prep JRiver application on your HTPC: Begin by going to Tools/Options on the main (Standard) view of JRiver. Go to Media Network and check the following boxes:
- Use Media Network to share this Library and enable DLNA
- Access Key: Your JRiver software will generate an access key consisting of 6 letters, upper case/lower case sensitive. Copy this Key to the clipboard and send it via e-mail to your e-mail account on your Android. If you don’t have your e-mail account set up on the Android, copy the Key carefully for later use, making sure to get the upper and lower cases correct. For example, in Calibri font (used in this manual), a lower case L (l) looks like a capital i (I). You may also wish to test the wifi connection at this point by clicking on the Access Key and choosing Test the Connection.
- Note that you will may have to turn off your firewall to allow JRiver on your audio computer to generate the access key. Also, in the future, if the Android is not able to connect, you may have to generate a new access key by left-clicking the access key button and choosing RESET. Again, the firewall may need to be turned off to generate another access key.
- Authentication. Do not check this box if you do NOT intend to use JRiver to send audio or video files to the Android to play them on the tablet. If you do check this box you will need to provide a name and password for later connection to/from the Android. We have found that future connections with the Android are improved, however, if you DO check this Authentication box, enter a simple name (e.g., “audiophile”) and a password, then do the same on the Android.
Under “Add or configure DLNA servers” choose various settings only if you want to play files from other devices on your HTPC.
Under “Advanced” check the following boxes:
- TCP Port: 52199
- DLNA Server
- DLNA Renderer
- DLNA Controller
Note that you will change the DLNA server, DLNA renderer, and DLNA Controller settings if you later set up a satellite computer to run your JRiver libraries on this other computer.
This will prep your HTPC. Next we will load Gizmo on your Android.
Gizmo Tablet Control (Tablet Setup)
Prepping Your Tablet
Begin by seeing whether the tablet has its own media server application already loaded as one of the manufacturer’s apps. This app might interfere with using MC16’s media server services and generally will not be needed. The Acer app is called Media Server; a similar app comes loaded on the Asus tablet. Go to Settings/Applications/Manage Applications on the Android. Choose “all” (for All Programs) and scroll down to find the name of the media server app. Choose “Force Stop” to stop this app from running. This will also keep the app from loading on the Android at start-up in the future. The app can always be reloaded if needed in the future.
On the Android go to Market and type in <Gizmo> in the search function. The JRiver app “Gizmo” will be one of the first apps to show up on the search screen. It is free. You may need to load the app 2 or more times, depending on the slowness of your wifi connection (it helps to have other household wifi devices turned off while you are downloading and installing the app).
If the market is not available you can navigate to this page instead with your Android device.
When Gizmo is properly downloaded it will install automatically. You can verify this by going to Settings/Applications/Manage Applications to view your downloaded/installed apps. The Gizmo app (version 16.0.156) takes up about 2.29 megs of space.
Setting up a Gizmo icon on your tablet’s desktop
On the Android desktop press the “+” sign at the upper right hand corner. This will take you to a screen for widgets, app shortcuts, etc. Choose App Shortcuts then press the icon for Gizmo. If you have so many loaded apps that the Gizmo icon does not appear on the first page of App Shortcuts, do not scroll with your fingers, rather press the Teardrop shaped button at the lower right side of the App Shortcuts screen.
Note: you can remove the Gizmo or any other icon from your Android desktop by pressing and holding down on the icon, then dragging it to the recycle bin (upper right hand corner of the Android desktop) that will appear when pressing and holding down an icon.
Gizmo Tablet Control (Using Gizmo)
Be sure your HTPC is on and JRiver is running. It doesn’t matter the viewing mode in which JRiver is running, although it is usually best to have it running in Theater View.
On the Android tap the Gizmo icon. A screen will pop up the first time you start Gizmo that indicates whether you have a wifi connection and then will search for a computer on your network running JRiver. Finding one, it will ask you to type the Access Key (the 6-letter key you copied from the Media Network tab on Options on the JRiver app on your computer). After typing in the Key, press Go. Android will connect to your HTPC and, in the future, will automatically connect whenever the Gizmo icon is tapped. If you have set an Authentication name and password on the PC, Gizmo will need to have this name and password typed in, the first time you load and use Gizmo on the Android.
Note that, sometimes, when the Android home screen has been off for a while, tapping the Gizmo icon (above the Browser icon, at the left side of the screen in the screenshot above) will require you to wait for Gizmo to reconnect to the HTPC again. Android 3.2 allows you to set the “screen off” timeout as “never.” We highly advise doing this, even though the Android screen itself uses up the battery. Also, if you have more than one HTPC with JRiver running on your network, you’ll need to specify which one you wish Gizmo to connect to. However, it is not advisable to run two PCs, each with JRiver running, simultaneously, on the same network. Watching a movie, for example, in your home theater room, while also playing an album in your 2-channel room (and with the Android on and Gizmo running), can produce some interesting effects on your movie.
Also, note that if you have set up JRiver on your HTPC to send files back and forth to your Android (e.g., to play music on the Android), you may be asked at start-up to provide the name and password you set up in JRiver on your HTPC.
When Gizmo connects to the HTPC, depending on where you were the last time you connected to MC16 on the HTPC, you may see the following screen in vertical mode on the Android:
This screen will not show up every time you shut Gizmo down when playing an audio or video file. It only comes up when you turn on Gizmo for the first time in the day when beginning to play your audio/video system. Below, we’ll show how to suppress this screen. Press OK to get:
Then press the Windows logo to get:
This is the main screen for using Gizmo as a remote control. But you probably won’t want to use this much if at all, opting instead for looking at your albums’ cover art or your movie information. So, at the lower part of the screen above, look for the following choices at the lower left-hand side of the Android screen:
Press the icon on the far right of this 4-choice set (known as the Android “legacy app” button) to get to the main choices for Gizmo as shown below:
Choose “Browse” (at the bottom of the vertical screen) to get to the Theater View of Gizmo. You will be using Theater View the most, and it will automatically come up when you hit the Gizmo icon on your Android (so long as you have previously been involved in a listening or watching session when Gizmo was turned off).
If you are listening to your HTPC in a 2-channel setup, you’ll probably want to hit audio rather than video – the rest of this manual assumes you are in the middle of a listening session. Hitting audio brings you to the following choices:
Choosing Albums gets you to the screen that shows all your album cover art:
Note that album art covers will not appear for older albums, especially classical music prior to about 1995, unless you have scanned these cover shots into the JRiver library tags. As you use JRiver on a daily basis, the software will continue searching the web to update your album art and information. However, it is vitally important, as you rip each new CD, to type-in important information regarding the album if, for any reason, JRiver does not immediately show the album cover art and other vital information. See discussion under the JRiver audiophile section later in these guides.
You can scroll down your albums by using the Android finger swiping technique:
Choose an album simply by tapping its cover-art icon, to get something like the following:
If you tap the first track in the album, the entire album will play and then stop – if that is how you have set up JRiver. You can also set JRiver to repeat an album when it ends. When the album starts playing you’ll see the following:
Note that the pause/play/skip buttons are right under the album cover art. You can also hit the “legacy app” button (see p. 5 above) at the bottom-left of the Android screen, and that will bring you to a choice between “home” and “commands”. Hitting “commands” will bring you to the following screen
As usual, pressing the left hand arrow (“back arrow”) at the bottom-left of the Android screen brings you back to the previous screen. Pressing the “home” button at the bottom of the Android screen (after pressing the legacy apps button), will bring you back to:
Note that, as Gizmo is used, it will probably bring you to the following screen when you first tap the Gizmo icon on the Android desktop at the start of a listening or viewing session:
This particular Android has connections to two separate HTPCs – one set up for a home theater room and one set up for a 2-channel listening room. When you tap the bottom option on the screen (“Use device as Theater View remote”) you get to:
This is the main remote control device. However, as we indicated earlier, you will probably want to go instead to the complete Theater View screen. To do this, when you first boot Gizmo on the Android and get the following screen;
Do NOT tap “Use device as Theater View remote.” Rather, tap “Server” under “Choose Where to Play”, and you will be brought to the following screen (so long as you have set MC16 to run Theater View at start-up):
From this screen you can do anything you wish in Theater View.
Some further tips about Gizmo on the Android:
Gizmo, like any other Android or iPad device, cannot show all the information you see on the large monitor’s screen you’ve set up with your audiophile computer. Although you can use the Android to Search for particular composers, artists, etc. , once the album is chosen the Android will NOT show:
- The “picture show” that plays on the main monitor’s Theater View – still photos of the artist or composer, shown as a slide show while the music is playing.
- Gizmo on the Android cannot show all of the information for a particular album as it appears in Standard View on the computer’s monitor
JRiver updates Gizmo from time to time, just as it updates the media software itself on the HTPC. Please use these updates to improve the usefulness of the Android.
Suppose you have set up your audiophile computer to play in various “Zones” (see instruction manual for the audiophile computer itself). For example, Zone 1 might be for all albums except for some few albums whose native resampling rate might not be outputted without Digital Signal Processing. You might set up JRiver Media Center for a Zone 2 just for these particular albums (e.g., albums that are native 176.4 format). The latest version of Gizmo allows you to change zones whenever you’ve stopped an album and before you play one of the albums whose resampling rate calls for using the other Zone. See the instruction manual for the audiophile computer itself.
If you are demonstrating your new world class audio computer for a friend, remember that the JRiver program can become “confused” if you mix your control inputs back and forth. For example, if you start using JRiver via the wireless mouse at your listening position, you must be careful when switching over to using the Android tablet device. It helps to use the mouse to choose Theater View, then “playing now,” THEN switch over to the Android. Then, when you want to switch back to the mouse, make sure the Android is in “playing now” before you start to use the mouse. There is a similar warning for switching Zones, whether using the mouse or Android — make sure the music is on Stop before switching Zones. Please read the additional guide for setting up and using Zones appropriately.
An important thing to remember for the Android is that leaving the screen on for extended listening periods will use up the battery. In practice, you can get about 8-10 hours out of a single session with the screen on all the time (for the major brands of full-size tablet running Android 3.2 – the smaller tablets and phones running Android 2.3 will run out of battery in much less time). In general, we have two suggestions for keeping your Android up to par:
- Use the Android as a dedicated music server control, not as something that you take with you to the office, etc. Don’t load the Android with games and other things that you normally would have on a tablet – use it only for the JRiver software. This way, you don’t have to worry about storage capacity or Ram in the Android.
- Keep the Android plugged into a 110V electrical socket near the listening position so that it will be ready immediately when deciding to listen to music. While you may want to unplug the Android from the electrical socket when actually using it, plug it back in at the end of the listening session to preserve battery life.