Sharing an External HDD between Pi's

  • Hi

    I have a Pi 4 running LibreElec which is hooked up to an external WD MyBook HDD by USB. This device is in my living-room so that I can watch movies from the HDD.

    I also have two more Pi 4's (one in each of my kids bedrooms) which are also running LibreElec.

    All of the Pi's are connected to the Internet (wired) through my router.

    What I would like to know is if it is possible to share the movies on the MyBook HDD in my living-room so that my kids can watch them from their Pi's in their own rooms?

    Any advice on how to go about this would be greatly appreciated.

  • If you left samba enabled when you first set up your pi which has the hdd connected to, all you have to do is add a video source from another pi on the same network but choose the location as a samba server, as default smb2 and smb3 will be enabled meaning it won't just see it on you network like smb1 does.

    Just enter the ip address of the pi that you have the hard drive connected to then enter the drive name as the folder.

    You should then see the directories on the drive for example movies, TV shows etc.

    Or an even easier way would be to just enable upnp on the pi with the hard drive connected, that way libraries are shared and can be accessed by the upnp source from other pi's on the same network

  • UPnP would not be my weapon of choice (you'll need to scrape the files into the Kodi database anyway). Having a RPI4 as a standalone server via Raspberry Pi OS (formerly known as Raspbian) with the WD MyBook HDD attached, running either SMB or NFS ('YMMV'..) and run a MariaDB database server as well, should make for a problem-free setup. Preferably all via wired connections, and a bootable USB stick instead of a SDcard.

  • I'm confused Klojum lol.

    So have I been running it wrong all these years.

    My main libreelec setup is connected to my main TV in the living room which has all hard drives with media connected to.

    I then have pi's in my bedroom and both kids bedrooms and they all just connect to the media from my main setup in the front room over libreelecs built in samba shares.

    This method has always been problem free for me and I'm sure that's what similar setup Jareth has.

    Why sacrifice one of his pi's to install raspbian os to create samba shares when that feature is already included in libreelec.

    I'm curious that's all if I can make my setup any better I'm all up for that.

  • Hhey, it's simple.... If it works for you, go with it. UPnP is not for me because for one, external subtitles won't be displayed on other devices.

    Samba is part of LibreELEC, sure. I just wanted you to know an alternative, and keep the 'big drive' away from the TV.

  • Yeah I do not use upnp either, I use libreelec built in samba shares.

    I just threw in another feature that can be used thats built into libreelec.

    I suppose hard drives could be hidden in a TV cupboard but I don't have that problem as my main living room setup is a custom built htpc which is no bigger than my xbox one so doesn't look out of place and everything is inside it.

    I can understand they look messy when using a pi as that's what I started out with years ago and having loads of wires coming in and out of the pi does look messy haha.

  • Hey guys

    Thank you for taking the time to reply.

    I am still something of a novice at the moment and I am not familiar with MariaDB servers or anything like that. So that might be an option further down the line.

    For now, I think I will try the samba share or upnp method just to see if I can get it working straight away.

    I really need to get my kids set up to watch their movies in their own rooms.

    I swear, if I have to sit through The Trolls World Tour movie again I will lose my mind. :D:D

    Thanks again :thumbup:

  • Another way I did it in the early days of me using the pi to tidy things up was to plug my external hard drive into my Internet router.

    Then mounting the share from the router to my pi.

    This worked well but I upgraded to htpc in the end purely for retrogaming as I love my n64 games and the pi3 was hit and miss with these :)

  • I use UPnP for sharing across my local network and MiniDLNA as my media server.

    MiniDLNA scrapes media files on 6 USB SSD's mounted on LE as SMB shares, then broadcasts the metadata across the network to any DLNA capable renderers. When I want to listen to music on my HT system, I never need to turn on the TV.

    Instead, I open BubbleUpNP app on my Android phone (or tablet) which has MiniDLNA configured as "Library" and Kodi on LE server as "Renderer" (i.e. media player). Then I browse the Library on my phone/tablet BubbleUPNP and press "Play" - that's all. I avoid using my TV as the front-end UI for Kodi. Besides, Kodi library doesn't let me browse my music media as folders.

    Go MiniDLNA and BubbleUPNP mate! :)

  • I have my WD MyBook connected via Ethernet to my router. Don't have to have anything on to use it from my RPi4 and would assume that I could do the same with any other RPi connected to my network. Works great.