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If you're looking for a low-cost, low-noise, low-energy-consumption Media Server for your home or business (hint: a pub or restaurant), here it be. All you need is a Linksys NSLU2 ($80 - $100), a USB hard drive ($60-$150), TwonkyMedia 3.1 ($35-$53), a few bits of free software, and — if music playback is your primary interest — a UPnP music player like the Roku SoundBridge ($150).


Connect the USB hard drive to the NSLU2 and you get an instant file server. Install TwonkyMedia into the NSLU2, which adds UPnP media serving capability, and your entire collection of music, videos and digital photos becomes instantly available throughout your wired or wireless local area network.


What's the significance of a "UPnP media server", as compared to a file server?


File Server = a warehouse stacked to the rafters with random stuff

Media Server = The Library of Congress


You can read more about the benefits of a UPnP media server at TwonkyVision's web site.


Why This Site?

This site details how to install TwonkyMedia 3.1 on a LinkSys NSLU2.  The first time I did it was a nightmare, which I described in this post to the TwonkyVision forum.  In retrospect I did too much research, which lead to lots of conflicting advice — probably much of it out of date.  TwonkyVision may one day make this recipe obsolete or unnecessary, but until then these are "tried and true" recipes, which I hope you'll benefit from.


(Note: "hope" is a key word here. I do not guarantee that these recipes will work for you and I assume no responsibility for any errors or omissions, yours or mine. You may "brick" your NSLU2 in the process of flashing its firmware, though I did it to mine and was able to recover it. Lastly, note that all trademarked images and names used herein are the property of their respective owners. Now we return to my normal personality.)



Here are the ingredients you'll need:


  1. Linksys NSLU2.
  2. A USB hard drive. (My preference is one that will spin down after a period of inactivity.)
  3. A USB flash drive (aka. "thumb drive", "pen drive", "Jump drive", "Joe", etc.) of any capacity.
  4. TwonkyMedia 3.1 (UPnP media server software that runs inside the NSLU2).
  5. uNSLUng 5.5 (enhanced version of NSLU2 operating system)
  6. A PC running Windows XP for installing and configuring the software.
  7. A CAT5 network cable.
  8. A compatible UPnP Media Player for testing the media server.

Download TwonkyMedia 3.1 and uNSLUng by clicking on their underlined names above and going to their respective download areas. TwonkyMedia is not free; click on their shopping cart and select what you want. I suggest buying TwonkyMedia "Premium version including lifetime updates". At the time I started this I had no interest in TwonkyMedia's photo and video capabilities but figured for the slight cost difference I might as well buy it instead of TwonkyMusic. After you pay for it you get access to their "Members area" where you can download "TwonkyMedia for the NSLU2". UnZIP or Extract the downloaded ZIP file into a folder you can find easily later, preferably "C:\Twonky".



There are two approaches to installing TwonkyMedia:  in the NSLU2's RAM or on the attached hard drive.  So there are two main recipes. Neither precludes using the NSLU2 and its attached hard drive as a general-purpose Network Attached Storage device.


The RAM Installation approach is simple, and the result is quite sufficient if all you want to add is UPnP media server capability.  Some people argue that the NSLU2 lacks adequate RAM for this task, but I haven't seen any evidence to support this assertion.


The Hard Drive Installation approach has many more steps, but with this recipe it's not difficult. The result is appealing for its flexibility and expansion capability.  I chose it for my own NSLU2.  Read a little bit of the recipe and you'll see what I mean.


In addition to these two main recipes I'm including a few that you might find useful, such as "how to restore your NSLU2 to its original Linksys firmware." See the SideBar above.


Now, have fun and good luck!


Tim Wilde



The TwonkyVision forum, specifically the Linksys devices group, can be very helpful. Several people there helped me grow from being a newbie to a trained monkey. Special thanks to twonky-christian, JoeDiMaggio, simonhancock, and Cheburashka. Reinhard in TwonkyVision support provided clear and concise answers. A fellow named Maarten Pennings contributed much to my understanding. It's wonderful how the Internet facilitates ad hoc collaboration between people all over the world. Very cool. This site is my attempt to "give back" (or maybe pay it forward) for all the forums, help and tutorial sites that have helped me.


Socially bookmark How to Install TwonkyMedia in the Linksys NSLU2









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