Playing music from Logitech Media Server on Chrome OS

Since I acquired my first Chrome OS computer two months ago—an Asus Chromebit CS10—I have been pleasantly surprised by how few “holes” I have found in what I can actually do with the device. Far from being simply “a Web browser on a laptop”, as too many reviews of Chromebooks mistakenly dismiss them as (this isn’t 2013, people!), the Chrome OS platform allows users to undertake a pretty wide range of computing tasks (increasingly, not requiring an active network/Internet connection). Now that many “Chromedevices” are getting support for Android apps, the choice of software available to owners has never been wider.

That’s not to say there are no gaps, of course, and one item I really missed was a Logitech Squeezebox player/controller app. We have a Synology NAS server running Logitech Media Server, which serves audio to the Squeezebox Duet connected to the hi-fi in our lounge, and also to any software players on our home network (such as SqueezePlay on our Mac, and iPeng on my iPhone).

Sadly, no Squeezebox player software has been ported to Chrome OS, and although there are Squeezebox player apps for Android (such as SqueeezePlayer), at time of writing the Chromebit hasn’t received Android app support, although apparently it is on the way for 2017.

I had a feeling that there must be some means of playing networked audio from the Synology box on a Chrome OS machine… and this morning I had a moment of inspiration, which turned out to work. Even better: it supports Logitech Media Server, which meant I didn’t have to mess around with any other servers.

Screenshot of Movian playing music from Logitech Media Server
Movian playing music from Logitech Media Server

The key Chrome OS app here is, ironically, one I had already installed for another purpose. Movian is a very capable UPNP/DLNA media player, which I had put on the Chromebit for playing video files from the DLNA server on the Synology box. This morning, it hit me: DLNA also serves audio and photos as well as video, so could Movian somehow play networked music from the Synology?

Well, to spoil the suspense: yes, it can, because it seems that LMS also supports UPNP/DLNA, at least to some degree. I started up Movian, chose the “Local Network” option, and was presented with two server options, both from the Synology: the UPNP/DLNA, and the LMS instance. I chose the latter… and I could browse the music collection there and listen to it. Even better: Movian supports FLAC playback, which is great for me as much of my music is in that format.

So: many thanks, Movian people… and I hope the above discovery helps someone else!

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