Installing and Running the Emby Media Server on the Raspberry Pi?

The Raspberry Pi is a versatile, low-cost computer that is ideal for running lightweight home server applications. One such application is Emby, a free and open source media server. With Emby running on a Raspberry Pi, you can easily stream videos, music, and photos to a variety of devices. This article provides step-by-step instructions on installing and optimizing Emby server on the Raspberry Pi.

Installing and Running the Emby Media Server on the Raspberry Pi?

Hardware and OS Requirements

Emby can run on any model Raspberry Pi, but for the best performance a Raspberry Pi 4 is recommended. You will also need:

  • A microSD card with a fresh install of Raspberry Pi OS
  • A power supply for the Pi
  • External hard drive or USB drive for media storage

In terms of network requirements, the Pi should be connected via Ethernet for the best streaming performance. A wired internet connection is also recommended.

Installing Emby Server on the Raspberry Pi

Installing Emby on the Raspberry Pi is quick and straightforward thanks to the official Emby Raspberry Pi OS repository:

First, ensure your Pi is up-to-date by running the following updates:

sudo apt update

sudo apt full-upgrade

Add the Emby repository to your system:

echo “deb raspbian main” | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/emby-server.list

Add the Emby GPG signing key:

wget -O – | sudo apt-key add –

Update your Pi again to access the Emby repository:

sudo apt update

Finally, install Emby Server:

sudo apt install emby-server

That’s it! Emby Server is now installed and will start automatically on each boot.

Configuring Emby Server

Once Emby is installed, open a web browser and navigate to http://your_pi_IP_address:8096 to access the server dashboard.

You will be guided through the initial setup:

  1. Create an admin account
  2. Agree to Emby’s terms
  3. Choose your default languages
  4. Opt-in for automatic updates if desired.

Next, you need to setup your media libraries and connect to Emby apps. Use the web interface to:

  • Add your video, audio and photo folders
  • Ensure the automatic IP address is correct
  • Install plugins like EmbyStat for analytics

Now download the Emby apps for your client devices like phones, tablets and media streamers. The most common apps are:

  • Emby Theater – for PCs and laptops
  • Emby for Android/iOS – for mobile devices
  • Emby for Roku – for Roku media players

Once your client apps are connected, Emby will organize and stream your media. Continue reading for tips on usage, maintenance, and troubleshooting.

Managing Emby Resources on the Raspberry Pi

When running Emby server on the Raspberry Pi, there are a few things you can do to optimize performance:

  1. Use an External USB Drive for Storage

Ideally, store your media library on an external USB hard drive or flash drive rather than the SD card. This will avoid wearing out the SD card prematurely.

  1. Adjust Transcoding Settings

Emby automatically converts or transcodes media files if needed for a particular device. However, transcoding can be CPU and RAM intensive.

To avoid overloading your Pi:

  • Disable video throttling in Settings > Playback
  • Set a conservative maximum simultaneous transcodes in Settings > Server > Transcoding > Maximum concurrent transcodes
  1. Enable Hardware Accelerated Video Encoding

If you have a Raspberry Pi 4, you can offload H.264 video transcoding to the GPU:

echo “dtoverlay=vc4-fkms-v3d” | sudo tee -a /boot/config.txt

sudo reboot

This will speed up streaming to many devices.

  1. Clean Cache and Logs

Emby caches artwork, guide data and other temporary files over time. To clear space you can:

emby-server clean  # clears program data cache

emby-server restart  # restarts the server

  1. Lower Log Verbosity

Adjust logging levels in Settings > Logging if the logsgrow too large.

With a few optimizations like these, your Emby server will run smoothly on the Raspberry Pi without lag or crashing.

Troubleshooting Emby Server Issues

Some common problems and fixes:

  • Can’t login to web interface: Reset admin password via command line

emby-server changepassword your_username new_password

  • Media won’t stream: Ensure filenames don’t have special chars, restart service

sudo service emby-server restart

  • Missing metadata: Run library scan to refresh info
  • Buffering or crashes: Increase Minimum SMB protocol version to 2.0 or 3.0 in Settings

See the Emby documentation for more troubleshooting tips.

Key Takeaways

  • The Raspberry Pi makes an affordable, low-power Emby server
  • Install Emby using the official Raspberry Pi OS repository
  • Store media externally, optimize transcoding, enable GPU encoding
  • Manage resource usage to prevent Emby from crashing
  • Reset admin password and restart service to fix common issues

Running Emby on the Raspberry Pi provides a great way to stream home media. With a few optimizations to avoid overloading the Pi hardware, your Emby server will run smoothly.


Installing Emby Media Server on a Raspberry Pi is simple thanks to the optimized Raspbian repository. And with a few tweaks to enable GPU transcoding, manage logs, clean cache and adjust settings, you can optimize Emby’s performance to avoid overloading your Pi. Storing your media collection externally and upgrading to a Pi 4 further helps Emby server run smoothly.

With Emby now installed on the low-cost Pi, you can conveniently stream videos, music and photos to all your devices around the home.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Is Emby free to use?
    Yes, the core Emby server is 100% free and open source software. There are premium Emby apps and plugins available, but these are optional purchases.
  1. Which Raspberry Pi models can run Emby?
    Any Pi model can run Emby, but the best performance will be seen on a Raspberry Pi 4 or Pi 400 due to its extra processing power.
  1. Do I need to use Ethernet, or can the Pi connect wirelessly?
    For streaming HD or high bitrate content, it is highly recommended to use a wired Ethernet connection to your router or network switch.
  1. What file systems does Emby support on the Pi?
    Emby supports the common Linux file systems like ext4, NTFS, and Btrfs. It also supports SMB shares as well as NFS.
  1. How do I access Emby server remotely outside my home?
    Enable port forwarding on your router for TCP port 8096 and 443. Or better, connect your Pi to a VPN service so you can securely access Emby without exposing ports.
  1. Can the Pi handle multiple Emby streams?
    Performance will vary depending on your exact Pi model. In general, expect a Pi 4 to handle 2-3 simultaneous 1080p streams. Lower the transcoding settings if you experience buffering issues.
  1. What are the main differences when running Emby on the Pi versus a desktop PC or NAS?
    The Pi has less CPU power so streams more media in its original format rather than transcoding. You may encounter performance issues if many users stream at once. Lacking redundancy if the SD card fails.
  1. Should I overclock my Pi to improve Emby performance?
    Overclocking does help Emby streaming capability slightly, but risks system instability. Instead focus on optimizing the software first, enable GPU encoding, lower transcode limits etc. Overclock later if needed.
  1. Does Emby automatically update on the Raspberry Pi?
    Yes, during initial setup you can opt to automatically fetch the latest Emby updates from the repository as new versions are released.
  1. Why does Emby crash or freeze on the Pi?
    This usually occurs when the CPU or RAM maxes out from transcoding too much media at once. Check the logs and reduce maximum simultaneous transcodes. Also disable video throttling and enable GPU encoding.
  1. How do I backup the Emby server data and libraries?
    Emby has built-in backup and restore functionality from the web UI. This saves all your settings, users, libraries, watched status etc. You just need to backup the actual media files separately.
  1. Can Emby stream 8K or HDR video on the Raspberry Pi?
    No, the Pi lacks enough processing power for 8K or HDR video playback. At most the Pi 4 can potentially stream 4K depending on codecs and bitrate. Stick with 1080p or lower for smooth streaming.
  1. Is there a way to install Emby without using the command line?
    Yes, there is a graphical package installer called Pi Store that contains Emby in its repository. Use this GUI tool as an alternative to the usual command line method.
  1. How do I secure Emby server access on my Pi?
    Use Emby’s built-in user access restrictions to limit streaming. Enable HTTPS for the web UI. Place Emby behind a VPN for remote access. And disable SSH password access for total security.
  1. Can I stream content from online sources like YouTube or podcasts through Emby on my Pi?
    Yes, via plugins like EmbyStat which work by capturing URLs of online content, downloading or caching them, and then streaming through Emby like a local file.
  1. Does Emby work well with Kodi on the Raspberry Pi?
    Yes, you can connect Kodi clients to Emby server. This gives a nice 10-foot UI while still leveraging Emby’s central media management. Or access the Emby interface directly from Kodi using the official addon.
  1. How resource intensive is Emby metadata retrieval and scraping?
    Scraping metadata and artwork can spike CPU and disk I/O temporarily. To lessen this, schedule library scans for periods of low usage. Ensure your media files already have some embedded meta info.
  1. What is the best portable external hard drive to use for Emby media?
    Look for a USB powered hard drive that does not need its own AC power brick. Models like the Western Digital Elements Portable or Seagate Backup Plus Slim strike a good balance of affordability, capacity, and portability.
  1. Should I use a USB flash drive instead of a hard disk to store media files?
    Flash drives are OK for small libraries, but hard drives have far more capacity for a lower cost. Flash wears out after more erases cycles as well. Use flash if you need something compact and durable.
  1. What steps should I take to troubleshoot Emby buffering issues on the Pi?
    Check network connections and ping times first. Then lower transcode limits, disable throttling, adjust logging verbosity. Enable GPU encoding on a Pi 4. And consider re-encoding problem files to Raspberry Pi native formats.

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