As the title implies, this guide is for advanced users, but the payoff is huge. By following my guide you can turn your home computer into a media server, which allows you to stream music to any of your other computers anywhere in the world. In fact, it will work with any device that can access a UPnP server, including the iPhone. In order to use this guide you will need to know how to do things like port forwarding, firewall tweaking, and messing around with Windows, so be forewarned. In any case, here it goes.
Foobar2000 is not the prettiest Media Player out there, but it is by far the most powerful. By far. Get it and install it on your Windows desktop. It also runs perfectly in Linux under Wine.
You will also need a couple of plugins. You can find the most important 3rd Party plugins for foobar2000 here and a whole host of others here. There are lots of good components here, but you absolutely need at least two of them: columnsUI and UPnP Server. You install these by placing them in the “Components” folder in Foobar2000′s installation directory (usually C:/Program Files/Foobar2000), which you can access in Foobar2000 by going to “File-Folders-Browse Components Folder.” Copy the required files in here and restart Foobar2000.
Set Up Your Server
To set up your server go to “File-Preferences” and then browse “Tools-UPnP-Server.”
Under “Basic Settings” you should not have to change anything, unless you want to customize your port number (which I did).
Under “Advanced Settings” click the “Allow Internet access” box. This allows your server to be accessed from somewhere other than your local network—at work, for example. Enter your IP address or host name here. If you do not have a static IP address, you will need to use a Dynamic DNS service to access your computer. This one is easy and free. Add a login and password to protect yourself, and you’re good to go.
At this point you may need to forward the port you selected to the computer running Foobar2000. Do this by going to your router and making the necessary modifications.
If you have a lot of large or lossless files, be sure to set up transcoding in the “Streaming” tab.
Accessing Your UPnP Server
Most UPnP compatible software on your network should recognize the new server automatically. The instance of Foobar2000 on my (Linux!) laptop had no problems.
To get an album list in Foobar2000 you will need to install the UPnP plugin on all instances of Foobar2000 and then add a panel to your theme. Its not that hard; just follow the advice in the UPnP Server forum.
Getting Music on Your iPhone
To access your UPnP server and play music on your iPhone you will need the $6 PlugPlayer. Install that from the App Store. On your local network it will automatically recognize the Foobar2000 UPnP server. To access your music remotely, click on “Configure”, select the Foobar2000 server you set up, and then change the “Base URL” to the Public Server IP you added in Foobar2000 (with port number). Then you will need to type “/[USERNAME][PASSWORD]” substitution [USERNAME] for your username and [PASSWORD] for your password, without spaces or anything. For example: http://dummy.homedns.org:9001/namepassword. The “9001″ is the port number as listed in “Basic Settings” in Foobar2000. After testing those instructions at my workplace I can confirm that it works as expected. The one problem (in the 2.2.0 release of PlugPlayer) is that the app forgets your settings, so you have to add this manually each time you login remotely. The developer has promised a fix for this shortly.