Olaris Media Server - Bytesized Hosting

Olaris Media Server

Heya guys and girls,

As you might know I love experimenting, some experiments fail (Anybody remember the Bytesized BTC mining pool?) others turn out to become our bread and butter; the Appbox also started as a small experiment on one server. Today I'm finally ready to announce another Bytesized experiment: Olaris.

Olaris Header

Logo design by the always impressive Jord.


Olaris is an open-source, community-driven, media server for your movies and TV shows. Over the last few months myself and two freelancers (fellow Bytesized member Benje on the front-end and Leon on the transcoding server) have been working on Olaris whenever time and money allowed it. We are now ready to announce it via this first public Alpha release because we need your help, more on that later.

You are probably wondering why we need another one of these apps so let me run you through my motivations.

Neither Plex nor Emby were designed with datacenter hosting in mind.

Emby and Plex were designed to be hosted from inside your house, every design decision was taken with this in mind. Which means there are a lot of extra features and bulk within the application that hinders your experience as a user. It also means we often need to do weird workarounds just to keep Plex from playing nice with our servers.

Plex is way too centralised and dependent on Plex's infrastructure.

If the Plex login servers go down, everything is down. Plex's authentication service would be great if it was optional but sadly it is not. It's not only authentication, if for some reason Plex thinks your Plex port is not open to the public because an external check on their server fails it will setup a relay server and push all traffic through their own servers.

Plex is adding features that we don't want.

I can't speak for all of you but personally the direction Plex has been taken lately has not resulted in features I wanted to see. Everytime I login now I am being forced fed "Podcasts" and "Web Shows" that I did not ask for. I am a paid user so I think I should be able to turn these features off at the very least.

It all comes down to control; we want a product we can control so we can build the features our members want and need and customize our product to ensure you have the best possible streaming experience.

Olaris Movies preview

What Olaris is today

We are ofcourse not kidding ourselves; building a streaming server is very hard and on top of that we are competing with Plex which has had investor money and over 10 years of experience. So we are going to take this one step at a time. Let me tell you what we have so far.

Metadata support for Movie and TV Show libraries

We support movies and season/episode based series as long as they follow the default "Movie (Year)" or "Series S01E01" format. Anime and datebased series are not officially supported yet some work some dont. Olaris tries to one thing, and do it well: browse and consume your Movies and TV Shows. This is why we do not intend to support audio content.


We support Direct-Play/Direct-Stream like playback via our built-in browser player. Our software will always try to deliver the content in the best quality and only fallback on transcoding when it's absolutely not possible to play the original file.


We support on the fly transcoding and switching between various transcoding profiles. This is useful if a file's coded is not supported by your playback device or your connection does not allow it to play in it's original bitrate.


We support built-in and external subtitles, even when transmuxing so no forced transcoding needed for subtitles.

User management

There is one default admin user who can invite multiple standard users to their server using invite codes. It's also completely decentralised so no logging in through a third-party server.

Olaris Series preview

Olaris - Alpha release #1: "Huygens Hurray"

The release we are announcing today is the first one in a set of Alpha releases, named after "Christiaan Huygens" the inventor of the Magic lantern. The Alpha releases will all come with their own theme. The theme for today's release is "Playback performance". As you might know there are all kinds of ways to encode a video: codecs, profiles and playback device all play a big role in this. We have done a lot of testing but I'm sure there are still a lot of cases where transmuxing or transcoding will just give us a garbled mess instead of that movie we love so much.

Many hands make light work so today we ask your assistance to help us track down combinations that are not working well with Olaris yet. If you want to help us then you can do the following:

  1. Login to your box's dashboard and install the Olaris app that should now be available.
  2. Wait for Olaris to index all your files, this process is not optimised yet (single-threaded) so can take a bit of time. It's highly recommend you wait on the indexing before you start testing your content or things might break.
  3. If all works well your default media folders should be installed once the installation is finished. Please don't use Olaris on Google Drive mounts yet, we don't know what it will do to your rate limits.
  4. Go watch stuff until something breaks!
  5. When things do break go to our Gitlab issues page using this link and make sure the "Playback Issue" template is selected and fill it in with as much detail as possible.
  6. That's it!

What's coming next?

Our number one priority is playback stability. Once that's done we have two main priorities: Build our first client application for the Chromecast and experiment with Rlcone integration so that we can bypass FUSE all together.

In closing

We know that what we want to undertake is a momentous undertaking, we don't know if we will ever succeed but we want to give it our all. If you are a developer with free time and want to help us succeed then please come have a talk with us :)

I want to leave you with some links:



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