Roon mobile: remote streaming outside of the home [On Roadmap - Scheduled]

A mobile solution is the “holy grail” for Roon. It’s an ultimate aim that has many potential pitfalls and dead ends. In Australia, our upload speeds are so pathetic that VPN is a sad joke. There are other locations where that is not the case.

Ultimately the best place for the Core is in the Cloud, but the issues associated with providing an acceptable Cloud based experience for all paying subscribers remain formidable with current technology.

I’m not expecting to see a mobile solution any time soon, but would love to be proved wrong.

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Just to offer my two pence on this… if the core is ultimately relocated to the cloud then it would be great to be able to have some kind of host-agnostic/self-hosted option that can just be installed onto any capable VPS. I’d hate to have to start paying a monthly fee to access my own music remotely.

That said, Subsonic are able to offer streaming/transcoding directly from the home server so perhaps the middle step won’t be necessary?

I’ll try to summarise the different feature requests we’re talking about here:

Mobile audio

  • using mobile phone as endpoint
  • already implemented on iOS as of 1.4
  • part of the core strategy of Roon (to have as many devices act as an audio endpoint), so I’m sure better support is always in the pipeline.

Playback from everywhere (the main request discussed here)

  • based on the roon architecture as it is: core, remote, endpoint.
  • remotes can access core from outside the LAN
  • probably restrict playback zone to the remote itself. So mobile phone can only send audio to itself.
  • This is a very important use case IMO since people spend a lot of time commuting and this is when they have time to use Roon’s great discovery features through a mobile device.

Download tracks to mobile device

  • Additional feature on top of the above.
  • You can still access the core directly to browse meta data but have (some) tracks locally available.

Roon in the cloud

  • Core + whole music collection in the cloud.
  • This would be quite an undertaking technically, probably. But would make Roon easily available to many more (non technical) users.
  • I don’t think the self-hosting option would be pulled. There’s no need to do that.
  • It may be possible right now to host Roon core on a VPS if you have a continuous VPN connection configured.
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@danny I’d recommend that you guys look at how Plex has solved this problem. Their solution is elegant and should work for Roon. To the best of my knowledge:

  1. For background, Plex works similarly to Roon in that you have server which maintains your library and clients which by default reside on the same home network and auto-discover each other.
  2. Plex maintains a minimal cloud service. Their users / customers register an account with this service, and then use their credentials to log on both the server and clients.
  3. The server uses UPnP to setup a NAT / port forwarding rule to open a port (32400) in the user’s home router which is then forwarded to the server. This can also be done manually by the user.
  4. The server informs the cloud service of the external IP address of the network on which it resides, and perhaps some other relevant into.
  5. If a client needs to access the Plex server remotely, it calls out to the cloud service (user must be logged in), and then gets the IP address / port for the server. The client then connects to the server over the public internet, with the request beings forwarded on to the server by the home router for the last leg of the request.

Having this implemented would significantly increase the value of Roon Labs for me and any use who want to list to their library at work or on the road.

Thanks!

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Would love to pay for lifetime/monthly/whatever just for this feature… it stops me from using it since I have my files at home and working outside or moving from place to place a lot. +1 for this, “shut up and take my money!”. I’ll check on this again next fall. Thanks for the effort so far!

I have argued that remote access to the home server is not useful, because the home server is not a high availability, auto-recovering environment.
I’m on vacation and the cleaning lady knocks the switch on the power strip and turns off the network, or one of the many steps in the chain (ISP, modem, router, switch, server) recycles after a security patch or power outage and the chain doesn’t reinitialize properly… Do you have somebody in the home able and willing to troubleshoot?

This I why have argued for going directly to cloud.
Even finding Tidal equivalents for as much of my library as possible.

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I find your arguments poor here. I rarely have network offline on my home server and if I do, it’s only because of my circumstances. I don’t have strangers clean up my house and I have my power switches hidden. This should definitely not be the basis for improving this side of Roon.

Streaming features are very common and I have been using Subsonic, mopidy, Plex and others, they just lack rich player features that Roon has. Plex has improved the most I guess.

Roon is currently completely useless for those who want to have their own files on home server but rarely listen music at home (like me).

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If your home is operating at four-nines availability while unattended, I congratulate you.

I agree with Anders. Remote access to files on my server is subject to uploading bandwidth/speeds. In Australia they are abysmal.

The cloud would avoid the need to manage an upload server.

Whereas I agree with Roni, and I live in Australia. Having had the ability to take my music with me for over a decade (via syncing) and streaming from my home network with very rare dropouts for 7 years or more (via Plex). However I do realise that for Roon to do either of these two things means a rewrite of the remote/client software in a big way. Cloud services would be nice for those that don’t have upload speeds to support their desired playback quality but can afford to pay for an additional service.

A cloud solution isn’t for me, my library is too large to host in the cloud cost effectively. I prefer to use my own hardware.

It’s not for me either, for two reasons. Cost is one and unreliability of cloud services is the other. Plex offers a cloud service and after initial release it supported Amazons no defunk unlimited storage plan which the offered a free trial of. It was unable to stream anything reliably whereas if I switched to my home network it streamed 1080p video with no problem (20Mbps upload bandwidth).
Cloud makes sense only if your provider and current location are located on a properly peered network. As soon as you7connected to a network without good peering you will be pret much out of luck. The same can be said for any remote access of course, so syncing to your portable player helps get aroun this.

Gladly it’s in development and have been discussed and requested many times over the years Mobile Music Sync and Streaming [On Roadmap]

For a service that has a subtantial price you could just expect a core feature like this during this age and time. You are forgetting it’s not announced yet and painting a too black and white picture of the feature that it would be “always on” with full bandwidth without any cache/syncing/latency optimizations that would make it sensible to use. Like in Subsonic/Plex/Ampache/any similar services out there.

I’m also quite sure it wouldn’t be forced to be enabled for all users because I know many prefer to just have their home theater system and user roon like Sonar and equivalents for example. I like to think Roon Labs want to listen to their paying users, old and new.

I hope nobody (or Roon) is considering a “cloud” here. Files would be streamed/synced over network rather than being uploaded anywhere. As much as I want to like Google Play Music I’m sure nobody wants Roon to be a service like that.

Apple’s iTunes Match is just that - cloud based music.

I have paused my use of Roon for over year, simply because I am at work or in the car when I get to listen to music. Apple wins for that convenience.

I tried to be all in on Roon but the feature set is not what I want right now.

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Yeah.
For any company, it is important to listen to the customers.
But its also important to listen to non-customers.

I fully agree! It also has one additional benefit. You can invite family and friends to connect to your server, and you cane be invited to connect to their’s. Really elegant and useful!

I’m a paying ROON customer. Not having this feature … to sync/remotely access Core server from another network / across the internet … is a seriously weak flaw. My wife HATES that she has to switch from ROON to Tidal or Spotify when on the road. Me too … I use Roon before going to work, then have to close ROON and open Tidal for my drive to work. Tidal and Spotify both have this feature figured out … what is taking ROON so long!!! Hasn’t this been in the works since 2015???

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Agreed … I want to keep my Core server on my local network. I wouldn’t mind a sync/dowload playlist to local storage option, or an option to stream directly from my Roon Core server from the internet, but I have NO/0/ZIP/ZILCH interest in uploading my library to the cloud.

Yeah, but that is much more difficult than a cloud service.
Partly because your home is not operating with high reliability.
There are occasional hiccups in computers, networks, routers, power strips or internet service that are easily fixed by power cycling, rebooting, or fiddling. One common blocker is security updates — some just break things, and many gadgets have this idea that somebody is always there, and pop up dialogs like “we have changed security police, click Accept”. If you are away from home, nobody is there to do that. If you go away for a month, Roon could be unavailable for that month.

It would certainly be possible to build that, but I’m not in favor of it, because it would be difficult for the majority of customers to set up and keep working.

So why don’t you want your library in the cloud? Cost is one issue. Others?

Btw, I have suggested that Roon would sync the database through the cloud, but rely on Tidal for the content, identifying the corresponding album to your private stuff. Would satisfy a lot of needs, but would miss more unusual content. A useful first step.