Advanced Twonky Media Server configuration on a Thecus NAS



As you’ll no doubt recall from my earlier 2012 article, I have a NAS in my home office.  It is a Thecus N5200XXX 5-bay Network Attached Storage device, and it sits on my home gigabit network.

The Thecus features an OS which accommodates pluggable “modules”, one of which is a licensed copy of Twonky Media Server. 


Twonky is a DLNA (Digital Living Network Alliance) compliant media server which broadcasts (via UPnP) to media receivers on your local network.  The server has device profiles for a range of media receivers, and is pretty easy to configure.


Configuring Twonky

The majority of functionality Twonky exposes is fine out-of-the-box, but there might be some cases where you’d want to modify or augment functionality.  In my case, I wanted to change the way Twonky displays Pictures and Videos when viewing by date (to sort by most recent, and by Day instead of Year./Month).

To make changes you’ll need to hand edit the various Twonky configuration files – a warning up front – if you aren’t confident in messing with configuration files, this might not be a step you want to entertain. 

Accessing Twonky configuration

As would be no surprise to many network gurus, the Thecus module files aren’t directly accessible via a Samba or NFS mount.  This means you’ll need to employ a different approach – namely secure shell (SSH) – in order to get at the Twonky configuration files.

Here’s an easy to follow guide on configuring and using the Thecus SSH module, or see below

  1. Install and start HiSSH module on your Thecus NAS
  2. Activate the HiSSH module (by default it is configured to use your admin account’s password)
  3. Use an SSH client to connect to the NAS (using user: root)

Personally, I disabled the SSH module after I was finished accessing the NAS.

Free SSH Clients for Windows

If you are running a version of Microsoft Windows, these SSH clients are worth a look:

For this article, I’ll be using winSCP as it has a nice Explorer-style User Interface and allows the use of interaction with your clipboard for copy/cut and paste operations.

Accessing the Twonky Configuration

Once you’ve authenticated, you’ll find the main module files under the path:

Warning!  Before you attempt to make any changes to any module files, I highly recommend making backup copies of any files or folders you want to modify.

In my case, I wanted to edit the device configuration for all devices, so I navigated to the following path:

Click on the image for a closer look

Opening the view-definitions.xml file, it was a simple matter of replacing the “bydate” container configuration under the video container configuration, with this:

<container name='bydate' id='video/date' sortcriteria='-dc:title' 
           createClass='' class='object.container'> <container buildon='dc:date[1:10]' sortcriteria='+dc:title'
           createClass='' class='object.container'/> </container>

I made a similar change for the Pictures container object.  Once saved, the Twonky module needed to be disabled and enabled again.

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