Tech Blog

How-To: Streaming stuff around your house

by Retired Blogger on ‎03-07-2011 08:59 PM



In this increasingly wireless world, it seems odd that it's actually kinda difficult to get music or other media from one device to another.
In my case, I have photos, movies and music all stored on a central storage device on my network -- a Network Attached Storage device, or NAS.
Getting to that media easily with other devices means I have to have a something running and acting as a server to manage access to the media. In my case, it's a small windows based computer that acts as the server.
Or should I say 'servers' because to get my media streamed around the house is a feat that requires more than just one piece of software.
ituneslogo.jpgLet's start with iTunes 
I have that running  and sharing its library (which is pointed at the media on the NAS). iTunes allows any other copy of iTunes running on my network (and that I've enabled Home Sharing on) to see the shared library and use the media on it.
So now any computer running iTunes can play music from my shared iTunes library. This means my Apple TV (2nd Gen) can see my media library too.


But moving a computer from soundsystem to soundsystem is a little clunky, so read on, gentle reader, read on.
iPad, iPod Touch, iPhone 
It's fairly easy to plug your iDevices into most home sound system these days, so I won't go into details on that, but that's how I get the music to the room I want listen in.



Now things get a bit more complex. Streaming media to these devices requires another piece of server software running on that server box. And a matching application on the iOS device.
The iDevice is the receiver, and the Server is, erm, the server.
There are currently three solid iOS receiver apps (and matching free server software):

 With all three, the basic principal is the same:
1) Point the server software (on the PC) at the directories you want to share with the iOS devices
2) Let the server software build a catalogue
Now things get a bit different 
With Air Video and Stream To Me, you just:
3) Point the app (on your iOS device) at your server (usually using an IP address).

If you're using WiFi2HiFi, it's easier -- you just start the server software, and it automatically detects your iOS device with the app running and streams all your computer's audio to it. So whatever you're playing on your computer will be streamed to the iOS device.

4) With Stream-To-Me and Air Video, you have more control. The matching server software lets you view your media libraries and select the media you'd like to stream.





Air Video


As of this writing, Air Video only streams video (with on the fly conversion or queued conversion), while Stream-To-Me sends most video and audio formats without conversion.
So depending on your needs, you’ve got hardware and software options for getting your media to you using your existing devices. Very cool, and convenient way to get your stuff to where you are.

by mattbiggar1 on ‎03-09-2011 09:44 AM

For the Windows users all this can be accomplished very easily with an Xbox 360/PS3 and a PC on a WiFi network.


I have my home theatre setup so I can stream my music and videos from my laptop with an Xbox and or Windows Phone 7.


Windows Phone 7 all of which supports DNLA connectivity with compatible electronics such as a TV, Bluray Player or Receiver and you can stream your content to your home theatre wirelessly with your device. I enjoy this functionality because it allows me to browse music or video on my device with the album art and build a playlist on the fly or just add songs to now playing.


For me this was great alternative to going all Apple since I already had the console, the mobile device and a preference for Windows.

by Retired Blogger on ‎03-09-2011 09:53 AM

Hey Matt, great observation and comment!


Yep, Apple doesn't have the lock on wirelessly moving your content -- especially when you have other hardware that is DLNA enabled. I've got a nice LG BluRay player that integrates into my home network. Haven't tried the 360 yet.


Part of the challenge is when you have older equipment (Soundsystem receivers, amps, etc) that don't have DLNA. That's where plugging your mobile phone, iOS device, whatever, into it can get your tunes off your network, and into your room, much easier with streaming.





by Retired Blogger on ‎03-09-2011 09:06 PM

And, as of today and the availability of the iOS 4.3 update, you can use the built-in feature of iTunes Home Sharing to beam your stuff to authorized devices on your home network.

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