Play To

Using MSFT Uncertified Play To DLNA devices with W8 Modern UI Apps

 

Today I’m one step closer to giving up my iPad as my Surface RT can now perform one more task on my must have list. Full DLNA Play To sharing from the Charms bar/Devices for non Microsoft certified devices was a biggie on my list.

A little history: In Windows 7, Microsoft introduced Play To which used the DLNA spec to let me send media from my computer to a DLNA DMR. I had so so results with my 2009 Samsung TV due to poor transcoding support, but great results with my WDTV Live Hub and my SONOS speakers. The so-so experience on my TV and the not wonderful experience on other device by many many people caused Microsoft to rethink their strategy for Windows 8 and come up with their own certification process for devices to “insure” a good experience. This translated into a restrictive policy for Windows 8 Start Screen/Metro/Modern UI Apps where only MS certified devices would appear in an applications Settings: Devices menu. What this meant for me was that I could no longer send music to my SONOS speakers from these Apps, although I could do so from the classic Desktop-Explorer-Libraries view. I certainly was annoyed and disappointed. To me, this meant that Microsoft was going down the closed eco-system route and emulating Apple. DLNA is an open standard, and there are tiered requirements. MS was seeking to bulletproof the experience, but in the process left many of us hanging. I certainly wished for, and expressed my desire for, an advanced user setting to “Show non MS certified devices”, and I still think that is the necessary change that Microsoft needs to make.

Others in the geek world wanted a way to use their non certified devices and Rafael Rivera came up with a way for x86 based Windows 8 computers to do just this. He didn’t find a way to do this on Surface RT. And that’s where I most wanted this functionality. Note: The information that follows applies to Windows 8/Windows RT and I have tested on my Surface RT, my Surface Pro, and a Windows 8 desktop.

So I started looking at the registry. What I am about to describe works on both my Surface and Surface RT tablets but it is the only way so far to enable this functionality on RT.

Before you start,verify that your device supports Play To in the classic desktop/explorer/libraries interface. To do this, right click a supported media file in a classic library and verify the Play To menu appears and that you can successfully send to your target device and it plays the media you selected.

There is an interesting key in the registry:

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Device Association Framework\InboxProviders

\DAFUPnPProvider\Plugins\DlnaMetadataProvider\DeviceShims]

When expanded, it shows devices from just a few companies.

 

providers

Why only five vendors?

If you export the DeviceShims reg key, things get interesting. For example, specific vendors and specific devices have entries, such as:

 

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Device Association Framework\InboxProviders

\DAFUPnPProvider\Plugins\DlnaMetadataProvider\DeviceShims\ONKYO]

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Device Association Framework\InboxProviders

\DAFUPnPProvider\Plugins\DlnaMetadataProvider\DeviceShims\ONKYO\HT-R690]
"IsLegacyDMR"=dword:00000001

 

Do you find the IsLegacyDMR an interesting dword? If you look at the entire exported key, it is one of those AHA moments.

What follow is for geeks only. Use at your own risk. Back up your registry and back up the specific key. And use what follows entirely at your own risk. Obviously you will want to at least use the touch/type keyboard for this process.

First, the DeviceShims key is “protected” and you will need to take ownership and give yourself full control.

1. Right click the DeviceShims key, then click Permissions.

2. Click the Advanced tab, then click the Change hyperlink next to the Owner. You can use your Microsoft account for this.

3. Apply

4. Give users (pcname\username) full control

5. Reboot

Second, you will need to determine the exact information on the device(s) you want to empower to use the Start Screen Play To functionality.

1. Go to the classic desktop and classic explorer

2. Find your device in the network list

3. Right click the device and select properties

4. You will need the Manufacturer and the Model, case sensitive. In the example below, the Manufacturer is Sonos, Inc. and the Model is Sonos Play:5

 

devprops

Third, You need to create the registry values for your device(s).

1. Create a new key under DeviceShims with the manufacturer (Sonos, Inc. in my example)

2. Under the just created key, create a new subkey for the model (Sonos Play:5 in my example).

3. Create a 32 bit dword IsLegacyDMR and set the HEX value to 1

 

If you export the key, the newly created value would look like

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Device Association Framework\InboxProviders\DAFUPnPProvider\Plugins\DlnaMetadataProvider\DeviceShims\Sonos, Inc.]

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Device Association Framework\InboxProviders\DAFUPnPProvider\Plugins\DlnaMetadataProvider\DeviceShims\Sonos, Inc.\Sonos PLAY:5]
"IsLegacyDMR"=dword:00000001

 

4. Reboot

End result:

success

Here’s my Surface RT happily sending the output of the PRadio App (Pandora) to my Sonos.

Uncertified Play To works on Surface RT

 

 

Rafael Rivera has done a lot of work on getting uncertified Play To devices to work on non RT Windows 8 devices. He’s had a great solution now for a few months. But people like me want to use their RT tablets to control their non certified devices via Play To. I’ve done it!

I am happy to say that after much registry examination, regedit testing and edits, I have succeeded in using Play To from Start Screen, Music to send media to my SONOS Play 5 on my Surface RT!

This is a biggie for me.

1playto-on-rt

Screen shot above is from my Surface RT and you can see my SONOS devices (and this works).

This one is for geeks only. I’ll document it this weekend and share.

January Surface RT Update Enables WDTV Live Hub Play To

I was more than discouraged when my WDTV Live Hub, which was the poster child for Windows 7 Play To, did not show as a certified device for Windows Store Apps in Windows 8/Surface. Sure, the classic desktop interface worked, but I felt as though a promise had been broken.

I had the latest available firmware from October and others posting on the WD user forums were also miffed.

I happened to check the forums today and noted a couple of new comments. So, I followed the bouncing ball and performed the following steps:

 

1.      Charms, PC Settings, Devices, Delete the Uncertified WDTV Live Hub device

2.      Reboot

3.      Charms, PC Settings, Devices, manually ADD the device after it was discovered and listed

4.      Reboot

 

After the above, it now appears in the Device list and works. Photos, Music, Videos, even HTML5 browser streaming (nice!)

I checked with Microsoft to see how this update was done, since there was nothing listed in the Windows Update history specifically referencing Play To, and received this response:

Device certification is not handled in any way via Windows Update.

We have a service, called NCD-AS (auto setup for short) that will automatically find media renderers and pair them (even if they aren’t certified). As part of pairing, PNP updates drivers and metadata packages for a device if available. Every 8 days, this service will check for updated drivers and metadata packages for all media renderers that have been paired.

playtoupdate

OneShot App Automates & Organizes Screen Captures for W7 PlayTo

One of the great things about “community” is that you meet talented people virtually who come up with neat ways to enhance Windows features.

 

Jensigner has developed just such an add-on called OneShot which I see all kinds of interesting uses for, such as real time presentation work, education, and more. Basically this app takes screen captures of whatever is on your desktop and sends them to a folder named PlayTo, to enable you to quickly take advantage of a neat feature built into Windows 7. Open the folder, range select the images you’ve just captured and send to your PlayTo DLNA enabled TV.

 

To demo this, I opened my photo blog in IE9 and captured the desktop. Then, I opened the PlayTo folder and sent it to my DLNA enabled Samsung TV. Cool!

oneshot

Windows 7 Play To/DLNA Streams to iPhone/iPad

Yes, you read that correctly. The iPxxx devices don’t natively support DLNA functionality, which rules out using Windows 7 Play To”, so I decided to see what could be done, at least as a proof of concept, to try to get this working.

The secret sauce was finding an app called PlugPlayer and installing it on my iPhone and iPad and seeing my iPxx devices show up in the Network Window .

 

I was intrigued, and not expecting much success, used Windows Explorer, right clicked a music file and saw not only my TV and Sonos Players listed, but my iPhone (via PlugPlayer) as well.

playto-iphone

Then, the next task was finding which file formats would be supported.

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