Windows Media Streaming

I’ve never had a CE device that exceeded my expectations. Until now.  My Connected Home includes devices that enable me to stream media between devices on my network, but which also provoked frustration because of half implemented codec support and DLNA protocols. I thought I had true DLNA love back in July 2009 with a Samsung TV, but the lack of firmware updates for DLNA compatibility (such as support for WMA music) eventually caused me to realize it was just a summer romance. Samsung seems to abandon devices after 6 months or so, and concentrates on newer products.

Like many others, while I’d love a new DLNA certified Home Theater receiver DMR, the price range for these is currently $900+. And the Samsung TV is relatively new.

Enter the WD TV Live Hub. This >$200 little box does it all. Like many Home Theater enthusiasts looking for optimum solutions that provide Windows 7 Play To functionality, I’ve been frustrated and was not looking for an expensive solution. This is a very small box with gargantuan capabilities, including a 1TB hard drive to store your favorite media on.

wdliveproduct wd.box

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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.

Continue reading

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 .

playto-media-devices

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. 

Continue reading

Here’s one I did not expect to work but did. I’ve been able to use Windows Media Center to display non DRM’d High Def content over WiDi (since the TV HD is at best 720p, it will work.. higher 1080p is not support.. maybe someday).

I’d ripped a bunch of movies at 720p to stream to my iPad using Air Video and other options. I was browsing the network folder over RDP that housed these mp4  and double clicked The Day After Tomorrow without really knowing what might happen. My expectation was that since RDP has been so bad at streaming media of any kind that it would be dreadful. To my surprise, it actually worked smoothly and well, including video and audio in sync.

Here’s a shot of my TV where you can see the RDP session and the movie in a Windows Media Player window.

rdp-widi

And here is it when I expanded to full screen

rdp-widi-full-screen

I admit that I prefer the Windows Media Center interface over RDP as that losses the menu bar and gives me full screen. But this brings up interesting possibilities of traveling to a friends house with my Push2TV adapter and WiDi enabled laptop and having access to a remote library over the Internet. Probably won’t work as well over the Internet, but I’m up for trying.

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