I have CDs in mp3 format and videos that I have now centralised onto a massive hard drive at home. And I want to be able to listen and view these around my house at home. Like on my TV, on my home stereo, on my portable iPod docking speakers.
Simple request? I think so.
Simple answer? Not really.
I’m started drawing up this list of solutions as it may help others out there in the same position as me.
Scenario 1: Video stored on Server, Controlled by iPhone, Viewed on iPhone
Use Air Video. Best thing about this is that Air Video will transcode media on the fly so that it will “just work” on the iPhone or iPod Touch.
Scenario 2:Video stored on Server, Controlled by PS3, Viewed on PS3
Use PS3 Media Server. Best thing about this is that PS3 Media Server will transcode media on the fly so that it will “just work” on the PS3. PS3 Media Server is what is referred to as a DLNA Server – which means devices that support the DLNA protocol (like the PS3 and XBOX360) will be able to talk to it.
Scenario 3: Video stored on Server, Controlled by family member’s PC, Viewed on family member’s PC
I’m not sure what’s best here at the moment. Just use folder sharing? This seems a bit “backward”! I’m still looking for a really easy to use, nice looking DLNA client program for the Mac. Might try XBMC (Xbox Media Center – a piece of software that was originally designed to turn an old XBOX into a Media Center, but now exists on many different platforms).
Scenario 4: Music stored on Server, Controlled by Server, Listen on Home Stereo
Use iTunes on Server, output to Airport Express speaker connected to Home Stereo
Scenario 5: Music stored on Server, Controlled by iPhone, Listen on Home Stereo (practically the same as above)
Use iTunes on Server, output to Airport Express speaker connected to Home Stereo, use Apple Remote on iPhone to control iTunes on server
Scenario 6: Music stored on Server, Controlled by PS3, Listen on PS3
Use PS3 Media Server running on Server, PS3 automatically recognises PS3 Media Server.
Scenario 7: Music stored on Server, Controlled by iPhone, Listen on iPhone (or speakers with iPhone dock)
Not sure. Airfoil nearly gets there but due to no multi-tasking, you can’t run the Remote application and the Airfoil application at the same time on the iPhone. Other third party solutions include Dot.tunes and Orb.
Scenario 8: Music stored on Server, Controlled by family member’s PC, Listen on family member’s PC
Use iTunes on Server, use iTunes on other PC, setup with iTunes Home Sharing
So it seems you still need a few different bits of software to achieve what really should be simple.
Running a half Apple setup at home, iTunes is a good fit. However, additional things to make it all work include Air Video, Airfoil and PS3 Media Server. However, I’m now running THREE different media server applications – iTunes, Air Video and PS3 Media Server. This is ridiculous! It would best if I only had to run one. Why can’t iTunes do it all?
There also seems to be much overlap between Air Video and PS3 Media Server too – they both do transcoding and make media libraries easily accessible via other devices – these guys should join forces or something.
Also, it seems really restricted and limiting that I can access my iTunes libraries on other family member’s PCs, but I can’t on my own iPhone at home. Apple – are you listening? You really need to expand Home Sharing to iPhones and iPod Touches. I would love to have the gigabytes of music on my server natively accessible to my iPhone at home. It would make my iPod docking speakers a true media extension for my home.
The day when it all just works simply without the user having to figure out which application to use for what purpose – that’ll be the day when technology really starts helping us instead of users being slaves.
PS3 Media Server: http://code.google.com/p/ps3mediaserver/
Air Video: http://www.inmethod.com/