How-To: Streaming stuff around your house

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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.

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WiFi2HiFi

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.

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Stream-To-Me

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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.

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This is the week that was

Wow. I complain that the tech news week is slow, so what happens? Stuff. iPad speculation, high-tech worms, a new tablet computer from RIM and much, MUCH MORE!

Apple

I Own An iPad, So What Do I do With It?
NPD has released the second in its series of iPad surveys. While the first looked at buying intentions prior to the launch this one is more focused on what the current ownership looks like and how those owners are using their iPad. In conjunction with the press release we thought we would add some color around the iPad experience, bypassing some of the more contentious product based discussions out there. The survey provided some in-depth information on all aspects of the iPad, but today we are going to look at two distinct areas. First, is what owners like and dislike about their iPads, and second is how consumers are using their iPad.

iPad owners: younger and more male.
As part of Advertising Week‘s Mobile Ad Summit Tuesday, the Nielsen Company released the results of a survey of 5,000 consumers who own a tablet computer, eReader, netbook, media player or smartphone – including 400 iPad owners. The survey found some curious demographic differences.

Apple shuts flagship Beijing store as iPhone 4 scalpers run amok
We reported earlier this month on the quaint habit of iPhone purchasing for a profit all across London, as various folk pick up units to send into the lucrative Chinese grey market for the device — today we learn that Apple had to close its Beijing Apple store yesterday because grey market buyers were sucking all the store’s supply.Seems that Apple bumped up the sales limit on iPhone 4 from two to unlimited in Beijing’s flagship store, drawing an immediate huge crowd of eager customers — but these folks were buying iPhones in large quantities to resell on the grey market, which caused such a commotion security eventually shut AAPL’s flagship Chinese store down.

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