A feature that has been considered missing from the Sony PlayStation 4 is the ability for it to be a media player whether working with media on an optical disk, USB storage or the DLNA Home Media Network. This was a feature that was baked in to the PlayStation 3 and was highly valued. It is also a feature that is part of the XBox One’s software and having media-playback abilities in a games console underscores the trend for these devices to be an “all-round” entertainment device that works with the large-screen TV.
This trend is underscored with the consoles having integrated Blu-Ray players along with such things as TV-tuner devices being available for the XBox One along with “front-end” software being available for the popular video-on-demand services like Netflix for these consoles. This appeal is underscored amongst young people who live in a small apartment or bungalow and have as their TV a small bargain-basement model without the full smart-TV functionality and they see these consoles adding all of the desired functionality.
Look for this in the PS4’s menu to download the Media Player
Sony received subsequent user feedback about what the PS4 could offer and one of the features that was called out by their customers as being of need was a media player. Now they have issued it as an app that can be downloaded from the PlayStation Store with an icon in the Content area of the PS4’s System Menu to invite you to download the software. This will work with content on USB storage or your DLNA-equipped NAS or computer.
It can handle most of the popular media codecs and file types as well as being able to run music files as background music. It should be available for download over the next few days so you can get the PS4 becoming more fully-fledged as a media centre.
I am reviewing the Toshiba AT300 which is their current-model 10” Android consumer tablet computer. Compared to most other tablet computers, it is available in only one configuration which is a 16Gb unit which works only from Wi-Fi wireless networks.
– reviewed configuration
NVIDIA Tegra 3
10” widescreen (1280×800)
4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich
1 x MicroUSB 2.0,
USB 2.0 via proprietary docking plug
3.5mm audio input-output (headset) jack, audio output via proprietary docking plug, digital audio via HDMI
microHDMI, HDMI via proprietary docking plug.
3985 (below ASUS Transformer Prime TF201)
The unit itself
Aesthetics and build quality
The Toshiba AT300 was well built for a good-quality tablet and had a metal-mesh backing. It was also well finished even though the glossy touchscreen was able to get the fingerprints too easily.
As for temperature control, this unit was able to keep its cool thanks to he mesh backing. This may be important if we see Android apps that work the Tegra 3 ARM processor very hard.
The Toshiba AT300 tablet’s display was very responsive to the touchscreen input, showing the results very quickly and rendering the animations that Android Ice Cream Sandwich put up very quickly. Still pictures come through very crisply with this tablet, making it suitable to use as a photo viewer or digital photo frame for home or business.
For video playback, the display subsystem even shone with the smoothness even when fed the video via an on-demand video service. As I have said before, the glossy display is still prone to be too reflective in broad daylight.
The Toshiba AT300 played some music files from my networl-attached storage device as well as Internet hosted audio like Internet radio and this worked very smoothy. The sound quality was very good when I used the device with lot of slim devices, audio quality doesn’t make it with the integrated speakers
The Toshiba Media Player app that comes with this tablet is no crapware – it works properly with DLNA media servers as well as content hosted locally on the tablet. I tried this out with music and photos held on a WD NAS that uses the TwonkyMedia Server software as its DLNA media server.
Connectivity and Expandability
The docking connector that the tablet uses for charging and data transfer
The Toshiba AT300 used a MicroUSB data port but also used a proprietary docking connector for its power supply. This is to primarily work with a tablet dock that Toshiba supplies as an optional extra, where it has an audio output, standard USB connectors and standard HDMI connector.
But the MicroUSB connector could be a data / power port so you can use the standard MicroUSB cable with a charger rather than worrying whether you have the Toshiba cable or not. There is also a microHDMI connector that you can use with a suitable cable to connect to HDMI-equipped external displays.
Side connections – SD card slot, microUSB port, microHDMI port and headphone/microphone jack
Like most Android tablets, the Toshiba has an integrated SD card reader which you can use to effectively expand your tablet’s memory. This is also handy if you want to use the tablet to review and edit your images that you just took with your digital camera.
The Toshiba AT300 10” Android tablet performed as expected for a good-quality Android tablet using the NVIDIA Tegra chipset.
The network performance was very smooth for most activities including video streaming. The unit was also very sensitive for the Wi-Fi reception.
I ran the Quadrant Android performance test and found that this unit comes in at a benchmark of 3985 which works just under the ASUS Transformer Prime TF201 hybrid tablet. This shows that it can come up properly with its peers as far as computing and graphics performance go.
As far as the battery life was concerned, the battery yielded 80% left after I watched one hour of on-demand video via the home network. It was also very frugal with the battery for most other activities.
Limitations and Points Of Improvement
If Toshiba were to create a tablet that is a viable iPad alternative, they could supply a variant with an integrated wireless broadband modem. On the other hand, this tablet could just be used with the home Wi-Fi network, a public-access Wi-Fi network, a “Mi-Fi” router or an Android phone that supports Wi-Fi tethering.
As well, I would like to see this tablet put in the queue for the Android 4.1 Jelly Bean update in order to satisfy newer expectations that would be required of this platform.
This may be a hard decision to call but I would recommend the Toshiba AT300 as a 10” consumer-grade highly-capable alternative to the Apple iPad. This is more so if you value the tablet to he just about up to date on the operating environment and expect it to be used for multimedia, games, email-reading and Web-surfing while in bed or on the couch. Business users could value it for use as part of digital visual merchandising efforts, as a large-screen reference book or quick-view information terminal.
The SmartStor Fusion Stream app is another program that integrates a smartphone or tablet computer based on the iOS or Android platforms in to a standards-based DLNA Home Media Network.
It is capable of what is nowadays expected for a smartphone-based DLNA network media app. That is it can play or show media held anywhere in the DLNA Home Media Network on the device itself or a DLNA Media Renderer device capable of accepting media that is “pushed” to it from a control device.
Another key feature is that it integrates the local storage with the DLNA Home Media Network. Here, you can upload pictures or videos taken with the device’s camera to a DLNA-compliant media server that supports the upload function. It can also download media held in the DLNA Home Media Network to the device’s local storage so it can be enjoyed “on the go”.
The ability to download content held on a DLNA Media Server to the local storage of an iOS or Android device with this software could be handy especially for iOS users who want to add selected pictures to their device without having to perform special sync routines. This is because iTunes doesn’t seem to support “drag-n-drop” syncing of pictures that a user selects to an iOS device – a feature that can come in handy if an iPod Touch or iPad is put in to service as an electronic photo album or digital photo frame.
A main question that I would have at the moment would be whether pictures and videos that come in to a smartphone that runs this software can be shown via a DLNA screen or uploaded to a DLNA Media Server if they came in via email, MMS picture or Bluetooth? Similarly, I would like to be sure that the program doesn’t impair the performance of the smartphone or device; or doesn’t take too long to browse the a DLNA media collection on a server.
This program could raise the bar when it comes to DLNA interface programs for mobile phones and internet tablets.
The SmartStor Zero is another two-bay network-attached storage device which is optimised to work as a media server. As well as serving media to DLNA equipment and iTunes clients, it can accept content that is uploaded from mobile devices that are equipped with DLNA-Upload software like most of the DLNA-integration software for the Android platform and the abovementioned Fusion Stream app for the iPhone.
This device’s Web-based user interface has the ability to become an access point for the media held on the NAS. But it supports the ability to allow one to directly upload selected pictures to Facebook whether to a new album or as extra images for an existing album.
Another bonus is that the Installation software doesn’t add any drivers or other components to allow a computer to gain access to the NAS. Instead, the software works with the host operating system’s network-storage capabilities to “find” the NAS and provide a mount point or mapped drive letter for the storage resources.
One feature that I would like the DLNA software to benefit from is to support the photo tags that are part of iPhoto or Windows Live Photo Gallery. This could even include the People Tags and Geotags that Windows Live Photo Gallery supports so as to allow one to search or browse for people in the photo library using the user interface provided by a DLNA-compliant media player or control point.
Previously, I have mentioned in this site about PlugPlayer which is a DLNA Media Controller app for the iPhone and iPod Touch. I have cited it more as a solution to bridge this popular smartphone with the DLNA Home Media Network.
Now this app has been ported to the iPad and is able to take advantage of the larger screen area offered by this new device. It is mostly based on the iPhone version but there are plans to make this app use all the assets of the iPad as it is revised.
This may appeal to those of you who want to see the iPad work as a coffee-table control point for the DLNA Home Media Network or bring up pictures and videos held on a network-attached storage on the iPad.
As well, any of you who own a Linn DS network-audio streamer that works with Cara software can be sure that the latest version of this software will offer the full functionality of the latest firmware. This includes on/standby, access to Internet radio as well as source selection.
You can pick the software up at the Android MarketPlace using your Android device.
Previously, TwonkyMedia have released a version of the TwonkyMedia Server for the Android platform but this program presents media that is held in your Android device to the UPnP AV / DLNA Home Media Network. It doesn’t offer any way for you to play media already available on the network through your Android device nor does it allow you to “push” media to another UPnP AV / DLNA device for playback or control its playback on that device.
Now another German developer have shown up with a UPnP AV control point / media player for the Android platform. This will allow you to use phones like the HTC Desire to control playback of media on UPnP MediaRenderer devices or “bring down” media available on your UPnP MediaServer to your phone for instant playback.
I had observed on the site that there is a wish for people to copy a “collection” of media like an album from the UPnP MediaServer to the Android phone’s local storage. But could this function be available for an upcoming version?
It is now becoming very real that a programmable mobile phone platform like the iPhone or the Android can be part of the UPnP AV / DLNA Home Media Network once people write software that provides media-service, media-control or media-playback functionality for the platform.
Originally published 23 February 2009 on my original homenetworking01.wordpress.com blog
Updated 20 September 2009 with experience from newer versions of TwonkyMedia Manager
This review of TwonkyMedia Manager is the first review of any hardware or software product that I have done for this blog.
TwonkyMedia Manager is a follow-on program from the classic TwonkyVision UPnP AV / DLNA media server that had been released since 2003/ The server, which has been ported to the major operating systems, has been deployed in many of the respected network-attached storage devices. As well, some consumer-electronics manufacturers include this program with their network media players as a “get-you-going” media server so you can start establishing a DLNA media network with your computer and their product. This program now has a management screen and a built-in media player so it can act as a media “jukebox” program in a similar vein to the likes of iTunes, WinAmp or Windows Media Player.
The TwonkyMedia Manager supports and adheres to the UPnP AV / DLNA “3-box” model of a “media server”, “media controller” and “media renderer”. Even a single-computer setup can work in this manner because the “3-box” model is represented by TwonkyMedia Server being the “media server” and TMMPlayer, which is a separate music-player program started by TwonkyMedia Manager, being the “media player” and the program’s user interface being the “media controller”. The software can discover other UPnP AV (DLNA) media servers and (externally-manageable) UPnP AV media renderers on the same network and allow them to be controlled from the user interface.
This is useful for demonstrating the UPnP AV / DLNA media-control concept or testing out UPnP AV hardware and software, as well as being the media jukebox based on the UPnP AV / DLNA model.
The main limitation about this media-management program is that it doesn’t have integrated facilities for adding media to the media library such as a CD-ripping function. This is because you are meant to use it alongside an existing media management program like Apple iTunes or Windows Media Player which does this job very well.
Instead, you would use the other media management program to add your media to the server. Then you would have to set the media management program(s) to load the media to one or more nominated folders. Then you have TwonkyMedia Server, which is the server function in the TwonkyMedia Manager, serve the media files to the DLNA / UPnP AV Media Network, which are all of the network media client devices on your network that work to these standards, from those nominated directories.
This program would end up being of benefit to those people who use Apple iTunes or other programs that don’t have UPnP AV server functionality as their media “jukebox” program, because they just point the TwonkyMedia Server to the program’s media folder such as the iTunes Music folder as explained further.
I am testing the program on a Windows Vista computer running the Windows Media Player 11 with its Windows Media Server function enabled for DLNA server comparison. The Windows Media Server is a UPnP AV MediaServer program which has been integrated in Windows Media Player 10 and 11 for Windows XP / Vista. The server program was initially available as Windows Media Connect which was a separate free download from Microsoft for Windows XP computers running Windows Media Player 9. Both programs are serving content from the same music and picture folders. so I can make a true comparison between the programs.
The program was slow at the start to know what was in the libraries for the TwonkyMedia Server and the Windows Media Server, but this can be typical in the first run of the program, and I had built up a large music and photo library that was made available to the servers.
I have done a test to find the iTunes library, even though I have iTunes in place but am running Windows Media Player as my media jukebox. Like most UPnP MediaServer programs, you have to find the iTunes Music folder and add that particular folder to the list of folders available to TwonkyMedia Server. This information will be located in the “Advanced” tab in the “Preferences” dialog box in iTunes.
The integrated playlist management is only available if you are using the TwonkyMedia Server as your media server. If you use other UPnP MediaServer programs, you will have to make sure they see the playlists as a hierarchy with each playlist as a collection that is a member of the “Playlists” tree. This is exactly what Windows Media Player 11 does with the playlists.
I have noticed that if the computer isn’t busy, especially with disk-intensive tasks, the program is likely to work properly.
When you add songs, albums or other audio content to the playlist for a UPnP AV MediaRenderer device, including the program’s own TMMPlayer software player, all the songs are added to a “now-playing” list for that device with the currently-playing song emphasised in bold white text and with an arrow at the beginning of the title. The full “album, artist, title” metadata appears in a panel at the top of the list. To delete a song from the playlist so it doesn’t play, you just press the DEL key. When you want to move a song for earlier or later playback, you just drag the song to the desired position.
When you buy the program for US$39.95 or €29.95, you are licensed to use the program on 3 computers concurrently. This appeals to setups like my review setup which is a desktop computer being a media server and a laptop being a media controller. Similarly, you could run a laptop as a controller for an HTPC serving the content and playing through a home theatre setup, running TwonkyMedia Manager.
I have done a playback test using a laptop with a desktop, each running these programs and the desktop computer being the media server. The tests are being done this way to determine how TwonkyMedia Manager performs in all of the roles and with other UPnP AV MediaServers. Another reason is because I don’t have ready access to a hardware network media player that works to the UPnP AV or DLNA standards.
The first test involved the laptop being used as a remote controller according to UPnP AV Control Point / DLNA Media Controller standards. It went according to plan, with the metadata about the currently-playing song being displayed on the media-controller laptop, but not on the desktop which was playing the song. This would be similar to using PlugPlayer or iMediaSuite on your iPhone or iPod Touch; or your Nokia N-Series phone to control the music playing out on your computer via the wireless network.
I have set the laptop up as a remote digital media renderer and it goes to plan, but TMMPlayer doesn’t show the metadata of what it is currently playing when it is under remote control. I had tried a “track skip” at the laptop (which is the media renderer) and it didn’t move to the next track in the media queue immediately.
This version of the program has gateway support for Internet radio, YouTube video and Flickr photo support. But there are some limitations on how this is run. For YouTube, there isn’t an option to monitor your channel subscriptions, which can be of benefit if you make use of YouTube channels. The Internet radio option can be of benefit if your UPnP digital media hardware doesn’t have native support for Internet-radio functionality.
This program has the ability to work as a “push and play” console if any UPnP AV MediaRenderer device can support being a network-controlled MediaRenderer device. This definitely can come in handy with network media adaptors that are controllable only by you viewing the attached TV screen and working a remote control or with devices like electronic picture frames that have a flimsy remote control.
This same ability can put TwonkyMedia Manager in a better league than Apple iTunes, Windows Media Player, WinAmp and other computer-based music players. Here, one could have the computer like a laptop or netbook be simply a music selector while a NAS box and a network media adaptor like the Roku SoundBridge can do the work of playing out the music.
Another key advantage is the software’s light footprint on the system’s resources. This may be of benefit if you are putting an older computer to use as a media server and you don’t have much in the way of memory or CPU power available on that computer. Similarly, this may appeal to those of us who want to install the program on a netbook or low-end ex-business laptop simply for use as a network media controller. Watch out there, Sonos!
TwonkyMedia Server doesn’t support “browse by keyword” for photographs, but can support “search by keyword”. This function can be useful where the tags that are part of Windows (Live) Photo Gallery are used as another “folder tree” for indexing photos. Examples of this would include indexing car pictures by marque and model, even if you go to many car shows; or indexing travel pictures by town and landmark even if you travel a lot at different times.
The inbuilt TMMPlayer MediaRenderer program has a tendency to “give up” early if it doesn’t get the music file in time. The problem is more common if TwonkyMedia Manager is being operated on a busy computer and could be rectified by the use of a user-variable maximum timeout control that is similar to what is provided in most e-mail programs for their server connections.
Another common limitation with this program is that the highly-publicised “album-art” function runs very slowly and doesn’t respond with all UPnP AV MediaServers. This same functionality only works with the art being part of an MP3 file, rather than what Windows Media or other codecs do in handling album art. In the TwonkyForum websites, this functionality was not looked upon in a favourable light because of not being able to find content quickly.
Nice to have
The TwonkyMedia Manager could support a “jukebox” mode where it can be feasible to add songs to a playlist from a server’s content list but not delete or move them, especially from remote control points. The same mode can support dual-tiered playlists so that there could be a “background music” playlist that is played sequentially or randomly but when someone selects a song, this song is added to the “primary” playlist which is then immediately played. These modes, which would be useful during parties, could be achieved through a “master control point” which can manage the media-renderer device(s) and remote control points working through the “master control point”.
Another “nice to have” function would be to allow one to view the contents of one server while another server is already streaming content. This would be more important on networks where there are multiple MediaServers.
It would also be worth providing a component-based installation routine where one can just install the “manager” software so they can prepare a laptop or netbook as a media control point. This would avoid memory or hard disk space being used for media-server functionality on a computer that wouldn’t necessarily be doing that job.
The online services could support “push off a link” functionality where if you select a YouTube, Flickr photostream or audio-stream link on the Web, you could “push” the YouTube video, photostream or audio-stream to a UPnP digital media renderer.
Although I am reviewing a 1.0 version of the software, it certainly is capable of fulfilling all the UPnP AV functionality it is meant to do and is a must-have for any Windows XP or Vista user who wants to have all of this functionality on their computer.
Update – 20 September 2009
There have been some improvements and new features added to TwonkyMedia Manager since this version was reviewed. Some of the features include “follow-me” play where you can push content that is already playing on one UPnP AV device to another UPnP AV device from the point that you left off at; and a text chat function for use between multiple TwonkyMedia Manager installations. As well, one can set up a subset of an already-playing playlist and have that playing on another UPnP AV device or TwonkyMedia Manager installation.
The newer versions have allowed for “browse by keyword” including keyword trees but this function isn’t fully polished yet. The main limitation is that it doesn’t handle comma-punctuated keywords such as “explained names” like “Jon, Joan’s brother” or “place addresses” as keywords like “Dudley Street, Melbourne”. Here, the comma is seen as a delimiter between two keywords and separate keyword buckets are created for each side of the comma.
As far as online services go, YouTube and Flickr photostream functionality has been added to TwonkyMedia Manager. In the case of YouTube, you can play your favourite videos or videos from selected “new-video” and “top-video” lists. I have tested this functionality by pulling up the viral “JK wedding entrance dance” video through TwonkyMedia Manager after marking the video and another video showing an enactment of the same dance by Channel 7 Australia’s “Dancing With The Stars”. There isn’t support for access to user-subscribed YouTube channels at the moment.
This is an advanced way of setting up a DLNA Home Media Network and requires a network media player to be able to be controlled by other devices on the same network.
It is a function integral to DLNA 1.5 compatible devices and is part of TwonkyMedia Manager (which I have reviewed here) since it started. Now it will be an integral part of Windows 7 where you can select “Play To” to have music playing on another device that you have specified. There will be many handheld terminals that have this functionality, either as part of the operating system or as add-on software.
The three boxes in this DLNA media network
Three are three logical units in this equation
This holds media files or references to media streams and is typically represented by Windows Media Player 11 or TwonkyMedia Server which is part of TwonkyMedia Manager which I have reviewed in this blog. Also, in a PC-less solution, it can be a network-attached storage or music server device.
Media Control Point
This is primarily a software program or hardware device that can find material on any Media Servers on the home network and allow the user to “push” the content to any Media Render device on the network.
The Media Renderer is similar to a UPnP-capable Media Player except that it can accept instructions via the home network to play particular media files or streams.
Typically this setup is represented by three boxes but a device can have two or three of the functions built in to its housing. An example of this is the TwonkyMedia Manager program or the PlugPlayer DLNA controller for the iPhone or any of the recent Nokia N-Series mobile phones. Here, the program has a built-in software media renderer function as well as a software media server function and control point.
What can you do
Put the netbook or another computer to good use as a media controller
An idea that would appeal to many geeks and media enthusiasts is to load a program like TwonkyMedia Manager 1.2 on to a netbook or subnotebook computer and use this computer as a remote media controller for the DLNA Home Media Network. This could mean that you could bring up pictures and video on a DLNA-capable TV or electronic picture frame using this terminal. This would end up being much easier than finding the remote control for the TV and working through an unwieldy user interface.
As well, handheld devices like smartphones, mobile Internet devices or PDAs that are equipped with WiFi functionality can work as a remote control, whether natively (in the case of phones like most of the Nokia N-Series phones) or through a software program available through their standard Web channels.
Similarly, you could use your office PC to show merchandising videos / images on your DLNA-equipped TVs and picture frames in the shop’s public space rather than going around to each TV or picture frame to bring up the right merchandising material.
Use of AV network media adaptors for music or other audio content
Typically, an AV network media adaptor like the D-Link DSM-320 or the Zyxel DMA-1100P typically doesn’t have any form of display on it. Instead it requires the user to control it using the remote control while using the attached TV as its display. This wouldn’t equate very well if you intend to play music rather than show pictures or videos using the device. Here, these devices can be managed by having the music playlists pushed to them without need for the attached television to be on.
“Follow Me”, “Party Mode” and other advanced playback techniques
Some of the DLNA media controllers allow for advanced playback techniques where program material can be “pushed” to other Media Renderer devices from a particular point in the track. This can allow for “follow-me” playback where the content which was already playing on one device is played on another user-specified device with the content stopping at the previous device; or “party mode” where content is broadcast to a group of devices. The last mode may have problems due to the data-oriented network protocols not being able to work well in supporting synchronous playback from one source.
Similarly, there could be other playback techniques like exhibiting different pictures from the same cluster on different screens.
Portable devices being part of the DLNA digital media network
Another application for this kind of operation is for a digital camera or mobile phone to “push” digital images held on that device to DLNA-compliant TV screens or picture frames. This would typically work well for “there-and-then” showing of pictures and videos taken with the device rather than downloading of pictures to a network-attached storage device.
Similarly a mobile phone or MP3 player could “push” digital music held therein to better speakers via a digital media adaptor.
The main issues and hurdles
Is the playback device able to be controlled by the home network
Not all DLNA-capable playback equipment is capable of supporting “3-box” push-mode operation at the moment. Typically, most DLNA equipment from the big names that was issued over the last two years, especially televisions and network media adaptors and home theatre receivers will support this functionality “out of the box” or through a firmware update that the customer does. Some existing equipment may support the functionality through a customer-performed firmware update or may do so out of the box. One of the best references for this capability is this list in the TwonkyForum discussion board run by TwonkyMedia, in relation to TwonkyMedia Manager.
Is the playback device set up to be controlled by the home network
Another thing to look for with playback devices is whether the function is enabled even though the device has the function. This may be looked at in the form of a Settings menu option in the Network Settings Menu or similar menu which may be labeled “Digital Media Renderer Mode”, “DLNA Remote Control”, “Network Media Control” or something similar. If this mode is set to on, the device can respond to DLNA requests.
Some devices have the function disabled in the default factory setup while others may allow this kind of control by default.
Once you have this issue worked out, you can then use a handheld device, computer or dedicated remote controller to cause media to play on other home network devices.
All of you who are using an Apple iPhone or iPod Touch have access to another DLNA media controller for these devices. The program, PlugPlayer, is able to play content that is compatible with these Apple devices from a UPnP Media Server or act as a control point for other UPnP / DLNA media players that support external control.
One feature that it will miss compared to the CyberMediaGate iMediaSuite program is for the iPod to be a MediaServer and use DLNA technologies to serve its media across the network. This may be something you may not need if what is on your iPod is a subset of the media library that is on your network. You can have an iPod running this program managed by another media controller like TwonkyMedia Manager or an iPod running iMediaSuite or this program.
This program is leading the Apple portable-device platform towards the DLNA-compliant media platform. Wake up, Apple and realise that the DLNA home media network is the way to go.
The CyberGarage iMediaSuite program that I have mentioned earlier on in my blog has been revised and is now at 1.0.1 . Some of the improvements have brought about improved stability by fixing a memory leak; and there has been some improved functionality like a “clean screen” for the media player. It would still be available at the same URL at the iTunes App Store.( http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewSoftware?id=293809842&mt=8 )
CyberGarage have released two programs that bring the Apple iPhone and iPod Touch into the UPnP AV / DLNA home media network environment. This is certainly in response to many Google searches for software that can pull off this function on these popular and trendy devices.
The first one, iNetFrame, is a network picture viewer that allows the user to view pictures in an online collection hosted on the Picasa or Flickr photo-sharing sites. But this one allows one to view pictures on any UPnP AV / DLNA server on the local network. This program makes use of these resources to turn the iPod Touch or iPhone into a network electronic picture frame with an optional clock display.
The other program, iMediaSuite, works as one of three functions:
· a media server for media files held within the iPod Touch or iPhone;
· a media viewer which allows one to view or listen to media files held on other DLNA media servers; or
· a control point for playing media collections held on any DLNA media server (including itself) through another UPnP / DLNA media client that supports external control.
There are some obvious limitations with this software, such as being able only to play the file types that the iPhone or iPod Touch support, and not being able to play Apple FairPlay DRM-protected files on any of the DLNA media devices out there. This doesn’t affect the program’s use as a control point if you are playing files on another DLNA device from another DLNA collection. At least this is the first step in bringing the Apple iPhone world towards the DLNA media network.
One application that I certainly would admire is the control-point function because it avoids the need to have the TV on if you are playing music on one of those many network media adaptors which don’t have any display on them. You can just “point to it to play it” on the iPod Touch or iPhone.
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