For a long time, I was looking for easy , free and best solution to share my hard disk contents (photos,videos,movies) across different devices in my home like my Samsung TV, My Android Phone, Android Tablet, My PC, Laptop Etc. with out any Complex wires. I got 1 TB of external hard disc connected to my main PC which got all my personal digital collections. I usually share the root folder of my External hard disk and access the photos, videos from my Laptops.
But I find it difficult to play them on my tablet and my TV. Every time i Need to connect My Laptop to the TV to watch movies on TV, even though my TV got internet connection. There’s no easy solution to access my photos and videos using my mobile or tablet. You can solve this problem by storing your photos and videos on the cloud. But i don’t want to store all my personal stuff on the cloud and i don’t want to wait for my files to be uploaded to the cloud.
There are lots of solutions to this problem. I was looking for easy , best and "Free" solution for this problem. You can share your photos, videos across different devices on your network using Microsoft media player. But the problem is, its not supporting all the video formats.you can also set up your own windows media server on home. But i don’t want to spent money on New hardware and software.
The best Solution
I was goggling for best solution for my problem and came to know about the term "DLNA" . Here’s the encyclopaedia definition for DLNA.
"The Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA) is a non-profit collaborative trade organization established by Sony in June 2003, that is responsible for defining interoperability guidelines to enable sharing of digital media between consumer devices such as computers, printers, cameras, cell phones, and other multimedia devices.
DLNA uses Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) for media management, discovery and control. UPnP defines the types of device that DLNA supports ("server", "renderer", "controller") and the mechanisms for accessing media over a network."
I came to know that, If you set up a DLNA server on your pc,then its easy to share your digital contents across the devices connected to your home network. I checked My devices in my home, My Samsung TV in home supports DLNA. MY Android Phone and Tablet, I can install UPnP client from the Google play. You can search "UPnP client" on Google play aka Android market. My Pc or Laptop, I can still access the folders, since i am using windows OS every where.
So, i decided to set up a Media server on my pc and i found out there are plenty of free ones available. you can check the list here . I tried many of them in the list and finally found the Best one. Serviio!!!
The best One worked very well for me is Serviio. You can download Serviio from here . All you need to do is, download Serviio and install it on your pc and point your Media folder to Serviio. That’s it. Restart your pc or wireless router if you face any connection issues. Now My Samsung TV automatically detects my UPnP server and shows all my photos, Videos and Movies. I was able to access my media content from my Phone and my tablet as well, using UPnP Client installed. The same also works for iOS devices but i never tested. if you have Xbox or play station, then you can also access your media content, since they also supports UPnP. Even if you don’t have Xbox or play station, Most of the cheap blue ray players nowadays supports UPnP. So you can easily access your Media contents using Your remote and watch it on big screen.
The main reason, I choose Serviio among all others are, its free. its got very good forum support. it streams most of the video formats unlike Microsoft media player. it also supports playing live media content using RSS feed. if you can watch any live video on your pc, you can watch that on your TV with out any cables using Serviio. This live TV streaming part need some technical knowledge but doable. For more details check the Serviio forum. It also got los of plugins like YouTube, BBC iPlayer etc. using that you can watch videos on your TV with out any annoying advertisements on your player. My little daughter loves her YouTube baby rhymes on big TV.
I am using Serviio for the past 3 months. so far so good. if i have any connectivity problem, I just restart the Serviio or my router solves the problem. Only thing i hate about Serviio is, its developed using java and not on Open source. So I need to wait for the bugs and new features to be added to the server. I Mostly developed c# applications in my career and I was searching for any open source c# implementation of UPnP server. Found one. Mono-UPnP . Unfortunately, its still in early stage of development. So looking forward to test it or to contribute towards it.
For a long time, I was thinking of doing some useful blog post. Finally done it. Hope this is useful for any one like to share photos, videos, movies on every device ( TV, phone, tablet, Laptop, pc, Xbox, play station ) in your home. if you have any problem setting up the same environment on your home, ask me on the comments, I am ready to help!!!. Thanks.