As a follow up to my post on using VLC to stream video to an Android device, I wanted to write a bit about the solution I finally decided on. It has been a month since I started using the Twonky Media Server on a 30 day trial and today I cracked out my credit card to pay for a license.
My primary motivation to getting this link setup was to watch movies on my tablet. These movies were stored on my PC and I didn’t really feel like hooking up a USB cable whenever I wanted to watch a movie. I tried Samsung’s Allshare on my PC but my digital pictures absolutely crushed it everytime it tried to load, even when I asked it not to share images! Next up, I tried Windows Media Server. It took a really long time to go through all my pictures (at least it didn’t choke) but it couldn’t transcode my videos from XVid to whatever format the Androids prefer. VLC did manage the transcoding part but most of the software and settings around transcoding are still pretty early and need more work. I frequently needed to make configuration changes to keep aspect ratio’s and audio from messing up. Finally, I got to Twonky.
Not that you’ll need to use the configuration interface but it’s a mix between overdone/nonstandard, and spartan. Twonky Server comes with a web configuration interface that is basic but very usable.
If you run Windows, they recommend downloading/buying Twonky Manager instead. It comes with a bunch of things that I found useless for streaming to a tab, including an IE-based media player and an overdone configuration panel.
Luckily, you only really need to do this once to setup preferences and then never look at it again. Keep in mind that I’m doing a lot of advanced features and functionality NO JUSTICE whatsoever because of the limited number of features I use. The only 2 features I care about are that it finds my media properly and that it transcodes the video without any headaches. The software does both of those so well that I never have to think about it so I guess it’s performing as required.