How many people have a wireless home network running? Lots.
How many people have their music collections and photos archived on their computers? Lots.
How many people have multimedia files on their computers, such as home movies or downloads? Lots.
And how many of those people have a TV screen, which they WISH could be linked-in to this multimedia library?
Well, I tick all of the above boxes. My computer IS my photo album. Digital pics of my wedding, nephews growing up, family holidays and more. Plus, all my musicâ€”CDs ripped to MP3 files for my iPod, songs downloaded from iTunes. Oh, and not to mention movies which I’ve ripped to the computer to put on my iPod (yes, I have an iPod video).
So… the big question… is it possible to access all of these items from the comfort of my living room?
The answer of ‘yes’ presented itself to me in the format of a Philips Streamium SL400i.
A rather innocent vertical standing box which has nothing more in terms of stature than a bit more than a VHS video cassette.
The Streamium is a Wireless Media Server. It connects via 802.11g wireless to my home network (PC, Mac and Wireless Modem) and looks for media. Whether it be stored on the computer hard drives, or off the internet in the form of video, music and pictures.
The Streamium plugs into the TV via a scart socket (plus there’s sockets to go to your Hi-Fi too, in case you want to stream music to there…). A remote control for the unit lets you fire it up and almost straight away watch your digital photos on-screen, or listen to your music library.
In my case, our computers are dotted around upstairs, and the Streamium sees them from the living room. And access to all the media on them is almost instant.
The principle is quite simple… the Streamium looks for ‘uPnP servers’ (a ‘Universal Plug n Play server). These are programs which run on your computer which detect media and ‘stream’ it over the network.
My setup is as follows:
Apple Mac + Twonkyvison uPnP server + Airport
PC + Twonkyvision uPnP server + Wireless card
Netgear wireless broadband modem + router
This allows us to access our entire music collection, photo library, and video files, all from the comfort of the living room TV.