aNewDomain.net–The DLNA standard – the acronym is short for Digital Living Network Alliance – supposedly makes media streaming and sharing across a variety of hardware types and locations easier than ever. And it does. But it’s better if you have the tools and apps to deal with it.
With my media distributed either in the cloud, via my various podcast and videocast subscriptions, on my Google TV and, of course, on my home PC and personal devices, DLNA is the key that unlocks what otherwise would be a tangled mess. It wasn’t easy, but at last I’ve assembled the tools I need to make dealing with it all pretty seamless. You might run into some logjams if you’re a hard core Spotify user. I am and here’s how I got around the issues and, eventually, became one happy camper.
All Image credits: Ant Pruitt for aNewDomain.net
My first shot at making DLNA work for me began with the Plex Media Server on my home PC. I love this service. It allows you to take videos and audio from your desktop PC and stream it to your Android tablet or other compliant device. It was great excepting its spotty Spotify support back then.
A media server product from the Google Play store called Jamcast was a great first solution. This media server software made Spotify accessible to all my DLNA devices – PCs, Google TV and my tablet – in just a few clicks. Don’t forget to make sure you verify your DLNA-compliant devices on your network as shown below.
Even if you’re like me and you’re running the program from a virtual machine, there should be no problem. Just give your virtual machine an IP address inside of your local networking scheme.
During your Jamcast install in a virtual machine setting, don’t forget to set up your virtual soundcard while you verify your DLNA devices. Also, in my case, I used the Avia multimedia app for Android to make the Spotify content from my PC work better with my Google TV.
I also chose an app that let me easily control Spotify on my PC with my Google Android tablet. My choice was the the Spotimote app for Android.
The Spotimote application lets you do things like access playlists and skip tracks on your Spotify queue from your Android device, in my case a Google Nexus tablet. Its user interface is clean and sparse – here are a few shots of it.
Now add the Google TV Remote app for Android to your toolkit and you’re about to achieve DLNA excellence – and remote control harmony, Android-wise.
I use my Android tablet as a remote in all cases and, because Android does such a great job multitasking, it lets me launch the Google TV Remote app on Android and then navigate to the various other devices in my home theater. Check out the screenshot, below.
When I’m ready to launch Spotify on my PC, I just fire up the Spotimote app.
Getting all of my devices to work with the wonderful DLNA protocol was a fun experiment. If you’re a tinkerer like me, you’ll like trying it, too. How are you employing DLNA tools and apps? Let us know in the comments below.
Based in North Carolina, Ant Pruitt is a senior editor at anewdomain.net on the Android beat. Follow him @ihavnolyfe and email him at Ant@aNewDomain.net