I have been thinking about getting a DLNA media receiver for a long time and I finally broke down and picked one up. I have a bunch of movies and TV shows archived on my media server and it is great when watching them through WMC, but not every TV in the house is connected to a computer. It is easy enough to connect an XB0x360 to Serviio DLNA server or connect the Wii to a Windows Share, but my XBox360 finally RRoD’d and we only have one Wii. Having kids we do not have a lot of “extra” money so I was looking for an inexpensive DLNA receiver that would easily work with Serviio and I came across the Sony SMP-N100.
There were three things that sold me on the SMP-N100. First it is made by Sony, I have never had a bad experience with a Sony product. Second, at $49 dollars it is affordable. Finally it has built in WiFi that will connect to any band out there and that was the major selling point. The unit does come with a wired network port however I will probably never use it because Miranda frowns on me punching holes in the walls to run Cat-5 everywhere.
Setting up the unit was pretty simple; select your language, which video output you will be using and finally selecting the aspect ratio on your TV. If you are using a wireless connection you can browse for your wireless SSID and configure that and you are up and running. If you have a DLNA server running you can add that to the video servers. It has built in access to a lot of services such as Amazon Video, YouTube, NetFlix, Hulu Plus and Pandora just to name a few so you are not limited to what you can connect to.
Sony has a newer model out, the SMP-N200 but I got this model because it was a little bit cheaper and I just wanted to test the waters to see how it would perform. My experience has been good so far so I will probably be purchasing the newer model in the near future.
Over the holiday my mother-in-law had a sick computer. While us nerds are good at figuring things out, it is not always an easy thing to diagnose over the phone. That in mind, I went looking for a simple screen sharing solution so I could see the problem without her having to open ports in her router for RDP which would have just opened up a whole new can of worms.
Doing a quick web search I came across join.me‘s web site and it made everything super simple. The host downloads and runs an app that acts as the server software. Once the server is up and running it displays an access code they can give to the remote viewer to access the session in a web browser.
It can be a bit of a pain if the other end is running Windows 7 with UAC enabled, but I guess that was the point of having UAC installed to begin with. Other than that I have no complaints, I had her system up and running smoothly again in no time. I have a feeling I will be using this quite a bit in the future. It is definitely worth checking out.
One of the great things about consoles that have recently been released is media streaming. Recently I have been using the Serviio DLNA media server to stream videos to the XBox 360, unfortunately during a lightning storm a few weeks back my 360 console sacrificed itself to protect my $15 plug strip. While I applaud that kind of dedication, the kids now have to use the living room TV to watch movies. Needless to say, the situation is not optimal.
Which brings us to the Wii. The Wii console is great, but when it comes to streaming video it is way behind the XBox 360. However, with the Homebrew Channel and WiiMC that is a very easy problem to remedy. Granted, the downside here is you have to soft mod your Wii and that might not be your particular brand of cognac. Soft modding is not hard, but it is well beyond the scope of this post but there are many guides out there on installing HBC on your Wii.
Once the application is installed add your SMB (Windows share) with your shared media into the configuration. It is not quite as tidy as being able to hook to Serviio as a DLNA receiver, but it works and it works well.
As an aside, if you have the Homebrew Channel installed I highly recommend the Homebrew Browser. It is a heck of a lot easier than moving files over to your SD card every time you want to add an application. Just select the app you want and install from within HBC. It works a treat!