Official XBMC Remote for iOS

Official XBMC Remote for iOS allows you to control your XBMC media centre via iPhone / iPad. This app lets you browse the library, view information about the item that is currently playing and direct remote control. If you have multiple PCs running XBMC, you can create connection for each one of them.

The app is free on App Store. There are in-app instructions on how to configure your XBMC so that remote control can connect to it.

More information about the app is available on the official page.

XBMC Remote

PS3 Media Server – Stream media to PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360

PS3 Media Server is DLNA compliant UPnP media server application written in Java that allows you to stream your media (music, videos, photos) directly to your PS3 or Xbox 360. You can install PS3 Media Server on Windows, OS X or Linux. After installation, select folders that you want to share and stream media from, and that’s it – turn on your console and you’ll see computer running PS3 Media Server under available media servers.

PS3 Media Server supports wide range of media formats, and in addition to PS3 and Xbox 360 it supports a streaming to few other devices, such as Android phones and modern TVs. It also supports a number of plugins, such as Banshee, MediaMonkey, MythTV, OS X Smart Folder, XBMC, to name a few.

Given that installation and configuration are very straight forward, you should be up and running in couple of minutes. If you do get stuck though, they have a good FAQ / Tutorial, which you can read here.

Ever since I decommissioned my old Win XP media centre PC that I used to stream media to consoles, I was looking for a good replacement. PS3 Media Server fulfilled all my requirements, and best of all its completely free. Highly recommended if you are looking to setup media streaming for your home devices.

VLC for iOS

One of the best media players, Video Lan’s VLC, is back for iOS with version 2.0.

You can use VLC to play all media files and formats, including MKV and subtitles. In addition to that it supports network streams, like HLS, MMS or RTSP. It also has support for bluetooth headsets and support for AirPlay.

It now features integration with Dropbox and WiFi upload. WiFi upload is especially handy – VLC for iOS essentially features a web server, which allows you to upload media files to it from any computer on your network.

You can use VLC for iOS on iPhone, iPod and iPad (including first generation) that are running iOS 5.1 or newer.

Get VLC for iOS from App Store.

Play music remotely on iTunes on your Mac or PC with Apple Remote for iOS

You can use Remote for iOS to control iTunes on your Mac or PC via iPhone/iPod/iPad. Remote allows you to play audio and video on a remote computer which is running iTunes.

First, install Remote app on your iPhone/iPod/iPad. Then, open iTunes on your computer, and turn on home sharing. This will allow Remote to connect to iTunes library on that computer.

To turn on home sharing in iTunes 11, go to File -> Home Sharing -> Turn on Home Sharing. If you are using older version of iTunes, go to Advanced -> Turn on Home Sharing.

In Remote app, go to Settings, and turn on Home Sharing. Enter your Apple ID, and Remote will detect any computers running iTunes under that same Apple ID that have Home Sharing turned on.

You can also add iTunes library to Remote app without having to turn on Home Sharing on your Mac or PC. In Remote app, go to Settings and select Add an iTunes Library. This will give you a Passcode, which you will then enter in iTunes. Open iTunes and select your device that is running the Remote app from Devices list, and enter the Passcode.

Remote can also be used to control AppleTV devices (1st, 2nd and 3rd generation devices). You can find more information about setting up AppleTV and Remote here.

Boxee – Freeware Home Theatre PC Application

Boxee

Boxee is a cross platform, freeware Home Theatre PC (HTPC) application. It uses XBMC media center as framework for its user interface and core media player functionality.

One feature that sets Boxee apart from its competition is the social networks feature. Boxee allows you to connect to several social networks (Facebook, Twitter, etc). This integration allows users to view and rate video posts by friends.

Boxee has versions for Windows, Mac and Linux. You can also download a free remote control app to your iPhone.

I downloaded Windows package and installed it on my home theatre PC, and also installed remote control app for iPhone. Installation and setup were easy and straight forward. Once I launched Boxee for the first time, I had a look through settings. Here you can do things like set up video, music and picture sources, change location, configure video and audio, install applications, etc. Remote control app for iPhone scans for computers running Boxee automatically on startup, which is a handy feature.

I found the interface to be very nice looking and easy to navigate, making it one of the better ones among all HTPC software I’ve tried so far. Main screen provides access to music, video, photos, apps and file browser. It also displays video feeds from any social networks you may have connected to, along with recommended videos and a current media player queue. Remote control for iPhone is also very easy to use, making the whole setup very user friendly.

If you are looking for a media center solution, I would highly recommend to take Boxee for a test run.

You can get Boxee here.

PlayTV for PlayStation 3

PlayTV  Few days ago my freeview receiver died, so I started looking for a replacement. As I already have PS3, and having thought about PlayTV before, this was an easy choice.

So today I got my hands on PlayTV, and at the same time got Sony’s Blu-ray remote, as I didn’t want to use the controller to watch TV.

Installation was easy, however you need to have latest system updates installed beforehand. By the time introductory video was finished, the software finished installing.

Next was the setup. Before continuing, I had to download latest PlayTV update. Once that has installed, setup resumed. It has a very nice looking and easy to follow guide, which guides you through physically connection PlayTV unit to PS3 and areal, to scanning TV channels. Setup is very quick and easy, and once finished you’ll go to PlayTV menu. From here you can watch TV, schedule recording, watch recorded videos, change preferences, etc.

On-screen menus are very nicely done, much better than on any receivers I have seen so far. I tired recording, watching replays, everything worked without any problems. Seven-day programme guide is also very nicely presented. As a whole, the interface is very user friendly and easy to use.

If you have PS3 I’d highly recommend PlayTV. For the price of an ordinary freeview receiver, you get recording capability and a much nicer interface. And with this add-on you’ll make your PS3 a real entertainment hub – watch and record tv, view photos and videos from your media library, listen to music, browse the net and play games – a perfect all-in-one solution which doesn’t cost a fortune.

How to: Stream Windows Media (WMP12) to PlayStation 3

PS3This article explains how to stream media libraries that you have set up in Windows Media Player to PS3. To be able to stream media, first you’ll need to configure Windows 7 to share libraries set up in Windows Media Player, and then configure PS3 to connect to Windows 7 PC.

Windows Setup

1) Click on Start -> Control Panel -> Network and Internet
2) Select Home Group and Sharing Options
3) Click Change advanced sharing settings
4) Under Public -> Media Streaming click on Choose media streaming options
5) Click Turn on media streaming
6) Enter a name for your library
7) Click OK

Note: “Choose media streaming options” screen can also be accessed from within Windows Media Player. Select Stream -> More Streaming Options…

To configure a library in Windows Media Player, right click desired library (Music, Videos, or Pictures) and select Manage Music Library

PS3 Setup

You’ll need to find PS3’s MAC address.

1) System Setting > System Information
2) Network Settings (Scroll towards bottom)

Once you note down the Mac address then on your PC go to Control Panel > Network and Sharing Center > Change Advance Sharing Settings.

Check that Network Discovery is ON and File & Printer Sharing is ON.

Click on Media Streaming options.

In Media Sharing window select Show devices drop bar and select All Networks from the list.

Double click each Unknown device to see the MAC address of the device. If the address matches your PS3 MAC address then allow that device for media sharing.

Now you can browse and play the media from your PS3 through Video, Music and Pictures libraries.