I’ve been using TvMobili for a while now to get digital media off my Mac wirelessly to my DNLA TV, (even wrote a blog post about it here) that is until it started acting up last week and either not connecting or not letting me see my media. Seems to be related to the amount of media being shared due to a cap on the free monthly allotment, although i’m certain I haven’t streamed that much and only on my own home network. Something goofy with the way it is monitoring streaming i think, or possibly the fact it seems to be always running in the background regardless if anyone is actually watching anything.
An email to the developer got me the answer. It doesn’t matter if you are streaming over the web or on your home network, the cap is the same: 10GB per month is free. It’s no problem as long as you don’t mind shelling out some cash to share you media if you go over that. Me, I’m not digging that idea, last thing I want is another monthly expense, especially when it comes to watching my own media on my own devices over my own network. There is the option of shelling out a one time fee of $30, but thats a bit too steep as far as i’m concerned.
Along comes Twonky. It’s not free either, but I’ll get to that in a little bit. Aside from the silly name, I really wasn’t sure what I needed to install since the website leaves a little to be desired, but throwing caution to the wind and grabbing the TwonnkyManager App was the right call. http://www.twonky.com/
First things first, the install is one that seems to put “stuff” everywhere. Not very Mac-like in that respect, since we mac-users are used to the program being self-contained and only having preferences to worry about other than the main file. That being said, using the default settings and letting the installer do its job resulted in an install that just works right out of the box. No silly settings to guess at, no tweaking of ports on the router, easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy. (yeah, not sure where that came from, too many kids shows being watched on tv perhaps?)
Within minutes of installing, I had changed the default “shared” folders (it shares your user/movies, user/photos and user/ music by default) to those I wanted to actually share and had connected my AllShare-capable TV to the TwonkyManager and was watching a TV show wirelessly with no streaming issues, no jittering and no fuss.
One of the great things is the ability to easily shut down the TwonkyManager too. Just click on the icon in the menu bar and select Stop Twonky 7.0. Thats a feature I like since, as mentioned previously, TvMobili seemed to stay running all the time whether I was actively using it or not, and due to that it seemed to want to connect to my TV whenever it was in its proximity resulting in an annoying pop-up on the corner of the TV screen.
There is a Free app for iPhone/iPod/iPad that allows you to control and connect to your Twonky library remotely and select where to present the media. Basically you can use your phone to tell Twonky to play a video on your TV. In theory you can also play the same media on your iDevice but that function is no working for me. Something not quite right in the setup. I just keep getting the message “unable to start playback”. This might be a function of the fact I have not registered or purchased the server program running on my Mac either. It might only work with a fully licensed version and I’m still just testing it out before buying.
The TwonkyManager which is the server software is a paid program. $19.95 which is better than TvMobili, but still, not quite the free solution I was hoping for.
So far its working like a charm mostly, although, so was TVMobili for a while too, so we’ll see how this solution fares in the coming weeks. I’ll be giving it a good workout since being at home in the summer with kids we tend to want to share more media around the house, especially into the basement to beat the summer heat.
Now if I can just train the dog to bring me a beer down here…