Getting your music and movies from one computer to another computer across the house or across the world has never been easier. There are tons of apps designed to make the process simple and painless so you can watch movies on your smartphone when you're out, or just listen to the music on your desktop downstairs in your upstairs bedroom. This week we asked you to name some of those great apps, and here are five of the best based on those nominations.
Earlier in the week, you told us which apps you thought were the best desktop media servers. We tallied up your nominations and picked out the top five based on the number of votes. The vast majority of you centered on a select few, but there are more options than we could possibly highlight here. Here are your five favorites:
2. Ps3 media server
4. Sub Sonic
We expected Plex to get some love in the nominations, but we didn't expect it to be as overwhelming as it was. It's true, Plex is a stellar media server and media center application, with mobile apps that let you take your music and movies with you on virtually any mobile device or operating system without worrying whether that system can play them.
PS3 Media Server (Windows/Mac/Linux)
The PS3 Media Server started out as a project to just transcode and stream media from a computer to a PS3 somewhere on your home network, but it's grown to be much more than that. The app is DLNA compliant, so it supports just about any device on your home network that's DLNA or UPNP compatible, and it doesn't take a ton of configuration to do it. You'll need to do some heavy lifting with port forwarding and dynamic addressing to get access to your media outside of your home network with a DLNA-compatible device, but we've shown you how to do that before.
Subsonic has been around for a long time, but it's still an excellent option. It's most often used for music, but it also supports video. As long as the video format you have supports streaming over HTTP, Subsonic can show it to you on almost any device. After you get it running on your home network, Subsonic can also be configured to allow remote access to your media, so you can enjoy it on your mobile device or sitting at a laptop far away from your media collection.
Serviio is a contender we weren't terribly familiar with until those of you who nominated raved about it. Not only does Serviio stream across your home network to connected TVs from a variety of manufacturers, it also supports Blu-ray players, set-top boxes, and the PS3 and XBox 360. It's also DLNA compliant, so it works seamlessly with supported devices on the same network, but it doesn't stop there. Serviio transcodes video and audio on the fly in both standard and high definition, can stream from online sources, live TV streams, RSS feeds, and more, and can be configured to stream to the internet—assuming you're using the supported web-based media player or the Serviio Android app.
PlayOn is a simpler take on a media server that focuses on two things: the media you already own, and web-based television from streaming services like Hulu, Netflix, Amazon Video On-Demand, ESPN, CNN, NBC, and many others. PlayOn supports streaming from the server app to any DLNA-compliant TV, set-top box, or game console. There are apps for iOS and Android that allow you to enjoy your media on the Wi-Fi or 3G/4G, once paired with your computer. PlayOn doesn't transcode (correction: PlayOn does transcode on the fly) or offer remote management features—as long as the app is running and your computer isn't sleeping, it works. It's biggest benefit is access to web-only programming.
The five best media server software is based on the ratings of the users.