View Full Version : StreamToMe, Air Video, Orb and the future of iPhones/iPods as HTPCs

25th May 2010, 02:24 AM
As I'm sure many people are aware (http://forums.mactalk.com.au/39/81175-air-video-video-transcoding-iphone.html), there exists a great app called Air Video (http://www.inmethod.com/air-video/index.html), allowing you to stream videos (of almost any popular format) over wifi or 3G to your iPhone. I have spent many lazy Sunday mornings watching episodes of Peep Show (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peep_Show_(TV_series)) before getting out of bed thanks to Air Video. With a minimum of remote access setup fuss, I was able to show off some home videos (stored on my Mac at home) to my friends while on a picnic. Cool.

The problem I have is that it only does video. Why not also have the ability to stream music and access photos? Since SimplifyMedia was bought by Google (http://www.tuaw.com/2010/05/20/simplify-media-a-mac-favorite-bought-by-google/) for use on Android, I have been wanting a way to use my iPhone to access my extensive music collection stored on my Mac. This lead me to discover StreamToMe (http://projectswithlove.com/streamtome/), which at first glance seemed like an ideal solution. It has (in my opinion) a nicer interface, does just as good a job as Air Video at streaming video over wifi (granted with less options to fiddle with), has support for music files, with iTunes playlists and picture streaming forthcoming in a future update according to the developer (http://projectswithlove.com/streamtome/support_future_features.html), who I believe to be a fellow Aussie (I like to support local talent).

(TUAW Faceoff: Streaming video on the iPad with Air Video and StreamToMe (http://www.tuaw.com/2010/04/12/tuaw-faceoff-streaming-video-on-the-ipad-with-air-video-and-str))

Unfortunately, I was unable to get StreamToMe to successfully work remotely via 3G, the process is much more convoluted than for Air Video (I'm probably doing it wrong), plus I was unsure about the level of security provided once the ports were opened. Has anybody had success streaming their media remotely using StreamToMe?

The other thing that bugs me about StreamToMe is that you aren't given the option of resuming playback of a video where you last left it, in the case that you closed the app mid-way through watching. Instead you start at the beginning and need to scrub to find the point you were up to. Air Video gives you the option to either resume or start over.

If these issues were fixed, StreamToMe would turn your iPhone into an all-singing all-dancing portable media centre. Are there any other GOOD apps out there that offer similar functionality? I know about Orb, but have had poor experiences with their PC and web based solutions in the past, and have only been able to find one review (http://www.cuttingthecord.tv/?p=111) of their iPhone app, so I am hesitant to invest in their software. Has anybody had any experience with their apps, notably OrbMedia (http://itunes.apple.com/au/app/orbmedia/id297621139?mt=8)?

What would really make these media serving apps awesome is for the next iPhone revision to include wifi-n to facilitate streaming of hi-def video, and for the iPhone's output capabilities to allow actual HD (720p would be OK, 5.1 channel audio in my dreams) rather than the crappy 576p currently available when using the Apple Component Cable. Couple this with iPhone OS 4's reputed ability to pair with bluetooth keyboards (for remote control) would essentially turn it into a HTPC! But then I guess that would render the Apple TV somewhat obsolete...