Windows 7 Play To/DLNA Streams to iPhone/iPad

Yes, you read that correctly. The iPxxx devices don’t natively support DLNA functionality, which rules out using Windows 7 Play To”, so I decided to see what could be done, at least as a proof of concept, to try to get this working.

The secret sauce was finding an app called PlugPlayer and installing it on my iPhone and iPad and seeing my iPxx devices show up in the Network Window .

playto-media-devices

I was intrigued, and not expecting much success, used Windows Explorer, right clicked a music file and saw not only my TV and Sonos Players listed, but my iPhone (via PlugPlayer) as well.

playto-iphone

Then, the next task was finding which file formats would be supported. 

All my ripped music is now mp3, as I discovered long ago that almost all devices supported this format.

pcplayto-iphone

Clearly, Windows 7 can now stream music to my iPxxx devices.

My individual  jpg image files also presented no problems. Playing a picture stream to my iPad (did not try the iPhone) sort of worked. A sort of intermediary screen was displayed on the iPad with a button labeled “Done” after each image displayed. I could either wait and the next image would display or push this button to see the next image. So this needs some work or tweaking.

Video, on the other hand, was tough. Neither dvr-ms or wtv are apparently supported by my iPxx devices/Plug Player and it appeared that while mp4 files work, there is no buffered instant play and you need to wait for the whole file to be loaded in memory. So, small video files are do-able, but I don’t see any transcoding taking place or any live streaming. I couldn’t get a small mp4 video file (about 1/3 Gig) to actually play without intervention. For proof of concept I took an old unprotected dvr-ms and converted in to a mp4. 

I suspect the file was transferring in the background and being cached locally on the device. I actually closed the Play To window on the computer. Five minutes it showed up on the device on a Playlist screen, where I could push the play button and watch the video clip.

play-bsg-mp4-to-iphone

My conclusions – the existing PlugPlayer app is fine for music streaming using Windows 7 Play To, but not so good for images and videos. Still, there is now proof that it is possible to Play To an iPxx device, which opens up possibilities. I may post a message on the PlugPlayer support forum and see if the developer is interested in pursuing these issue.

If you have experience with this app, suggestions for other DLNA controller iPxx that are better, or comments in general, please post on the DLNA forum on The Green Button.

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