Ant Pruitt: How DLNA is Simplifying My Multimedia



aNewDomain.net I just love DLNA. All I want to do when I get home is find my couch and soak up my multimedia.

UPDATE January 13, 2013: Check out my piece on the new Google TV devices from Hisense, Logitech, Sony and Vizio. DLNA applies here, too.

I have media in the cloud from my Google Play ecosystem, media online via videocast subscriptions as well as media on my home PC. Thanks to DLNA. Here’s how I do it.

DLNA lets me easily access any media across various storage locations. You just have to have the right set of tools.


Image credit Ant Pruitt for aNewDomain

I used to long for a way to integrate my media for consumption across my HDTV, Google TV set top box, desktop PCs, Sony Playstation 3 and my Android tablet. DLNA lets me do so.

My first attempts at getting DLNA to work began when I installed Plex Media Server on my home PC. Great software. It lets me to stream videos and music stored on my desktop computer to my Android devices as well as other DLNA compliant devices.  If it had Spotify support, it would be perfect. But I digress.

Plex at one time had a Spotify plugin for the server. But it would never communicate with Spotify or even properly launch as a service in my setup.

So when I wanted music over my home theater system, I had to use my Google TV or Playstation 3.  That allowed me to  connect to either my Google Cloud music or local music I stored on the Plex server.

Sure, I’m an Android fan and Google phile, but I’m also a serious Spotify fan. Spotify has tracks I enjoy that I no longer have (legal) mp3 files for. I create playlists to suit my moods. Getting Spotify to work in my home entertainment set up would be FTW, right?

I posted on my Google+ page a request to get Spotify on Google TV. The Google TV community is small in numbers but a very strong and geeky community. I heard back right away. Within an hour a few options folks few several options my way. And I tried them.

And here is where I welcome Jamcast to my world. Jamcast is a media server package that allows streaming of your PC content to multiple devices.

For me, this is a great solution because it has worked to stream Spotify to DLNA devices with just a little work.

The installation of Jamcast is as simple as clicking Next a few times. As you see below, post installation requires verifying the DLNA compliant devices found on your internal network.

I must note that I’m a Linux user, too, so my Jamcast installation is on a virtual machine. My only hiccup was to give my virtual machine an IP address inside of my local network scheme.


Image credit Ant Pruitt for aNewDomain

Just as the documentation mentions coming with the Jamcast install, you set up your Virtual Soundcard and verify your DLNA device. Then you see Jamcast. I can see Jamcast on my GoogleTV by way of the aVia multimedia app.  And this app now allows me to play Spotify on my GoogleTV. It’s a long way to Albuquerque.


Image credit Ant Pruitt for aNewDomain

But wait. There’s more.

The original catch with getting Spotify is you have to press play on your computer hosting Jamcast and the Spotify app. Once it’s playing, it will cycle through your queued up playlist until completion.  There is no other navigation or skipping of tracks feature available that I could find.  The Jamcast documentation didn’t mention a way around this inconvenience.

I remember several months ago looking at different Spotify clients in the Google Play store and saw quite a few Spotify remotes. This didn’t interest me until this point.

Such apps allow you to control your PC’s Spotify app with your Android device. I found better results and less latency with the Spotimote app for Android. An Apple iOS version is not available at this time.

The Spotimote application is clean and allows you to control the Spotify app running on the host PC including accessing playlists and skipping through tracks. The UI looks very similar to the mobile version of Spotify for Android. Here are a few screen shots of the app on my tablet.

Spotimote – Spotify track view

Image credit Ant Pruitt for aNewDomain

Spotimote – Spotify track view (landscape)

Image credit Ant Pruitt for aNewDomain

Now couple the Spotimote app with the Google TV Remote app and you have remote control harmony all on your android device. In my case, my tablet is the remote. With the Android OS multitasking capability, I can launch the Google TV Remote app to navigate my set to boxes and other components of my home theater.


Image credit Ant Pruitt for aNewDomain
When I’m ready to launch Spotify, it just takes a tap of the multitasking button highlighted above to get me over to the Spotimote app.

All of this is done without leaving my beloved couch.


Image credit Ant Pruitt for aNewDomain

 

Getting all of my devices to work with the wonderful DLNA protocol was an exciting experience. After all of my pieces came together, I realized even more why I was not curious about the Google Nexus Q device. I now have access to all of my multimedia locally on my network or through the cloud. Thank you to Google TV Friends on Google+ for pointing me in the right direction. This is great!

How are you using DLNA? We at aNewDomain would love to hear your feedback.

I’m Ant Pruitt and this is aNewDomain.

 

 

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  • Hendog

    Excellent!

    • Ant Pruitt

      Thanks, Hendog!
      I had so much fun getting this together and writing this.
      :)

      -RAP, II

  • Needs More Cowbell

    Pickin’ Boogers by Biz Markie good song.

    • Ant Pruitt

      Lol! Just a little bit of my ol’ school hip-hop playlist.
      Thnx for reading, “Needs More Cowbell”

      -RAP, II

  • hendog

    Classy.

  • bsandy79

    Cool article, I’m impressed how you put all the diff. softwares everything together. Did you see the Spotify plug in for Jamcast? I got it working last week with aVia Media Player (which is awesome media player for GTV btw!), you get your playlists and album art and such. It’s neat, check it out in their forum. Thanks again for the article and pics.

    • Ant Pruitt

      Really? a Spotify plugin and not just the current virtual soundcard? Sweeeet! I shall look into this DOUBLE ASAP.
      Thanks for reading, commenting, and sharing, Bsandy79!

      -RAP, II

  • http://www.facebook.com/matteo.trezzi Matteo Trezzi

    Hi Ant since you are one of the few to cover the subject of DLNA here my questions:
    I’ve bought a Boston Acoustics MC200Air which is both Airplay and DLNA certified.. I’ve linked it with my wi-fi network and it works perfectly using Airplay, so I can listend easily my iTunes playlist from my Windows 7 pc. I’d love to stream Spotify too via DLNA.1) Do I need a Spotify Pro ($10 a month) account to to do so? 2) I’ve downloaded Jamcast since it looks like it is the only option available right now, do you know in case I need a specific configuration for the MC200Air? thanks

    PS I own also a Nexus 7 tablet and a Nexus 4 phone, both Android

    • Ant Pruitt

      Thanks for reading and commenting, Matteo Trezzi.

      For spotify, the mobile app will work for a trial period. I believe it will work for a few weeks, but not sure. Then the mobile Spotify app will only work if you have a premium account. I enjoy Spotify, so I jumped on the $10/month plan double quick.

      -RAP, II

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