Reviews

Review: TwonkyMedia Server Mobile

January 19, 2010 | by Ed Clark

Android App Reviews, Android Apps, Free apps, Multimedia, Reviews, Uncategorized

Review: TwonkyMedia Server Mobile

Announced at this year’s CES, TwonkyMedia Server Mobile allows you to stream media from your Android phone to any UPnP or DLNA capable device on your network. This could include your computer, XBox, or Playstation 3, among other things. Just to see how well this could work in my home, I set up TwonkyMedia Server on my G1 and also set up TwonkyMedia Manager on my Windows 7 machine (I think most people would want this setup–more on this later). After a few hours of testing, I have the following to report.

The Good:

Once I figured out how to get things working, I succesfully played my media files from my G1 on my PC, and the files from my PC on my G1. There were no skips or glitches in either the audio files or the video files, and the resident audience (my family) was suitably impressed. I have no doubt that people who want to do this kind of thing on a regular basis will be happy with the results. And the price can’t be beat from the phone side: TwonkyMedia Server Mobile is a free app on the Market.

The Bad:

It took me over an hour to figure out what products I needed to install on my phone and my PC, how to set up access rights, and even how to browse and play my content. The installation guides are OK to a certain point, but leave out the larger questions of what you are trying to accomplish. For example, the guide for installing TwonkyMedia Manager gives you screenshots on clicking ‘OK’ for the license agreement, but stops before telling you how to use it as a client (or use other clients) to access the content. Hmm. The Android Twonky Server app comes with no directions at all, which is completely baffling to me. I figured it out, but a glance at the Market reviews will show you that some people weren’t happy with the omission.

Furthermore, I don’t believe that most people would be happy with just streaming content from their phones to their other media devices with TwonkyMedia Server Mobile. I’m sure that almost everyone would more often prefer the opposite: getting content from elsewhere to show up on their phones. This is why I also installed TwonkyMedia Manager on my PC. TwonkyMedia Manager costs $39.95, which isn’t a huge amount, but it certainly is a step up from free (TwonkyMedia Manager can be installed on a trial basis for free for 30 days).

Conclusion:

If you are looking for a way to stream media back and forth from your media devices to your Android phone, TwonkyMedia has a suite of products made for you. Just fixing their documentation problems would erase most of the criticisms I saw on various forums (including my own). Just remember that you will need a UPnP client to view the content (I recommend Andromote for your phone–it’s free on the Market, and worked well for me). My installation, in brief:

T-Mobile G1: installed TwonkyMedia Server Mobile (to serve files) and Andromote (to browse files).

Windows 7 PC: installed TwonkyMedia Manager 1.3 to serve and view files (you can also use Windows Media Player to browse and play files).