Video streaming app for Android
December 21, 2013 12:48 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for a video streaming app and server for an Android phone and a Windows PC.

For the last three years my primary mobile device has been an iPod Touch 4th gen. For almost that entire time I've used an app called VideoStream to watch media. The app uses a media server running on a PC to play basically anything over wifi, no matter the format.

Now that I've switched to an Android phone, I want the same thing again: to be able to stream video from my Windows PC without having to worry about converting it to an appropriate format first. I'm fine with running a server program on my PC, and I'm fine with paying a little bit (a few pounds/dollars).

I don't want a straight uPnP/DNLA streaming app unless it can somehow play any old file format on the phone (MKV, AVI, whatever) without any mucking about.

The phone is a Moto G running Android 4.3, although apparently a 4.4 upgrade is days away.
posted by ArmyOfKittens to Technology (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I've had Air Video server running on my PC for a year or two now, originally to stream to my iPad, but now to my Android devices as well. Works pretty well, and converts stuff on the fly to whatever bit-rate your wireless network is happy with.
posted by pipeski at 12:56 PM on December 21, 2013

How do you stream to Android? The website suggests it's iOS only.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 1:05 PM on December 21, 2013

AirVid and Mirage both work with Air Video. I found Mirage a bit unstable, but AirVid seems fine.
posted by pipeski at 1:54 PM on December 21, 2013

I use Android's default video player for local files and BubbleUPnP for DLNA stuff.
posted by rhizome at 2:04 PM on December 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

I can get AirVid to work with Air Video, but I just end up with a huge list of all playable media on my PC, which isn't particularly helpful. I usually don't have a clear idea of what I want to watch, so being able to browse by the folder structure already on my PC is a must.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 2:40 PM on December 21, 2013

So after a lot of mucking around I've settled on PS3 Media Server running on my PC, using BubbleUPnP to browse the server and VLC to play the files. It's not as seamless as VideoStream but it does the job.

I'll give it a day or two's testing before I mark this solved. I'd still love an all-in-one solution if anyone can think of one, though!
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 3:23 PM on December 21, 2013

I use Serviio (free) as a server and Bubble UPnP as a client. Serviio automatically transcodes on the fly to a compatible format and allows you to browse by folder.
posted by matsho at 3:26 PM on December 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

Ah, Serviio looks good. I'll give that a try in place of PS3 Media Server tomorrow, thanks!
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 3:36 PM on December 21, 2013

I do this using Plex--it's set up on a server in my living room, and it happily streams to basically every other device (Android, iThing, Windows, Roku) that we or our immediate family have.

The server app is free, and can be run on almost any OS--I ran it on Windows for an age before getting around to setting up the server properly. The mobile apps are about $5, but are, IMO, totally worth it. I have literally everything I've downloaded from about 1999 through now on that server, and I have yet to find a file format that Plex struggles to stream, even on my hilariously underpowered machine.
posted by MeghanC at 8:23 PM on December 21, 2013

I had a fiddle with Serviio and Plex this morning, and for now I'm sticking with PS3 Media Server. It seems like the simplest to get going and so far nothing I've tried to play has failed.

BubbleUPnP is great: unobtrusive, fast, and doesn't want to force the use of a player filled with ads--something I'd expected from a free Android app.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 1:01 AM on December 22, 2013

I use Serviio on the PC, and BubbleUpNp paired with MPlayer on the phone. Used to use PS3mediaserver but it didn't play well with a new Samsung smart tv we added to the mix recently.
posted by Big_B at 9:06 AM on December 23, 2013

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