Making your digital media accessible throughout your home involves two things: a media server for managing the files via a media library, and a home theatre app for browsing and playing your media on other devices, from tablets and phones to smart TVs and set-top boxes. The concept is nothing new, as veteran users of XBMC and Plex will attest.
Media Browser offers an alternative to Plex, particularly when the server is a Windows PC. So what’s unique? Media Browser offers a similar interface to Plex, will automatically download episode and movie information and posters based on your filenames, and works across a variety of devices via a series of free – and increasingly paid-for – apps. Nevertheless, there are some nifty features that set it apart.
The most notable of these is multi-user support – this allows you to set up family and friends with their own customised (and restricted in the case of children) access to your library, with the ability to tweak certain playback settings to their personal tastes.
First, you need to install and set up Media Browser Server on the PC hosting your media collection. If you’d like to then stream media to your iPhone then this is the app for you. It allows you to browse your media collection complete with rich metadata (such as episode information and even actor biographies), plus stream media to your iPad from your server.
The app also has a remote function too, allowing you to browse to an episode and then play it through your PC's web browser, Media Browser Theater or other supported device.
A much slicker version than the iPhone equivalent, this is obviously essential if you plan to stream media from a Media Browser server to your iPad. However, at this early stage in its development, expect annoying bugs.