While it’s true that many TV channels can now be watched online, the fact remains that sometimes you’re unable to watch the TV you want while away from home. Imagine being able to stream your PC’s TV signal direct to your mobile, be it iPhone, iPad, Android or Windows Mobile. And imagine being able to do so for free…
The good news is, thanks to the open-source media server Media Portal and this free plug-in, you can do just that. And the good news is that most of the hard work is done when you set up your TV server in Media Portal itself.
That says, it still pays to familiarise yourself with the program wiki before installing – at the very least, you’ll probably need to change the TCP port that iPiMP will listen on to avoid conflicts that will prevent the required Apache server to run. Try port 85 when prompted during the setup procedure.
If all goes well, the moment iPiMP finishes installing on your PC, you’re ready to access it from your smartphone or tablet. Just fire up the browser, enter 126.96.36.199:85, where 188.8.131.52 is the IP address assigned to your PC on your home network, and you’ll be prompted to login.
The default username and password is “admin”, so enter this and you’re able to browse by channel, EPG and watch TV over your network or the wider internet. It’s all very simple to use – you can even configure your server PC to record a programme directly from your mobile device, which is perfect if you forgot to set it up before leaving home earlier.
Performance is a little slow – the stream has to be transcoded into MP4 on your home PC before it can be streamed to your mobile device, but everything required to do this is included with iPiMP itself, so you can safely ignore the technicalities if they don’t interest you.
iPiMP also allows you to view the status of your media server, in case connections aren’t working as they should, plus it can be used to transform your phone into a remote control for Media Portal itself.
If you want to access your TV while away from home, you’ll need to delve into the realms of port forwarding – you’ll also need to know your public IP address. Master this, however, and if you’re looking for a free means of watching TV not available on the internet while on the road, iPiMP could be just the ticket.