Windows Media Center provides a one-stop shop for your PC's music, photos, videos and movie. Attach a TV tuner and it becomes a fully functioning PVR too, helping you build up a library of your favourite TV shows too.
That’s all well and good, but it’s not exactly portable – everything is tied to one computer, and while you can easily copy files from device to device, it’s not the most convenient solution out there. Remote Potato changes all of that. This free server software for Windows 7 makes it possible to access your media library, plus schedule and manage TV recordings from another computer or mobile device. Follow the instructions on the app's review page to get it up and running on your Windows 7-powered PC.
Once configured, it's possible to access your Windows Media Center library via a web browser, but it's not the most practical solution for mobile users because it's optimised to work with the Microsoft Silverlight plug-in, which isn't compatible with most mobile browsers. Thankfully, there are various mobile apps out there that don't just give you access to your media library remotely, but provide an optimised user interface for doing so.
Once the server is set up, install the app, provide the requisite log-on details (IP address, port number and logon details) and you’re ready to roll. All you need to access your media collection plus configure your TV recordings is here, optimised for your device’s touch-screen interface.
Typically you simply browse your various media collections for the photos, music or video/TV you wish to view, but be warned – some media, particularly certain video types – may not play on your device. Generally, though, most popular formats – including QuickTime, MP4 and AVI – should work.
Recordings can be scheduled using the EPG or by searching for specific shows – perfect if you’re working late and are in danger of missing your favourite show.
This is the iPad version, optimised for its larger screen. A separate version is also available for iPhone and iPod touch.