Tips: To easily stream your media from macOS to iOS locally, use StreamToMe

Posted:
in iPhone
Apple's Home Sharing is great if you've got just a few files you want to stream from a computer to iOS. For larger libraries, a third party application suite called StreamToMe is a great choice, and easy to set up for even novice users.









StreamToMe, by developer zqueue is a two-part application, needing both an iOS client, and a macOS or Windows computer for a to execute the server-side "ServeToMe." The computer-side of the application does most of the heavy lifting, with the iOS version little more than a network client, and a simple player app with familiar controls.



On the Mac, you open ServeToMe, add a source, and press start server. A source can be as wide as an entire drive, include the contents of your iTunes library, or be as discrete as a single file -- only the qualifying media files will appear in the server's listings.









Users can customize all manners of settings, and can limit access to only certain users on the network, change the networking port number, and even configure it to be accessible outside of a local network. We leave the complexities of setting up remote access as an exercise for the reader, but if you've got even a basic grasp of home networking and the difference between a dynamic IP and static IP, there won't be any problem.



On the iOS app, you'll see the name of your computer that is running ServeToMe. Tap that, then tap your way through the sources you added till you find the TIFF or Photos image, stored audio from nearly any source, or non-DRM protected movie and select it.









More or less instantly, your selected content will display. In HD, if the file you selected is in HD. You can scrub through the video more or less instantly as well. Sound and vision, on demand, on your iOS device, without resorting to Home Sharing, which can be ponderous with large libraries. Make the player full screen, and enjoy.









What's going on under the hood, is that ServeToMe on the computer is doing any needed conversion or decoding on-the-fly, while Stream to Me just functions as the player. You can also AirPlay from Stream to Me to other devices like your Apple TV, or connect the iOS device to a television or projector with assorted cabling through VGA, DVI, or HDMI.

Technically speaking



Beyond just the local area network and remote streaming capabilities, other options allow users to control one device running Stream To Me, with another, tailor folder hierarchy and media display, regulate advanced subtitle settings, and an assortment of playlist control modes.



StreamToMe has full support for PCM, MP3, AC3, AAC, WMA9, MPEG1, MPEG4, H.263, H.264 (AVC), H.265 (HEVC), WMV9, DivX, VP6, VP-8, VC-1, MJPEG, Theora, Vorbis and Xvid codecs. It will stream without transcoding if possible.



There are other options to playing back personal media on a possibly storage-constrained device, like the aforementioned Home Sharing, Plex, and a wide array of others. We like Stream to Me not only because it is a one-stop shop for nearly every media format under the sun, skipping the need for subscriptions to other services, but because it is fast, extremely easy to set up, and the combo is even able to work as a "personal cloud" when you're not on the local network.



We've been using StreamToMe since the days of the original iPad, and we can happily say that that old iPad still works with the modern ServeToMe implementation. Minimum requirements are an iPhone 3GS, iPod Touch third generation, or an iPad running iOS 5.



As far as the ServeToMe server component, to transcode to 720p it requires OS X 10.5 or greater, on Core 2 Duo hardware running at 2.2GHz or faster. Any speed i3, i5, Xeon, or i7 CPU will do as well. Windows hardware requirements are similar, with Vista or greater required -- but Atom-class CPUs are not supported at all.



StreamToMe sells for $3 on the iOS App Store with absolutely no in-app purchases. While the listing says that it requires iOS 8, older versions are downloadable with purchase.



There is a Mac version of the streaming client, and that is free from the Mac App Store.



The server component for Mac or Windows is also free, and available from the developer's webpage.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 12
    irelandireland Posts: 17,547member
    I use Air Video HD.
    edited October 2016
  • Reply 2 of 12
    el_manceboel_mancebo Posts: 1unconfirmed, member
    +1 with Air Video
  • Reply 3 of 12

    Stream to me:  Use it!  Love it!  Recommend it!

  • Reply 4 of 12
    mac_128mac_128 Posts: 3,399member
    Anybody know how to easily convert video
    to H263 .movs? Seems like it's not supported under El Capitan at all anymore, other than decoding. VLC doesn't seem to do it either.
  • Reply 5 of 12
    +2 Air Video HD
  • Reply 6 of 12
    Plex.
    lordjohnwhorfin
  • Reply 7 of 12
    SoliSoli Posts: 8,678member
    mac_128 said:
    Anybody know how to easily convert video
    to H263 .movs? Seems like it's not supported under El Capitan at all anymore, other than decoding. VLC doesn't seem to do it either.
    I don't recall that ever being supported in QT/QTX, and can't think of a single app that does it. I'd think that H.264 has better options for video conferencing/streaming.
  • Reply 8 of 12
    StreamToMe and AirVideoHD are definitely easier to setup and cheaper, however for larger collections Plex is a much more powerful, advanced and elegant tool which happens to have clients and servers for every machine under the sun: windows, mac, linux, iOS, android, roku, even appleTV. 
    Note that AirVideoHD allows you to download videos to the phone (to watch on a plane for instance), StreamToMe does not. Plex lets you, but only if you're a PlexPass member (you can go monthly or bite the bullet and get a $100 lifetime)
  • Reply 9 of 12
    normmnormm Posts: 548member
    +3 Air Video HD
  • Reply 10 of 12
    +4 Air Video HD I've been using the original Air Video since forever.
  • Reply 11 of 12
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,141member
    StreamToMe and AirVideoHD are definitely easier to setup and cheaper, however for larger collections Plex is a much more powerful, advanced and elegant tool which happens to have clients and servers for every machine under the sun: windows, mac, linux, iOS, android, roku, even appleTV. 
    Note that AirVideoHD allows you to download videos to the phone (to watch on a plane for instance), StreamToMe does not. Plex lets you, but only if you're a PlexPass member (you can go monthly or bite the bullet and get a $100 lifetime)
    I love Plex and the Apple TV app is excellent too.   I ended up getting a Mac mini simply to be a permanent Plex sever on my LAN as all the other options are off line if your host Mac is off, or like I often am, booted into another OS.
  • Reply 12 of 12
    I love Plex and the Apple TV app is excellent too.   I ended up getting a Mac mini simply to be a permanent Plex sever on my LAN as all the other options are off line if your host Mac is off, or like I often am, booted into another OS.

    Even cheaper: you can use a discarded PC tower, stuff it full of drives, and install OpenMediaVault on it -- it's an open source, Debian Linux-based project geared towards media servers. It's super easy to install even for people who have never dealt with Linux before, and offers a beautiful UI-based configuration system as well as plug-ins for just about everything. Plex, Sickbeard, sabnzbd, transmission, RAID, backup, I'm only brushing the surface. I've been using it for years and it's rock solid -- set it and forget it. I still use StreamToMe and AirVideo HD occasionally, because they're so lightweight and by far the easiest to install and troubleshoot; but nothing beats the flexibility and powerful features of Plex.
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