How To Stream Video – Like Netflix, Hulu, and all other streaming services, movies and TV shows don’t stay on these platforms forever. As licensing deals renew or expire, they lose old movies and gain new ones — meaning that on any given day, you can watch your favorite TV shows just gone.
For a reliable option, you can buy your favorite digital content from portals like Apple TV and Google Play. But there is another solution: set up your own streaming service. Save the videos you have to your home computer and you can stream content from there to other devices in the house.
How To Stream Video
In other words, you turn your computer into a server, something that “delivers” content to other devices or “clients”. The user can be anything from your phone to a PlayStation 4 connected to your TV.
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A few years ago you pretty much needed a degree in IT to get anything hooked up. These days, the Windows and Mac operating systems, as well as third-party apps, make it easy to set up your own streaming service from the comfort of your home.
The first task is to convert your movies and TV shows to a video format (such as MP4), which works with many platforms and devices. We won’t go into the details to get our hands on content in this format – that’s at our discretion and local law. But if you already have videos in another format and need a free tool to convert them to MP4s, you can’t do much better than Handbrake.
Once your videos are properly formatted, you need to decide which clients to use. In other words, think about where you want to watch your news before you start. Xbox One in the living room? Apple TV in the bedroom? Your Android phone? All three? Knowing this in advance will help you decide what type of server to set up and how to set it up. For example, if you plan to watch movies from Xbox One, you’re better off using the Windows operating system, while Apple TV works best with macOS.
Speaking of which, your streaming experience will differ depending on whether you have a Windows or Apple computer or prefer to work with a different app. We’ve broken this guide into separate sections for each option, but we recommend the third solution as the most flexible and universal. Whichever way you choose, you can easily enjoy your video collection from any room in the house.
On a Windows computer, you’ll want to start by organizing all your movies and TV shows in your Movies folder. Sort files into folders and subfolders for ease of use. For example, you have a folder for your favorite TV show and it contains separate subfolders for each season of the show. This makes it easier for your device to display the right video at the right time.
Next, open the Control Panel by searching for it in the taskbar. Next, type “media” in the Control Panel search box and select the Media Streaming link that appears. Click Turn on the media, and that’s it. The content in the default Videos folder associated with your user account is ready to use and will be visible to many devices on your local network.
Because the Windows media server installation is so efficient, many users can “see” the latest movies and TV shows without any additional setup. For example, launch the Roku player, load the default media player, and you should see your files ready to be streamed. The same goes for the VLC Player apps for Android and iOS, so this is a quick way to get content from your Windows machine to your mobile phone. However, this only works with devices connected to your local Wi-Fi network, which means you can’t use this method to stream videos on the internet. If you want this option, go down and check the third-party apps section.
Using a PC as a server works best if you want to stream to an Xbox One connected to the same Wi-Fi network, because that device runs a modified version of Windows 10. With the set Just go to your computer, right-click on one. video files and select Cast to Device to send directly to the Xbox One – all subsequent connections are done for you. This is a great example of how the best streaming option depends on where you’re streaming from and to.
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The AirPlay integration built into macOS makes streaming a breeze if you use Apple TV. David Neld
Apple devices work well together, so the macOS server likes to work together with other Apple devices, especially Apple TV. However, it is more difficult to get it to work with non-Apple devices.
If you get all your information on a macOS computer rather than a Windows computer, Apple’s own AirPlay is the easiest protocol or streaming standard to use. If you have an Apple TV on the same Wi-Fi network, you should see the AirPlay button on the right side of your Mac computer’s navigation bar. Click on it and select your Apple TV. Then enter the PIN code that appears on your TV screen, so you can’t share content on your neighbor’s TV. Once connected, you’re streaming.
This method works similarly to Google Chromecast, and is just easier to use. But if you don’t stream to Apple TV or other iOS devices, you’ll need another method. Keep scrolling and read instructions on how to stream content on a third-party app, though there’s something you should know first.
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Before leaving the operating system registry, both macOS and Windows users have another option. A network-attached storage device, or NAS, is a large power supply that plugs directly into your router, keeping your media available even when your main computer is turned off. Modern NAS devices come with a selection of software to simplify server setup and make all your data available to other devices. Many NAS drives will do the job, but something like the ZyXEL Personal Cloud Storage Server is specifically designed for streaming media.
We’ve covered the built-in options for Windows and macOS, as they don’t require you to install any additional software. And for some situations, like streaming for Xbox One or Apple TV, they’re just the most convenient options. But third-party apps provide more convenience. They are easy to use and can stream data from Windows or Mac machines to a variety of other devices, including streaming sticks, set-top boxes, game consoles and mobile phones.
Plex is the platform we recommend, but others like Kodi and Emby are great too. Sign up for a free account and download the Plex software to set up your computer as a server. All you need to do is point the program to the folders where you store videos, photos, and music. Plex is a wide choice and you can use it with the device you have set up with the NAS.
When your computer is running in server mode, you’ll need to install the Plex client app on the device or devices you want to stream to. Apps for web browsers, Roku devices, Apple TV, Google TV, game consoles, smart TVs, and Amazon Fire devices are free, but you’ll need to pay to watch your recorded videos on your phone: you’ll need to upgrade to a Plex Pass ( of $5 per month or $40 per year) with Android and iOS clients. A Plex Pass also has some great benefits, such as the ability to stream your media from a cloud service like Google Drive or Dropbox, so you don’t have to leave your computer at all while streaming video.
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And then you’re done! Plex apps (server and client) do all the heavy lifting to make sure your video streams directly from one device to another. Assuming you have a fast enough upload speed at home, you can upload your videos to the internet. This allows you to connect to your Plex server and stream your movies over the internet while you’re not at home. Just like you do with Netflix.
David Nield volunteers at Science Research and provides tips and tutorials for the DIY section on everything from improving your smartphone photos to improving your laptop’s security. He doesn’t get much time, but when he does, he spends it watching obscure movies and taking long walks in the country.Harmonie is a digital marketing expert with over 6 years of experience in the tech industry. It has a strong economy
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