Friday, October 3, 2008

Home Media - empty promises or useful software?

"Home Media connects you wirelessly to your home network's media files. All you need is a compatible Nokia Nseries multimedia computer, a wireless network solution and a compatible PC or a supported UPnP/DLNA media renderer or server, such as a television, home stereo system or a gaming console." (

I've read about Home Media sometime ago and to be honest my two first thoughts were a) it probably won't work, at least not easily b) luckily I don't have compatible phone.

Time went by and I got more and more curious, especially after getting a Nokia N96. So what did I do? I tried it out, of course.

Part I / Installation:
  1. Downloaded and installed SimpleCenter to MS Vista.

  2. Clicked OK couple of times until SC wanted me to register. I really wonder why this software required registering? Well, I registered which was simple task as long as you find proper username that is not taken.

  3. After installation HMS wanted to add the media from my computer. I just clicked OK-OK-...OK. Then I realized that HMS is about to add all our pictures, roughly 3000. Then everything stopped. No response, nothing at all. I had to kill the adding process and still my 2 cores are going at 100%. What about restarting the computer?

  4. After restarting the computer and double-clicking Home Media Server, it opened normally and finished adding files.

  5. I believe now it is time to connect N96 to Home Media Server. Let's try it.

  6. Found Home Media from Menu - Tools - Connectivity - Home Media and opened it.

  7. Wizard started and after 9 OKs and some other clicks (device name, accesspoint, shared content, etc.) it finished.

  8. Does everything work now? No, it seems that I need to add device to Home Media Server by choosing Devices - Add device - Refresh and choose your phone. (N96's icon was N80 but maybe I can live with it. :)
Now I can see N96's content from Home Media Server but I cannot see Vista's files from N96. Maybe Vista's firewall is blocking the requests... No it didn't, it was just taking a while. Now I can see Home Media Server's content from N96.

Part II / Using HMS:

So, what you can do with this HMS? Let's check it out.

OK, most probably everyone knows that you can transfer pictures, videos, podcasts etc. easily from your phone to your computer or vice versa. Actually this is really easy, basically just click and the magic happens. One of the problems is that when I've been using PC Suite for transferring music, PC Suite had made another copy of each song and now HMS shows all these files. Probably this could be handled in Settings or then stop converting mp3's to AAC+, there are enough space in N96.

There are some other "flaws" like that you can see your music what you are about to transfer only by song title but luckily you can see more information using your phone. With a quick look, it seems that it is easier to transfer data from a computer to your phone by using your phone, but I'll find out about this after I've been using HMS for a while.

So you can easily transfer content between your two devices and you can also use your phone as a remote control for playing music, videos, etc. on your computer.

You can also define that pictures are automatically transferred from your phone to your computer when you come home. Now you won't lose your pictures so easily.

This means bye bye PC Suite and bye bye slow bluetooth connections when transferring files/music. Well, probably these aren't final good byes because standard HMS cannot convert files, e.g. movies to phone compatible form. There are also a premium version which has more features.

HMS really stands up to the exceptations and is worth trying out. It doesn't solve every problem but makes life again little easier, especially when transferring large files or multiple files where bluetooth/cable is slow. It won't replace PC Suite for good, because with PC Suite you can handle your PIM data.

Most probably you'll see another post about HMS after I've been using it for a while.


Hude said...

I'd be really interested in seeing how media streaming works. Did you try streaming over the network? It'd be nice to have your Nseries phone be a media server for the Playstation 3 for example. By nice I mean cool, I'm not sure how useful that would actually be. :) I'm quite happy with my PC being the media server via TVersity and streaming stuff wirelessly over home WLAN.

Teppo said...

Streaming of mp3s worked really well. It seemed that phone buffered the content quite much before it started playing the song. This didn't take too long, maybe only a second or two.

Unfortunatelly the standard (free) version doesn't have the possibility to convert video files, so I haven't yet tried out video streaming.

It seems that you cannot use your Nseries phone as a media server or at least I didn't find a way to do this.

I also noticed that you cannot transfer a DRM protected song to your PC with HMS. I tried this with one free song from Nokia's Music Store, so I don't know if this applies to every situtation. How is it in Comes With Music? I thought you are allowed to transfer music to 3 different devices.

One thing I liked about HMS was that I was able to use my N96 as a remote control. This is something you can brag/show to your friends e.g. "Look, no infrared, no bluetooth and I can still control my PC's music player..."

Hude said...

Maybe taking a look at Playstation 3 + N95 8GB: Setting it all up guide would help.

Unfortunately there seems to be some probems in there too:

I have managed to use the PS3 to play vids, music and pictures from the N95 8GB. But selecting items on the N95 8GB to be played on the PS3 just didn’t work for me. The PS3 didn’t show up in items for the media content to be played on.

Teppo said...

Here's what I've managed to accomplish:

- Control Vista's music and videos with N96. (like a remote control)

- Play music from N96 in Vista. This was started from Music player by choosing Options->Play->Via home network->Choose your HMS.

This doesn't always work, but either closing music player and/or re-booting the phone usually helps.

I still haven't been able to control my N96 from Vista like in the video N95 is controlled from PS3.

I continue investigating...