I'm excited about the latest feature for Windows 7 computers. You can now stream your desktop with audio and video to your TV. This means that anything you can play on your computer you can now play on your TV. If you are not sure how to set it up just see this page more info here..
Well, the last 8 months have been a whirlwind. TVShare has been much more successful than even I imagined...well to be honest I imagined buying a Ferrari and that hasn't happened :). But realistically things have gone very well. I now have a loyal and active customer base for the software and we have a lot of hits a day on the website. Seems that a lot of people had the same problems I did with the mediashare functionality. Over the last few months I've been able to add Resume and Fast Forward/Rewind functionality to the software, which no other software has. Recently I had a request to support a DLink wireless webcam with TVShare which sounds interesting. Do you have any more ideas for TVShare? use the Comments page to let me know. I read every E-Mail.
Some months ago I upgraded my receivers to HD. Eager to learn all the new features I sat down with the manual and read it from cover to cover. Probably most people don't even open it, but for techies like me it's like candy for a child. One of the new features of my receiver, it said, was Mediashare. At the time I had a few desktop computers and a laptop and had several copies of iTunes and media all over the place. Mediashare seemed to be the answer to a problem I didn't even know I had. It had seemed fine to huddle around the laptop looking at my vacation pictures but I imagined what it would be like to view them on my widescreen TV. How much better would they look and how much easier it would be for everyone to sit and watch them! Not to mention having a single place to go to for all my music and on top of that be able to watch my movies. Now that seemed like a great deal!
Unfortunately the Mediashare paragraph in the receiver manual is skimpy to say the least. I really had no idea how to get it all working. I searched the internet and found a few articles and posts and found that Windows had some sharing capabilities built in. Maybe I could get that working. After all, I am a software engineer, how hard could it be? So I followed the Windows help articles on activating media sharing. Well, now I could share media from computer to computer but what about my receiver. No Dice. I disabled firewalls, put in router rules, rebooted the receiver, rebooted the computers. Nothing. I enabled and disabled windows sharing so many times my head spun (or at least my drive heads) and still not a single chirp from the receiver.
This was going to be more difficult than I thought. Maybe I ought to check online a bit more and see what other people have done. So I searched around. It seemed that a lot of people had used media server software to do what I was trying. In particular there were two pieces of software that seemed very popular. TVersity and Playon. I downloaded TVersity and installed it. I ran it. It found my receivers on the network. My heart skipped a beat. Tentatively I grabbed the remote and selected the mediashare option on the receiver. Sure enough, there was the server listed. I selected it and found some video from my computer. I selected it to play. There was a tense five second pause then I was presented with a black screen...although I could hear the audio the video was nowhere to be found. Maybe I had some transcoding settings wrong? I played around with a few options and tried again. Nothing. I tried rebooting, re-installing, re-configuring, no results. Finally I decided to hit the support forums. I found a post about my exact problem. It seems that Directv support is broken in more recent version of TVersity. I waited a couple of days to see if an admin would post when they were going to fix the problem. Nothing. Then I waited a month. Still nothing. Then they released an update and I eagerly downloaded it, surely they had fixed it. Unfortunately it still didn't work. I figured I'd better look elsewhere.
Next I downloaded Playon. The software installed well and had a feature (in beta) where I could add my media...so i did. It showed up on the receiver and I selected it and then selected a movie to watch. It worked WOW! It was great. I could imagine sorting all my media out and putting it all on the one computer and devoting that to serving my media. So over the next few days I consolidated all my music and videos and pictures and gave it all to Playon. I could feel the comforting feelings of success. Then I selected one of the media folders that had a lot of content in it. I waited...and waited. Finally I got the next screen of media. Then I pressed down again...I waited and waited again. It turned out that I could easily play all the Adam Ant that I wanted (yes, I have some Ant music!) But I was never going to be able to listen to my ZZTop because it was at the bottom of the list. I was so close...but it wasn't really useable.
That was when I decided to write a media server myself. I would eat, breathe and live it for a while and write something that would work that way I thought it should work. It should be easy to set up and responsive to use. So I searched on the internet and read books. I started writing code and testing...oh the testing. I'm glad that I had a lot of media to choose from because I was watching it so often. The result is TVShare. It does exactly what I started out wanting to do. It displays pictures, plays songs and serves video and it all works on Directv right out of the box. I used it for a while and then I thought that maybe, just maybe some other people would like to use it because they must have the same problems I had. And maybe those people would be willing to pay for it. So I started tvmediashare.com. I use TVShare every day and I hope you do too. If you have any comments or suggestions, good or bad just press the feedback link or post in our forums. We want to hear from you.