Universal Media Server Review

Using a home media server to stream videos, music, and photos throughout devices on your home network is a wonderful, convenient thing. But some software only gives you a taste of sweet streaming action before charging for the best features. Universal Media Server isn’t the easiest product for setting up your own home media server, but it will give you plenty of functionality without asking for a dime.

Why Use a Media Server?
Universal Media Server, like most media servers, is based on pre-existing technology, in this case the PS3 Media Server. By communicating with Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA) devices, media servers can stream content on a range of devices including, say, laptops, game consoles, phones, and tablets connected to the same shared wired or wireless network. You can even put all of your content on a network-attached storage (NAS) device and use that as your server if you don’t want to burden your computer.

I was disappointed to find that Universal Media Server doesn’t seem to offer remote access options like the ability for server owners to access their content outside the home.

  • PROS

    Automatically scans all content on home networks. Third-party plug-ins provide extra features. Open source. Always free.

  • CONS

    Confusing setup. Web interface is plain and initially uncategorized. Fails to work on some theoretically compatible devices. No remote access options.

  • BOTTOM LINE

    Universal Media Server gives you plenty of free features for your home network streaming needs, if you can get it to work.

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