View Full Version : iTouch/iPhone Library Streaming - A Proposal

09-08-2009, 02:43 PM
iTunes supports streaming of library media from your machine to AppleTVs or other computers running iTunes on your network. Great, huh? We've got all these Mac and PC devices that are allowed to view and listen to your content free of charge without any compatibility issues.

iTunes really seems to tie the knot around the sharing your media locally, or does it?

I've been searching for a while now to find *some way* for iPhones and iPodTouches to view and listen to my library content. There are dozens of situations for me where this capability would be used *daily.* For instance, when I really want to let a coworker hear a new song from an artist we both like while I've got my laptop on my private WiFi at work, or if I want to pick up listening to a podcast or watching a movie I was just watching on the AppleTV while somewhere in the house besides the living room.

These little, hand-held devices are running the Mac OS, they can handle streaming from YouTube, they can handle streaming from the net, and that tells me they should be able to handle the *much-faster* streaming available between machines on your local network. For some reason, though, Apple seems to have disabled using shared libraries as they have in other iTunes situations.

Now, I've seen apps out there that let you upload your entire music library to the cloud and then stream it over that actual internet to your iPhone, or iPodTouch, but that takes a lot of bandwidth, and frankly, with my very large movie library, I don't want to take the incredible amount of time to upload that content when I just want it locally, and the hardware and most of the software already exists to keep it there.

Speaking of large, anyone think they can fit very many AppleTV-formatted movies on their iTouch device? Not many, that's for sure, and when you sync the device, it takes a while to move that much data to the flash memory of the device. There just isn't the capability of near-instant access with the syncing requirement. With streaming, you can have your dozens or even hundreds of movies and TV shows ready to play in seconds.

Why am I posting this here? Well, I was delighted to see some of Shirt Pocket's efforts at enabling further simplification of iTunes sharing, which makes them an ideal candidate to plead for an app of this nature. They could even sell it at the App store for upwards of $20 and there are people like me who would gladly pay for it (though my coworkers are in question). Maybe this is something that can be done to iTunes itself on my Mac, which takes away the possible roadblock of iTMS approval. I'm not a programmer, and even with as simple as making an iTouch app is promoted to be, I frankly don't have the time to sit down and learn about that and figure how to get around a limitation of this nature.

Would streaming media to these devices chew up battery power? Of course, but I would think the speed increase over online content should cut down on buffer times and take less power. It would take more power to use the WiFi connection to get your content on than movies stored on the device's flash memory, but I think the difference would be worth it to a lot of people in similar situations to mine.

If you're using an iPhone, using WiFi for local content beats the socks off of using your 3G connection (and data fees) to stream your content off of a third-party cloud server.

I could go on for a while about the pros and cons of this idea, but maybe I should leave those for the forum to discuss.

Tell me, fellow forum users, who else would want something like this?