All I want to do is to be able to utilize my collection of digital music on my sound system taking advantage of both the superior sound from my home stereo system and the additional benefits of digital music at the same time. After Mauricio's D-Link DSM-320 review, I found that solution less than ready for the market. We were talking over a coffee about software to play digital music through our home cinema systems, and I mentioned a free solution that I had come across and had implemented at home.
Before you start. This guide assumes you have Windows Media Player 9.0 or later installed and have allowed WMP to scan your computer for media. If you have not done this, your media will not be available when you get to the end of this guide and you will not be able to play anything except the music that comes with media player.
Control desktop media playback from your Pocket PC
Step 1 (Optional): Connect your computer to the input on your stereo.
There are cheap and expensive ways to do this. I have gone for the cheap option and purchased a simple 3.5mm male to dual 3.5mm female stereo cable. This splitter cable cost US$5 from a local electronics store. I then plug my (old and cheap) PC speakers into one of the ends of the split cable. Into the other end of the split cable, I connected a 3.5mm to dual RCA cable that is plugged into the sound system. If you want to avoid all the interconnecting cables, you should be able to get what you need made up for a small price at a local electrical store. This setup allows me to use the PC speakers and the stereo for a poor man's surround sound system. It also means that I can continue listening to music even when the stereo is in use by someone else for something else.
Now that the computer is connected to the sound system, lets move on.
During the install you are asked if you want to install the application as a service or interactively. I have selected "interactively", which means that I need to start the program manually. The service option starts the application when the computer boots up.
Step 3: Configure Software
Once the software is installed on the desktop and on the computer, start the software on your desktop.
Next, you will want to get the address of the computer so you can configure your Pocket PC to connect. The easiest way to do this is from the command prompt (on Windows 2000, and XP click the start button and click Run, then type in "cmd" and hit enter). Once you have the command prompt, type in "ipconfig /all" (without the quotes). The result of this command will display the IP address details for the computer. Locate the name of the network card that you will be connectng to and find the line that says "IP ADDRESS" and take note of the numbers to the right of it (e.g. 192.168.0.10).
Start the media controller on the Pocket PC and tap tools - Options, in the box called Media Computer, enter the IP Address you noted a few moments ago. While you are in the options screen, make sure you check the box titled Advanced UI, then tap OK to close the options screen.
Simple configuration steps
Step 4: Start playback
Make sure the wireless LAN is turned on and you are connected to the same network as the computer you want to connect to - or at least ou must be able to connect to the computer. Connect to the media computer by tapping Tools - Connect. Once you are connected, you can use the software just as you would normally use media player on your Pocket PC. Only now, you can listen to your computer through your sound system.
Other handy tips:
Want to use your Pocket PC to control your music when you are at your desk? No problems. Media Controller also makes a great remote control when it is plugged in to its cradle!
Dont have wireless LAN? Try it with Bluetooth!
Can you connect to your computer when you are out of the house? Why not have some music playing wen you get home?
Are you a developer? Request the source code and tailor it to your own needs. (Make sure you tell us what you do!)
Having problems? Just remember - this is free software, the developer has a day job - so his availabiity is sometimes limited or delayed. Having said that, however, I've been in touch with Craig (the developer) several times and have always experienced good responses.
The new HP iPAQ h3715 come with some software very similar in function to this software.