Not everyone buys into the Apple-centric ethos. There’s no doubt Apple produces great product, but sometimes you don’t want to tie yourself into one company’s vision or dream. It’s cheaper for starters, which is why it’s always a good idea to have a backup plan for streaming media. And that backup plan should normally involve support UPNP.
Universal Plug ‘n’ Play is probably the most popular kind of media server out there, particularly if you’re streaming content from a network attached hard drive. They’re usually relatively fuss-free to set up, which simply leaves you the task of actually connecting up to the server to view content remotely.
Media Player Lite is a good choice for iPad, iPhone and iPod touch users who want a no-cost, simple means of watching video, oohing over photos and listening to music as it’s streamed from somewhere else to wherever they happen to be.
It’s not particularly sophisticated – a paid-for version with more features is also available – but it does the job if all you need is access to a DLNA/UPNP server over your local network. Start up, tap your server, then drill through your media using the simple interface. You get all the playback controls you need, plus a handy thumbnail viewer and the ability to rotate your photos should they be incorrectly aligned. You can even set off a slideshow and leave it to its own devices.
Codec support is quite narrow – MP4 video (with H.264 video and AAC audio), MP3/AAC audio and JPEG/PNG photos – but if you can live with its limitations, then Media Player Lite is a good choice for those working with no budget.