“Apps” To Enhance Your Streaming Experience From Windows Home Server To Your iPhone/iPod/iPad

by Damian on May 17, 2010 · 35 comments

in News

Anyone who follows my writings either on the blog here or on various forums that I participate in knows that I am not a big Apple Fan, I never quite drank from the Apple “Kool Aid”. However, I do acknowledge how Apple has shaped media consumption (or as others have referred to, revolutionized). I own an AppleTV which has made an excellent doorstop for 3+ years, as well as owning an iPod Touch which I got for free. I only ever use my iPod Touch to listen to my music when I go to the gym, so I never really got into the whole “App” world that seems to be the craze these days. All that changed this past Mothers Day when I purchased my wife an iPhone. Since I am the “Family IT Guy” I have been forced to dive head first into the dark world that is the Apple App Store to find apps that would help enhance my wife’s experience with her iPhone. One of the first things I have been looking for are Apps that would allow the media from my Windows Home Server (photos, movies, music) to be streamed to my wife’s iPhone. Jason (who goes by jmpage2 on the forum here and is also known as a VOIP Ninja in some circles) wrote an excellent article on how to use Air Video to stream videos from your Windows Home Server. I had a chance to test out this app over the weekend and I was pleasantly surprised at how well it worked. Since my wife is now obsessed with her iPhone I know I cannot just stop at Air Video and need to find other apps that will allow her to access/stream all our content from our Windows Home Server. I have come across a few such as z-Subsonic but since most apps are not free nor do they come with trial periods I thought this would be a great opportunity for our readers to chime in. If you are streaming from your Windows Home Server to your iPad/iPhone/iPod please drop a quick comment and let us know what apps you are using, what apps you recommend, and even if there are any apps to avoid.

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Hi, my name is Damian, and I'm tech gadget addict! Although I always had some interest in technology, it wasn't until I got my EX470 and more importantly found Mediasmartserver.net, that my interest became an addiction. My goal, aside from world domination and to see the Mets/Broncos win another championship, is to set up the perfect digital home where all my media is available at the click of a button. When I am not writing for Mediasmartserver.net you can find me over at my blog at http://www.adigitalhomeblog.com or follow me on twitter


Daniel May 17, 2010 at 1:26 pm

First of all I’m a big fan of the website. I’m also not an “Apple Guy”, but I do love my iPhone. I think Orblive is the best App for streaming content. It supports audio, video, photos, documents, ect. It is easy to use and easy to set up on your WHS. It works over 3G which is a necessary for remote streaming. You can also connect to your content threw their website.

Damian May 17, 2010 at 2:48 pm

Thanks Daniel, glad you enjoy the site. Alex let’s me out of the basement once a week to post and then I get sent back down!!!

Orblive is not an “App” per se, correct? So you install on your Windows Home Server, and then just bookmark your Orblive website on your iPhone? Music/Photos are the next areas I am looking at so this could be very useful.

Rich May 17, 2010 at 2:53 pm

I second Orblive. I know your big into the htpc scene. My movies are stored on my whs in iso format, each movie has been converted to a mobile format and stored in a share of they’re own and is in turn streamed by Orblive to my iphone. Comes in handy when your killing time !

Damian May 17, 2010 at 3:02 pm

@ Rich,

So you make a mobile copy of each or your movies? I would actually want to avoid that and just rely on WHS converting my movies on the fly. From when I tested Air Video everything played great, but had some hiccups with my Blu Ray movies (most likely because I have a dual core server)

Daniel May 17, 2010 at 3:33 pm


Just to answer your question, Orblive is an App available from the Appstore. It costs around $10, but there is a free version if you want to try it out. It streams all formats so there is no need to convert to a specific format.

Damian May 17, 2010 at 3:36 pm

@ Daniel,

Ahhh…I see it now (http://www.orb.com/en/orblive). Will definitely give it a try

Rich May 17, 2010 at 3:43 pm

Yes sir, i do make a mobile copy of each movie. I haven’t tried on the fly conversion or transcoding. Most of the stock features of my ex495 are disabled and have found more reliability (IMO) in third party software. I also wanted alternate versions for my wife’s droid as well as some smaller file sizes for easier travel.

Damian May 17, 2010 at 3:49 pm

@ Rich,

My wife went to visit her parents for Mothers Day so I used handbrake to convert a few of her recorded tv shows and well as some of my sons shows into a mobile format, turned out to be very handy. When I finally get a new PC (core i7 or newer) I may consider doing the same as you. Right now for my Blu Ray movies it takes anywhere from 6-12hrs to encode to a smaller size, so if I can get transcoding working reliably with those (it appears I would have to upgrade the hardware on my server) then I will stick with that for now

Rich May 17, 2010 at 4:08 pm

it does come in handy when you don’t have to store anywhere from 8 to 40 gigs per movie on a machine restricted in space while traveling. Our movie collection is still relatively small (sub 200) with just 10% of those in blu-ray. I’m in the same boat as you when it comes to converting blu-ray thus i don’t even attempt it anymore…lol. Core i7 machine would be sweet. So most of the movies that are streamed through orb are from a dvd conversion, and that 10% of blu-ray movies i already owned in dvd.

A “Shawshank” style machine is in my future….lol.

Comp1962 May 17, 2010 at 6:59 pm

Damian ~ I don’t have an iPhone but I did send you a PM with a link to some of the movies on my server which are MKV format that will run from ORB and stream from its web based player. If it works on the iPhone then there is no need to convert anything. Give it a try and let me know how it works. Its web based so I am hoping it will. If so then your life just got a little easier. Personally I am a big fan of ORB even if it limits me to only 3 accounts. I have one, my fiance has one and one of my managers has one the rest I create private links for a select few which require not having an ORB account.

diehard May 17, 2010 at 8:13 pm


I gave his a try. The popcorn hour as you know leaves a lot to be desired as far as the graphic UI. So I gave the iskin a try. I set up the web pages on my EX490. Now I can scroll through my collection on my itouch and it will send the files to the popcornhour to waych on my TV. I also added an option to play compressed video files made by HP’s Video Converter to play directly on the itouch if I choose.

fishbone May 17, 2010 at 9:24 pm

Try WHS Mobile.

I don’t like loading up tons of transcoding-servers and other bulk that is destabilizing the server.

t-bone May 18, 2010 at 7:34 am

I use ORB which was recommended to me by cougar when I was looking for a similar solution. The only issue that I see in many of these solutions is you depend on a 3rd party to gain access to your media. while it resides on your server it requires their server to categorize the content and act as a pointer. I dont have anything on my server that I need to be worried about or scared of but…. I also dont like people knowing what I do have and the point of having a server for me is so I dont have to rely on people for such things. I mean with the music and movie industry perpetually in arms over everything. This could be a sticking point because multiple people in multiple diffrent locations could access the same content. This could be red flags. I would rather keep “The Man” a bay a little longer then let “Big Brother” have more information about what I am or am not doing.

Lee May 18, 2010 at 1:31 pm

I’ve held off with using anything but the HP OEM software and the MediaSmart app. What I really need to do first is find a common video format that all my appliances read… or a software that will reliably convert on-the-fly. I hope suggestions to this topic will help me out. I’m still kinda new to the whole MSS thing.

- Xbox 360
- iPhone (x2)
- iPod Touch (x2)
- Windows 7 Laptop (plays anything) – local and Public WiFi
- Web-based access to view movies while away from the house?!?

ray May 19, 2010 at 8:48 am

I have the ex490 with the upgrade processor E7500
very happy with the server, I was using the Istream on it for my iphone and ipad and it work but the quality was ok.
I have been ripping my dvd’s to mp4 format with handbreak takes about 1hr on my macbook. 2 days ago i installed air video on the server and wow
the video quality is better and uploads faster. I can even access on the net

Pluckyhd May 19, 2010 at 10:38 am

I have used orb and even had success streaming live tv.

jeffla May 19, 2010 at 11:15 pm

I am using an older version of HP’s Istream. It works the best for my needs. I like that I only have 1 service running (twonky) and it allows web based access, iphone access and PS3 access.

If we switch to android (sprint evo 4g’s) this summer, I plan on using PS3MS and Subsonic. Don’t care about streaming movies or pics.

Lee May 20, 2010 at 7:29 am

OK, so I installed Air Video Server and the free app on my iPhone. Yes, a MUCH better performance increase over the HP iStream option. Home movies (mpg) and a ripped DVD movie (mk4) all played flawless and looked really good over 3G connection. I didn’t try it over WiFi.

However, no support for MP3′s. :(

I’ll try the Orb program and see how it compares. I’m looking for the all-in-one app that does it all. I have an HomeRun HD TV tuner on my LAN so it would be cool to stream live TV to my iPhone.

So I see a SageTV 7 review/post on the site’s main page. Would this help or is that just for HTPC’s? I’ve used it before but was pretty much overwhelmed with setting it up.

Fhdaddy May 28, 2012 at 11:37 am

Did you ever figure out a way to stream live tv to your iPhone with the HDHomerun tuner? I have one connected to my HTPC and want to stream to my iPhone/iPad.

Damian May 20, 2010 at 7:34 am

@ Lee,

Yeah, Air Video only supports videos. I downloaded the free version of Orblive to test out on my wife’s iPhone, hopefully this weekend I can spend some time with it. I also noticed there are two OrbLive paid apps (I think $4.99 and $11.99), but I didn’t get a chance to look closer to see what the difference was. For whatever reason Orb does not recognize my HdHomerun TV Tuner on my WHS???

SageTV is more for an HTPC/Media Extender type setup. There is the ability to placeshift (http://www.sagetv.com/placeshifter.html) but I don’t see anywhere that there is a specific Apple App for this. I guess you could try accessing using the Safari browser

Lee May 21, 2010 at 10:06 am

Yeah, I think the OrbLive will be the way to go with what I want (all my media formats and devices). Gotta get some time to get it installed and try it out. Not good news that your HD Homerun doesn’t work on WHS. Maybe a firmware / driver issue that maybe Vail or another updated Orb version will work out. Live TV is not at the top of my priority on this. Photos, Home Movies, MP3z, and ripped DVDs are what I need.

I had originally tried SageTV to get all different formats of video to play on my Xbox 360. I don’t think it ever worked.

Kasper May 21, 2010 at 10:50 am

Hmm dont like orb after the updated it. Now it hardly ever connects to my WHS shares, does not like my upnp firewall (ALL my other devices work fine)

Twonkey works best and I setup scripts that automatically adds new items to itunes and sync. I dont stream storage media from remote until they fix orb – but use Slingplayer for watching TV :-)

Comp1962 May 21, 2010 at 3:53 pm

@ Kasper – The issue you describe with ORB is easily corrected by setting it to load when your server first starts up. After that you will lose the connection if say you RDP the server and then logoff at which point ORB will shut down. So you have to leave by just closing out Remote Desktop and then your Online Session and ORB will remain active. This was always the case as far as I know with keeping ORB running on your server.

Omega May 23, 2010 at 1:57 am

Have you try iPimp?

If you have MediaPortal installed in your server, iPimp is a very cool program to have.

If you look at their roadmap… they seem pretty promising.

I can’t wait for them to implement “live tv” :) :) :)

Damian May 23, 2010 at 8:34 am

Very interesting Omega. I am waiting for Media Portal 2.0 to be released before I test out Media Portal again.

JM May 24, 2010 at 9:53 am

I use StreamToMe ($2.99) which is essentially just like Air Video, but with music support as well. I’ve been really, really pleased with it.

Mike K. May 25, 2010 at 8:35 pm

Hi i am an apple guy. This iphone and imac rocks!! Thanks for the mention of Orb. Tried it and like it overall. It works well with multiple computers. The iphone app seems ok so far. Will need more time with it.

t-bone August 1, 2010 at 3:07 pm
S Alam September 23, 2010 at 3:30 am

It is very important for any iPhone

Pman860507 April 12, 2011 at 9:18 pm

i use air video and i have never had a problem with it i tried an app called video. it worked alright but it wasn’t as impressive as airvideo. the only thing with airvideo is that if your on edge your screwed. (which is pretty obvious). i have tried other ones too in the past im not sure of there names but air video is the one i stuck with. im thinking about moving over to the android platform i hope i can find an app like airvideo or even airvideo for the android

Steve May 6, 2011 at 9:42 am

I don’t have a media server but, I ‘m running all my media through dediacated desktop. When I’m away, I perfer the video from Airvideo on my ipad versus the video from Streamtome. Both convert on the fly. So I use Streamtome for pictures and my itunes playlist for my ipad and macbook pro. Orblive works on my android and the orb web access works on my windows 7 laptop.

Rhinoevans May 6, 2011 at 7:58 pm

I use Air Video and it is Awsome. Sure it only does video, but it doesnt need to do music with the iphone or ipad since the IOS software automatically shares if you turn it on. Shares videos also, however, all my stuff is MKV. So the need for Air Video. Air Video will stream real time or you can que files for it to convert to watch at a latter time. Great program for $2.99

myangeldust November 5, 2011 at 4:00 pm

So there’s no actual way to stream music to my iPhone? Unless you want to upload to the cloud or install yet another program on your computer. HP MSS had an app compatible with their EX480 series. For some reason only that model was compatible and then they dropped it altogether. So why isn’t there a way for Apple’s toys to connect to a computer’s share folder? Their iDevices seem incompatible simply for the fun of it. And now WHS get upgraded and all of a sudden it’s got even less support for third party app makers. MS upgraded their product into irrevelence. When I work outside my iPhone is tuned into Jango or WVUM. Apparently, my music library isn’t allowed to play outside.

Fhdaddy May 28, 2012 at 12:04 pm


I have an HTPC with HDHomerun tuner attached and am looking to stream live tv to my iPad 2. Do you know of a straightforward way to accomplish this task?

Damian June 18, 2012 at 1:50 pm
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