Guide: Using ZumoCast For Remote Streaming

by Damian on September 13, 2010 · 29 comments

in Guides

As someone who stores all my media on my Windows Home Server I am always looking at different products available for streaming my media remotely. This includes being able to access content remotely over the internet as well as portable devices such as an iPhone. About a week ago I came across a product called ZumoCast which promises to bring your videos, music, and files to your iPhone/iPad/iTouch and any browser. There are similar products such as Orb (although when I did test out Orb a while back I didn’t have much success with) and more restrictive products such as AirVideo (specific to iPxxx). At a price of free (not just the PC software but also the Apple App) I figured it was worth giving a test drive.

Files To Download:

ZumoCast – Available for both Windows and Mac

Installation:

I decided to install ZumoCast on my Windows Home Server. Since there is no Windows Home Server add-in available I had to RDP in and do the install from there. The install process took no more then a few minutes with a few mouse clicks.

You are first greeted with the typical License Agreement

After accepting the license agreement you then specify where you want ZumoCast installed

The installation process took no more then 30 seconds to complete.

Setting Up:

Once ZumoCast is installed run it from the PC that is was installed on. To use ZumoCast you have to have an account. Since this was my first time using ZumoCast I chose the “I’m new to ZumoCast” option.

Creating a Zumo account was very easy to do. Simply enter in your email address, name, password, and computer name

Once your Zumo account is set up you will be asked to specify where your media is located. ZumoCast can display your videos, music, and  any files (such as documents).

After setting up your media and document locations you can either go through the tour or simply skip to the end.

Since I don’t have much patience for tours I just skipped it. Next you will see a message that by installing ZumoCast, installing the iPhone app, and referring a friend you will get a free upgrade to a Premier Account. I searched their website but could not find specifically what the Premier Account would give.

Using ZumoCast On an iPod Touch:

With ZumoCast set up the first thing I decided to try out was how well it worked with my iPod Touch. On my iPod I went to the App store, searched ZumoCast, and in a few more clicks I had ZumoCast installed on my iPod. Once the ZumoCast App was installed and launched, it was just a matter of walking through the initial setup

You will be prompted to either create an account or sign in. I actually thought it was weird that you would create an account here as you would have already created an account when installing the software on your PC.

After logging I was taking to the Home Page where I can see my Windows Home Server. At the bottom of the screen there are options to access your Files, Music, Videos, and view any files being transferred (you can actually download files).

The music section was straight forward. When you first access you can view by Albums, Artists, or Songs.

Navigating through Artists will bring up a list of all available artists, how many albums there are, and how many songs

Although I didn’t test out, there is an option to download your content (which the circle to the left of the artist would be checked off if you wanted to download).

Videos are sorted by folder, so it is just as if you were accessing via Windows Explorer or a file browser.

As with Videos, Files are sorted by folder as well.

As a test, I decided to try and view a pdf file. I was able to navigate to it without a problem and to my surprise the pdf showed up without issue.

Overall ZumoCast was a positive experience on my iPod Touch. The navigation was simple and very similar to other Apps I have used such as AirVideo. I was able to access and play back my music without an problems. With Videos I did encounter an initial buffering, but as long as the content was SD I had no problems playing. Playing back HD content was another story as I had a lot of stuttering. However, since the content is being transcoded most likely the fault is with my Windows Home Server not having enough CPU to keep up. Also, one other thing to mention is that when I played back my videos it pushed my Windows Home Server (CPU stayed around 100%), so keep that in mind if you are hoping to use your PC/server for other duties while you are streaming.

Accessing Media Via A Web Browser:

The next step was to see if I could access my content via a web browser at work. I went to the ZumoCast website and logged in to my account

Once logged in I had full access to the media content I had set up

Navigating through the video collection was fairly straightforward. However, I did notice some oddities where some folders were not showing up properly and at times I got delays in my items showing up. The thumbnails that you see below are a nice touch.

When you select a video for playback a ZumoCast player will pop up. You can either play it as is or put it into full screen mode. Testing out a DVD rip I found the video quality OK, and for remote viewing would serve its purpose.

Music is similar to Videos, with thumbnails/covers displayed. It appears that no playlists are support but basic playback did work (although I did notice at times it would take 10-15 seconds to move from one song to the next). On the websites FAQ it was mentioned that ZumoCast will be adding a music tab in the near future which will include playlist, sorting by genre, name, album, artist, etc.

One of the nice things I liked about accessing content through a web browser was how easy it was to use, there was no need to set up any sort of port forwarding. From a music standpoint I still prefer using Subsonic, but I could definitely see playing back videos for my sons via the web browser when we are traveling.

Final Thoughts:

Until last week I had never heard of ZumoCast, so to be honest I wasn’t sure what to expect. After spending some time with it though I must say I was impressed at how easy it was to set up, and that is was free (including the App). ZumoCast is run by a small company called Zecter, so going the free route may just be a way to gain a following (and possibly build off their ZumoDrive offering). It will be interesting to see how this product develops (hopefully support for Android devices is in the works) and I think if you are looking to access your media remotely ZumoCast is definitely worth giving a test drive.





Article by

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


{ 29 comments }

Alex Kuretz September 13, 2010 at 2:54 pm

Very interesting product, Damian, thanks for the writeup. It sounds like HD streaming performance was your only encountered issue, it’d be very interesting to try this with the files converted by the HP Video Converter feature, in theory they should stream easily.

JesterEE September 13, 2010 at 3:39 pm

Seems very similar to a TVersity and Orb. I have only used the later, but my experiance didn’t leave me with a great taste in my mouth. The problem I have found with almost evey transcoding on-the-fly option is that they are not customizable enough without serve hacking or they try and treat every item the same when they can optomize the stream for the target. Programs like VLC do it extremely well while others are clunky and bloated and give horrible results. I think I’ll give it a spin this week and see, though with the Celeron thats in my MSS, I think
I’ll probably be let down till I can swap out the CPU and RAM.

Thanks for sharing!
-JesterEE

Damian September 13, 2010 at 3:44 pm

Orb just wasn’t reliable when I tested it. A majority of times it would actually just hang in buffer mode when trying to access a video. As far as Zumocast unfortunately I think you need a pretty beefy CPU once you start getting past SD content. My WHS has a dual core AMD CPU, and my BluRay rips were too much to consistently stream via ZumoCast. I could try installing ZumoCast on my desktop which is a quad core to see if that fixes it.

dbailey75 September 13, 2010 at 6:50 pm

thanks for the review, I’ve been looking for a tool so that I can share both my pictures and home videos with familey with out having to setup an account with flicker etc. I came across webguide, haven’t tired it yet but looks like there has not been much development in the last few years.

I’ll give this program a go later this week.

Charles September 14, 2010 at 10:58 am

I tried to go read their blogs/forums but they have no way to signup without going through the product that I can find.
I don’t want to install just to read about their product, and see what their users think / say.
Hmmm a little Odd.

Damian September 14, 2010 at 11:43 am

Interesting. I had already signed up for ZumoCast. That is very odd. It is a small startup company so I imagine that they are trying everything possible to get people signed up (they push referrals pretty heavily as well)

Lou September 17, 2010 at 8:18 am

Is there support for streaming over 3G or is it WiFi only?

Damian September 17, 2010 at 8:23 am

3G as well

Rich September 17, 2010 at 8:34 pm

hmmm…not connection over 3G for me for some reason….just sits at “connecting” for a while and does nothing.

Damian September 18, 2010 at 4:44 am

Their site does mention 3G. I only tested on my iTouch which uses Wifi. I will install on my wife’s iPhone to see if I can get it working with 3G and will report back.

Damian September 20, 2010 at 4:14 am

Rich,

Tested on my wife’s 3G iPhone, no problems connecting

Rich September 20, 2010 at 7:40 am

Of course after I submitted this post I tried again and it then connected through 3G..lol…always works like that…but thanks for testing!!

Johnny Upup September 20, 2010 at 12:20 am

Quite concerned about privacy issues, since you will be prompted to create an account (to sign in or log out) on your PC or Mac too through the https://www.zumocast.com/files on the internet .

Let’s say ZumoCast crack into your account or someone got a hold of your password, all the files, videos, or music stored on your computer may run the risks of being able to be seen or accessed by others.

It is kind of fun to use, but still risky. Besides, ZumoCast is still small start-up. Take time to build its credibility!

Damian September 20, 2010 at 4:15 am

Agreed, that is the risk with any of these companies where you go through their site or their servers (other examples would be Orb, LogMeIn, etc…). If privacy is a major issue at a minimum do not include any sensitive documents (which I don’t)

Ralph Martin September 21, 2010 at 7:35 pm

Damian, thanks for sharing this with us, this is a really nice app and like you said Free of charge, I think these are better than the stock services for streaming content from HP.

I have just installed it and I’m doing some testing with it, so far so good, I started streaming a HD MKV TV Show episode and it looks good, but after a while it was stuttering, but I will need to do some more tests.

Thank you very much…

jbrough October 15, 2010 at 8:08 am

Really enjoying the use of Zumocast, however, I just tried to access it from the internet channel on my wii, and received the error that it is not supported by this platform.

Has anyone had success streaming video from their Wii using zumocast?

Damian October 18, 2010 at 9:18 am

Be curious as well if anyone has done this. I don’t even have my Wii hooked up to an internet connection so I have never tested out

JustMe October 28, 2010 at 12:00 am

Worked great for me on WHS until I applied a Java update and the latest windows updates, after reboot Zumocast apparently wasn’t running. After RDP into the server, starting Zumocast manually, iPhone started seeing content again. Log out of RDP and content no longer available. There’s a Zumocast settings option to “Run on Startup” but apparently that means on login. Even putting it in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run didn’t seem to help.

I didn’t think I’d left RDP running the whole time before… but maybe it was :-(.

Is there a way to convert Zumocast into a service?

mia November 11, 2010 at 11:05 am

It works pretty well for me on my itouch, although it doesn’t download things very quickly. For me it took about 3 minutes just to download a music video in SD. I can’t imagine how long movies would take to download. For those who use this app, is it faster in your experience? Also, I found that after I started downloading videos on ZumoCast, the internet on my itouch became really really slow. Anyone else notice this? Would it be due to the app or just my internet being crappy? I want to delete the app to test if my internet gets any faster, but if I delete it everything I downloaded would be gone, and they took FOREVER to download.

murat November 26, 2010 at 12:28 am

thanks for the review. it’s quite helpful.
but i have a question about a similar subject, are there any program which provides access from ipad/iphone to time capsule via 3g? I mean i don’t want to leave my computer switched on all day.

it’s possible for mac’s if you’re using mobile me feature. but i think you have to pay a lot for it..

thank you for your help

Damian November 26, 2010 at 11:46 am

Honestly I am not much of a Mac guy (iPxxx are the only devices I have ever used of theirs). Hopefully someone else here who has more MAC experience can answer. You can also try asking the question in the MAC section of our forums:

http://www.mediasmartserver.net/forums/viewforum.php?f=19&start=0

John Risney December 11, 2010 at 6:26 pm

I am LOVING ZumoCast on my MSS/iPhone/iPad….

Each update and the program gets better and better.

I personally like it better than Air Video…….Which is pretty darn good as well.

Thanks for this Guide!!!

Scott Brown December 28, 2010 at 4:54 am

Did you have an issue where sitting idle CPU usage would be around 50% and this was due to ZumoCast?

I have a HP StorageWorks Data Vault and I have noticed this on my box. I killed the ZumoCast process and CPU drops down to 1%.

Damian December 28, 2010 at 9:33 am

I haven’t seen this. I wonder if Zumocast is searching for an update?

Damian December 28, 2010 at 9:35 am

It is worth mentioning that the company responsible for Zumocast was acquired I believe by Motorola. I am not sure what this means for the future of Zumocast (possibly only integrated into Motorola products?)

John Risney December 28, 2010 at 10:39 am

I just checked my MediaSmart EX-485

I am running the latest version of ZumoCast on it.

My server CPU usage averages from 2% – 7%——it occassionally spikes higher—-but seems totally normal to me.

ZumoCast acquired by Motorola…..—-My guess the product will go into oblivion.

A shame—–it is the best working video server I have found for the iPhone and iPad…..

Aaron February 5, 2011 at 8:27 pm

Searching for “ZumoCast” on my ipod touch resulted in “no matches”. Into oblivion it has gone.

John Risney February 6, 2011 at 11:44 am

Website says that new customer and the download are temporarily disabled….

But they plan on bringing the product back with new features.

Also says it still works for existing customers and I verified that it still does.

Time will tell I guess…..

If Motorola owns it—-don’t think they will be interested in supporting the Apple side of the house—-just Android…..but again, time will tell.

-DC- October 9, 2011 at 8:40 am

Also check out StreamStar. Not as advanced, but great for streaming music from an open source web server.

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