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Setup Internet Media Sharing in Windows 7

During our first live show in a long time, we discussed some of our favorite Windows 7 features.  While it isn’t exactly Media Center related (uses Windows Media Player) one of mine is the Internet Streaming that’s now built into WMP.  A few people in the chat were asking how you go about making sure your content is available outside of your home so here you’ll find a quick how-to on how you can enjoy that content while traveling!

The first thing we need to do is to open Windows Media Player.  This is what you’ll use to set up sharing on your home system as well as where you’ll watch the content on your remote PC.  Once you have WMP open, you’ll see near the top on the left side a “Stream” drop down menu:

streambutton stream2

You can see right at the top, the option we’re looking for is to “Allow Internet access to my home media…”.  This is where we’ll make everything happen.  Next you’ll be required to download and install a plugin.  This is a straight forward process by where you’ll be taken to a Microsoft site, download and run the installer and then get right back into WPM to finish the process.  At this point we’re presented with the next screen.  Linking with an online ID is required.  At this point, the only online ID you can use is your Windows Live ID:

linkid1 With the Windows Live ID plugin installed, the next screen is where we’ll enter and verify our credentials:

creds1

Simply click the “Link online ID” link shown above.  I point it out because you can’t just click within the highlighted area.  Something I’ll sit and do repeatedly and then wonder why nothing is happening…

Next up it’s a simple matter of entering your credentials.  The plugin will then verify said credentials and you’ll be off to the races.

creds2 creds3

At this point, you have to be sure that you go back to WMP and actually allow access to your media.  It seems like a simple thing but if you have a bunch of other windows open you might not realize there’s one more dialog still open in WMP.

allow1

Once you click this, you’re presented with the last dialog and you should be all set.   Something you should notice is that allowing access to your home media will prevent your computer from sleeping.  I’m not sure why MS has done this as if the PC is sleeping, well it’s sleeping.  Access should be cut off.  Those of us out there who are power conscious shouldn’t have to choose between access and saving the planet.  While this fact won’t stop me from using the internet sharing, it is something to keep in mind.

lastYou’ll want to notice the note at the bottom of this screen.  Access has to be granted on both PCs, the one you want to stream from and the ones you want to stream to.  This means that if you have family members that have their own netbooks, laptops or what have you, you’ll have to go through this several times to get everyone setup.  It would be nice if it were easier than that but once the setup is complete, everything should work like a champ.  Everything basically works the same as when you’re at home access your remote library but now will be a bit slower. This of course is affected by your local connection speed, etc.  I’ve had good experiences so far though.  Music is easy and most video makes it down with little trouble.  You do lose resolution and bitrate so don’t expect a home theater experience from your net connection in your hotel.

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About the author

Adam Thursby

Adam Thursby is the founder and creator of The Digital Media Zone.