Windows/Mac and iPhone/Android: We’ve mentioned some of the best ways to stream media to your gadgets, and HomePipe is a great new addition to the club. It streams music, video and other files straight to your device for free with minimal setup.
Google is planning to bring iTunes streaming to Android after their acquisition of previously mentioned Simplify Media, but that doesn’t mean you can’t start streaming before that happens. HomePipe is a download for both your computer and your mobile device (available in the App Store/Android Market) that allows the two to communicate with one another. It requires a free account which is quick and easy to set up, and doesn’t require you to upload your files to separate server — you can just access any files on your computer right from the HomePipe app. It’s basically just a file browser that connects to your drive at home and can stream music and video, view photos, and open up pretty much any other file you have on your computer.
While the app is free and easy to set up, it isn’t without its drawbacks. The most noticeable annoyance I found was that once streaming media, you couldn’t exit the app or the media would stop. This isn’t so much of a problem for iPhone users, where this is normal behaviour for apps (at least for now), but Android users will probably be disappointed by this fact. Previously mentioned Subsonic is the clear competitor in the media-streaming realm, and while it is quite a bit more feature-filled, it’s also much more complicated. If you just need a quick way to listen to a bit of music on your home computer (or just access files), HomePipe is probably the easiest way to go. HomePipe is still in beta, too, so it’s likely they’ll improve upon it in the near future.
Note: HomePipe has been reporting a few issues today, so if you experience some delays in account creation or streaming, wait a little while and try again. I personally got my confirmation email very quickly, and was able to stream music right away with just a few seconds of buffering, but just keep in mind that there are some issues and they’re being worked out.