Skip the USB sync and keep your SD card clean. Streaming music and video to your Android is possible — from the web, from your living room, or any computer. Here are the apps to make it happen.
The biggest downside of desktop-to-mobile streaming is having to keep a full computer running just to jam out on a phone. mSpot takes your music (2GB of it with the free account, at any rate) and stashes it on the app's own cloud space. A small monitor runs on your main system, uploading new music from watched folders or iTunes to mSpot, and your Android can stream it any time you wish. It's a pretty great solution for those who don't keep their computer on all day, or who don't want to manage the tracks they make available for smartphone listening.
You might remember the name from the Napster-era file sharing wars. It's a totally different game now with Audiogalaxy. The free app runs in the tray on your Windows or Mac system, quietly making your music available for streaming. Load the Audiogalaxy app on your Android, and your whole collection, whatever you want to stream, is ready for a listen. You can create playlists in the browser-based interface or on your phone. If you've got five minutes, you've got time to stream your music to your phone through Audiogalaxy.
AndroMote scans the Wi-Fi network it's hooked up to for media servers offering connections through the UPnP or DLNA protocols, and connects through them if possible. After that, you can create playlists, then stream music, movies, or other media as you see fit. Note that AppBrain reviewers have found the app saving files locally while playing — if you don't have room for a 650MB video file, you'll have to upgrade your SD card or use another solution.
VLC Stream & Convert
It's not the easiest app to set up — two Lifehacker editors exchanged a few frustrated IMs while trying to get the their connections just right. But if you're a fan of the amazingly versatile VLC Media Player and want that kind of power on your Android phone, this is the app that gets you there. It's free, with a few nags/limits to encourage an upgrade to the paid version, and while some have instant success in creating a connection, others may be fiddling with router ports to great dismay. Still, it's worth knowing about.
RadioTime & NPR
Go ahead, try and stream your local radio station through your Android browser. Need an Advil already? Pony up $2.05 for RadioTime, and you'll get a massive amount of radio on your Android phone, most likely including the majority of your local stations. If you're mostly an NPR type of listener, the NPR app is a must. Not only can it stream live from your local station, you can cherry-pick stories from Morning Edition and All Things Considered to create your own must-listen playlist, as well as work through any of the station's other shows.
As with our iOS streaming picks, Drobox's Android app offers surprisingly versatile streaming "previews" of files when they're stored to your account. You'll get a standard Android prompt asking which app you'd like to open your audio or video file with—and if you've got a good, versatile player like RockPlayerBase, use that. But Dropbox also offers its own media preview tool, and it works in a pinch.
Adam D. digs how Apple/Google's own YouTube app handles the world's most popular video service, but on Android, you can usually get better results by letting your browser handle the links. Your videos will stream in Flash-free WebM/HTML5 format, and you'll sometimes have your pick of higher-quality streams. Compared to the memory size, battery use, and load time of Flash, it's a pretty nice alternative. If your YouTube links are automatically loading in the YouTube app, head to your Settings, into Applications, then click the YouTube app and press the "Clear Defaults" button.
What streaming apps did we miss in our picks? How are you sending your music and movies through the cloud to your Android? Drop some links and suggestions in the comments.