StreamToMe, our top choice for streaming and live converting video on Mac OS X, is an easy choice for the category because it is, essentially, the only choice. But with its great performance, thorough video and audio format support and $0 price tag, it will likely beat out any competition for some time to come.
- Stream video and audio from your home server to any other Mac with any internet connection.
- ServeToMe, the server software, runs on both Mac and Windows.
- AirPlay support.
- Supports MP4, AVI, MOV, FLV, MPG, MKV, MP3, AAC, WMA, WMV and more formats.
- An iOS client app is also available.
StreamToMe simply and easily streams your video and audio files from one Mac to another, converting anything on-the-fly when necessary. This means there’s no need to worry about format compatibility or the data size of your file, or the speed of your connection. StreamToMe will simply compress the video as it streams it so it can do so without choking on the high amounts of data. It’s incredibly simple to use once you have it set up. You just run the ServeToMe app on the computer with all your video (best if it’s a fast one) and then connect it to the StreamToMe app running on your Mac. (StreamToMe started off as an iOS app, so you can, of course, also stream to your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch.) Once you’re all set up and running you can simply choose the video file you want to watch and StreamToMe will stream it to your Mac. It’s very easy to use, fantastic for viewing your videos remotely, and completely free (for Mac — the iOS version costs $2.99).
StreamToMe has two main disadvantages. First, the interface is virtually identical to the app made for the iPad, so it feels a little unusual on a Mac. Second, when running the server it’s necessary to forward ports on your router to that server. While this is easy to learn (we can teach you), it would be even better if the app were able to bypass this and set up the relevant features automatically. Nonetheless, these two issues are minor and completely tolerable when compared to all the great things you get with this wonderful, free app.
There really isn’t any competition at the moment, as StreamToMe is the only app of its type for the Mac platform. There are other apps that provide similar functionality, but to our knowledge there is nothing else quite like it. Your only other real option is VLC (Free). Although it is primarily a video playback app, it also has conversion and streaming capabilities. Engadget has a guide on streaming just about anything, which demonstrates your options. It’s not nearly as straightforward and reliable as StreamToMe, but it’s another choice available to you.
Lifehacker’s App Directory is a growing directory of recommendations for the best applications and tools across multiple platforms.