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Watching movies and TV shows on your Mac is cool, but no matter what you’re watching, we guarantee it’s much cooler on a 52-inch HDTV than a 13-inch MacBook. We’ve all figured out how to get video, music and movies on our Macs, but getting those zeros and ones from our Macs to our TVs has always been more challenging. That’s where Playback comes in handy, simplifying what was once a complicated process by essentially acting as a software version of Apple TV. As long as you have some compatible hardware, you’ll be streaming all your photos, music, and more in a matter of minutes.
And that’s a feat, because streaming is an alphabet-soup of protocols and file formats. If you want to go it alone, you’ll need to know your UPnPs from your MKVs and your DLNAs from your M4Vs. Confused yet? Playback Media Server takes all that nonsense and makes sense of it all. With Playback running on your Mac, you can stream all your movies, music, photos, and more to everything from game consoles to a variety of set-top boxes.
Playback bridges the gap between your screens and your digital content.
From Playback’s Preference-pane-style interface, you can select which types of media to share. For finer-grain control, you can restrict Playback to certain folders, iPhoto libraries, and iTunes playlists. Powerful access controls let you to restrict streaming to certain devices.
How your content is presented is up to the device you’re streaming to -- Playback simply acts as the conduit between your Mac and your compatible device. Playback can even repackage MKV files into console-friendly MP4 files without transcoding. A full list of compatible devices and formats is on Yazsoft’s website, but it’ll work with anything that uses UPnP (Universal Plug and Play) streaming protocols. Unfortunately, Apple has to keep a stranglehold on its iTunes Store video content (thanks to the studios and networks), so you’ll have to acquire your Modern Family episodes by other means.
It’s best to connect to your streaming device with an Ethernet cable, but Wi-Fi streaming to an iPad running a UPnP client was seamless and stutter-free. If needed, Playback also lets you throttle bandwidth to keep from bringing your network to its knees.
The bottom line. Playback does an awesome job of letting you enjoy streaming media while stretched out on the couch.
Mac OS X 10.5 or later; PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, or other UPnP compatible device; network connection.
Super-easy setup. Works with your existing iTunes, iPhoto, Aperture, and Adobe Lightroom libraries.
Doesn’t work with DRM-protected music or video (like from the iTunes Store). Software-only solution that requires separate hardware.