Sony Homestream is a service that will let you stream movies, music and photos stored on your computer to compatible devices in the home.
Homestream will currently only let you stream from Windows and Mac machines but support for NAS devices is reportedly in the pipeline.
Compatible devices for receiving media include iOS and Android devices as well as ‘Sony Home Entertainment products’ - that’s Sony Bravia TVs, Blu-ray players and PlayStation 3’s to you and me. Any connected home entertainment products released by Sony since 2010 apparently ought to work.
Sony Homescreen: File formats supported
In terms of file formats, Sony says that just about any DRM-free media file is supported. Even if devices are a bit hesitant to play a certain type of file, Homestream will “automatically create a temporary file that works without actually altering the original file,” according to Sony - a process known as transcoding.
During a Q&A on Sony UK’s Facebook page today, Sony’s Edd Uzzell mentioned that MKV and FLV files are supported by Homestream.
Support for MKVs, video files with subtitles, will likely be warmly received by non-Japanese speaking anime fans. By comparison, Apple TV won’t support MKVs without a bit of jailbreaking and tinkering.
Sony Homescreen: Minimum specifications
Devices due to receive files will need to be connected to the same home network for this to work. Through the desktop Homestream app you can see which devices are connected and specify network settings for devices.
Other prerequisites include your PC or Mac having at least 512MB of RAM, though if you’re streaming big HD movies you’ll want a bit more memory for things to play smoothly.
Though iOS and Android devices are said to be supported, there’s no info on minimum requirements things like OS versions. For example, we weren’t able to get this working on our Android 2.3 Gingerbread-running Samsung Galaxy S2. We'll update this piece once we know more.
Sony Homescreen is similar in spirit to Twonky Beam, which slings video and web content from your phone or tablet to a Smart TV. It's based on Serviio, an open-source program. Homescreen is essentially Serviio that's been skinned with a Sony logo and configured mainly for Sony devices but ought to work with other DLNA clients.
Given that DLNA interoperability is a real gamble it probably won't work with every phone and tablet out there. But if you've got a Sony Bravia TV or a PlayStation 3 in your living room then Sony Homestream will no doubt save you spooling lengths of cable across the living room or copying video files to USB sticks.
Download the Sony Homestream apps for Windows and Mac machines here.