Stream from Windows Media Player to Roku

I wanted to be able to stream from Windows Media Player to Roku. I have lots of media stored on my Windows computers, but what’s the point of connecting a computer to my TV if I already have a Roku on it? Fortunately it’s not hard to get Roku and Windows talking.

People of a certain age probably have a lot of media loaded on their PCs, whether it’s MP3s ripped from CDs or vinyl, home movies, or digital video obtained from other sources. Needless to say, a lot of that stuff isn’t on streaming services and never will be. But that doesn’t mean you don’t want to watch it.

Windows Media Player can stream between multiple PCs, but it can also stream to devices like Roku, which, in many cases, is even more convenient.

Enable DLNA streaming in Windows to connect to Roku

Stream from Windows Media Player to Android
Selecting this option turns Windows Media Player into a DLNA server that other PCs and Android apps can communicate with.

Windows can talk to other devices through a technology called DLNA. Unfortunately Windows doesn’t call it that, so that can make it confusing.

Launch Media Player on your Windows PC. In Media Player, click Stream and check Automatically allow devices to play my media. Now Media Player on another PC can connect to it–it will just show up as another source on the left side. This works in Windows 7 and Windows 10 and presumably other versions; I’m not going to bother to check XP and Vista.

Enable DLNA playback on Roku

To get Roku into the mix, you need a media player that speaks DLNA, the streaming protocol that Media Player uses. There are tons of them, but Roku Media Player is free and works reliably for this. Navigate to Streaming Channels > Search Channels and type Roku Media Player. Find it in the list, then select it and choose Add Channel. After it installs click your home button and select it from your home screen. You can pick Audio, Video, or if you’re not sure what you want, just pick All. Any PC on your network that has DLNA enabled will show up.

Pick the computer, then you can navigate the audio and video stored on it pretty much like you would from Windows Media Player. You can even choose playlists and play those back.

That wraps up what you need to stream from Windows Media Player to Roku. Enjoy your music!

Troubleshooting Windows Media Player and Roku

If your PC doesn’t show up in Roku Media Player but it worked the last time you used it, check your streaming settings again. Sometimes system updates will disable it. Just launch Media Player on your PC, click Stream and check Automatically allow devices to play my media.

I had a PC that wouldn’t let me play back audio from my PC after I installed a second drive and moved all my music to that drive.

First, check to make sure the WMPService has read permissions on the folder.

The tipoff was that the libraries in Windows Media Player showed my music library as unresponsive when I right-clicked on Music and selected Manage Music Library. The fix when a library is unresponsive is adding it to the search index. To add the folder to the search index. Start, type indexing options, click Modify, select the folder.

It will take some time for Windows to index the folder, especially if you have a large collection. In my case, once indexing finished, my music showed up in my Roku.

If that doesn’t work, run the Windows Media Player Library Troubleshooter. Press the Windows key and R at the same time, then type the following:

msdt.exe -id WindowsMediaPlayerLibraryDiagnostic

Click Next, then follow the onscreen instructions.

If your database is corrupted, ress the Windows key and R at the same time, then type:

%LOCALAPPDATA%\Microsoft

Navigate to Media Player. Or, in my case, Media Player.old. Delete all of the files in the directory, then relaunch Media Player. Media Player will regenerate those files the next time you launch it. You may get a message that there is no music in your library, but it will start showing up again as Windows regenerates the files.

One or both of these steps usually fixes Media Player for you.

Extreme repair

I’ve seen an extreme case where these steps didn’t work. The machine had other problems too, namely, when I opened System Settings and clicked Check for Updates, I saw that updates were failing with various error codes. Eventually, stepping through the troubleshooting steps with Microsoft, after trying literally 14 other things, Microsoft said to download the Media Creation Tool and install the newest build of Windows 10 on top of what was there. This preserves your files and apps, so there’s no data loss involved. Upgrading to the newest Windows 10 build fixed the update issues and Media Player issues on that machine.

This machine had suffered a few improper shutdowns. While no files appeared to be corrupted, the machine seemed to have some registry corruption that caused these random problems. The new install fixed the issue by bringing over the settings it needed and leaving the corruption behind.

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