Last Updated on February 19, 2017 by Dave Farquhar
I wanted to be able to stream from Windows Media Player to Android. I have lots of media stored on my Windows computers, but what if I’m in a room that doesn’t have a computer, or outside?
Good GenXer that I am, I spent decades collecting CDs. Some of my stuff is as common and ordinary as it gets. But some of it isn’t on any of the streaming services and probably never will be because there were exactly two other people alive who liked it.
I ripped most of them with Windows Media Player and stored them on my PC with the biggest drive. But that’s not necessarily where I want to listen to music from. Media Player can stream between multiple PCs, but it can also stream to an Android phone or tablet, which, in many cases, is even more convenient.
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.
To get Android into the mix, you need a media player that speaks DLNA, the streaming protocol that Media Player uses.
I tried out a couple of different DLNA apps on Android. All of them struggle with very long playlists. But I found them to work fine with playlists that are 1-4 hours in length. Your mileage may vary.
Allconnect is capable but getting it to automatically play a playlist from one of your Windows boxes isn’t necessarily intuitive. Tap “Music,” then tap “Sources,” and you’ll find them under the heading “Media Servers.” Tap on one of your machines.
Now, tap “Music” again instead of browsing right away. Now you’ll see your server in the center of the screen and you’ll be able to browse its contents with the app’s full capabilities. Navigate to “Albums” or “Playlists,” then tap on what you want. Then tap “Play all” to play the album or list.
Another nice thing is that if you have a Chromecast, you can use Allconnect to stream music from your computer to your Chromecast.
Mediahouse is another DLNA-enabled Android app that’s very capable but unintuitive. It starts out by offering source and destination devices, which is nice. What’s unintuitive is when you tap on a playlist, it plays a single song. Here’s the trick. Long-tap on the playlist, then select “Search music and play.” Next, tap on the song and then tap the icon in the lower right. This enables shuffle play. If you don’t do that, you’ll hear your songs in blocks based on your filename conventions. Chances are, that’s not what you want.
BubbleUPnP UPnP/DLNA was the third app I tried. Launch it and you get a brief tutorial. Tap the B in the upper left, select Local Media Server, and pick your Windows machine. Scroll down to Playlists, choose a playlist, and from there, pretty much everything behaves as expected. The free version can only play back 16 tracks. That said, it’s far more intuitive than any of the other players I looked at.
If you’re careful about how you create your playlists on the Media Player side, it’s possible to create an experience much like having your own custom radio station. Or multiple stations, if you have a deep enough collection. I won’t blame you if you leave out the commercials.
That wraps up what you need to stream from Windows Media Player to Android. Enjoy your music!
David Farquhar is a computer security professional, entrepreneur, and author. He started his career as a part-time computer technician in 1994, worked his way up to system administrator by 1997, and has specialized in vulnerability management since 2013. He invests in real estate on the side and his hobbies include O gauge trains, baseball cards, and retro computers and video games. A University of Missouri graduate, he holds CISSP and Security+ certifications. He lives in St. Louis with his family.