Although news of the various releases of TwonkyMedia Server have been picked out here at WGS, we’ve yet to walk through the installation of the add-in. Maybe it is because the purpose of the add-in is not clear, maybe it is because those with the HP MediaSmart Server get it by default – either way, the various media server products that come under the Packet Video banner are certainly pervasive in the home marketplace. They even find their way into the various NAS systems now targeting the ‘Storage in the Home’ arena.
What is TwonkyMedia Server then? A definition even makes it into Wikipedia:-
TwonkyMedia server (TMS) is DLNA-compliant UPnP AV server software from PacketVideo. It runs on Macintosh, Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows Home Server, Windows 7 and Linux. TwonkyMedia server is also available for Android and other mobile platforms. TwonkyMedia server can be used to share and stream media to most UPnP AV or DLNA-compliant clients, in addition to non-UPnP devices through the HTML, RSS, and JSON supported front-ends. After the acquisition of TwonkyVision by PacketVideo, TwonkyMedia was renamed PVConnect, but the name was later changed back to TwonkyMedia server.
We Got Served even awarded TwonkyMedia Server our ‘Best Windows Home Server Software’ Reader Award back in 2008. I struggled a little in searching out a purpose for TwonkyMedia Server for Windows Home Server. It seems to exist to overcome some of the shortfalls of the media streaming services in WHS that come from Windows Media Player 10 and is now available for a range of PCs and NAS devices. Media streaming is an area where technology is changing continually – compatibility changes with new products being released and new standards ratified. Twonky has endeavoured to keep up with these standards and also include support for some products that fall outside recognised media player conformance.
Twonky is really a pair of products with the TwonkyMedia Manager working in conjunction with the Server to allow a level of remote control with compatible Media Players.
To quote Twonky themselves:-
TwonkyMedia manager is open, standards-based software, so you’re not stuck using a particular brand of devices in the home. You can share your media with hundreds of popular devices, including TVs, game consoles, A/V systems, PCs, digital media adapters and mobile devices. TwonkyMedia manager even works with Xbox 360®, Sony PlayStation® 3 and Sony PlayStation Portable.
Generally, TwonkyMedia manager and server work with any TV, game console, A/V system, PC, network-attached storage (NAS) device, digital media adapter and mobile device that is DLNA or UPnP compatible.
When I set out to try TwonkyMedia Server, I didn’t really know what to expect. I had bought a licence through the offer announced before Christmas and downloaded version 5.1.2 together with the associated PDF documentation. I had a couple of devices that I thought could benefit from greater streaming compatibility with WHS, but other than that I was looking for it to jump out and convince me this was a show-stopping tool. As to whether it succeeded, we will come to that later. As the Server product is supplied by itself this walkthrough only covers that element with regard to WHS installation and functionality.
Curiously, Twonky have comprehensive installation and setup notes for a standard Windows install, and for Linux. However any mention of WHS seems to be completely lacking. Thankfully, the installation is totally standard. Download the installer (the usual msi file), copy it into the Add-Ins folder in the Software share on the server and then open up the WHS Console. In Settings, go to Add-Ins and then TwonkyMedia Server will be found in the Available list. Click on Install, allow it to complete and close the Console. On re-opening, you will find some new options.
Twonky provides a status tab
and a range of options in a tabbed window within settings
However, there is some very important configuration to complete through web pages served by a built-in web server. This can be accessed by clicking on the ‘Open Configuration Page’ button on the last of Twonky’s settings tabs.