I was really excited to see this app hit the Android Market because, to me, DNLA (Digital Living Network Alliance) technology still seems like something out of a movie. In short, DNLA technology and standard for streaming media content between devices (this is probably a gross oversimplification). It’s similar to the idea behind Apple’s Airplay, that is, a technology that can interface with many different devices with minimal setup.
So why does this matter? It matters because you can effortlessly stream your content in ways you haven’t thought about before — I can stream my music collection on my desktop to my phone or watch a movie on my phone that’s physically on my computer, Hell, I’ve used DNLA to stream a movie from my phone to my television. That’s what is great about DNLA — it doesn’t require a ton of setup and usually works pretty damn well.
Skifta isn’t the first DNLA app for Android and my Samsung Vibrant even came with Samsung’s DNLA App AllShare built into the device. What I like about Skifta though is that 1. It works really well and 2. Set up is incredibly easy and it allows you to focus more on enjoying your fav movies or music rather than trying to get two devices to talk to each other. I’ll also say that this exclusively works via your home Wifi network — so don’t expect to use this to watch your media, while your girlfriend is shopping for shoes at the mall or something. You’ll have to double check that you’re computer is ready for DNLA, which will literally only take 5 minutes (if that). I tested this on Windows 7 and while there are a million guides on how to set up DNLA, I’m a big fan of this one posted over on Phandroid’s Forums.
Again, the point of DNLA is to have a wide range of devices that have the ability to seemlessly talk to each other and steam content, so there isn’t a ton of set up to do with Skifta. First, you’ll need to select your media source (where your movies or music are located). Clicking this will bring up all the devices on your wireless network that you can stream content to and from. Second, you’ll choose the device where you want to watch or listen to your content, then finally you’ll select what you actually want to watch. Now, the only downside with DNLA technologies (in my opinion) is that you have to find and sort your content via folders. This means you might spend a bit of time finding what you’re looking for and you won’t get any options for searching. Still, Skifta is in my opinion the premier app to use if you’re looking to stream your media or content.
Now, what I’ve discussed so far is pretty standard stuff as far as these types of DNLA apps go, in reality, Skifta’s DNLA components don’t offer much more than any other apps. But Skifta has two unique features that make it a must-have download for this week. First, Skifta has a Remote Media source option that lets you watch your movies and music from anywhere that you have a wifi connection. You’ll need to sign up for an account and install the desktop software but, again, the set up was minimal. Second, Skifta has a series of “Channels” that allow you to aggregate content into Skifta — so you can add things like your Facebook Photos or TED Talks. There aren’t a ton of Channels right now, but kudos to the development team for trying to introduce something more into their app.
Skifta is still technically a beta version, and I noticed that some content loaded up unrealistically slow but streaming worked perfectly (sort of odd). Regardless, Skifta is a beautiful, easy to use app that lets you stream all of your media from practically anywhere. Download it, use it, name your first born child after me. In otherwords, you’re welcome. Also, check out their snazzy video at the bottom for a sexy explanation of how the technology works.
Free: Skifta (Beta)