I’ve added a Western Digital MyBook World edition to my home network. I was in “cheap” mode and so purchased the simple 1 TB, single disk, model, so without any kind of Raid.
Installation was flawless and very simple and, in just a few touch, I was able to connect my Mac to it, set it up to perform Time Machine on it (limiting the user quota for backup to just 250 GB). As a simple file server it works very well and without problem.
The fun started when I copied my MP3 collection on it and then shared it via the two options available for media sharing, iTunes and the standard Media Server available with the included TonkyServer.
The iTunes share can be seen from iTunes on the Mac but the overall experience is not so good, you cannot search for files or create playlists. Much more interesting it’s the media server option, that exposed data using the UPnP™/DLNA® standard, first of all because sharing is made also considering the various mp3 tag that are included in the files (so allowing browsing for artists, genres, albums and so on) but, above all, because I’ve found two very useful programs that allow me to browse the media server collection (both audio, videos and photos!) via my iPhone.
The first one is called AirPlayer (http://itunes.apple.com/it/app/airplayer/id369713694?mt=8. The first time you open it it scans the networks, find your media server and allow you to browse your media, listen or play them.
The second one is called PlugPlayer (http://itunes.apple.com/app/plugplayer/id293235450?mt=8) and works like AirPlayer buth it should also allow you to control other media players on the network, not only the iPhone.
None of this two is clearly superior to the other, AirPlayer has the strong point that manages all kind of video formats and so can be used to look also to video files (both keep in mind that you have high resolution files the video playback will suffer due to the performance of wifi network, unless you have a very good connection), but has a poorer user experience compared to PlugPlayer. PlugPlayer is definitively nicer to look at but wasn’t able to play any of the videos I’ve shared. A very strong point for PlugPlayer it’s the capability to manage Media Renderer device, unluckily I do not have one available and so I cannot test this feature.
Next step will be to purchase a BlueTooth receiver to connect to my stereo and see if one of this two tool can also send the music from by WD NAS storage to the stereo, so that I can listen to Christmas Music using my iPhone to control everything.
Post Christmas Update: After some testing I’ve decided to use PlugPlayer as my main player control. It has some feature missing from AirPlayer (basically it works with the back/forward buttons of my player remote) and because of its capability to control remote devices that should work with the next addition to my media rig, the WD TV Live I’ll use to replace my current WD TV. PlugPlayer misses the video capability of AirPlayer and to it’s basically useful just for music, but music it’s what I need, so as a guide line if you need a music player choose PlugPlayer, if you need a video player choose AirPlayer.