The introduction of Chromecast to Australia primarily saw us concentrate on the obvious ‘Big’ names, like Foxtel, ABC, Quickflix and of course the other on-demand options available on Android. While that’s all well and good, there is a lot of media out there which is stored on our PC’s which you may want to ‘cast’ to your TV, and Australian company Conceiva can help you with their UPnP and DLNA streaming software Mezzmo.
Mezzmo works by running a server on your Windows Server, PC or Laptop. It transcodes your videos, music and photos stored on your system on-the-fly to your UPNP/DLNA streaming devices – SmartTVs, Game Consoles, DVD players and more, like Chromecast. The Mezzmo server software is available for free as a 15 day trial (you can also extend this), or once you’ve decided it’s for you, there’s a one-off payment for your Mezzmo license. At the moment, Conceiva is running a sale on the Mezzmo license, offering the license for 30% off, at $29.95.
If you want to trial Mezzmo, it’s a fairly easy process. Simply download and install and the Mezzmo server software and then point the software at any directories with photos, videos and music stored in them and you’re ready to go. These directories then show up in your DLNA/UPNP devices menu structure. Once you decide you want to purchase you can upgrade through the app.
The Windows server software includes a nice touch – an update module. When you launch Mezzmo, the software automatically checks for an update and alerts you and you can decide whether to download and install them.
Of course, we’re interested in the Android aspect of Mezzmo and to borrow a line ‘There’s an app for that’. From Google Play, you can download the Mezzmo Android app, available as a limited 15 day trial or again, once you’re happy with the product, pay $4.80 for the unlimited version and you’re away.
Upon opening Mezzmo on Android, you’re presented with all the various DLNA/UPnP compatible devices on your network, including Chromecast, you select where you want to play your media here. Then you can choose to stream from your Mezzmo server, or any DLNA/UPnP server (TVersity, Plex etc), but to get the extra features which Mezzmo offers you should select it as your source. You’ll then be able to view your media which is sorted into Photo, Video and Music, just navigate to the folder with your media in it and you can play the media back on the device of your choice.
The Android app is fairly well put together, though the mechanic to play and queue files could be a little more straight forward. There are a number of options to get a file playing once you navigate through the list. You can play, queue or get details on a file, by long pressing on the file to bring up the menu with options for:’Play File’, ‘Queue File’, Queue All Files’ or ‘Go To Details’. Tap on the file or if there is only one file in the folder, press the play button at the top of the folder. It’s all over to Mezzmo after that, you control the scrubbers for volume as well as playback position from the Playing screen.
While you can use any number of DLNA servers in the Android app, the real magic of Mezzmo is when you use the whole product. Conceiva has built a whole range of extras, you get Album/Movie/TV art on the files and folders shown in your Android app, you also get a wide range of meta information about the file you’re playing. Conceiva says that the information available in the app includes :
There’s even links to IMDB or TMDB for movies and IMDB or TVDB for TV Shows in the details section if you want to know more.
Mezzmo as a whole is a little buggy still with Chromecast support – but the good news is, they’re working on it. During my trial there were three upgrades and there was stability improvements all round from each.
Mezzmo is of course up against a big player in this market with Plex. There are some good features which Mezzmo has over Plex, the video information details are of course the biggest plus, but there’s also MP3 ripping, CD/DVD Burning and the fact you can just play all the files dumped in a random folder. The fact that Mezzmo runs a local server instance is also a massive plus.
When you’re looking for a piece of software to get your video, music or photos to your Chromecast, Xbox, PS3 or more, then Mezzmo is definitely worth your money.