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If you want an easy way to stream media from your home computer to your iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad, and want it to be free, you’re going to want to check out ZumoCast. It appeared in the app store on September 8th, and it has been awesome ever since!
ZumoCast is created by the same folks who brought you the cloud storage service ZumoDrive. ZumoCast is not an integration of ZumoDrive, though, as it bypasses the cloud and its inevitable fees to allow you to stream music and videos — as well as access files — that are on your home computer. It works extremely well! I’ve tried it on the iPhone over wifi and 3G and have had very good results: no lagging or choppiness, and only the occasional network stall.
I know what you’re thinking: long buffer times, right? Maybe some sort of syncing involved? Nope. ZumoCast streams it all in really real time — or at least something so close to it that you don’t notice the difference. Even transcoding happens on the fly, making sure that your videos output properly to your iDevice, without file conversions. The ZumoCast folks say that you can play “AVI, MP4, MKV, DivX, Xvid, RM, Flash Video, 3GPP, and QuickTime” video files — I’ve tried at least seven of those nine and have had no issues. There is one small point to keep in mind when streaming, however: ZumoCast will not stream DRM’ed music or video files — and that includes files purchased via iTunes.
Another advantage of ZumoCast is the ability to download files from your computer to your iPhone. I know I already mentioned file access, but how great is it to be able to access your files for free, even if it is only in one direction. You can download music and video files to watch when you’re offline (ZumoCast will convert the file, in this case), or you can download other files and documents, and, if you like, transfer them to other apps.
ZumoCast requires that you create an account, or use one that you already have (I used my ZumoDrive account). This is only a minor annoyance that comes with the benefit of being able to access your files from any web browser. It has a decent interface, too: songs have an embedded player, videos are played via JW Player, and files are easily downloaded, moved, or renamed. The only other thing with ZumoCast that I would classify as annoying is that, every time you access something that is a part of your iTunes library on your computer, iTunes actually opens on the host machine. Not a big deal, really, but it bothers me.
I highly recommend getting ZumoCast — it’s free, and it works great with Mac and PC. Complaints and bugs are addressed quickly (there was some issue with audio quality on 3G for some people — mine was fine, however), and there may be some pro features down the line that allow you to do even more. The app itself, however, will always be free.
What are your thoughts on ZumoCast? What do you use to stream media to your iDevice?