If you have your video collection on your Windows PC but want to enjoy it on other devices like your Android smart phone, iPhone or your television set, then you do not have to physically copy all the media files on a disk and attach it to the target device. You can actually use a media server to make all of your locally stored media (including videos and audio files) available to every single device on your WiFi network. The Universal Media Server is a such a media server that can stream all your media files efficiently on all the popular devices and works on Linux, Windows and Mac.
Universal Media Server is designed in Java and you would need JRE (Java Runtimes Environment) installed for it to work, but then it is cross-platform and can be used on Linux, Mac and Windows. We tested it in a Windows 8 PC with Java version 8. After the installation, you can open the Main Panel by right-clicking on its system tray icon and choosing Main Panel.
On the Main Panel, there are hundreds of settings that can you make you feel overwhelmed. But you have to do only one thing in this window – add a shared folder containing your media files. To do this, switch to Navigation/Share Settings tab and add your media folder in the Shared Folders list.
After this, you can open the right-click on the system tray and choose Web Interface to open the web interface for the media server in your browser. Not down the web address for the media server (in my case, it was http://192.168.0.4:9001) and you can use this same address in any of the DLNA supporting client on any of your devices including Chromecast, iPhone, iPod, Roku, Playstation and more. In the following screenshot, it is being accessed on Android through the BubblePnP app.
In the main panel of Universal Media Server, you can see the status of all the clients connecting to the media stream. It shows all the connected media renderers, peak bitrates, current bitrate, buffer size and the connection status.
Conclusion: Universal Media Server is the easiest way to stream the local media stored on your PC to all the devices over a network. It is ideal for providing the local media access to all the devices in your home.
You can download Universal Media Server from http://www.universalmediaserver.com/.