Windows 7 includes some clever functionality to allow you to remotely play music around your home through a very simple to use feature called PlayTo.  There are a couple of things that you’ll need to take advantage of PlayTo, not least of which is a second device, either another Windows 7 PC or a device capable of supporting the DLNA Digital Media Renderer (DMR) role, for a list of devices that can, take a look here.

So assuming you have two PCs that are running Windows 7 one will be the streaming media server (or DMS) and one will be the DMR.  To enable what’s necessary to have one of the Windows 7 PCs act as a DMR have a look at this previous post, this post will first look at how to enable the DMR role on a Windows 7 PC and then, how to send media to it.

Allow remote control of my player Enabling the DMR role

The most simple way to enable any streaming media functionality in Windows 7 is to use Windows Media Player to turn it on.  Launch it and click the Stream button to find the options which appear as a drop down.  Then select Allow remote control of my Player… a popup message will appear to allow you to confirm, select the option to Allow remote control on this network

If you ever want to disable the functionality just do the same thing and select Do not allow remote control on this network to turn it off.

Once the Windows Media Player has been setup to be remote controllable whenever it’s running it will be possible for someone else on the network to send media to the PC and that media will play.

*Note: The DMR role is only available if Windows Media Player is running, which actually gives you more control over when media can be sent to your PC.

Playing somethingplayto

The next step is to actually get something playing, again it’s really easy to do.  Within Windows Media Player select what you want to play, and right click it, then from the popup menu select Play to then select the device to send the media to.  This is why it’s a good idea to have the devices named well, I covered that in this post.

It’s not just within Windows Media Player that you can select content to “Play to” it’s also possible to play content directly from Windows Explorer, just do exactly the same as you would in Windows Media Player.

The next installment in this series will show you how to stream media over the Internet using Windows 7 and then we’ll come back to Play To with a post on using Play To to stream a play list

Posted by Simon May, follow me on Twitter or if you like email me
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clubhouse Tags: clubhouse, windows7, how-to, PlayTo, media player, challenge-windows 7


4 thoughts on “Streaming Media in Windows 7 – PlayTo”
  1. So why have they not put this in Media Center? Like I really want to leave Media Center to go in to WMP to do this.

    But I never want to leave Media Center for anything, hated having to drop out to the XBOX 360 dashboard to play MP4 / Divx / XVID. Least we don’t have to do that now in 7MC.

    If MS won’t do it a dev needs to write a Play To add-in for MCE.

  2. The “Play to” has stopped working in my Windows 7 notebook with my Roku Soundbridge.

    I don’t remember changing anything. Any ideas about why this happened?

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