Media Sharing with BlackBerry 10 and the Home Network

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DLNA

With BlackBerry10, you can easily access the video, music, and photo files that are on your phone, from other network connected devices within your home network. This is due to DLNA (Digital Network Living Alliance), DLNA is fairly automatic about everything, and if your TV or sound system supports it, you don’t need any additional hardware or peripherals to make it work.

At home, I have a Samsung Smart TV which is around 1 year old. The TV is connected to my Internet router through an Ethernet cable, but it also supports wireless networking.

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Click to enlarge for steps.

To get this working, you first need to make sure that your BlackBerry is connected to your wireless network, although I’ll assume you’ve already taken care of that.

In System Settings, select Media Sharing. On the next screen, select what media types you want to share on the network you’re connected to. This is basically your music, pictures and videos.

From there, you can click on ‘Devices’ and tighten up the security a bit, so you’re only sharing with the devices you want to share with. It seems to scan your network for other DLNA devices. and you can tick or untick devices. In the 30 seconds that took, you’ve completed setting it up.

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From there, turn on your TV and press the Source (or similar) button on your TV, and right there with the BluRay player, is Z10 and the BlackBerry icon. Once you select that, you’ll be at a screen where you can select from whatever you’ve got stored on your BlackBerry. At all times, you use your TV remote control.

Sure, you could DLNA your computer directly to your TV (with additional software and setup), or use a USB drive, So where might this come in handy?

You’re at a party, and someone wants to plug your BlackBerry in to their stereo, and use your playlist. Instead of plugging your BlackBerry into the audio input, and just leaving it there exposed for other people to mess with and go through your photos and messages, and also having your phone out of your reach. Instead – Connect to the WiFi and use DLNA. People can still skip tracks if they think your taste in music is crap – except they can do this directly from the stereo or TV without having to touch your BlackBerry. You’ve also still got your phone on you, and from your perspective, nothing is different, and you don’t have to run any apps for it to work. It does it all for you.

Maybe you’ve downloaded a movie or a TV show from BlackBerry World, and you want to watch it on your TV instead of your phone, there is no need to connect an HDMI cable, as you can turn on DLNA from your bed with a few swipes on your BlackBerry. There are lots of ways you could use DLNA. It’s already embedded in a lot of current devices, and you might not know if your TV or stereo has it.

Media available on BlackBerry World

You can buy music through BlackBerry world, although as the Z10 and Q10 are yet to launch in Australia with movies and TV shows yet to come (hopefully available for the Australian launch). This content is already available in the USA, but these licensing deals tend to be regional.

I purchased a recent track, which meta data reveals as a 320 kbps MP3, making the track portable to just about any device on the planet.

How do I get my existing media onto my BlackBerry 10?

Let me count the ways …

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BlackBerry Link

The new and improved replacement for BlackBery Desktop Manager. Works kind of like iTunes, and you can sync across your existing iTunes library. You can select the media on your computer and sync it across to your BlackBerry 10. You can do this either through a USB cable or through a wireless network. Most of the time, I just do things through wireless.

You’ve got 16 GB of storage in built on the Z10, and a MicroSD card slot, which can accept cards up to 64 GB.

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Mapped Network Drives

One you’ve installed BlackBerry Link, your BlackBerry 10 device shows up as mapped network drives which you can directly access. It maps a drive for the 16 GB internal storage, and another drive if you have a MicroSD card installed. Your phone  only needs to be connected to the wireless network for this to be accessible.

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USB Mass Storage

You may not always be able to install BlackBerry Link where you are (corporate/government networks). In this case, go into Settings->Storage and Access, and select ‘USB Mass Storage’. As per the photo, a new drive will show up in Windows Explorer, although in this mode, you can not access your BlackBerry through a mapped network drive, and you will receive an access denied message.

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Wireless Network

This is different to the mapped network drives created by BlackBerry Link. This mode, accessible through Settings->Storage and Access, and by selecting ‘Access using Wi-Fi’. This shares out your folders directly on the network. You can go into Windows Explorer and just type ‘\\Z10’. You have to set a password, and can also change the default username (BlackBerry) and set a Workgroup.

With this mode, you can control access and share out your files to multiple people on a network.

The BlackBerry 10 is incredibly versatile in how you can access your storage and media. It’s hard to imagine being unable to get to your files. Every angle is covered, and it’s easy to select between each mode. The only mode that locks out the other modes is USB Mass Storage, so you can have your BlackBerry accessible through BlackBerry Link, mapped network drives, and through a wireless network – all at the one time. Everything is simple, but gives you granular control if you so desire.

BlackBerry 10 is a solidly performing mobile computing platform, and I’m constantly figuring out new things about my Z10, and the more I use it, the more I like it.

I’ll finish with an app recommendation. I’ve downloaded ‘8Tracks’ from BlackBerry World. It’s free (and perfectly legal), and describes itself as “Handcrafted Internet Radio”. People make their own playlists, and you can just pick and listen to tracks. I’ve been using it all day, and I haven’t heard any ads, although there are small banner ads at the bottom of the screen. You barely notice them. There are restrictions on how many times you can skip tracks, but find yourself a good playlist and you won’t be pressing skip. There’s a premium subscription version of 8Tracks, although I haven’t looked into what’s different about it. The free version is proving to be awesome as it is.

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