Stream your media to devices and computers using Windows Media Player

If you have a home network, you can use Windows Media Player to stream media to computers and media devices in your home. For example, if you have a networked digital media receiver connected to your home stereo system, you can use Windows Media Player to stream music, pictures, and videos from your computer to your stereo. This allows you to enjoy the contents of your Player Library anywhere in your home—even in rooms that don't have a computer.

Picture of a Play button Watch a demo:‌ Windows 7 Play To demo.

The following procedures explain how to get started. For an overview about streaming media, including information about device and network requirements, see Getting started with media streaming.

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To connect a device or another computer to your network

Before you can stream media, you'll need to connect your digital media devices or other computers to your home network. Here's how:

  1. Connect an Ethernet cable from your device or other computer to your wired network, or set up your device or computer to join your wireless network.

    For help connecting a device or computer to your network, check the documentation that came with your device or computer.

  2. If you're connecting a device, turn it on, and then follow the instructions that appear on the device's screen. If you're connecting another computer, turn that computer on.

    For more information about adding a device or computer to your network, see Add a device or computer to a network.

To turn on home media streaming

If media sharing isn't already turned on, follow these steps:

  1. Click the Start button Picture of the Start button, click All Programs, and then click Windows Media Player.
    If the Player is currently open and you’re in Now Playing mode, click the Switch to Library button Picture of the Switch to Library button in the upper-right corner of the Player.
  2. Click Stream, and then click Turn on home media streaming.

    Turn on home media streaming won't be available on the Stream menu if streaming is already turned on.

  3. On the Media streaming options page, click Turn on media streaming. Administrator permission required If you're prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.

  4. Click OK.

Notes

  • If your computer is on a public network, you will be prompted to change the network location before you can stream media. For more information about network locations, see Choosing a network location.

  • If you have set up a homegroup, you might be prompted to share your media libraries with your homegroup before you can stream media. For more information about sharing libraries with a homegroup, see Share libraries with your homegroup.

To set up basic streaming preferences

After you turn on media streaming, Windows Media Player will automatically detect any computers and devices on your network that can receive media streams. You can stream media to all computers and devices on your network, or allow access to your media on a case-by-case basis. To choose which devices will receive your media streams, follow these steps:

  1. Click the Start button Picture of the Start button, click All Programs, and then click Windows Media Player.
    If the Player is currently open and you’re in Now Playing mode, click the Switch to Library button Picture of the Switch to Library button in the upper-right corner of the Player.
  2. Click Stream, and then click More streaming options.

    Picture of the Stream menu
    Stream menu

    More streaming options won't appear on the Stream menu until after you turn on home media streaming.

  3. On the Media streaming options page, do one of the following:

    • If you want to stream media to all computers and devices on your network, click Allow All.

    • If you don't want to stream media to any computers or devices on your network, click Block All.

    • If you want to stream media to some computers and devices, click either Allowed or Blocked on the menu next to each item in the list of computers and devices.

  4. Click OK.

    For more information about media steaming settings, see Change settings for streaming media in Windows Media Player.

To receive a media stream from another computer or device on your network

You can use Windows Media Player to receive a media stream from another computer or media device on your network so that you can play it on your computer. To do this, follow these steps:

  1. Click the Start button Picture of the Start button, click All Programs, and then click Windows Media Player.
    If the Player is currently open and you’re in Now Playing mode, click the Switch to Library button Picture of the Switch to Library button in the upper-right corner of the Player.
  2. Click another computer's Player Library on your network listed under Other Libraries in the navigation pane.

    If you don't see Other Libraries in the navigation pane, then do the following:

    1. Click Organize, and then click Customize navigation pane.

    2. At the top of the Customize Navigation Pane dialog box, click the name of the Library in the drop-down list, and then click Other Libraries.

    3. Select the Show Other Libraries check box, and then click OK.

  3. Find an item you want to play in the details pane, and then double-click it.

To stream media to another computer or device using Play To

You can use Windows Media Player to stream media, or play to, another computer or media device on your network.

Picture of the Play To dialog box
Play To dialog box

For example, if you have a digital media receiver connected to your home network, Windows will automatically detect it and allow you to play music on it using Windows Media Player. To play to another computer or device, follow these steps:

  1. Click the Start button Picture of the Start button, click All Programs, and then click Windows Media Player.
    If the Player is currently open and you’re in Now Playing mode, click the Switch to Library button Picture of the Switch to Library button in the upper-right corner of the Player.
  2. If the list pane is closed or if the Burn or Sync tabs are exposed, click the Play tab.

  3. Find the items that you want to play in the Player Library, and then drag those items from the details pane into the list pane.

  4. Click the Play to buttonPicture of the Play to button at the top of the list pane, click the device on your network that will receive the media.
  5. In the Play To dialog box, use the playback controls to play, pause, or stop the media stream, and to change to the next or previous item in the list.

    For more information about the Play tab, the list pane, and playback controls, see Getting started with Windows Media Player. For more information about Play To, see Using the Play To feature to stream media.

Note

  • When you stream music to a digital media receiver, you might not be able to switch tracks using controls on the device itself or the remote control that came with the device.