Stream your media over the Internet using Windows Media Player

You can use Windows Media Player to stream media from a home computer that stores digital media files to another computer connected to the Internet so you can access your media anywhere. Internet access to home media, or remote media streaming, frees you from having to transport large media files on your laptop or digital media player if you want to play them on the go. Remote media streaming also allows you to use a laptop with limited storage capacity to access a potentially large media collection on a desktop computer or home server.

Picture of the Internet Home Media Access dialog box
Internet Home Media Access dialog box

To do this, you need:

  • At least two computers that have remote streaming enabled. (One has a media library connected to a home network and streams the media, and the other one receives the stream.)

  • A supported online ID linked to your Windows user account on at least two computers.

  • An Internet connection.

The procedures below explain how to set up and use remote media streaming if you don't already have a linked online ID or if you have an existing linked ID. During setup, your home network router will usually configure itself automatically for remote streaming, but you might need to manually configure your router by using port forwarding.

Notes

  • To send and receive your home media streams over the Internet, the current version of Windows Media Player must be installed on the computers you plan to use.

  • The home computer used to stream media can't be on a public network or joined to a domain.

  • A linked online ID can be associated with 10 Windows user accounts.

  • Internet access to home media isn't available on Windows 7 Starter or Windows 7 Home Basic.

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To allow Internet access to home media (no linked online ID)

To securely stream media over the Internet or receive streams remotely, you need to create a supported online ID and link it to your Windows user account. Before you begin the process of linking an online ID, you should create an online ID with a password.

Here's how to link an online ID and allow streaming on a computer:

  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 select Allow Internet access to home media.

    Picture of the Stream menu
    Stream menu
  3. In the Internet Home Media Access dialog box, click Link an online ID.

  4. If you haven't added an online ID provider yet, click Add an online ID provider, select an online ID provider from the list, and then follow the instructions.

  5. Next to the online ID provider that you want to link your user account to, click Link online ID.

  6. Type your user name and password for the online ID to sign in, and then click OK.

  7. In the Internet Home Media Access dialog box, click Allow Internet access to home media. Administrator permission required If you're prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.

  8. Click OK.

Notes

  • You must allow Internet access to home media for the computer you use to stream media over the Internet, and for any computer that receives streams remotely.

  • If you have a security program (such as an antivirus program) installed on your computer, you might need to change the program's settings to allow remote media streaming.

To allow Internet access to home media (existing linked online ID)

If you've already linked an online ID to a Windows user account on your computer, you can click a link in Windows Media Player to allow Internet access to home media. Here's how:

  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 select Allow Internet access to home media.

    Picture of the Stream menu
    Stream menu
  3. In the Internet Home Media Access dialog box, click Allow Internet access to home media. Administrator permission required If you're prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.

  4. Click OK.

Notes

  • You must allow Internet access to home media for the computer you use to stream media over the Internet, and for any computer that receives streams remotely.

  • If you have a security program (such as an antivirus program) installed on your computer, you might need to change the program's settings to allow remote media streaming.

To access your media library remotely

If you've allowed Internet access to home media on two computers, you're ready to access your home media remotely. The computer streaming the media must be connected to your home network and the computer receiving the stream must be connected to the Internet.

On the computer receiving the media stream, 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. Find the Player Library for your home computer under Other Libraries in the navigation pane, and then click it.

    If you can't find Other Libraries in the navigation pane, 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. Search for a file you want to play in the Player Library, and then double-click it.

Note

  • Corporate networks often block remote media streaming.

Use port forwarding to manually configure your router for streaming

If you have a router that doesn't allow you to automatically set up Internet home media streaming, you might need to manually open ports in the router's firewall to give remote computers access to your home computer. This process is called port forwarding or port mapping.

Note

  • You must first allow Internet home media streaming on your home computer before you can manually configure your router.

Here's how to configure your home router using port forwarding:

  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 select Allow Internet access to home media.

  3. Click Diagnose connections, and then click Port forwarding information.

    The Port Forwarding Information dialog box provides the following information:

    • Protocol. This is the Internet protocol that will be used to stream media. The Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) is usually used for media streaming.

    • External port number. This is the port number remote computers will use to access media on your home computer. The number is specific to your computer, and you will need it to configure your router. The Port Forwarding Information dialog box is the only place the external port number appears.

    • Internal port number. This is the port number for media streaming access to your home computer inside your home network. It's always the same number: 10245.

  4. Using a computer on your home network, open a web browser and enter the address of your router's setup webpage. Check the router's documentation for instructions on how to reach the setup webpage.

    For example, you can often reach your router's setup webpage by typing "http//:" plus your router's default IP address in your web browser's address bar.

  5. In the appropriate area of the setup webpage for your router, configure your router's ports in the following way:

    Computer
    External port number
    Internal port number

    Your home computer's name or IP address

    Varies (see Port Forwarding Information dialog box)

    10245

    Your home computer's name or IP address

    443

    10245

Notes

  • You can use external port 443 or the external port number specific to your computer for home media streaming, but it's recommended that you use both for better performance.

  • Setup webpages for routers vary by manufacturer and model. For example, some setup webpages identify a computer by its name and some use an IP address. Check your router's documentation for more information about configuring ports.