Using iTunes 12.1 64-bit with iHomeServer

Apple has recently released iTunes 12.1 for Windows 64-bit.  Although labelled as a minor upgrade, under the covers, Apple has made a major change to the distribution for 64-bit Windows.

The 12.1 upgrade has a major flaw that it has removed support for importing / playing videos for computers with 'old' (in Apple's terms) video cards.  This seems to include virtual machines running iTunes.  It also affects iHomeServer when iHomeServer is running iTunes in the background as a service (because the Windows service session uses a virtual graphics card rather than your real hardware one).

Therefore, if you are using iHomeServer to run iTunes in the background on a 64-bit operating system such as Windows Server 2012, Windows Home Server 2011, or Windows 7 64-bit, you may find that iHomeServer is no longer able to add video files to your iTunes library.  You can verify this is because of the upgrade by looking in the 'Messages' window of iHomeServer.  You may see a message similar to the following (note this message is coming from iTunes, not from iHomeServer):

Video playback is not supported on this computer.

Fortunately, for the time being, there is a quick resolution to this.  Apple has provided an alternative download package for iTunes 12.1 that continues to support 'old' graphics cards.  We have started testing this with iHomeServer running iTunes in the background and it behaves as before, correctly importing movie files.  The link for this download is here:

http://support.apple.com/kb/DL1784

We will continue to work to find solutions for iHomeServer, and hope that Apple expands its compatibility of 64-bit iTunes version to remove this major constraint.  

In the meantime, we ask users not to upgrade to future versions of iTunes until we have verified compatibility or identified similar workarounds.

Accessing iTunes across a VPN

As most of you know, iHomeServer for iTunes provides a web interface that lets you access your iTunes library from most modern web devices such as PCs, tablets, smart phones, etc. Access to the web interface is limited to devices running on your local subnet because the connection is unencrypted and by default there is no authentication.

So what if you want to access your iTunes library remotely?

Well, we provide a secure way of doing this through our web site http://www.StreamMyiTunes.com.  After you have set up iHomeServer on your computer, you can create an account on StreamMyiTunes.com and then login securely with those credentials.  You'll then be able to connect back to your home iHomeServer computer through a secure encrypted channel.

This works great for most users.  However, if you are an advanced user and access your home network via VPN you may not be able to access your iHomeServer's web interface at all.  This is because you'll probably be coming from a different subnet to the subnet hosting your iHomeServer.  iHomeServer will therefore redirect you back to StreamMyiTunes to try to authenticate you.

This behaviour is because iHomeServer determines which connections are in your local network by checking the subnet of the incoming request with the subnet of your iHomeServer.  Fortunately, you can tell iHomeServer about additional subnets which form part of your local network by adding a registry key.

You can find details of how to add this key here:

http://bugs.bizmodeller.com/view.php?id=304

 

 

 

 

iHomeServer now supports iTunes 12

Quick post to let you know that we have completed compatibility testing between iHomeServer v3 and iTunes 12 and are pleased to confirm official support for iTunes 12.

From your feedback in the past month, there's been a large number of iHomeServer users already using iTunes 12 on their system.

Please note that iTunes 12 is only supported on iHomeServer for iTunes v3

 

 

iHomeServer iTunes 12 compatibility testing nearing completion!

Apple released iTunes 12 a few weeks ago offering a sleek new flatten & minimalist interface plus various new features and performance inprovements.  This is a very quick post to let you know that our formal compatibility testing between iHomeServer and iTunes 12 is nearly complete and so far looking good.

 

 

We already have hundreds of users who are successfully running iTunes 12, however we will announce formal support here, on our official website, and of course our Twitter feed in the coming days.

Fed up with Windows lying about your connection status when tethering?

We were!

So we wrote "Tether Check".  Tether Check's a Windows app that runs in Desktop mode and sits in the system tray area monitoring your internet connection:

It's perfect if you tether your laptop to your mobile phone / 3G dongle / etc because without it, it's virtually impossible to know whether you have reception or not on your phone without pulling your phone out of your pocket.

When you go out of reception, a semi-transparent alert appears in the bottom of the your screen so you know that internet applications may be unavailable.  More importantly, when you get reception back again, another alert lets you know you can continue to use the internet.

We found that it massively decreases the stress of working on laptops when out and about, because you are no longer blind to your phone's internet connection.  Having feedback on when you have or don't have internet access means you can focus on other tasks when you're out of signal.

Tether Check also gives you a graph showing your connection history over the past few minutes so you can see how reliable your connection has been before you do something critical like make an on-line purchase.

Try it for free and let us know what you think!

Major update to "iHomeServer for iTunes" software brings iTunes streaming to non-Apple devices including web browsers, Android, PlayStation 3 and XBOX 360

APRIL 2014 PRESS RELEASE

Bizmodeller has released version 3 of iHomeServer for iTunes - Windows software that extends iTunes with advanced media server features.

iHomeServer for iTunes version 3 is a major upgrade that enables iTunes streaming to non-Apple devices such as Web browsers, Android, Windows Phone, Blackberry, Smart TVs and Games Consoles (XBOX 360 / PlayStation 3) – in fact most of the devices in the modern family home.

Available now to both desktop and Home Server users, iHomeServer provides an innovative iTunes Web Interface that allows users to access their iTunes libraries from any device with a web browser - within the home or on the Internet. The web interface is pure HTML/JavaScript and does not use proprietary technologies such as Silverlight or Flash. As a result, it is compatible with a wide range of today's browsers and devices.

Furthermore, iHomeServer also includes an integrated iTunes DLNA server that lets users access their iTunes library on compatible Smart TVs, PlayStation 3’s and XBOX’s. Regardless of which device is used, content is arranged in the same familiar iTunes libraries and playlists presented in iTunes. iTunes metadata and artwork is also displayed on all supported devices.

This latest version of iHomeServer boasts an arsenal of features that work together and integrate seamlessly into iTunes making it a better media server: 

  •     Access iTunes library via the internet
  •     Access iTunes library from Web, Windows, Android, Blackberry and other devices
  •     Access iTunes library on Smart TVs, PlayStation 3, XBOX 360, Roku or other compatible DNLA clients – all without an Apple TV
  •     Automatically tag iTunes movies and television with cover art and metadata
  •     Optionally start iTunes as a Windows service so iTunes is always up and running even before log-in
  •     Rip home DVD collection straight into iTunes
  •     Support for Home Sharing, AirPlay and Wifi-Sync on iOS devices
  •     Media watch folders for drag and dropping new media into iTunes remotely
  •     Optional Add-in for Windows Home Server / Windows Server 2012 Essentials users that provides management of an iTunes library from the WHS Dashboard

 

Bizmodeller explains, “Since its launch in 2011, iHomeServer has gained a reputation with Home Server users as the defacto way of running iTunes as a standalone media server. With version 3, iHomeServer's comprehensive range of features are now available to both desktop users and home server users alike. The release also expands iTunes as a streaming platform so you can stream your iTunes media to most web browsers, Smart TVs and XBOX360/PS3 games consoles.”

iHomeServer is available for download now and is offered with a 30 days trial. iHomeServer is compatible with most versions of Windows including Windows 7, Windows 8/8,1, Windows XP SP2, Windows Home Server and Windows Server 2012 Essentials.

 

  • Note that DRM (Digital Rights Management) material is not currently supported.

When is version 3 of iHomeServer being released?

We are just finalising the user guide and adding support for streaming of your iTunes music and videos to additional DLNA devices (more brands of TVs). So version 3 of iHomeServer will be available to everyone within a couple of weeks.

Just to remind you of the key new features in iHomeServer version 3:

  • Automatic ripping of DVD into your iTunes library
  • Update your iTunes metadata on any device
  • Streaming of your iTunes music and videos using DLNA to Smart TVs, Windows RT Surface (using our rtRemote product available in the Windows app store), Android Smart Phones,  and many many more.
  • Streaming of your iTunes music and videos over the internet while away from home – on holiday, at work, wherever – with the ability to select a suitable transcoding option for lower bandwidth connections
  • Identifies which episodes in a TV series you have not already watched

Plus all the great features already in iHomeServer version 2:

  • Create multiple “Watch Folders” to synchronise your iTunes library with your existing media folder structure
  • Streaming to any of your Apple TVs (or anyother iOS device) through Home Sharing
  • Automatic tagging of your media with metadata, for example title, artist, producer, cover art
  • Automatically start iTunes on booting-up your server  / PC
  • Allows iTunes to be run on systems with no sound cards
  • If running it on a server, you can manage your iTunes library from the Windows Home Server Console

 

New version of rtRemote for iTunes is available in the app store now

We recently released an update of our Windows Store app for remotely controlling your iTunes library directly from the Windows 8 interface. The update adds support for new Windows 8.1 features such as the in-app search bar, new app size modes, improved network compatibility as well as some bug fixes.

rtRemote is the only app available for Windows 8 that provides similar functionality of the Apple Remote app for iOS devices – it turns your Windows Surface, PC or laptop (inc Windows RT) into a remote control for your iTunes library. So wherever you are at home, you can use your Windows 8 device to browse through your iTunes library, select a song or movie and play your music / films / etc to play on your Apple TV or AirPlay compatible speaker(s).

 

This release of rtRemote also includes a new killer feature called ‘Play Here’ that will let you stream your iTunes media library music and video directly to your Surface or other Windows 8 device – this unique functionality is powered by iHomeServer v3 so is currently only available to users of the iHomeServer v3 beta but will be available to all iHomeServer users when v3 is released.

An iHomeServer Christmas - v3 Feature Sneak

iHomeServer version 3 is completing its beta testing and we are in the process of preparing for a full release. Feedback on new features from our awesome beta testers has been overwhelmingly positive and so we are working as fast as we can to get the functionality to all of you. This will be a late Christmas present….or even a reason to look forward to January!

To understand the power of iHomeServer v3, close your eyes and picture yourself late on a snowy Christmas afternoon.  You have opened your presents including the latest series of your favourite TV DVD box set from Aunt Amelia. Put it into your server / PC and iHomeServer v3 will automatically rip the DVD so that each episode is copied into your iTunes library and tagged with metadata and cover art. As with iHomeServer v2, you can now watch it from any of your Apple TV (or any other iOS device) through Home Sharing.

By the end of the first episode, the rest of the family’s asleep so you sneak through to the kitchen where you’ve placed that flashy new Smart TV you bought so you could watch TV whilst you cook! With iHomeServer v3, you are not limited to Apple devices – iHomeServer allows most Smart TVs to directly stream your iTunes music and videos (using DLNA).  You choose the iHomeServer icon on the TV, navigate your iTunes library and start watching the second episode whilst enjoying a digestif.

On Boxing Day, you are going to the in-laws. Oh, how to get through the day. You grab your Android tablet and comfort yourself with the knowledge that with iHomeServer v3 your iTunes library is accessible over the internet.  After a suitable interlude making polite conversation, you excuse yourself and find a comfy quiet corner.  You tap your tablet and log in to iHomeServer’s streaming web site, enter your username and password and smile when you see your entire iTunes library is now available from your tablet straight over the internet.  You didn’t have to remember to upload anything to the cloud, or download to your device.  It’s just there. You tap the next episode and watch it as it starts to stream. 

Then calamity strikes: 10 minutes in and the picture starts to stutter a bit … even though you’re on 3G, mobiles just can’t stream the movie at full bandwidth.  You tap the transcode button and choose a lower bitrate.  iHomeServer v3 now continues to stream the episode at a lower rate and the stuttering disappears. You sit back, relax and finish watching, waiting for your wife to come and take you home.

 

Christmas is over for another year, but you can look forward to holidays and even work knowing that you can hook into your music, films and television whenever and wherever needed.

We like user feedback :)

Thank you to Thomas who left the following feedback for us on the Windows Store for our app rtRemote.  rtRemote is our awesome Windows 8 app that lets you to remote control iTunes from the Windows 8 Metro interface.  Comments like this make it all worthwhile :-)

 

First, ignore the 'it doesn't have airplay' review as this is an iTunes remote app, not a streaming player. that said, it can control airplay settings on the iTunes library you are controlling! its so amazing I had to get a surface to have Office for work and was so worried it wouldn't give me control over iTunes on my home network like an iOS device would but it does, and the User Interface is soooo amazing. This dev can make an app! If you are coming from a Mac/iOS background will love it!