Francis D'saAug 13, 2013 12:34:46 IST
Imagine this scenario—you have set up an HTPC to create a good home theatre with great audio routed through your surround sound speaker system and the display on a large screen HD television. Now you can enjoy your favourite flicks or FPS games during the day with thrilling audio. Now imagine you want to watch a movie or play a game while at night without disturbing your sleeping family or grumpy neighbours. You have to switch to using your headphones to enjoy the loud sounds without disturbing the surrounding peace. You have an option to watch it on your tablet or phone, but it won't be the same experience as watching it on a large screen. This calls in for an investment in a long wire from your TV or PC to your bed or recliner to connect your headphones. Other options are a wireless headphone or a Bluetooth headset, but they are equally expensive for occasional use. Worse, if you have a friend or two at your place and they need an earphone too? What do you do? Investing on hardware that can split the audio into multiple outputs for two or more headphones is not easy and definitely not as cheap. Why not take a different route? How about “Free”?
Requirements: An Android phone, a wireless router or wireless network, a PC, the server software and the Android app.
The server app can be installed on Windows and Linux PCs
SoundWire is a simple Android app that routes any and all audio from your PC to your Android device via the local wireless network. The idea is to convert your Android device into a wireless audio headset using the wireless (Wi-Fi) network. All that is needed is the app installed on one or multiple Android devices and the server on the HTPC. The server supports operating systems such as Windows XP or higher and Linux. Setting up the server is a simple one-click method. Download the server based on your operating system from ‘http://georgielabs.net/’ and install it. Simply double-click on the application shortcut on your desktop and the server is ready and streaming. The server window will highlight the server's (PC’s) IP address, the status of the number of devices (Android devices) connected to it, a master volume control and an audio input selector. This input can be left as "Default multimedia device" or choose the input from the drop-down list. If you are using a standalone DVD player or external media player, you can choose the input mode and route the audio from the player to the line-in of the PC. Optionally, the server also has an option to record the streaming audio to an MP3 or WAV file on the hard drive.
The SoundWire app on android. Key in details of your server's IP address
Moving on to the app, simply head to the Play Store and download app for free. A paid version is also available for Rs 238. The only difference between the paid and free version is that the former simultaneously allows multiple users to connect to the same server. Once the app is installed, all you need to do is (on the main screen) enter the IP address of the server (PC) and hit the large SoundWire icon above it. The app will then connect to the server and will start streaming the audio instantly.
Settings need to be tweaked in the Android app for best results
Some settings that can be tweaked for best results
At first you will face issues of sound lags where the audio and video being displayed on the monitor are not in sync. To rectify this, you will need to play around with the app settings to set the audio compression bit rate and buffer size. To get the best results, you can refer to settings in the screenshots. Play around with the settings to reach the optimum results for your environment. If you are using this to stream music, you don’t need to bother with the settings at all. The app is a great option if you want to wirelessly stream your music from one room to another or create a wireless speaker system around your house, office or even outdoors. Using this method, you can enjoy your music or movies using your high-end headphones on your Android other than the sticking to the quality of the wireless/Bluetooth headphones.
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