Younity streams DRM videos from your iTunes, legally

Unlike Home Sharing, Younity works even when you're not connected to your home network. And it requires no device storage.

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Screenshot by Rick Broida/CNET

Looking to stream video from your computer to your iPhone or iPad? That's a good option if your device lacks the storage needed to hold your entire video library.

There are plenty of solutions for doing that -- Plex and VLC Streamer come to mind -- but none of them can handle DRM-protected files. In other words, if you want to stream movies or TV shows purchased in iTunes, you're out of luck.

Not anymore. Streaming-media app Younity just added support for DRM-encrypted iTunes videos, and because it technically leaves the DRM intact, it doesn't violate any terms of service -- at least according to the developers.

It works like this: You install the Younity desktop client on your Windows or Mac machine, then let it scan your hard drive (or the folder/s of your choice) for media. While that's happening, you install the app on your iDevice. Once everything is done, run the app and check the Videos section. You should see, among other things, all iTunes purchases that have been downloaded to your computer. Those which are DRM-protected will have a small thumbnail badge designating them as such.

When you tap a DRM video, Younity will open a Safari browser tab and play it there. (Other media plays within the Younity app proper.)

Why not just use iTunes' Home Sharing feature? It allows for PC-to-device streaming, but only if you're connected to your home network.

Why not just stream your iTunes videos from iCloud? Technically, it's not streaming -- it's downloading, which is fine in some instances but requires storage you may not have available. In fact, while I was testing that very option, my iPhone produced a "storage almost full" message. There's also the benefit of having all your videos -- not just iTunes stuff -- under a single app roof.

In my tests, Younity worked flawlessly at streaming the DRM stuff, and scrubbing through video was remarkably quick. Obviously it does require you to leave your PC running, but that's the only real downside to this free app.

And there are lots of other upsides as well, including streaming (and sharing) of your music, photos, documents, and non-protected videos. Not bad for a freebie!

 

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