How to access your Windows Media Center from any browser

The Windows Media Center is a great music and video player, but it can also be used as a server. Remote Potato lets you access your media through any Web browser.

Your Windows Media Center makes organizing and enjoying your music, videos, movies and other media incredibly easy--but if you want to listen or watch remotely, you've been out of luck. The free, wonderfully named Remote Potato steps in to let you use that media from any Web browser. Here's how to use it: 

  1. Download and install Remote Potato Server on your Windows computer. While installing, you'll need to set up a user name and password to access your media remotely. 
    Step 1: Select username and password.
    Step 1: Select user name and password.
  2. Remote Potato should launch once it's installed, and guide you through a wizard to set up your server. I recommend setting up security so your media is password-protected, but you have the option to make it public.
    Step 2: Begin setup wizard.
    Step 2: Begin setup wizard.
  3. Now you have to choose how Remote Potato will direct Web browsers to your Media Center. If your ISP has assigned you a static IP, you can just use that. Otherwise (or if you don't know what I was talking about in that last sentence), you can set up the free DynDNS service that will track down your Media Center no matter what.
    Step 3: Select IP or Dynamic DNS.
    Step 3: Select IP or Dynamic DNS.
  4. When the wizard closes, you can select which media to stream through Remote Potato. 
    Step 4: Select media.
    Step 4: Select media.
  5. Click the play icon near the top left to start the server. If you want to stop the server (for instance, if you want to change the settings), the same icon will now stop it. 
  6. To connect to Remote Potato remotely, just enter the URL you were given at the end of the wizard. To get a reminder, just click "How do I connect to this server?" in the upper right. Note that you will need a different URL if you're using a device that is on the same network as your Media Center, but it's pretty straightforward. 
  7. Enter your user name and password and you're in. 

I found the Silverlight interface to be easier to use and speedier than the basic HTML interface, but your mileage may vary.

Thanks to Addictive Tips!

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About the author

    Rob Lightner is a tech and gaming writer based in Seattle. He has reviewed games, gadgets, and technical manuals, written copy for space travel gear, and composed horoscopes for cats.

     

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