Stream your media libraries to your iDevice with Quik.io

If you have a music or movie collection that won't fit on your iPhone or iPad, this free app makes everything available on demand.

Quik.io makes your PC-housed media libraries available on your iOS device.
Quik.io makes your PC-housed media libraries available on your iOS device. Screenshot by Rick Broida/CNET

No more room at the inn? At one point or another, most mobile-device users run out of storage space, usually at the expense of music or movies.

One option: upload everything to a cloud service like Dropbox, then stream your stuff as needed. But that requires both time and money.

Another: turn your PC into a media server and stream your stuff as needed. There's nothing to upload, and typically a lot less money to be spent (sometimes none, in fact). The only downside is that you need to leave your PC running 24-7.

If you can live with that, check out Quik.io 3.0. The service combines media server software for Windows or Mac and media-streaming apps for iPhone and iPad.

To get started, simply install the server software on your computer, then point it to the folders containing your files, music, movies, or photos. On my system it took a good half-hour to index everything (slowing down my fairly powerful rig in the process), but I have a pretty large media library. Setup also requires creating an account, though you can link to an existing Facebook or Google account if you like.

Then I installed the Quik.io app on my iPhone 4S, signed in, and presto: there was all my media, neatly organized into four categories: File List, Music, Photos, and Movies. And everything I tried to view or stream worked perfectly. Quik.io is unusual in that the server software automatically transcodes video files to formats that are compatible with your iDevice, meaning you shouldn't ever run into a movie that won't play. (One obvious exception: DRM-protected stuff, like iTunes purchases.)

Most of my video files are fairly mainstream (AVI, XVID, and so on), but I can confirm that everything I tried played just fine. And the Quik.io app is smart enough to autoresume from where you left off in a video.

It also gives you the option of saving files to your iOS device for offline viewing. Plus, there's an option called QuikSend that can beam selected files to other QuikIO users, which is great for sharing photos and the like with friends and family members. (It's not unlike Bump .)

For those streaming music over a 3G or 4G (rather than Wi-Fi) connection, Quik.io can considerably reduce your data consumption by employing a low-bit-rate audio codec, which is roughly equivalent to 64Kbps. However, that feature, like a few others, requires the purchase of a premium upgrade.

For 99 cents, the Basic package gives you the aforementioned save-to-device option and the option to use a security passcode if you wish. The $2.99 Premium Video package adds subtitle support to movies and lets you select a different audio track. Premium Music (also $2.99) adds support for iTunes playlists, streaming FLAC, OGG, WMA, and other audio formats, and the low-bit-rate option. And for $3.99, you get it all.

Based on what I've seen so far, Quik.io is a solid, stable tool for streaming your media, and its core features don't cost a dime. If you've found another app you like better, tell me about it in the comments!

 

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