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An iTunes for the rest of us?

If you have a hard drive full of media, SimpleCenter may be for you

If you have a hard drive full of digital media--photos, videos, and music--and you have the need to sync to a portable device, Universal Electronics' updated SimpleCenter may be right up your alley. The software, which has just been updated to version 4.1, boasts a variety of new and updated features that digital media mavens will appreciate.

SimpleCenter is a Windows software package that works with a variety of devices, including the Sony PSP, the Nokia N80 and N93 smart phones, and most USB mass storage and Plays For Sure devices. In addition to being able to sync your media to those devices, SimpleCenter can also transcode files to compatible formats (particularly useful for getting video files onto the PSP and the iPod, for instance). The software can also act as a UPnP server and stream media to other devices on your home network (it's compliant with version 1.5 of the working draft DLNA standard). There's an option to access and share your photos and movies online via the Web.

For those keeping score, quite a few of those features are not available on iTunes and Windows Media Player. There's a catch, of course: most of the good stuff is available only if you pay $30 to upgrade to SimpleCenter Premium. But Universal Electronics offers the Premium version as a free 30-day trial, and the basic media management and playback functions remain enabled even if you choose not to upgrade. In other words, if any of those features pique your interest, you should download SimpleCenter and kick the tires to see if it's the right media manager for you.