Joining, Amazon, Apple, and others, Dell today becomes the latest vendor to offer dedicated media-streaming software. Dell's newly update Stage software, included with Dell's Android devices, desktops, and laptops, allows users to stream music, movies, and photos between Dell devices and DLNA-equipped home theater components on a local network. Stage also provides 2GB of cloud-based storage via a Nero-powered feature called SyncUP.
To try Stage, you must have a Dell device with the most recent software update. New Dell systems shipped since July 7 have the updated version already, and older Dell PCs can get the update via download. Owners of Dell's Streak tablet or its Venue smartphone can also download an application called Stage Remote, which lets you manage streaming between PCs and supporting devices without sitting in front a keyboard. In addition to its core functionality, Stage has built-in support for Hulu, Facebook, Flickr, the Blio e-reader, and other services.
Stage is, of course, not the only software that combines streaming and cloud-based storage. Among others, Amazon's Cloud Player debuted in March, and Apple has scheduled its competing iCloud for release this fall. Those services are more flexible than Stage in that they run on any OS X or Windows-based PC and on the wide universe of Android and iOS devices. Throw in Windows 7's own native DLNA compliance, and it's not exactly clear where Stage has a competitive advantage.