I’m a big fan of streaming media. Whether it’s YouTube, Hulu, Netflix, or whatever else is out there, I love being able to stream on demand. It opens up a lot of flexibility – especially in terms of access (streaming media that I don’t have) and schedule (streaming when it’s convenient for me). And now you can stream media directly to your Android device.
Smartphones have evolved to a point where they aren’t just “smart phones” anymore. They’re now multi-purpose mobile devices. One of the main uses for my Android is to play music, but the music selection is often limited by what I can store on space. But thanks to the advent of streaming technology, I can stream audio to my Android – whether from the Internet, from my PC, or elsewhere.
Check out these awesome Android apps that will unlock the potential of streaming on your Android device.
I’d be hard-pressed to find someone who hasn’t heard of Pandora, but I’d be remiss if I left it out of this roundup due to its sheer popularity and usefulness. In case you’ve been living under a rock for the past decade, Pandora is something of an online radio streaming service that tailors each station to your specific tastes.
Using the Pandora app, you can input a particular artist, song, or genre and Pandora will stream music to your Android device in line with your inputted tastes. These similar songs are determined using a complex algorithm based on the Music Genome Project, but I can attest that Pandora works well.
When it comes to audio streaming, you can’t skip over Pandora. You just can’t. However, it is currently unavailable outside the United States.
Simply put, AudioGalaxy allows you to stream music from your PC to your Android. All you need to do is install AudioGalaxy on your computer so that it can catalogue your songs and transmit them, then install the AudioGalaxy app on your Android so it can receive the stream. The caveat, of course, is that your PC needs to be on for this to work.
AudioGalaxy solves one of the problems with syncing your music library – it requires space on your mobile device. Sure, your computer can handle gigabytes of music thanks to terabyte hard drives, but phones aren’t there yet. So instead of uploading all of your music to your phone, you just keep it on your PC and stream it.
Another benefit is that you can use AudioGalaxy on your Android as a remote for AudioGalaxy on your PC – so you can play music from your speakers but control it with your phone.
Like AudioGalaxy, Subsonic is a tool you install to your PC that allows you to stream audio to your Android device. A few differences include the ability to convert music on the fly, stream podcasts, and browse/manage your music collection using a browser.
One service that Subsonic offers is server hosting, where you can keep all of your music on the server so that you have 24/7 access to it – as opposed to keeping your PC on all the time. The hosting service does cost money, but if you don’t care for it, then you can ignore it altogether.
Subsonic also includes a few advanced features, like adaptive bitrates, audio equalizer, and a visualizer.
SoundWire is another program that lets you send audio from your PC to your Android. With it, you can wirelessly broadcast your PC’s audio with your Android device no matter where you are, which is great for listening to music or movies from a distance. It is also great for watching a large screen while having the volume right by your ears.
But SoundWire’s defining feature is that it doesn’t just stream music files, but the actual audio feed from your PC. Which means you can use any audio program – iTunes, Winamp, Grooveshark, YouTube – and the audio will be transmitted.
SoundWire has high quality audio with low latency. It compresses the audio transmission without losing that quality, which lessens the load on your bandwidth.
One of Amazon’s greatest achievements is the Amazon Cloud, a massive network of computers that store petabytes worth of data for millions of users. Amazon has a service called Cloud Player that allows users to upload their music to the Cloud and stream it from anywhere. The Amazon MP3 app lets you stream to your Android.
When you use Amazon’s Cloud Player, you can browse their MP3 store that includes over 20 million songs in MP3 format. When you purchase a song, you can save it directly to the Cloud and it will be ready to be streamed instantly.
The Cloud Player service is free for up to 250 uploaded songs, though you can increase that limit to 250,000 by upgrading to Cloud Player Premium. The Amazon MP3 app includes both Amazon Cloud Player and Amazon MP3 Store.
Streaming is the way of the future, especially as Internet speeds and Internet quality continue to rise. Therefore it is better to embrace it early and benefit from it now.
Have you used any of these apps before? Share your experiences with us in the comments. If you know of any other streaming apps that deserve a mention, please share those, too.