I was lucky enough to have a couple of days with the forthcoming Motorola RAZR over the weekend and tested the new MotoCast software. I don’t yet have a micro SIM so didn’t test out the handset’s full functionality, but got a good feel for Motorola’s new remote streaming service.
For those of you that haven’t heard of it yet, MotoCast is a great new feature that has been developed for the RAZR and future Motorola handsets. It allows you to remotely access media files stored on a Windows or Mac based computer/laptop, including documents, music, photos and videos. These files can then be played back on the RAZR itself, or on an HD display via a microHDMI cable.
I managed to install MotoCast easily on both a Windows and Mac computer, it takes about 15 minutes in total to complete the setup. The installer is saved on the RAZR itself, so if you don’t have access to a download link, you can connect the RAZR to your computer via microUSB and take it from there. Installation does require you to register a MotoCast account, but only name and email address are required so it doesn’t take long.
Once MotoCast is installed on your computer, you specify the folders that you would like to have remote access to. You could of course allow access to your entire hard drive, but I wouldn’t really advise this in terms of both security and performance. For the sake of testing the software, I specified a different folder for each type of media. I would advise sticking to one root folder for each type of media if possible for organisation purposes and would recommend having as few sub directories as possible within each root folder as it may help the RAZR to sync the library quicker. However, I didn’t have a chance to test the application thoroughly so I can’t say for certain.
Once you’ve specified the folders that you would like to share, the RAZR syncs your library to give you access to your files. The initial sync actually took place pretty quickly, especially taking into consideration that I was sharing a reasonable amount of media. The main feature I wanted to test was video streaming and this worked well. I connected the RAZR to my TV and played back via that. When connecting to a gallery, there’s the option to mirror the display on screen or playback via the gallery. I would say playback via the gallery is the preferable option – this way sound is played through the TV as opposed to the device and it is also slightly easier to configure a full screen picture.
When it comes to streaming a video, the quality (i.e. lack of buffering) will of course depend on the speed of your internet connection. I have a reasonable Wi-Fi connection that is shared between a few people and managed to stream the video without interruption. If you do not have a consistent connection, there is the option to download the file to your device and then play it back. I didn’t test this with a video, but it worked well enough with music files.
All in all the MotoCast experience was pretty good and it’s a nice feature for Motorola to have included. One thing to note is that the destination computer does need to be turned on for you to access files remotely. Due to this I’m not sure how much I would use the feature on the road, but it’s still useful for around the house. Say for instance you have a video library saved on your laptop, you’ve then got the option to easily playback films on a bigger screen via MotoCast.