We’ve written about Skifta before, but now that it’s out of beta – and I have an Android phone that rates above the 2.1 OS – I decided to give it a try. Skifta is a DLNA app from Qualcomm that lets you stream content around to different networked devices. Sadly I don’t have a DLNA TV, or a media streamer that supports DLNA, so my testing was limited, but I was able to get the gist of the app with just my phone and PC.
First the good stuff. After downloading Skifta, my phone instantly identified my PC as an available content source. I selected the source, and my playback device, and Skifta popped up an option for browsing available media. From my phone I was able to see photos, music and video on my computer. I opened the video folder first, and immediately played an old home movie I digitized for Christmas last year. It was an odd moment. Here was a video recorded on VHS nearly 20 years ago, now available on my smartphone. Surreal. Music streaming worked reasonably too, though there was a bit of a lag when trying to skip between tracks.
Now the not so good stuff. Trying to access photos proved difficult. My phone struggled to render the large quantity of image thumbnails available in my Pictures folder, and the app crashed repeatedly when I tried to open those images up. I also would have liked to reverse the viewing process and use my PC as the playback device (I have a lot of photos on my phone), but the Skifta software wouldn’t let me categorize the PC as anything other than a media source. My testing was also hampered on the first go-around by the need for a Wi-Fi network to sync devices. You can use a mobile network after the first syncing event, but Wi-Fi is required for set-up.
All in all, I don’t have much use for Skifta… yet. The app does include a handful of content channels for accessing web content, but I have plenty of other sources for Internet media on my phone already. And, there’s nothing much compelling on my PC right now that I need to access on the go. Still, the potential for Skifta, and DLNA in general, is pretty big. For anything I don’t want to keep in the cloud, DLNA will give me easy streaming access from a wide range of devices in the near future. That’s good for a lot of placeshifting - in the home, and outside of it.