Rather than leave your movies and TV shows locked away, you can stream them from your Android gadgets to screens around your home.

PlayTo and iMediaShare let you stream video via AirPlay to Apple TVs as well as to DLNA-enabled televisions, Blu-ray players and set-top boxes. We put them to the test on a Samsung Galaxy S4 smartphone, pulling video from a DLNA server and streaming it to players around the house. Both apps detected Windows Media Player and Plex Media Server running on our Windows 7 media centre, along with the DLNA server features on our Fritz!Box router.

When it comes to playback devices, the free versions of PlayTo and iMediaShare both discovered the Apple TV (3rd generation), Sony Blu-ray player and WD TV Live Hub connected to our home network, although only iMediaShare discovered the D-Link Boxee Box. iMediaShare happily played video to all four devices, while PlayTo wouldn’t cooperate with the WD TV Live Hub and couldn’t even see the Boxee Box. The paid version of PlayTo supports more devices, but upgrading didn’t help here.

Both apps also supposedly let you stream from a wide range of online video services, although results are hit and miss depending on the source, playback device and region. We had more luck with PlayTo than iMediaShare, but both are disappointing.

Once a clip is playing it’s easy to switch between playback devices, although PlayTo offers the bonus feature of multiple simultaneous playback. You can watch one clip on your Android device while sending a different clip to your television. Alternatively you can send different clips to different televisions at the same time (assuming that your Android device has enough grunt).

The verdict

It’s worth testing the free versions of both apps but there’s no clear winner here, it really comes down to where your video is coming from and where you’re sending it to. If both are compatible with your gear, we’d learn towards PlayTo for its ability to stream to several devices at once.

PlayToFree / $4.81playto.tv

iMediaSharefree / $4.80imediashare.tv

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.