You don’t need to have a fancy home network setup in order to stream movies on Android devices such as your phone or tablet. If you have a Windows computer and WiFi, you can easily do this with very little setup time. Having a central library of movies makes it so much easier than having to copy movie files to each device. You also have the added benefit of copying other files back and forth such as photos and apps. By default, Android phones and tablets do not have built in functionality to connect to Windows, but that’s not a problem. All you need is one free Android app and a few minutes to make a connection and start streaming movies.
The first thing you’ll want to do is setup a shared folder on your Windows computer. Start by creating a folder anywhere you’d like. For this tutorial I created a folder called “Share_Folder” in “C:\”. This will also make the Windows Share Folder show immediately instead of having to navigate.
Next, right-click on that folder and go to “Properties” and then click on the “Sharing” tab.
Click on the “Advanced Sharing” button and checkmark the box labeled “Share this folder” and give it a name. I usually give it the same name as the folder. This is the name you will see when viewing it over your home network. Leave the number of users at the default value of 20.
Click on the “Permissions” button. When the screen opens make sure that “Everyone” has at least Read permissions.
Once you’ve completed this, click Apply and then OK until you have closed the Properties box. You’ll know you have it setup correctly if you see a Network Path.
Next, you’ll want to get your IP address for this computer. You can do this by opening a command prompt from your Start Menu and typing “ipconfig”. Write down the IP address that it produces. It will be something like 192.168.x.xxx
Copy movies that you want to stream into this newly created shared folder.
The next step is to download a free Android app called ES File Explorer from the Google Play Store. If you already have this app, then skip to the next step.
Open ES File Explorer and tap on the icon in the upper left hand corner. It looks like a phone in front of a globe. The screen should slide to the right displaying a menu.
Tap on “LAN” in the menu. When that screen opens up, tap the “Scan” button at the bottom of the screen. This will scan your network for other devices and computers. You should see the IP address that you discovered in Step 5.
When you see the matching IP address, tap on it and you will be presented with a login screen. The username and password will be the one that you use to logon to your computer.
Once you have a successful login, you will see a list of all the folders that you have access to on that computer. Your shared folder should be in that list.
Tap on your shared Windows folder and should see your movie(s). In this demonstration I put the movie Oblivion in my shared folder.
Simply tap on the movie file and it will automatically open!
Now, if you want this to be a permanent solution to stream movies, then you could set your Windows computer to have a static IP address and create a shortcut on your Android device.
Once you have connected to your Windows share folder on your Android device, select it and hit the “More” button in the lower right hand corner. You will be presented with a menu. Select “Add to Desktop”
After that, you will see a shortcut on your Android device. Simply select this icon to access all your movies in your Windows share folder.
That’s it! Whichever option you choose, you will be able to stream movies on Android devices on your home network!