Anyone who owns an iPhone, iPad or iPod will have battled with iTunes. It is a piece of software that is unlikely to feature in many people’s top ten but it’s something that pretty much goes hand in hand with owning an iOS device.
If you live in a house where several people listen to music from iTunes, it makes sense to create a centralized library so that everyone can access the music they want without having to worry about which computer they are using. This is exactly what MediaRover enables you to do.
There are various ways in which the program can be used, but it works particularly well if you have a dedicated network drive, or an older computer that you can set aside as a server. Put simply, you can sync your iTunes library on your computer as normal, and this in turn will be synchronized with a library on the network which can then be synced with other computers. This sounds potentially complex, but MediaRover takes care of everything for you and does so remarkably quickly
You’ll need to create a free account with the server so that data can be synchronized between machines. You can sync libraries with up to eight computers, and this should be more than enough to cater for most home computer setups.
Creating an account enables you to control sync settings online, and also provides you with the access code that you will need to add new computers to your collection. More than this, by creating an account for each person that is going to be making use of MediaRover on their computer, it is possible to make playlists more easily identifiable by appending usernames to them – this is handy if you and someone else in the house create playlists called ‘Running music’ for example.
Once you’ve done this on all of the computers you want to share your iTunes library to, you’re basically done – that really is all there is to it. However, you can choose exactly how synchronization should take place. Opting to take manual control of sync settings you can specify whether files deleted on one computer should be deleted from the shared library and choosing exactly what aspects of syncing should be enabled.
Once all of this has been done, you should prepare yourself for a bit of a wait. Everything that you currently have in your iTunes library needs to be copied from your computer to the shared location – if you have a lot of music, this could take a long time and you will need to repeat the process on eah of your machines. It’s worth pointing out here that while we’re concerned with the Windows version of the software here, MediaRover is also available for OS X and Linux making it ideal for mixed platforms households.
MediaRover In Action
Things are a little confusing the first time you access the main program interface and you will immediately see references to a trial version of MediaRover and will be invited to register the software. Don’t worry, you are not going to be asked to part with any cash – just select the Registration option and you’ll be told that the software is now registered.
The program can now be basically left to its own devices. By default the app will check the central library for changes every five minutes and make any necessary changes, but you can adjust how often this polling takes place – you may well want to reduce the frequency of checks to eliminate unnecessary network usage.
Whenever you add a file to your iTunes library, it will first be synced with your network library and then copied to other computers that you have set up; the same is true with playlists. As well as keeping the files themselves in sync, MediaRover will also keep metadata synced – if you rename tracks on one computer, they’ll be automatically renamed on all connected devices.
One group of settings that you might want to take a look at, particularly when performing your initial syncs, are those that relate to conflicts. Should the same file be found in more than one location, you need to tell MediaRover how to deal with it, and you can specify how the program should identify duplicates – whether this is just by looking for files with the same name, tracks with the same metadata, or getting more in depth.
If you have a Sonos streaming audio device, or any other device such as an Xbox 360, that can be used to play back music, this is another option that is available to your through MediaRover – only now all of your music from all of your computers is available.
However you choose to use the software – whether it is to consolidate the family’s music, to create a centralized backup of your audio files, or to make it easier to stream music around the home – MediaRover is amazingly useful. The only real downside is the length of time the initial sync takes, but there is little that can be done to avoid this.