The 220 also includes a couple of ways to share multimedia across the network. The first I checked out was its ability to act as an iTunes server. Figure 11 shows a portion of my iTunes app on my Mac after I had connected to the server on the 220.
Figure 11: iTunes Server
From this screen-capture you can see that iTunes located, connected to, and displayed album-art from the server on the 220. This feature worked well and had no trouble with any songs I tried, including DRM restricted music purchased from the iTunes music store.
The other multimedia capability that the 220 has is a UPnP A/V server. Using this capability, you can serve content from the 220 to various networked media players that support the protocol. If you don't have a stand-alone device, ZyXEL supplies a Windows UPnP client so that you can play content on your PC (Figure 12).
Figure 12: UPnP A/V Client on a PC
I found the client supplied from ZyXEL a bit cumbersome and confusing to use, with only limited format support. But this is the first time I've seen a manufacturer even try to supply a UPnP media player client. Usually, you're on your own and expected to use only a UPnP A/V device.
The other capabilities found under "Applications" were a bit interesting. The first is a general-purpose Download Service that supports queued downloading from Torrents or FTP and HTML servers.
Figure 13: Download Service
This capability worked well and it was nice to have a fire-and-forget client. I loaded up a couple of obscure Torrents that were scheduled to take a week or so to complete, left the 220 alone and eventually they finished successfully.
The other download feature is a broadcatching client, which is a protocol I wasn't familiar with. The basic idea is that you subscribe to an RSS channel, which is composed of links to video and audio content. But be careful when you sign up. I selected a channel of public domain movies and was quickly inundated with a couple of hundred movies that immediately started downloading, ten at a time (Figure 14).
Figure 14: Broadcatching download
I was getting everything from Refer Madness, to the classic Nosferatu, to Jesse James meets Frankenstein's Daughter (really quite good, with a plausible story-line, sophisticated dialogue and intriguing plot twists). Subscribe to a few broadcasting feeds, turn on the media sever and you'll never be lacking for something to watch.
If you're willing to skirt copyright laws a bit, you can even subscribe to current television shows to catch up on your favorite program. You can set an option to download only selected items from the RSS feed, but the default is to grab everything.
When the Broadcatching items start downloading, they show up in the Download Service screen where they can be managed like other downloads.
There a few other features that I won't cover in detail, but note briefly below:
- Print-server - plug your USB printer into one of the ports and share it across the network.
- Web server - share selected folders via a web server on a user-specified network port.
- One-touch copy - plug a USB drive into the front-panel, hit the one-touch button and make a copy of it.
- Save and restore the configuration settings
- Access to folders - Browse your shares via a web interface.
- Backup - ZyXEL supplies a Windows-only backup client to allow you to backup your data to the 220