Print and Media Servers
The print server is a feature on the LinkStation Live that is not included on the LinkStation Pro. The only option is enable or disable. When enabled, USB printers plugged into one of the LinkStation Live's USB ports appear as a shared printer on the network.
It is interesting to note that the LinkStation Live's packaging prominently features its built-in DLNA server, yet the admin menu entry is labeled PCast. Actually, PCast is Buffalo's own multimedia server that runs concurrently with Mediabolic's DLNA-certified media server.
When media serving is enabled, you can stream supported content to other DLNA-certified media players. Actually, any media player that supports the UPnP AV protocol will also work. Configuration is simple. When you click on PCast, it launches your browser to port 8080 on the LinkStation Live and connects with the Mediabolic configuration page (Figure 6) .
All you have to do is click enable and configure the media folder to point to the share that contains your multimedia files. You can also enable multimedia for attached USB drives. Optionally, you can restrict DLNA access by MAC address and set a PCast password.
Figure 6: PCast and DLNA server setup
I tested the media server two ways. First, the server claims to serve content to iTunes 7.x clients. Indeed, the music in a subfolder defined as the media folder in the screen above was accessible by iTunes. It appears as shared music just below the iTunes Store (Figure 7).
Figure 7: Music Served by the LinkStation Live DLNA server is accessible by ITunes
I also tested using a Buffalo LinkTheater Wireless A&G media player, with mixed results. Music played as expected, and it appears that the ID3 tags were properly processed, as Genre, Artists and Album categories, as well as "All Music" lists were properly enumerated. Of course, if I had tried to play music purchased through iTunes via the LinkStation Live / LinkTheater combination, it would not have played. This isn't unique to Buffalo, but is the case with any product that doesn't have an iTunes client somewhere in the playback loop.
For video, the key issue is supported file types, as it is with most players. WMV files played fine, but I was disappointed that the video formats I use most frequently were not supported. I tried AVI files generated by a Samsung camera (MPEG), AVI files generated by my Canon SD550 and MP4 files that I play on my iPod, but none played. I think this problem is more due to the LinkTheater than the LinkStation, but it was disappointing nonetheless.
Finally, I copied a number of subdirectories full of vacation photos from a recent trip, and unfortunately, none of them were enumerated under the "All Pictures" menu selection. The only images under the "All Pictures" menu were the album artwork images from the music folders! I had to navigate through the Album entry and then through the directory structure to get to my photos. Buffalo is aware of this problem and explained that it is due to an interaction between the PCast and DLNA servers.