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In Use

One of the nice options within the Mezzmo interface is Media Devices. All DLNA devices on the network are discovered and tweaks can be made such as their connection speed and transcoding settings to optimize performance with Mezzmo. Figure 3 shows several Unknown Devices, despite Mezzmo's good device support. This is primarily because of the software-based DLNA servers on our network.

Mezzmo discovered media devices

Figure 3: Mezzmo discovered media devices

One unique feature of the Media Devices configuration screen is the ability to set permissions for certain folders, playlists, and files, so that certain devices can be restricted from access. This could come in useful when the kids have their own game console and you don't want them watching content inappropriate for them.

I did have a problem with Mezzmo's presentation of the DVD metadata that support helped me sort out. Our home media solution uses a Vortexbox to rip and stream media to our TV. Once on the Vortexbox, the low power home server then runs YAMMM to find cover art and DVD metadata. All of our other media servers find the folder .jpg that YAMMM populates within the directory. The cover art is then presented in the Mezzmo's Media Library as well as on the DLNA client.

Unfortunately, Mezzmo did not find the artwork in most cases. The artwork needed to be specified within the .nfo and .xml of each movie or it would not be presented. Technically, Mezzmo was probably accurate in its interpretation of the info and artwork. However, it would have been nice to default to artwork found in the directory if none was found in the info files.

Mezzmo usese FFmpeg for transcoding and transcoding can also be shut off. Transcoding settings (Figure 4) are also configurable to set a storage space limit for transcoded files. So every time a movie is viewed, it doesn't necessarily need to be transcoded.

Mezzmo transcoding settings
Figure 4: Mezzmo transcoding settings

During the course of testing, I only found one movie which would not transcode or play. The problem turned out to be a remux issue that was fixed in the next Mezzmo release. After everything was set up, streaming to my folks' Sony TV worked beautifully and never stuttered with standard-def content, which was all that was available at the time. Once Mezzmo was set up, all we did was turn on the TV, find Mezzmo in the DLNA devices, choose our movie and go. It really couldn't have gotten any easier.

Closing Thoughts

Mezzmo worked very well for my simple application. Presentation of media on the TV seems faster than from any of our DLNA media servers. Any problems I had were handled promptly and thoroughly by Conceiva's support. It was actually enjoyable talking with them!

Mezzmo also has many other features, such as access control and media ripping/burning that I didn't use, but which may be very useful for others.

We got lucky with our Samsung TV's streaming media format support. It plays everything we need without an intermediary media server. My parents didn't get so lucky with their Sony TV and its meager format support. For them, the $30 investment in Mezzmo saved the day.

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