Since first owning the BlackBerry PlayBook nearly two years ago, one thing that I've been waiting for was a good network media player so that I could play my videos and music over wifi from my PC.
It was only towards the end of last year when I saw KalemSoft Media Play arrive for the PlayBook. I reached out to the developers recently and asked if they were planning on bringing the app to BlackBerry 10 and they were! Right now, KalemSoft is awaiting BlackBerry World approval. In the meantime, we've managed to get hold of a copy to review.
The app is a fully-featured DLNA and UPNP client. This means that if you have a netowork media server in your house, then you can play your digital media direct to your BlackBerry 10.
When you first run the app, you'll be presented with a list of media servers on your network. From here you can select your media player and what you want to play. The built-in player is solid and plays things beautifully. In fact, I'd argue that the playback is better than on the PlayBook version. The music player sounded great and the video player managed to keep up with my HD videos wouthout breaking into a sweat.
I was disappointed to find that the app doesn't seem to like being used in an active frame. When I'm listening to music, I generally don't stay in the app - and KalemSoft didn't seem to like this. The audio would stutter and then stop until I gave the app focus again. There was also no integration with the media keys. To change the tracks and play/pause I had to jump to the media player within the app. I'd certainly like to see KalemSoft make use of the BlackBerry 10 NowPlayingConnection API.
You could argue that £5 is a lot of money for an app - but for me I think that there's certainly value. The time it takes copying tracks back and forth is a pain usually, so having a completely wireless music library is liberating.
As mentioned in the video review, I'm using MediaTomb for my media sharing but KalemSoft should work with Twonky, Windows Media Player, TVersity and MiniDLNA devices such as network routers with USB connections.
If you already have the PlayBook version then you know what to expect. The developers have worked on creating an app designed for the smaller screen so unfortunately you will need to buy this even if you have purchased the PlayBook version before.
NOTE: After the video review was recorded, I noticed a bug in the software. Make sure that you disable media sharing on your BlackBerry 10 (Under Settings > Media Sharing) before running the app otherwise it will not be able to detect any network devices.
Overall I'm quite impressed with this app. It helps to bring out the full power of BlackBerry 10 as a mobile device that can do many things. While I had hoped that there would be a DLNA client built into BlackBerry 10 when it was released, I really don't mind spending a few pounds on such a great app.
More Info / Download KalemSoft Media Player for BlackBerry 10
More Info / Download KalemSoft Media Player for BlackBerry PlayBook