What is Digital Media?

Updated: March 30, 2011

Applies To: Windows Home Server 2011

Digital media refers to audio, video, and photo content that has been encoded (digitally compressed). Encoding content involves converting audio and video input into a digital media file such as a Windows Media file. After digital media is encoded, it can be easily manipulated, distributed, and rendered (played) by computers, and is easily transmitted over computer networks.

Examples of digital media types include: Windows Media Audio (WMA), Windows Media Video (WMV), MP3, JPEG, and AVI. For information about the digital media types supported by Windows Media Player, see the article “Information about the Multimedia file types that Windows Media Player supports.

Why would I want to stream my digital media?

Like many people, you probably have a lot of music, video, and pictures in Windows Home Server 2011 shared folders. There may be times when you want to do following:

  • Watch videos. Your home server can be used to store and stream large collections of videos and recorded TV shows to your home computers or other playback devices on your home network. You can stream videos to an Xbox 360 or to a home computer by using Windows Media Player.

  • Play music. When you turn on Media Sharing for the Music shared folder, you can access your music from devices that support Windows Media Connect. You do not need to enable or configure any user accounts to stream from the Music shared folder after sharing is turned on.

  • Present photo slide shows. You can store your digital photos in the Photos shared folder on your home server and then access them from any home computer or from an Xbox 360 that is connected to a TV in your home. You can watch photo slide shows, turning your TV into a large picture frame.

Sharing copy-protected media

Windows Home Server 2011 does not support the sharing of copy-protected media. This includes music purchased through an online music store.

Copy-protected media can be played back only on the computer or device that you used to purchase it. Copy protection prevents you from playing media on more than one computer or device, even if you copy the media to your home server and play it from there. However, you can store the copy-protected media on Windows Home Server 2011 and continue to play back the media on the computer or device used to purchase it.