Microsoft Details 'Play To' Streaming Feature In Windows 8

With Windows 8 out in the universe, Microsoft's had a tall task of education the masses. There are plenty of new features to dive into, and Play To is one that the company is detailing now. It's a feature that enables users to stream music, photos and videos from apps to Xbox and other supported devices on your home network. Imagine being able to easily flick photos and videos from your app to the big screen TV. Or music from your app to your living room speakers. Using the Play To contract, you can easily enable those scenarios for your users from your apps. Naturally, this is another ecosystem play.

On networks where users enable Sharing (like home networks), Windows 8 automatically discovers and installs Windows Certified Play To devices. The operating system provides a consistent user experience where users can swipe and tap devices from the Device charm to start Play To from any supported app. All the media focused Microsoft apps have a built-in Play To experience including the Music, Video and Photos apps. Even Internet Explorer 10 implements the Play To contract so users can stream photos and HTML5 music and videos from webpages.

According to Microsoft, the Play To experience in Windows 8 is designed to work with Windows certified Play To devices. Certified devices provide a consistent and reliable experience. There are a number of consumer electronics companies working on Play To certification for their devices spanning multiple device categories. This includes TVs, set top boxes, speakers and audio receivers. After sharing is enabled Windows automatically finds and installs supported Play To devices on the network within approximately 30 seconds. Users can see if devices are available in the Devices page in PC settings. Users can also manually add new devices from the Devices page in PC settings. After Play To devices are installed, Windows remembers them and automatically tracks their availability on the network. Now, anytime the user is in an app where Play To is possible, the devices are available in the Devices charm.

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