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I have a large external drive with all my media (video, photos, music, etc...) connected to a MacMini. The MacMini is running PS3 Media Server (essentially a DLNA server), which allows DLNA compliant clients to consume the data.

And that worked well up to now. I mostly consumed content via a PS3 connected to the TV.
However, now I have an iPad 3 and an iPhone in the household. I think, I've tried every DLNA client in the iOS App Store and none of them seem to work reliably.

So I setup home sharing in iTunes and dragged in my videos and music into that app. That allowed the iPhone and iPad to see the collection. However, iTunes Home Sharing is much less than satisfactory. For instance, there is no way to break up the videos into categories (Kid Movies/Regular Movies/Karaoke/etc...) - it's just one long list.

So I have several questions:

  1. Is there a more effective way to share media to the clients I have (PS3, iPad, iPhone) than what I described?
  2. Is there a way to setup iTunes Home Sharing to have categories?
  3. Are there better alternatives to Home Sharing and/or DLNA?
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With the current versions of iTunes, you cannot do much of video classification. The only option you have to give categories to your video files is the choice between:

  • movie
  • tv show
  • music video
  • podcasts
  • iTunes U video

This classification is done through the information popup window inside iTunes (cmd-I), in the Options pane. All the videos then appear in different sublists inside the iPad/iPhone Apple video client, categories are only separated by a title. I'm not aware of any way to restrict a client to access to some categories. The only thing that comes close to this is not sharing all your library but only some categories (see the sharing pane inside iTunes preferences).

You can have a look at a more detailed iTunes video sharing guide on iLounge, but it doesn't bring any other way to help classify with iTunes.

I've no particular experience with the PS3, but as an OSX DLNA server, the one that brings me most satisfaction is Plex. It works well with Samsung TV and the iOS client is quite well executed.

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