Allegro Software Development Corp. has announced that its Allegro Media Server software is coming in March. Allegro Media Server bridges the gap between iTunes music libraries on Mac or Windows computers and Universal Plug and Play (UPnP)-based digital music players. To find out more, MacCentral spoke to Allegro President Bob Van Andel.
Allegro Media Server runs as a background application on Mac OS X or Mac OS 9, as well as flavors of Windows. Once running, it enables the iTunes library to be streamed to networked digital audio players that support UPnP technology, an open standard developed to help simplify home networking. Allegro Media Server is fully compliant with the UPnP v1.0.1 and UPnP AV DCP 1.0 specifications, according to the developer.
With Allegro Media Server installed, it’s possible for Mac users to connect to devices such as Philips’ Streamium series devices or Netgear’s MP101 — devices that may have heretofore been declared PC-compatible only by their manufacturers, but that support UPnP-based standards.
Once installed on your Mac or PC, the Allegro Media Server software locates your iTunes database file. It publishes that information on the network using the UPnP MediaServer standard, making it possible for UPnP-compliant devices to play your iTunes music. UPnP technology could similarly be used to serve digital photos and video, as well, according to Van Andel.
Products that serve as bridges between a Mac or PC and a home entertainment center have existed for some time, but by and large they’ve required proprietary software in order to work. Van Andel explained to MacCentral that his company’s philosophy is that a standards-based solution is better than a proprietary one. UPnP is just on the cusp of seeing widestream adoption, according to Van Andel.
“UPnP is the only open standard we see for music distribution,” he told MacCentral. “There aren’t a lot of devices out there yet, though.”
Without a large installed base of users to sell to yet, Allegro is still deciding what to do with the Allegro Media Server software. Van Andel expects the first half of 2004 to be a significant period for UPnP deployment, as companies like Philips, Netgear and others get their UPnP-compliant products into the marketplace.
It’s entirely possible that Allegro might eventually release the Media Server software as a retail product, but more likely we’ll see Allegro Media Server initially licensed to UPnP device manufacturers for inclusion with their products. Still, the company has set up an e-mail address — firstname.lastname@example.org — to encourage users to register their interest. The company will send out e-mails when the Allegro Media Server software is released.