Although the data consumption in India is growing at a very high rate thanks to the Reliance Jio effect which forced all telcos to offer cheap data, online videos are still not always accessible to all. Whether it’s because balance runs out, networks aren’t available, or for any other reason, lots of people still prefer to have videos on their own devices.
Watching videos is great, but sharing them with others can be a cumbersome process. One way would be to swap memory cards, or you could transfer files using a computer, or use file sharing apps like ShareIt. However, this can be a complicated process and sometimes people just want to be able to let others see the video without having to transfer it.
VuLiv, an app that allows you to manage all your videos, photos, and music, and also to stream curated videos from sources such as YouTube, Voot, Dainik Bhaskar, and more. The app also allows you to save these videos for offline viewing. Recently, it announced a new feature called VuShare that solves the local streaming problem as well, which can be used to stream songs, photos, and videos to nearby devices. Here’s how it works.
First up, both phones need to have VuLiv — it’s available for Android and iOS. The app needs to be granted various permissions including access to your files, so that it can share them. Once that’s all done, the person who has the video needs to tap on the button on the bottom right that looks like a fidget spinner.
Once they tap Share, they will see a screen showing the different photos, videos, and songs on their phone. Tap the ones you want to make available, and then tap on VuShare on the bottom right.
The first time you do this, it’ll ask you to enter your name. Now, the other person taps the fidget spinner in their app, and taps on Join. Once that’s done, you’ll see a list of nearby devices using VuShare; tap on the one you want to connect to and it’ll automatically start showing the content from the sender.
It’s fairly simple, but it’s worth pointing out that there are a few issues with the process. For one, each stage of the process — starting to share, and joining a session — takes a long time. It’s not an instantaneous connection, and there’s no clear indication on the screen about what’s happening until it either connects or times out (the latter didn’t happen often, but it did happen once in a while during our testing). The streaming is happening over Wi-Fi — the app creates a hotspot and in case the connection times out, you’re asked to connect to the Wi-Fi network the app started. What’s more, it requires you to turn off the mobile data to use the app. These are all minor things that are pretty straightforward, but it’s the kind of thing that can be a challenge for people who are not confident or comfortable with technology.
Aside from that, it works well, and you not only keep the file on your own phone even while letting other people view the videos or photos, but you also control the playback. If you’ve ever handed over your phone to a friend so that they can check out a single photo, and then seen them start to swipe, then you know how stupid people can be, and being able to restrict the playback from your own device is a nice feature.
Essentially, play, pause, scrubbing, and next track are all restricted to your own device. The person who joined the connection can only view what you’re showing them, from your photos, videos, or songs. They also cannot download the content to their own devices. Access can be granted however — if you toggle Friends & Family Mode on, then the other person can control playback, and also download the video to VuLiv.
Overall, it’s a decent enough implementation, but whether or not you should use it depends on how you feel about the rest of the VuLiv app. As we’ve explained in the past, a number of other solutions exist, so you don’t have to use just this one app if you’re only interested in the streaming feature — the others are generally more stable and worked with less delays. Using the various UPnP apps we talked about also has the added advantage of not requiring both users to have the same app.
That aside, if you find the curation aspect of VuLiv useful, or want to manage all your media from a single location, it certainly seems like a decent option.