The Android OS by default can't see windows shares. So direct play will never be an option. Also the internal player has very limited codec support so it's almost guaranteed that it needs to transcode unless the source video is mp4 / h264 - baseline / aac in which case it will direct stream.
Knowing this is an old thread and there has been some other discussions regarding transcoding, streaming and direct play via android client, I thought I'd share my experience. I've found the above quote to be contradictory to what I've accomplished.
First off, let me describe my home network setup. I have a media server that has MB3 server installed (official) with 2 home theater pc's using MBC. The server library is configured with network share pathnames (\\ServerName\Movies\). Works beautifully! I also have a Google Nexus 10 and 7 in the mix.
Here's where it gets a little messy. Both tablets have MB app installed. On my Google Nexus 10 I have MX Player installed with the DTS codec and ES File Explorer which allows me to see my media server shares directly over LAN. When I browse through ES File Explorer to a movie (i.e. Star Trek - 1080p mkv w/15 mb bit rate) it Direct Plays to my tablet beautifully. I figure it to be Direct Play because in the upper left corner of MX Player it will show the title of the movie rather than Stream However, when I browse through MB android client for the same movie and using MX Player externally, it will Direct Stream which has the corresponding Stream in the upper left corner of MX Player. I'm not complaining by any means, because it still plays beautifully on my tablet. Just seems like there could be a solution to still have Direct Play either way.
I'm not a Programmer and can offer no help in coding, but I share this info to pose an hypothesis: Why does it matter if Android OS can or can't see window shares if an app can? ES File Explorer is capable of doing this. Could similar coding be implemented in mobile MB client apps? I assume that if it could, it'd enable external players like MX Player to work more efficiently, therefore lessen the need for server transcoding. I know that Direct Stream is not transcoding, but I do get ffmpeg high cpu usage when attempting to stream mkv over internet when I'm away from home. But that is a whole other issue.
I just find it odd that, while I'm in my home network, I can Direct Play via ES File Explorer, yet using the same player externally in android MB client it Direct Streams. Something doesn't seem to be transferring correctly. Can this be explained? I suppose I could just shut up and just use ES File Explorer and Direct Play on my tablet, but it'd be nice to have the front end of MB doing it!
Edited by CrossCech, 23 March 2015 - 05:00 AM.