Using “Play To” in WMP under Windows 7

During the Christmas break, I fed my inner geek and had a tinker with a number of different Home Technologies – including taking a look at the latest version of Windows Media Player included with Windows 7. I was particularly intrigued by the “Play To…” function, which allows you to send media from your PC to any DLNA (Digital Living Network Alliance) compatible device on the same network – this might include Hi-Fi’s, Televisions and other PC’s.

After setting the appropriate settings within Windows Media Player (from the Stream menu, click “Allow remote control of my Player” and “Automatically allow devices to play my media” and the other DLNA devices on my network, and turning on Universal Plug’n’Play within my Draytek 2900G Router, I tested out “Play To…” from my main Windows 7 PC to another Windows 7 PC running WMP on the network.

No luck – I got a “Contacting Media Device” message that sometimes displayed “Media Device Contacted” and other times displayed “Connectivity Failed”, and a Play icon that displayed “Contacting Media Device” without playing anything. Hmm.

After some head-scratching, I consulted the good folks at the Microsoft Technical Communities who suggested a clean-boot – that is, disabling all non-Microsoft Start-up items and services from the Windows 7 PC’s, rebooting and testing again.

Voila! Upon start-up, “Play To…” worked just fine and I was able to send music to another Windows 7 PC running WMP on my network!

Further investigation, wherein I turned on each of the non-MS services and start-up items in turn until I found the problem, showed that AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition v9.0 was at fault. Starting the Windows 7 PC’s without AVG started meant “Play To…” worked just fine, but with AVG running, “Play To…” experienced the problems above.

Whilst I could have tinkered with AVG until I found a solution, I chose to go a different route – testing two other free (for non Commercial use) Anti-Virus products – Panda Cloud Anti-Virus and Microsoft Security Essentials.

Post-installation on different machines, both products allowed “Play To…” to work without any issues – so it’s bye bye AVG I’m afraid!

So now I’m able to stream media from my PC’s to both my Roku Soundbridge device, which is connected to water-proof speakers in my bathroom where I can listen to relaxing tunes in the bath-tub, and also my Sony Bravia 40” KDL-40W4500 HD LCD Television, which is in my living room and is connected to a Amplifier so I can annoy the neighbours playing Rick Astley at full blast! 🙂


Richard Tubb is an IT Business Consultant who works with ambitious IT companies who want to grow their businesses in a scalable and sustainable way. He is also a Microsoft UK Small Business Specialist Partner Area Lead (PAL) and the elected chair of the CompTIA UK Channel Community. You can e-mail him at or connect with him via Twitter and LinkedIn.


4 Responses to “Using “Play To” in WMP under Windows 7”

  1. 1 Andy January 6, 2010 at 8:16 am

    Neato!How did you testing with the other free anti-virus products go?I\’ve been using MSE and have been on the whole very pleased…it\’s received so favorable reviews too

  2. 2 Richard January 6, 2010 at 8:29 am

    Andy – Microsoft Security Essentials was an easy download and setup, integrates with Windows 7, and just… works! No problems at all.Panda Cloud Anti-Virus I\’ve been using on my Netbook for a little while now. It\’s meant to be very light in use, but on one of the PC\’s I installed it on I noticed a definite slow-down. Replacing it with MSE fixed this. I didn\’t investigate the issue long enough to give Panda a thumbs down, but on the whole my choice for free Anti-Virus would now be Microsoft Security Essentials over my previous favourite, AVG Free Edition.

  3. 3 Capt April 6, 2010 at 3:16 pm

    fyi – had similar problem with "play to" and a DMR here with AVG….turn off AVG\’s link scanning options and everything starts to behave normally

  4. 4 Richard April 6, 2010 at 3:54 pm

    Capt – great feedback, thanks for sharing!

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