Once setup is complete (which is as simple as the previous page), you can access your music either through a web browser or from inside Winamp.
The interface is very similar to the media library inside Winamp itself. You can either browse by folder (should your music have particularly bad ID3 tags), or you can use the more advanced system based on ID3 information.
I was a little disappointed that Winamp hadn’t integrated the service better though. Winamp already has streaming audio and video built into the interface successfully. However, to access Winamp Remote, it was nothing more than a web browser window inside Winamp.
The interface is dynamic, and I found it a little on the slow side, something that could have been overcome if Winamp just fetched data rather than a web page. However, it is very powerful. You can generate playlists on the fly, and store them online as well as locally. You can also share these playlists with any other person who has a Winamp Remote account. Quite a nifty way of introducing friends to bands without actually breaking the law.
If you login via a web browser, instead of via Winamp, you can choose to use a Flash based music player for listening to music. So in actuality, you don’t even need to have Winamp installed. Strangely, there is also support for streaming to Windows Media Player, RealPlayer and Quicktime.
Every time a new session is started, it not only tests the upload speed of your server (at home) but also the download speed of your client machine. It then adjusts the streams accordingly, so that there is little or no buffering required. This means that, in theory, if your mobile phone can browse the web, it can stream, even with a low connection speed. This is something Vodafone is trialing at the moment.
One issue I discovered, was that even when idle, the software is chewing up a fair amount of memory – nearly 50MB! The name of the software “Orb”, was also a distinct clue as to the origin of Winamp Remote. I very quickly realised that this is nothing more than rebadged, mildly crippled “MyCast” software made by Orb. So I decided to take a look at this as well, to see what else was on offer, and to see if there was any benefit to choosing Winamp Remote over Orb.