Recently, Squirrels (the same folks who bring you such great apps as Reflector 2 and AirParrot 2) announced a new Mac (and Windows) app called DropStream. The $9.99 app has one goal in life: to make streaming of audio to Apple TV and Chromecast as easy as possible. Does it accomplish that goal? Read on for a full review…
The idea behind DropStream is that you just drag and drop a movie, music or picture file to start streaming. You can create playlists, choose or change a destination device (Apple TV, Google Chromecast, AirPlay-enabled speakers or Reflector 2), turn on subtitles, and change tracks from one easy to use Mac app.
Installing DropStream is quick and easy, but you will need to do two things. First, you’ll want to go into System Preferences > Security & Privacy and allow the app make changes to the system. If you don't do this, you may end up rebooting your Mac over and over... Second, you’ll need to reboot your Mac twice — once for the driver install, and a second time for a driver update.
Once DropStream is installed, it asks you to add a destination. This can be any of those device I mentioned above, and DropStream does a very good job of identifying those devices quickly. If you have a lot of receivers on a large network -- like at a school or business -- you can force DropStream to do a more thorough search. With a click, you know that you’re beginning to stream a file to a specific device as the name of the device is displayed.
Next, you literally just drag and drop files onto the DropStream window. If you have more than one file, you can easily move them around to create a custom playlist. Video files show a preview window, and hovering over the preview with your cursor will let you either toggle audio or add subtitles if they’re available. Just want to stream your system audio to an Apple TV or Chromecast? Click the speaker icon and it’s done.
Preferences allow users to change the video quality, stream 4K always or when supported (or stream 4K content in 1080p), and change the photo display time. The latter is wonderful if you have a folder full of photos that you want to turn into a slideshow; you simply drag the photos onto DropStream and preset a display time, and off it goes, automatically switching slides after the preset time with a nice dissolve between slides.
One suggestion I’d have for Squirrels is to provide a way to auto-play PowerPoint or Keynote decks with a drag and drop. As it is, the app is stable and works well, and adding that capability would be icing on the cake.
If you’re looking for a better and easier way of streaming your own video and picture files to a TV from a Mac, or want to send a stream of audio (even from services like Spotify) from your Mac to a receiver, DropStream is a solid solution.