Streamnation (formerly Stream Nation) is one of the most comprehensive solutions we've tested for storing and streaming your photos and videos, and today, it gets a bit better. The service now lets you share movies and TV shows you've ripped to your computer (and then uploaded to the cloud) with friends. Streamnation 2.0's tentpole feature sounds a little too good to be true, but founder Jonathan Benassaya isn't worried. After navigating digital rights for years as the co-founder of music-streaming service Deezer, he couldn't be more confident about his new solution for sharing your content.
Sharing works like this: you upload a video, choose to make it available on your profile, and add some friends. At this point, friends can see your shared videos within their library and stream them on demand to any internet-connected computer or iOS device. If a friend begins watching a movie, it becomes inaccessible to you, just as it would in real life. "We've recreated physical borrowing in digital, with same restrictions," Benassaya stresses. "The concept of borrowing inside of fair use is restricted to friends and family, and since there is no copy involved, you are not distributing multiple copies of the same content to your friends." So it works like Kindle book lending, except with streaming movies.
This is all assuming your friends know how to rip DVDs, of course. But, perhaps the masses aren't Streamnation's target audience — for now, at least. "Twenty-five percent of our users are pro photographers," says Benassaya. "We are also attracting small video production studios if they don't want to use Vimeo or Ooyala." Users on Streamnation, in fact, store more than 150GB in files on the service, which is a lot more than the average person has on his entire computer. Benassaya calls these people the "movie lovers," the people who use apps like Plex to organize all their content. And like Plex, Streamnation pulls in metadata from the web like the IMDB rating, poster art, and cast for your movies and shows. Benassaya wants Streamnation to be your "media hub," the place where you can store all your photos and videos, regardless of source, and share them however you want.
"Why spend the same amount of money for content that has more restrictions?"
Aside from the service's new sharing features, Streamnation 2.0 received a very handsome visual revamp on iOS and web. Version 1.0 of the service was technically sound, but visually amateurish. The latest version feels much more well-rounded, adding modern fonts, better use of negative space, and iOS 7-esque icons, while maintaining its own personality. Combined with its new sharing features, extensive range of supported file types, and enticing pricing tiers ($9.99 per month for 500GB of storage — half the price of Google Drive, and one fifth the price of Dropbox), Streamnation 2.0 is an impressive genre-spanning service and application. "Ten years ago, you could buy a DVD, rip it, and put it on computer, but now, you buy something on iTunes, and if tomorrow you have a Surface tablet, you can't watch it," Benassaya laments. "Why spend the same amount of money for content that has more restrictions?"