Stream Movies From Your Computer Easily With ES File Explorer

Posted Sep 08, 2012 at 8:36 am in Threads > Entertainment

What this tutorial will help you set up is actually a way to wirelessly access your computer files from your Android device. One of the best practical applications of this is to easily stream movies, without having to mess around with silly acronyms like DLNA and XBMC. Besides, if you have the appropriate HDMI cable/adapter, this could set you up with a really simple and easy way to watch your shows/movies/cartoons/whatever on your TV.

I’ve split the process into two general sections: Computer Side and Android Side. For the computer side, I’ll be using (and taking screenshots of) a Windows 7 PC and for the Android side, I’ve taken screenshots from my Asus Transformer (but it should be the same process for all/most other Android devics). So let’s get started:

Computer Side
Objectives: Set up static IP and share folders.
1) Set up static IP
a) Go to the control panel in the start menu.
b) Depending on your Windows settings, the submenus might look a bit different, but with default Windows 7, look under the subheading of Network and Internet and click on View network status and tasks
c) Click on your connection name (It’ll be next to “connections”)
d) In the popup window, press Properties
e) In the next popup window, scroll down and click to “Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4) and Press the Properties button
f) This neeeext popup window is the one you want.
g) Select the “Use the following IP address” bubble.
h) This next bit depends on your modem setup. For most models, your modems will resolve to something like or
i) This is where you set your static IP. For the IP address (assuming you have the above modem address), you want to put in something that conforms to the format of 192.168.1.x. For the ‘x’, you can enter pretty much any number, but I like to put in something like 50, to make it easy to remember (which would make it
j) The Subnet mask will fill itself in after you type in the IP address
k) The default gateway is something that you have to look up. Go to the start menu and type cmd and press enter, which should open up a command prompt in a new window.
l) Type ipconfig, press enter and you’ll be presented with a wall of text. Scroll all the way back up to the top and you should see your default gateway. Type that number into the popup window from before
m) The DNS server addresses are something you can look up online if you like. You can also just use the settings I have on the screenshot below (Preferred DNS server:; Alternate DNS server:
n) Click OK and close on all the popup windows
o) The last thing to do is to navigate to the folder you want to share (eg. with your videos in it), right click it and go to “share with” -> Homegroup (read/write)
p) Here’s a screenshot of a few of the above steps on it:

Android side
a) Go to the Play Store and Download ES File Explorer. As an aside, this is primarily a really good file browser, but it can do other fancy things (like the stuff in this tutorial).
b) In the app, swipe to the screen to the right from the default one
c) Press the + New button at the top (or press menu and press New) and then press Server
d)You’ll be presented with this screen:

I’ll explain what to put for each of them:
Domain: You can just leave this blank
Server: This is the Static IP that you set up in the computer part. So, with the example I gave, you would type
Username and Password: You type your windows username and password if you have them, or you can just tick Anonymous.
Display as: You can name it if you want (eg. “Home”)
e) You should now see the connection you just set up, with a picture of a laptop with an Earth next to it as its icon. Press it.
f) You should now be greeted with the folders that you have shared. If you have problems seeing or accessing folders here, you want to go back to your computer and check the sharing settings
g) Navigate to the video you want, select it, and it’ll start playing.
h) Enjoy it!

Okay, so this turned out to be way longer and more detailed than I anticipated, but I hope it’s useful to some people. The best part of streaming videos is that you can choose which video player app you want to use to play it (I recommend Diceplayer or MX Video Player).

ES File Explorer is also really good for copying files onto your device – if you long press on any file/folder, you can select “copy”. Then you navigate back to your device (swipe to the left), press menu and select Paste.

Other ways this could be useful:

  • Copying videos over so you can watch them elsewhere
  • Copying textbooks/documents/lecture notes for later consumption
  • If you like to dabble with ROM flashing, this is a really easy way to copy the ROMS onto your device.
  • Almost anything you can think of, really. You can now access all the files on your computer, provided that it’s shared properly and your computer is on.

Can anyone think of a better/novel/practical use for being able to access your computer files? Also, if you have any questions about any of this, please let me know below.

Thanks for reading!

Addendum (02/07/13): I should probably mention that ES File Explorer has since undergone a massive UI overhaul. Even though it looks quite different (and much better, in my opinion), everything should still be in the same place as the above screenshots.

  • shawn

    This worked for me until recently…now it won’t play any mp4 files! Says “Sorry cannot play file”…strange as it worked a week ago! I tried all the players and no luck. I don’t want to download mp4 files to watch them!! I watch these files on my pc all the time…any ideas?

    • Esoth

      That’s really bizarre. Has anything in your network changed recently? Did your apps update? Did your system update?

      • shawn

        I don’t remember cause it was so long ago. but recently i got a new router so I decided to try again. I can see the files and play music, but the main videos I want to see don’t play; it says “sorry, no application available”, then if I hold it down and select “open as”>video it says this media does not support streaming, player will be started automatically after transferring completely” if I use ES media player, but if I use a default app it will says “file cannot be displayed or played”. The only format it’ll play is .mp4, but most of my videos are .avi formatted and a few are .m4v (.m4v was converted for transfer to phone memory to play)

        • TheS

          I ran into similar issues. MX Player worked fine for local files, but streaming did not work. You can trick ES FileMngr/MX Player though and after that it works nicely.
          - install another player that can play the file endings you want. For example, BSPlayer FREE works nicely.
          - copy files with the file endings you want to play in mx player to your device.
          - find them in EX FM and open them
          - it will ask you in which app to open the file, choose MX here and make it default
          - you can now stream files with that file ending directly, even after uninstalling BSPlayer.

          It appears that there’s a bug in ES that skips the remote/local check once an app has been set as default.

  • veracu

    Yes! Es file explorer has been my file manager of choice for well over a year now. Thanks for the tutorial.

    • Esoth

      You’re very welcome – I’m just glad people have found this to be useful. Yeah, MX Player has been pretty solid all-round, but Diceplayer integrated a pop-out player, which could be useful for some people.

  • veracu

    And MX video player had been my choice too. :)

  • jimbo

    Long press mp4 file. Select play as, then video. Select mobo or mx player. If you dont have one of those I highly recommend it. This method works just like setting file defaults in windows. I had this same problem.

  • jimbo

    Also, who knows how to set this up for online streaming? Cant figure it out myself, but ive seen it done.

    • jd

      I find the easiest way without using a static up address is to setup a free dyndns accout. Install filezilla sserver on your pc. In ES file browser you will now goto ftp server instead of network. For more info search for “setup ftp with dyndns and filezilla”. Once this is setup es will be able to stream remote file to your androids player.

  • aranea

    Thank you! I set it up on my nexus 10 and it works great!

  • royo

    does this only work through wifi or does is also work through 3g, 4g…ect.?

  • decker

    I have a media server (Serviio for windows) that I can access from my android phone using MediaHouse and MX Player. I can also access it from my TV. It was fairly easy to setup but I did have to learn some DLNA lingo as you mentioned. The most important thing was picking media formats that would play on both my TV and my phone natively (no trans-coding). Once I figured this out. I started the long process of converting every DVD in the house to mp4. It took a while and the kids complained because they couldn’t find their movies. When it was all done no complaints from Mom or the kids. They love the convenience of our own “personal netflix” as they call it.

    • Esoth

      You are so dedicated – your kids are lucky! Thankfully, between MX Player and Diceplayer, you should be able to play most formats. Make sure to fiddle around with the hardware and software modes of decoding. Most (but not all) will play smoother on H/W.

  • Teebor

    Been doing this for while on my tablet & phone, I was surprised at how easily this worked off the bat when I first tried it for the giggles.

    I find its great for streaming training videos or transferring files between devices.

  • thymeless

    For online streaming, the hurdle is that your external ip is not the same as you set on your computer. And your ISP will often change it as well.

    Most solutions use a special app to check your external ip and keep synced with your device. are some ISPs with which you can set this sort of thing up, and they have the applet to check the IPs and keep it routed via dyndns or no-ip. At least that was the case about 18 months ago when i last looked into doing this. Didn’t actually follow through as I had unresolvable debian issues.

    • Esoth

      I’ve looked into this over the years, and personally the effort involved wasn’t worth it. I’d rather just copy the files onto my device separately. But yes, you’d need something like dyndns

  • lj

    Forgive me if this is a stupid question but are there any kind of security issues to doing this? Is it (your computer) constantly a shared network that you have to remember “turn off” or does it reset itself?

    Sorry if this sounds stupid. I’m kind of new to this. Sounds cool though.


    • aranea

      As long as your LAN (that’s your local area network) is secure there shouldn’t be any problems. it’s nothing different from sharing files from one computer to another.

      • lj


  • jonstle

    This is great information! Thank you for a great thread. I was wanting to do something like this.

  • nez

    Regarding security, would anyone easily be able to access my pc based on this method? Or perhaps the a network login password can be created to login to my pc other than the windows login. I am keen in your method but afraid that my neighbors will have access to all my files. I am a noob in this network thing. Thanks

    • aranea

      I think you should make sure that your network has a wireless password. That way none of your neighbors will be able to access your network or your files.

      • Esoth

        No, this doesn’t “open up” your computer or increase the security risk whatsoever. Basically, your wireless network password should be secure to begin with. Secondly, you’d ideally have a separate password to login to your PC. So in a way, you have two levels of security.

  • Vernon

    Yes, it does. So in this case then security wise should be safe right? Thanks

  • changkh

    I am also using the ES File Explorer and Dice player combination to stream video files from my PC. I created a virtual ad hoc Wifi on Windows 8 so my Android can access internet via my PC which has a fiber connection.

    No problem surfing net, it was fast considering I can stream HD youtube videos without having to buffer. Streaming full HD 1080p mkvs from my PC was flawless with no latency. Here comes the problem, file transfer via SMB from my PC to Android was excruciatingly slow.

    After some research, I learnt that SMB was never fast to being with. In that case, how could I stream 1080p video files so smoothly. Is that using a different protocol altogether?

  • alexanderharri3

    Sounds like a good way to get some streaming action. Personally, I use Plex server because it handles media so well and adds metadata, etc. They included a no-hassle DLNA server inside, then I use aVia media player to access the server and play my tunes to Google TV and TF201. Alternatively, I use ES File Explorer in conjunction with a Linux box for easier setup of the connection.

  • Faiz Rahman

    I can’t seem to get it to work, I’ve done everything exactly as you wrote and it still says “cannot find the server.” Are there any other ways to get it to work??

  • irishrally

    aMPdroid is awesome … for android.

    Plex is great if you want to share with all your friends on android, iOS, Windows, OSX, Roku, etc.

  • poringslasher

    i’ve been using ES explorer for a while and i had problems with it connecting to my network.
    thank you very much for this wonderful guide. now i can watch my pr0n collection on my phone. lol jk. or am i? hahaha

    shared this link on my FB account. very helpful. thank you.

  • John

    Set up the above and its like a dream come true – except that it is painfully SLOW. Just to see a 1Mb JPEG image takes over 30 seconds to load. My phone is running Android 4.1, and Speedtest on my Android phone averages >10Mb/s – so the Wifi-N connection is fast enough. My “server” is a fast 64-bit Win 7 machine with an i7 processor and 8Gb RAM. If I do the same with a wireless laptop, it is infinitely quicker. The bottleneck is somewhere on the Android side. Please help !!

  • Marcus

    I tried to set this up and everything went well until Creating a New server on ES File Explorer. I left the domain blank as well as username and password (I don’t actually have a username or password on my PC), but filled in the server just as you said and checked the Anonymous box. However, when I press OK it still says “Error, cannot find the server”. I double checked my network connection on my PC to make sure that all the info I changed to make it a static IP worked, which it did so I don’t think that is the problem. What do you think could be the issue?

  • Captain King

    How to use ES File Explorer to Connect My Computer to my Mobile through internet, i’m far away from my computer, So i connect my mobile through 3G, to be online, and of course my computer is online too. is there is a way to do this.

  • thymeless

    Yes, but it’s a bit of a hassle. The primary problem is that your ISP will change your IP # without warning depending on their needs.This is usually resolved by using a Dynamic DNS service to remap your IP# as needed. This way, you always connect through a fixed address and the service handles the rerouting as needed. You’ll install an applet on your home computer/server that talks to the service to keep it apprised of what your current IP # is and when it changes., are two of these sorts of providers. There are others, but I’m not current on what’s good in this market at the moment and those two names I remember from a few years back.

    You’ll have some added security hassles and risks you’ll have to weigh to see if it’s worth the added maintenance and risk.

  • spacker1

    The easiest way to do this would be to use Air Stream and stream directly over wifi. No playing with ip address and LAN settings.

  • john

    Yes nice, this works!
    However, I can’t seem to get the subtitles (.srt file) to work?

    Any ideas on how to get subtitles as well?


  • HoibO

    Alright – here’s a good one. I’d like to stream some material from my desktop to my Android (Nook Color with a Cyanogen Modded ROM) I have ESFE installed, press LAN and I want to Add the desktop as a New Server. Problem: Press my “Menu” button but nothing happens. I can’t get to the Add New Server features to input the necessary Networking calls. Android clearly shows the sireless system up and functioning perfectly.

    I think there may be a bug or something in my Android won’t let me in. I’ve tried both in landscape and portrait orientation. I’ve tried swiping and pinching an all directions. I’ve tried long-press power and select “menu” from that context. My Menu button (lower left hand corner) works fine on every other app except this one.

    Any explanation? And where do I go to resolve?


    • HoibO

      Resolved. Uinstalled and reinstalled. This brings back a missing bar at the bottom with “New” plust Select, Search, Refresh and View now visible.

      All set for streaming.


      • Tom1980

        So new options came up when you uninstalled then reinstalled huh?
        I’m having a similar issue, the device keeps telling me “Cannot multi-select here” when I’m at the LAN settings. Any setting, doesn’t matter, it says the same thing… Facepalm…. LOL..

  • Sush

    hey bro… exactly what I was searching for!
    but i have a problem. i don’t have a router! the way i usually use these kind of sharing, is through wifi tethering on my phone… or creating a hotspot in my laptop through mhotspot software…
    but this dosen’t seem to work…

    but i did manage to access my pc files and stream videos through ES explorer app, using bluetooth…
    though it’s slow for hd videos…

    so, need to get this running derperately… hope i do.
    please help me




  • Jim1984

    Very Nice one…… Something here for you to try out….. its a different experince for videos.

  • Jim1984

    Did any one try out mobogenie till now

  • Chris

    I think this is what I’m looking for, but I’m hoping someone can clarify. I have a few questions. Will this enable me to stream video when not connected to the same network as my computer? I.e. streaming media from my home computer to my tablet at work? If so, if the folder I am sharing is on a NAS, does my computer still have to be on? I’m assuming it doesn’t, but would the setup for this be different at all? Thirdly, and the reason I’m resorting to this even though I have a NAS…I have been ripping DVDs to MKV format on my NAS, and watching through ES file explorer on LAN at home, using MX player on my Nexus 10. They play really well, but if I try and play through the NAS software (WD my cloud), they are very laggy. Why is this? Because if this worked as it was supposed to, I could watch them from work as it is, but they just don’t seem to want to play. Is there alternative NAS software I can use? Or is the method described above using ES file explorer the best way? Many thanks in advance.

  • Tom1980

    When I press the + symbol to add as you instructed (it says: Add a server by Menu->New->Server) it keeps telling me “Cannot multi-Select here”. It says that on every screen in fact…
    Is it just the Android device I’m using possibly? It’s not a phone, it’s a tablet. I just want my son to be able to access a folder I set up for him. I use homegroup (Windows 7) with my fiancé’s laptop and that’s easy; so same concept, but with his new Android would be great. He’s 5, I have a lot of educational videos for him. :)
    Thanks in advance if anybody has any suggestions.

  • Robbie

    I have an android tv box, and a windows 8 media center pc. I connect to the internet via 4g connection, so essentially the android tv box and PC both use the wireless hotspot of my phone for their data needs. I have no issues with speed etc. I want to be able to connect the Android TV box to my PC via ethernet cable in order to stream my vast library from the pc to the box. I have been stumped on how to do this, any suggestions?

  • Robert

    Many thanks for this info.
    I have been pratting about for two days with apps and servers to stream video from my Pc to Android and none really did what I wanted.
    This worked straight away & it is seamless with an MX player.
    As my pc is always on I just VPN in from my Android when I am out and about & that works too

    “Happy Days”

    Thanks again


  • Fethullah

    sorry I m not gud at english as same as android stuffs. here is my que about this topic , i hope you got me =) are there any way to transfer streaming videos on internet from my android TO my Pc or LCD TV? as you may know I tried USB connection with Anroid Sdk stuffs to show my phone screen on PC and I did , but the fps (frame rate) isnt enough to watch videos with regular motions.The reverse type of my problem is solved with the app “Splashtop Streamer”, however recent problem not.Btw, my phone (HTC DesireX) has no port like HDMI.

    thx for your interest

  • naimesh

    easy way

  • Anonymous

    That was a great guide. Thank you for helping me set this up. Been using ES for the longest time and didn’t know what I was missing, smh. Thank you once again!

  • Lisa Roy

    This is great and rewarding post, i consider recommending it. Thanks for sharing this great info here.
    Pc Help

  • SybrKnite

    This was a great help. I can now stream to my Xoom with no problem. The only problem I had was during the setup I put in my windows username and password and also check the anonymous box. This wouldn’t allow me to find server. Untic check the box then it found it right away. Now everything works great. Streaming is no problem and better than I could’ve even expected. Also my first time using MX player and have not had any issues at all.
    Thank you.

  • russell jackson

    How can you access the files on your pc at home from your phone while connected to the coffee shops free wi fi internet connection

  • frenchi

    This was helpful to me, thanks a lot mate!

  • roadmap

    Had been using ES File explorer without knowing its potentials. Nice walkthrough. Using Usb to connect to my pc. LoL

  • tater hater

    Funny I wanted something that would allow me to play on the computer files I dL to my android. This doesn’t work for that…. On a positive note…I did learn a bit more about how file sharing works.

  • Michael

    Tried to access usb stick on Netgear DGN2200 router with ES File Explorer via FTP, but to no avail … Can access PC folders on LAN facility on ES File Explorer ….. Please assist

  • munna

    i tried this method …… several times …….. but same problem … as server not found

  • ABA

    In order to play a movie with subtitles it is recommended for you to download MX Player app to your android device (TV, Smartphone or any other android device) and anytime you play a movie from your ES File Explorer choose the MX Player option to play with.

    Tested with Toshiba 50L4300 connected to my home Lan network.

  • Myo Ko Ko Khet

    I like

  • Kev47112

    FYI Folks-

    This is NOT really STREAMING. It is copying onto your android device, then playing. Still works, but this explains why it takes SO LONG to start. It has to copy the whole file first. Also, your device will eventually fill up and you will need to begin managing space by deleting some of the files you have copied.

    In ACTUAL STREAMING, bits of the data are transmitted in order and buffered, but not stored permanently. It’s more complicated to setup, but playback starts faster AND there is not file management to be done.

    Still, a VERY cool feature.

  • Jason

    MKV sound?