How to Stream Videos With Air Video

If you are like me, then you will have lots of videos (HD and SD) stored on your computer, and most of these will be in a format that Apple devices will not be able to play. 

This was a big problem for me, as when I am away from my main computer (both inside my house and out around town), I still want to have access to these videos, especially on my Apple devices – as they’re always with me!

Normally, if I wanted to watch my videos when I’m out and about, I would have to convert them into a file format that Apple supports before I left. With Air Video, however, this is not the case. Air Video allows you to stream all the major video formats to your iPad and other Apple devices. This enables you to watch all of your content over your local wireless connection, or over the Internet!

Read on to find out how you can take your entire video library with you!

Setting It Up

Before you begin with Air Video you have to install the server software onto your Mac or PC. Which can be found here. Once installed, you choose the folders that you want to be able to access via the app. For me this was just my external hard drive containing all of my videos.

The number of folders you can share is limitless!

Air Video Shared Folders

Air Video Shared Folders

If you want to set it up so that you can access your videos outside of your house over an internet connection you need to complete a few more steps.

Firstly in the server software preferences menu, go to the ‘Remote’ tab. Once you have enabled this feature you will need to open a port on your router (this is specified from within the software) and configure it to point at the local IP address of your computer (Please note that this requires a router that is compatible with UPnP or NAT-PMP protocols).

The software on your computer will then give you a server PIN which you will need when connecting, I would also recommend password protecting your server, so if someone tries to access your server with your server pin they still can’t access it. This can be added under the ‘Settings’ tab.

Air Video Remote Access

Air Video Remote Access

Using The App

Before you can start watching the videos you need to add your server. This is easy when you are connecting over a local connection, if you have Apple’s Bonjour service running on your PC it should find the server automatically. If this doesn’t work, or you don’t have Bonjour installed, you can manually add the server by typing the servers local IP address.

Air Video Server List

Air Video Server List

Once the server is added and you want to watch a video you have two choices to do this.

Firstly you can do it the old fashioned way by converting the video to an Apple compatible format on your computer, and then streaming it to your desired device (You can request for the video to be converted from inside the app).

Secondly you can watch it with ‘live’ conversion, this means that the server is converting the files to a format that Apple recognizes while you are watching the video.

Air Video Conversion Options

Air Video Conversion Options

When I am streaming videos with live conversion at home I can watch videos at 5120kbit/s, which is the highest that the application allows you to. The video has no lag and the picture is crisp and clear.

At this time I would point out that if the computer you are using to convert the videos doesn’t have substantial memory or processing power then the live conversion may not be perfect (this is more likely to happen when you are watching high definition videos). This could cause the video to pause every now and then because you have reached the end of the part of the video that the software has converted.

Out and About

To access your videos over the internet you need your server PIN, which you would have been given when setting up the remote access to your server. In the app simply click on the add server button and go to the ‘Enter Server PIN’ page, type it in and enter your password (if you set one up).

Once done you can watch your videos anywhere you have an internet connection. Inevitably, the quality of the video you will be watching will be limited by the upload speed of your internet connection that your computer is using, and the download speed of the connection on your iDevice.

If you have trouble you can change the quality from the ‘Global Settings’ button on the app.

Air Video Server PIN

Air Video Server PIN

With the new AirPlay feature built in to iOS you can also watch all of your videos on your AppleTV, but to do this you will still need to use an iPad or iPhone.

To get the videos on your AppleTV you need to start watching the video on your iPad either with live conversion or have it converted prior to watching. Then to send the video to your AppleTV you just click on the AirPlay icon at the bottom of the screen.

Conclusion

One thing that impressed me about the developers of this app is that the app is compatible with both the iPad and the iPhone, meaning that you only have to buy it once. I think that they could have decided to charge for it twice, like most other companies, but that they kept it confined to one app is a nice touch.

I don’t think that you need to buy this app if you only want to watch your content locally and have purchased all of your videos on the iTunes store, or you have them in a format that iTunes can play. Using iOS 4.3 Home Sharing allows you to share your iTunes library over your local network directly to the Video app on your iPad.

Air Video is, however, a great solution for getting access to all of your video content where, and whenever, you want it. The live conversion feature is a god send if you have a lots of files that iTunes and devices running the iOS operating system can’t play!


Summary

Air Video can stream videos in almost any format to your iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. Take your video library everywhere!

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  • Rick Ball

    I purchased the Air Video app but it’s not clear to me how I access movies from the Internet through this app. I am trying to do this through my iPad exclusively as I have no downloaded movies on my computer. There seems to be no way to access the Internet through this app.

  • Lisbeth

    I agree TOTALLY with Rick. This app is crap. Where is the ability to watch live streaming videos which is one of the primary selling points the developers provide? After all the frigging around downloading server app and setting up, there is STILL no ability to watch videos on an iPad. Apple should hang their heads in shame. Unecessarily complex and useless.

    • Arlene

      I agree! You could not have said it better. This app is useless!

    • BOb

      I didnt have any problems and it works great.

      Perhaps its the user its the problem and not the app.

      • Leonardo

        “Perhaps its the user its the problem and not the app.” HAHAHAHAHAHHAHHA TOTALLY!

  • David Brandon

    Not sure what the other two posters may have missed, but Air Video works flawlessly for me. And thanks to AirPlay, I can stream the audio through my home stereo system (from either ITunes movies, YouTube vids or vids stored on the computer), while watching the video on the iPad. Next I want to get Apple TV, so I can stream the videos directly to our TV…hopefully that will go as smoothly as Air Video has. I think it’s a great app.

  • John

    Using my iPod 2nd gen as client and my MacBook pro as server, I can push audio to my Apple TV2, but not the video. Apple’s “support” consists of all users with a similar problem logging their issues dutifully into the discussion forums, with the typical silence from Apple on a solution. (Always puzzled at why Apple believes that once a customer gets their problem off their chest, then everything is OK, with no actual solution needed.) Can anyone help?

  • Ogunwale

    I used to use this app on my iPhone, so for me it was no-brainer buying the app for my iPad and having access to ALL movies and TV shows on my Mac. I’m going into hospital soon and so being bored is not something i’ll have to worry about.

  • Marctographer

    I have to say the first two gentlemen that commented.. perhaps you yourself are useless but this app is far from it.
    I would say that Airvideo is the number 1 App i use.. easy access to any of my video files.. wether downloaded tv or movies.. or home movies we filmed and edited ourselves. I then project them onto one of my tv’s that has appletv2′. We could not be any happier with this app> i am anxious to see the day where more apps catch onto the convenience of pushing your content from yoru phone to your tv.
    A browser would be great!!!!

  • alan lees

    airvideo is a awesome app, just wish they would bring out a web player as well…

  • Adam

    Use this along side logmein app and you can access your full computer. If I’m out and want to watch the latest movie I use logmein to acces my pc and download a movie and place the file into my air video folder then use air video to stream the movie flawlessly to my iPad or iPhone. Movies any time any where!!! Best two apps I use!!

  • Jeff

    Adam – I understand why you would use logmein to access files on your mac, but why would you use logmein to stream videos, when you have airvideo? Or, are you saying you can watch movies on airvideo offline, when you move the file from logmein to the airvideo folder?

  • Steve

    It’s great for watching movies stored on my home PC out and about on my iPhone but I haven’t been able to find a way to watch them on my laptop. Maybe I’m missing something. Is there a Mac OS/Windows client viewer apart from the iPhone/iPad versions?

  • iJay

    This app works flawlessly & effortlessly streams your video content from your PC or MAC to your iDevice when on 3G or wifi. Why anyone would download this app expecting to access online content is beyond me. It clearly describes what it is intended for & the first users comments are clearly idiots who downloaded the wrong app or did not read about it first..
    With the addition of Apple TV & the ability to send video & audio from the iphone 4s /5 & iPad devices this app truely comes into it’s own being able to easily & effortlessly stream all your content to a full screen TV through the Apple TV. Very usefull especially when iTunes doesn’t support all video formats. If you have a large video library like I do & doesn’t want to convert everything to MP4 just to work with iTunes, this is a must have app which I would highly recomended to anyone, especially if you own an Apple TV device.

  • Lee

    App works great on my iPad, only problem I have is, it will only display half the movies on my external hard drive. How do I fix this?

  • Jp Daigle

    can’t access over internet??? but it works good at home

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