When the Apple iPad being announced, Steve Jobs have mentioned that it can be used to play video for a continuous 10 hours, which is impressive for a tablet, and it is definitely a plus to watch video on the LED-backlit IPS display on the iPad. However, iPad (or rather iOS) doesn’t natively support all the video formats, and it have a quite limited storage space (maximum up to 64GB), therefore, minus all the songs, apps, games, e-books etc., it might be an issue to store a few full length movies in the iPad.
Air Video plays/converts your video wirelessly
This is where Air Video comes in. This app is able to solve both issue altogether, and extend what an iPad can do. In short, Air Video is able to play the any movies stored in your PC or Mac directly on the iPad wirelessly (even on 3G!) with live conversion, or convert them wirelessly for offline viewing.
Requirements for Air Video
To use Air Video as what it was designed to do, you will need to have an iOS 3.0+ device (iPod Touch, iPhone or iPad, obviously), and a PC or Mac with local wireless network enabled (or a wireless router). Both the iOS device and the PC/Mac requires the Air Video client and the Air Video server installed, respectively. If you can’t wait to try out, download and install Air Video Free from the App Store and Air Video server for Windows and MacOS.
Video streaming over-the-air never becomes this easy
Once both the client and server software are installed and ran (and both iOS device and PC/Mac are connected in local network), wireless video streaming on the iOS device is ready to go. In the Air Video server properties, you can add the folder on your PC/Mac which contains the videos, and this will be reflected in the Air Video client in the iOS device.
After that, on the iOS device (iPad in this case), select the folder that you desired, and then select the video, and it is ready to be played. Depending on the video file format selected, the option might be vary. In the example below, I have selected a mp4 video file, which is a native format supported by iOS, but it is a 720p video, and it plays on the iPad without any issue.
Air Video supports most, if not all of the video formats available, such as MKV, AVI, RMVB (yes, it plays rmvb very well) etc. To stream the video directly from the PC/Mac to the iPad, select Play with Live Conversion and the video will start playing within seconds – magically. Besides that, the video playing isn’t a one-way stream, which means that you can actually perform seeking on the streaming video, just like the video played locally.
Need to play video offline? Convert it!
Air Video does not only play your video with the advanced live conversion feature, it also can help to convert all the videos and transfer them into your iOS devices to allow offline viewing wirelessly, if you wish to.
Notice that there is a Convert button on the Air Video client in the screenshot above? This is where you can initiate the conversion on the server side and once the conversion is done, the video file will be automatically transferred to your iOS devices. The next thing you only have to do during a trip is to launch Air Video and play your converted video right away, even in Airplane Mode. Simple, no?
How about streaming via my 3G service?
If you have an unlimited 3G plan for you iOS device (applicable for iPhone and iPad 3G+Wi-Fi only), you can also stream your favorite video over-the-air, from your PC/Mac to your iOS device, via the 3G connection. Though still in beta stage, but Air Video also allows you to access the streaming using the internet, although you will require to have a router with UPnP or NAT-PMP support, and an unlimited internet plan of course. Though it is good to have such option for iOS device users, so definitely no complaint here.
Air Video is a carefully designed app that extend the capability of iOS device, especially on the iPad, by allowing non-natively supported video formats to be played, as well as minimizing the need of storage for video files. Setup for both client and server and pretty straight forward, so it definitely one of the must have app for iOS device, especially for the movie lovers.
Air Video can be downloaded at iTunes App Store for only $2.99 (which is a steal considering the features packed in it), but if you are not ready to pay for it and wanted to try it out for free, they do offer a free version with limited viewable files in a folder which doesn’t affect the core function at all.
Give it a try, you will be amazed!