Do you own an iPad, an iPhone, or an iPod Touch and enjoy watching movies on any of these devices? If you have a big collection of movies on your computer and would like to be able to watch these movies on any of these devices I have the perfect solution for you – Air Video.
Air Video is a very cool software that sits on your Windows or Apple desktop or laptop. It converts the computer into a streaming server. You also need to download a client application on your iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch to gain access to the stream. After that you can sit back, relax, and enjoy your movie collection from anywhere within the reach of your wireless collection. Let’s look at how to get all this done.
The first step is to download the latest release of Air Video. Head over to the Download section of the Air Video website and get the latest release for your operating system. (NOTE: Linux users can use Air Video with wine.) Windows users will also have to install the Bonjour service. NOTE: Bonjour would be already installed on your computer if you have iTunes installed on it.
The installation process for Mac users is quite simple. Once you are done download the Air Video installer the DMG should mount automatically. If not, double click on it. Then drag and drop the binary file inside the package to the Applications directory. Windows users will need to double click the installer after downloading it, and then follow the steps and hit OK till the end of the installation process.
With the installation done it’s time to launch the Air Video server. Windows users can launch the Air Video server application from the Start Up menu. Mac users need to double click on the application file under the Applications directory and voila you should be in business. There’s just one configuration you need to make to get going. You need to add the location of one or more directories containing the movies you want to watch. Go to the Shared Folders tab under the Air Video server preference pane and click on Add Disk Folder. Add the directory you want and hit Open or OK. You can also use the Server On/Off toggle button to turn on or switch off the streaming service at any time.
Now pull out your iPod Touch, or iPad or iPhone and get connected to the Internet. Go to the Apple Store and search for Air Video. You will find two applications – one for free and the other for $2.99. The free one is a limited version of the paid version. Get the free version first. You can use it to test out the functionality. Once you are done downloading the application on your device launch it.
Start up the Air Video app on your iPhone and add your video server. Your video server typically shows up right away if you are on the same local network. Do note that sometimes, however you need to add explicitly the video server by its IP address, but I have not had that experience yet.
One limitation that the free client application has is that it displays only a few of the films contained in the directory. You need to refresh the display to get a different set of movies to display.
Once you have picked which movie you want to watch you will be presented with the screen like in the screenshot above. If it is not the correct format, Air Video you can have Air Video convert it on the fly and watch it, or convert it in batch. Using the batch conversion option might be better for longer videos but you have to wait for it to finish before you can watch the video.