This tutorial will guide you through the steps to stream video files from a network drive to your Android device running Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) – using free Apps.
Lets get this out of the way up front – this is almost certainly not the most elegant way to stream videos from a network drive to your Android phone or tablet. With that said – it works, and it’s free. If you have a better solution – using free Android Apps – please leave a comment below!
Additional Note: this won’t work using previous versions of Android (v2.2 aka Froyo or v2.3 aka Gingerbread). I haven’t been able to test it on Jelly Bean (Android 4.1)
With all of that said – lets go!
- From the Google Play Market, you’ll need to download and install File Expert, Chrome for Android and VLC – if you don’t have them installed already. VLC may not be a requirement for you – if you have another video player installed, it may work in place of VLC. I would still strongly suggest installing it for the sake of this tutorial – you can always uninstall it later.
- Make sure your Android device connected to the same WiFi Network that your Network Drive is on.
- Launch File Expert from your Applications list.
- Tap Network from the Home screen.
- Tap Windows/Samba sharing
- Tap Search Existing Servers
- File Expert will now scan all of the internal IP addresses on your Network, looking for Shared Network Drives. Once you see your Network Drive “pop up” in the list on the left side of the screen, you can click Cancel and stop scanning your network.
- Now tap the IP address that represents your Network Drive.
- Once you’re connected, you’ll have to navigate through whatever folders you have on the Network Drive to find your video files.
- Tap the video file you want to stream. In this case, the file format I’m using as an example to stream, is an .avi
- Now you’ll be presented with a list of Apps that your Android device thinks you can/should open the file with. In the case of an .avi file – tap Chrome.
Note: check all of the Apps that Android lists. If you have a video player installed and it’s listed – select it instead of Chrome and see if the video streams properly. If it does, skip down to step #15.
- After you select Chrome, it will open up briefly…
- … and then another window will appear – asking which App you want to open the file with. This time, VLC will be displayed. Select it.
- Your video should now start to stream perfectly.
- If you opened an .mp4 file file instead of an .avi, when the Android window appears asking which App you’d like to open the file with, select Internet instead of Chrome. If a video player appears in the list – select it instead of Internet.
- Once again, another Android window will appear. Tap Android System.
- What do you know – another list. Tap VLC (or Video Player to use the default/built in video player)
- Your .mp4 file will now stream to your Android device.
- Again – not the most elegant solution. It works, but there’s a lot of what appears to be unnecessary tapping. If you use a (free) video player that will set itself as an option to select right after tapping a video file – please share it in the comments!