One thing reports say people are doing with their tablets is watching videos, and they do that a lot, despite the fact they have big screen TVs at home. I bet the main reason behind this is that fact consumers find it easier to watch videos on a lightweight device no matter where they are at a given time: living room on a sofa, in the kitchen, office room or other more delicate places which I don’t want to mention here.
And don’t believe everyone is connecting their iPad or iPad 2 to a laptop with iTunes installed to copy movies, as there’s the more easy option of streaming the videos stored on network devices directly to the iPad without copying them in the first place. Streaming is a pretty easy to understand concept that relies on a server and player: the server stores the files and streams them to any player found in the same network that request a certain shared file.
What do I need to stream videos to iPad?
If you read what I’ve said above it’s clear that you need a server, in this case a PC or a Mac, and an app installed on the iPad that makes it a streaming player. For this tutorial I’ve used a PC running Windows 7 with the Windows Media player service running in the background and alternatively the PS3 Media server software designed for the Playstation 3 console that works just fine with yxplayer 2 lite, the free version of yxplayer that runs on the iPad and can connect to any DLNA server in the same WiFi network.
Below are some screenshots of the very easy to use yxplayer2. All you have to do is start the app, select Video source and look for UPNP servers or Samba servers (for Macs). You can even play videos from the Internet (if you know their address) or files stored locally.
yxplayer 2 screenshots:
Performance with yxplayer2
During normal use you’ll see that some clips run perfectly (.avi up to 720p resolution) while others play rather worse including .mkv and .mov files. That I suppose is a problem with the processing power on the iPad, as the videos already come transcoded from the PS3 media player. It could also be a problem with the file containers and bitrates so you should try for yourself which is the best file/codec combination for storing your movie library for iPad streaming. Here’s a walk through video I’ve put together for you to see how it works.
You can also try other free software pieces available on the Apple App store, the Air Video and Video Stream, but those required you to install a dedicated server that’s not compatible with other apps.