How to Stream iTunes videos to the iPad using Mac OS X's Web Sharing

Discussion in 'iPad' started by fpnc, May 5, 2010.

  1. fpnc macrumors 68000

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    #1
    This seems to have gotten little notice here on MacRumors (or anywhere else for that matter), but it is possible to use Mac OS X's built-in Web Sharing feature to stream iTunes videos to the iPad. In fact, this even works for DRM-protected content so you can stream movies and music videos that you may have purchased from the iTunes Store. The process is very simple and it seems to work flawlessly -- even on my lowly G4 Mac mini running Leopard.

    To give credit, here is the first mention of this capability that I found within the MacRumors forums:

    http://forums.macrumors.com/showpost.php?p=9589251&postcount=12

    However, a step-by-step guide on setting this up was just published today on MacObserver, and here is a link to that article (I'd suggest using this article on MacObserver, since the original note on MacRumors didn't fully explain how to enable the streaming -- it's very simple, but hey, it's nice to have the step-by-step directions):

    http://www.macobserver.com/tmo/answers/stream_videos_and_music_from_your_mac_to_your_iphone_or_ipad/

    Frankly, this is probably the best tip I've yet seen for the iPad. I had struggled to find just such a solution using one of the various streaming apps that are available for sale on the App Store but none of those worked to my satisfaction (they have nice GUIs, but their streaming performance was less than ideal). I tried both AirVideo and StreamToMe -- I prefer the latter of the two -- but this simple and completely free solution using Mac OS X's Web Sharing works perfectly (in my hands).

    A couple of notes:

    1.) This method is completely free and uses capabilities that are native to both Mac OS X and the iPad (i.e. no hacks, no extra software to install or buy).

    2.) You view the video in Safari on the iPad, but you get the full movie player experience with full-screen mode, zoom, volume and position controls, the works.

    3.) The iPad's video out is supported, so you can use Apple's component video cable to view the video on a big screen or HD TV (DRM-protected content can't be viewed over the video output).

    4.) Even though the video is viewed with Safari, you can create a bookmark or even a home screen icon to launch you right into the directory/folders view so that you can play the video with just two taps (one to launch the bookmark/Safari, one to play or select the video).

    5.) It works on HD video or any other format as long as it is iTunes/iPad compatible (i.e. no support for MKVs, VOBs, etc.).

    6.) For some reason, music streaming only seems to work for MP3s. There may be a way around this, but I haven't done enough work to find out how. In any case, I'm not certain why you'd use this method to stream music since with this basic setup there is no way to use a playlist or listen to music in a continuous manner (i.e. you'd have to pick the music one at a time).

    7.) The CPU overhead on the serving Mac is extremely low. In fact, using my G4 Mac mini I was able to stream an HD movie to my iPad while I was also streaming a movie to my Apple TV and the Mac mini was still 90% idle.

    8.) You can use this technique to view PDFs and text and image files on your iPad (RTF, TXT, JPEG, PNG, possibly others). Thus, you can setup a shared documents folder on your Mac and view same on your iPad.
     
  2. msavwah macrumors 6502

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    #2
    I set this up a while back for my iPhone but ran into some problems and stopped using it. Can't remember why.
    I agree it's overlooked. Might give it a go again sometime.
     
  3. fpnc thread starter macrumors 68000

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    #3
    Note that I didn't need to perform step 2 in the MacObserver guide ("Step 2: Set The Right Permissions"). This is probably because my iTunes library is stored on an external drive which already has the correct read permissions. Setting the correct path to the external drive is pretty easy, since when you are in the Terminal application you can just drag a folder icon into the Terminal window to get the correct path onto the command line.

    I want to add, this is a pretty nice setup since it allows me to access all of the iTunes video content that I stream/sync to my Apple TV. Thus, it's almost like having a mobile version of the Apple TV (at least for video) although I'm only sharing it within my local network. This may be another point worth noting -- you can't stream video out over the internet using the simple setup that is detailed in the MacObserver article (although, with some additional work and a fast uplink to the internet that might also be possible).
     
  4. msavwah macrumors 6502

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    #4
    Oh I remember now. I could only access using my home wifi so I ditched it. That was for an iPhone though, I might wanna try this again on my iPad.
     
  5. hazmatzak macrumors regular

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    Apr 29, 2008
    #5
    Good to know someone is reading my posts! And even better, someone else has the time to do detailed instructions with annotated screen shots :)
     
  6. frankjl macrumors regular

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    Mar 22, 2010
    #6
    I have a better method. I use mobileme to stream my content.

    I created a folder in iphoto called Movies. Rip movies (I have about 130 ipad opt so far) All I have to do is go to the gallery app that i modified to fit the ipad and presto. I can stream any movie i put in that folder. Is using apple servers so you get a pretty good dedicated connection. I actually streamed avatar today using mywi and my ipad :)
     
  7. msavwah macrumors 6502

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    #7
    Man I'm really glad you posted this. All I had to do was enable web sharing and update my bookmarks, then add some handy icons to my iPad home screen and I'm streaming all of my music, movies, and tv shows purchased from the iTunes store and other. I had all the symbolic links set up and ready to go from last time. So thanks for that man. One of my most requested features was for official out of the box no app needed streaming of my purchased iTunes media and it's now a reality on my iPad :) still bugs me that :apple:Didnt make it an easy feature. Also I wonder if it could be turned off with an update, namely safari. Cause I just tried to stream using atomic for backgrounding tabs but it won't open iTunes protected media. So it looks like safari is the only one that we can use this with on the iPad. Not that it's a bad thing, was just testing. Wouldn't be surprised if a future osx update kills it off, unless maybe they do that because official iTunes streaming is coming. Meh
    It bothers me that apple left it to the app store to provide a streaming solution and all the ones we get can't access fairplay.
    Really happy I got mine working. I'm lying in bed watching starwars robot chicken.

    Bravo to the OP
     
  8. fpnc thread starter macrumors 68000

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    #8
    I've used the video streaming a lot over the last 24 hours and it seems to work very well. I've also pushed the limits by trying some HD video and it appears that something on the iPad limits the streaming to resolutions that are no greater than 1280x720 at 30fps (which also happens to be what Apple says is the iPad's highest supported resolution -- so that makes sense).

    Interestingly, however, I've found that if you transfer a 1080p video over to the iPad then the iPad will play that resolution without apparent issues (in fact, I've been able to play high-bit-rate, 30fps video at full 1080p resolutions on the iPad using apps like Good Reader and Air Sharing). The value of playing 1080p on the iPad is questionable, however, since you can't view it at any resolution that is higher than the iPad's 1024x768 LCD display.

    It is also possible to view PDFs, text and image files (RTF, TXT, JPEG, PNG, and possibly others) using this technique and copy/paste works so you can transfer data between your Mac and iPad using Web Sharing. Just setup a link to a documents folder that can be shared between your Mac and the iPad (read-only from the iPad).

    I've also found one other limitation when using Web Sharing, you can not output DRM-protected video through the iPad's external video connection (not even with the component video out -- you just get a blank screen with audio). However, you can watch unprotected content over the iPad's video output and DRM-protected video can still be streamed to and viewed on the iPad's built-in LCD display.

    This last limitation and the afore mentioned resolution limit makes me suspect that this technique (video streaming via Web Sharing) is a deliberately enabled feature and not just an accident or happy coincidence. This is a huge win for me, since I can now steam nearly all of the 200GBs of video content that I have in iTunes to my iPad while I am connected to my local WiFi network.

    Lastly, I've got to stress that this is ridiculously simple to setup. You just need to enable Web Sharing using Mac OS X's Sharing control panel (one click on a check box) and then create one link to your iTunes folder (or to any other folder that you want to share with your iPad). Both of these steps are done on your Mac, there is really nothing to do on your iPad (other than to select which video you want to watch). You can also use this same technique to share content with other Macs or even an iPhone/iPod touch.
     
  9. Sdevante macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2008
    #9
    I have tried and tried to get this to work, but it keeps saying I do not have permission to access the music file when I try to access it via Safari. But I very clearly set the permissions to read only on my music file.

    Something I noticed was that my Library folder does not contain a Webserver subfolder. Is that normal in snow leopard?
     
  10. fpnc thread starter macrumors 68000

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    #10
    Which "Library" directory are you using? The one at the root of your hard drive or the one in your user directory? You need to look in the Library folder that is located at the root of your hard drive, not the Library that is in your user or home directory.
     
  11. thatisme macrumors 6502

    thatisme

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    #11
    same issue here
     
  12. Peter Harrison macrumors 6502a

    Peter Harrison

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    #12
    This is something I haven't tried, but I'm going to now. Looks very interesting.

    So this might be the best solution for sharing video between devices at home, and Air Video may be best for streaming to you when you're away from home.

    To the last two posters, I'm not sure but I'll let you know how I get on as I'm on Snow Leopard as well.
     
  13. Peter Harrison macrumors 6502a

    Peter Harrison

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  14. Peter Harrison macrumors 6502a

    Peter Harrison

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    #14
    Apparently my movie files are set up in a different location, but I've got that part working and the alias has been created in the webserver area. The first few times it created a weird blank alias that didn't work. But now there is a real alias there so the Terminal step worked. I've also enabled Web Sharing and I get the "It Works" message. The movies folder already had "Everyone" set to "Read-only". So, everything should be working. But if I simply add /movies to the URL that lets me see the "It Works" page, then I get the forbidden access page. Any advice?
     
  15. piratemc74 macrumors member

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    Jul 15, 2008
    Location:
    Holly Springs, NC
    #15
    How do I see more than one page of titles?

    This may be a stupid question, but, the web page just shows up to xx lines of data. There is lots more, how do I get it to go to the "next page"? Thanks a ton!
     
  16. fpnc thread starter macrumors 68000

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    #16
    I don't think I completely understanding your problem. You can just scroll to the bottom of the page like any website. There really isn't a "next page" unless you are talking about the possibility of a sub-directory which can be accessed (opened) by tapping the link to the directory.
     
  17. piratemc74 macrumors member

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    #17
    Thanks.... Duh!

    I told you it was a stupid question. The link is assuming you're looking in the iTunes library, but, my media is multiple external drives. Just created links, with appropriate names, and everything is as you say. Took a bit for the "penny to drop"... as there is "some" media in my iTunes library, when I was just copying the commands, it worked, but, just for that media, of course.

    Thanks!
     
  18. fpnc thread starter macrumors 68000

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    #18
    You seem to be posting on MacObserver also and it appears that a few people there have had difficulties that were subsequently resolved (most problems seem to have been simple user errors). However, there is one report on MacObserver that may be related to the problems you are seeing. That being, is your iTunes Library consolidated (i.e. all content copied into the iTunes folder) or do you add your content to iTunes by leaving it at its original location in your file system? If the latter you'd probably have to change the access permissions on each directory that contains your content (not an easy thing to do nor anything that I'd recommend trying if your content is spread out in many locations throughout your entire file system).

    I also don't know what you mean by the "It Works" message and the "It Works" page. And lastly, you need to be creating UNIX symlinks using the ln command in the Terminal application -- you shouldn't use the Finder to create a standard Mac OS X alias (although from you postings on MacObserver that does not seem to be the problem -- at least not at this point).
     
  19. piratemc74 macrumors member

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    #19
    It is all working as it should...

    Sorry, yes, posting in both places, as I saw the link here first.

    What I meant by "It Works", is that the Apache "test page" comes up fine.

    My iTunes library is in it's normal location, but, my movie/TV recordings are on external media, therefore, when I was making the links in terminal, I was linking to the directories in iTunes tree. Once it dawned on me, I created links, in the Apache directories, to my directories on the external drives. I then created URLs and saved to favorites. I now have favorites to bring up the directories that have my movies in it, and everything works as it should.

    Now, if only I'd get notified to go pick up my iPad, or, my online order would ship!
     
  20. fpnc thread starter macrumors 68000

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    #20
    So are you posting here under both the piratemc74 and Peter Harrison user ids? In any case, my response was to Peter Harrison (as reference my quote from him in my last message).
     
  21. piratemc74 macrumors member

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    #21
    Sorry...

    I am NOT posting under two handles. I mis-read your post, and thought you were replying to me.
     
  22. fpnc thread starter macrumors 68000

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    #22
    Okay. Best of luck with your iPad.
     
  23. majordude macrumors 68020

    majordude

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    #23
    What are the pluses and minuses of this versus AirVideo?
     
  24. ddh716 macrumors newbie

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    Nov 18, 2009
    #24
    Pluses & Minuses versus AirVideo

    Plus: Stream content purchased on iTunes (DRM protected material
    Plus: Free

    Minus: (Maybe) Can this work outside your LAN?
    Minus: AirVideo has a much prettier interface
     
  25. AeroStud1026 macrumors member

    AeroStud1026

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    Dec 19, 2007
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    Galloway, NJ
    #25
    Has anyone got this to work over 3G? I can only get this to work via wifi access on the same network
     

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