Need help with streaming content to the iPad

Discussion in 'iPad Tips, Help and Troubleshooting' started by macbot, Nov 30, 2010.

  1. macbot, Nov 30, 2010
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2010

    macbot macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2010
    #1
    I posted a question in a FPP about how to stream video and audio to the iPad. Since my questions were starting to move off topic, I thought I should post here.

    On the XMas list is both an AppleTV and iPad. I have a Mac Mini currently pulling duty as a media center hooked to the TV. I would like to move the Mini into the back room. In its place I would like to put the AppleTV and stream MP4 video and MP3 audio from the Mini to the AppleTV and the iPad. Members citi and Tsunami911 recommended the following solutions for streaming content to the iPad: Plex, Zumocast and Airvideo.

    Looks like Plex only needs a local server (ie. the Mini), but Zumocast requires a local server AND an account with always on internet connection to their server as well -- correct? Does Airvideo require an account like Zumocast or is it more like Plex? I like the Plex route as it will also give me the photos option.

    I have some MP4 encode settings that I've come up with that looked amazing on my brother's iPad and extremely good with the Mini using FrontRow on the TV. I tested out the encode settings when he came to visit, but since he left I have no way of testing them now via streaming, so any input would be nice.

    Questions:

    When does Plex transcode files? Will it transcode even if the file plays locally on the iPad or only transcode formats/containers that the iPad can't play natively?

    Also, if the encodes are fine on the iPad (when synced/downloaded to the iPad through iTunes) should they work fine streaming to the AppleTV?

    EDIT: Forgot to add link of sample encode. Please test if you have a streaming solution for the iPad and/or an AppleTV. Thanks.

    http://www.megaupload.com/?d=IBTMEQ9H
     
  2. fpnc macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2002
    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    #2
    StreamToMe is another good video streaming and transcoding app for iOS. It's been around for a long time and is updated frequently. In my hands, it works just about as well as Air Video (or maybe better, YMMV).

    In any case, if you have a Mac you can use Mac OS X's built-in Web Sharing feature to stream H.264 content from the Mac to any iOS device (iPad, iPhone, iPod touch). This works without any third-party extension or apps on either the Mac of the iOS device itself. It's also free (if you have Mac OS X) and the stability and performance is head and shoulders above any other solution that I've tried. However, it won't transcode video like some of the apps so the content must already be in an iOS compatible format.

    Also, the UI isn't that great, you just select from a simple list of files and the video plays in Safari using Apple's standard player controls (including full-screen playback). It also requires a little setup on the Mac but once that is done you can create a bookmark on your iOS device to the shared video content directory (link) which resides on the Mac. One advantage to Web Sharing is that it works with protected content, which isn't true of the third-party streaming/transcoding apps.

    You can find directions on how to use Web Sharing in this manner either here on MacRumors or in a article that was published by MacObserver a few months ago. Here is the link to the latter: http://www.macobserver.com/tmo/answers/stream_videos_and_music_from_your_mac_to_your_iphone_or_ipad/

    One caveat, I haven't tried this since I updated my iPad to iOS v4.2.1, but I assume that it still functions. I may give it a try on my MacBook to verify that it still works (since Apple made some changes to the video out on the iPad with iOS 4.2.1).
     
  3. fpnc macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2002
    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    #3
    Okay, I just tried Web Sharing on my iPad running iOS 4.2.1 and it still works fabulously well. Right now I'm streaming an iTunes purchased HD movie from my G4 Mac mini to my iPad. Also, the video out from the iPad still works with Web Sharing, so I can stream from my Mac to the iPad and have the iPad output the video over its AV component cable to my big-screen TV.
     
  4. Saturdays macrumors member

    Saturdays

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2010
    Location:
    Somewhere in USA
    #4
    My personal experience:
    Air Video Server has played every file from 1080p MKVs in H264 to WMV and AVIs without any issues at all. I have gotten subtitles to work in MKVs and great battery life as well while in use. The option to increase audio volume as well is very convenient since some codecs just sound low.

    I would try out Air Video Server and if you are interested in local playback OPlayer beats out Cinexplayer and VLC by a long shot.

    I have little experience with Plex so I really can't give you advice on that without having explored it to the extent you seemed to have.
     
  5. macbot thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2010
    #5
    Thanks for the input guys.

    Does StreamToMe or AirVideo require an account like Zumocast or is it all done locally?

    The web server solution sounds interesting, but I wonder how wife-friendly it is.

    Anyone have an AppleTV 2 and try my encode? It's only a 35mb download. It's a theatrical movie clip so you don't have to sit through an agonizing 5 minutes of watching my kid play soccer or something. Maybe I'll post the request in the AppleTV forum if I don't get any traction here.
     
  6. Saturdays macrumors member

    Saturdays

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2010
    Location:
    Somewhere in USA
    #6
    It only requires the AirVideoServer program on your mac, no account is needed, your wife should find it easy to use after the first set up.
    Simply tell the app to look in certain folders where the videos are located, then once you set up AirVideo on the iPad side simply navigate to the appropriate server and you can even associate it for non-local connections (may have to configure your routers NAT/port settings)
    I have been able to stream 720p constantly from a Buffalo Wild Wings Wifi using AirVideo connecting to my home mac desktop.
     

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