Some of you probably have your favorite method of streaming movies, tv shows and other videos from your desktop to your iPhone and iPad on the home network. But for those of you who don’t, here are a set of apps (AirAV for iOS and MediaShare for Mac, both of which are currently free) that make the entire process extremely easy to set up – so simple in fact that no configuration of any sort is required on the users’ end.
Both apps are made by Randysoft, and AirAv is essentially a stripped down version of AcePlayer, one of my favorite VLC-like media players on iOS. Unlike AcePlayer, which also lets you upload files to the device for offline viewing, AirAv’s sole purpose is to stream video from UPnP/DLNA media servers (i.e your desktop or laptop) to your iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad.
First of all, download the currently free MediaShare on your Mac OS (down from $5.99). It’s a UPnP Media Server that is compatible with the suite of Randysoft apps, as well as the Playstation 3, freebox and other UPnP devices. Once installed from the Mac App Store, launch the app and add the folder(s) on your Mac where the videos you want to stream reside (“+” at bottom left). Once they’ve been selected, click the large blue “Play” button to the right to enable the media server.
Open AirAv on your iDevice and tap the Media Servers folder. Here, you’ll now find MediaShare as a server (with the name of your Mac) and it should say connected; if not, double check that you’ve clicked on “Play” in MediaShare app. Navigate to your video file and within several seconds of selecting it, the video will begin streaming. If you’re using AcePlayer, the Media Server can be found under “Media Explorer”.
The great thing about AcePlayer/AirAv is that they support a wide range of video files, including WMV, AVI, MKV, RMVB, RM, XVID, MP4 and more. Without the need to first convert them into MP4s,the entire video streaming experience is fast and smooth. Even if you drag the scrubber to jump ahead to another time mark in the video, the response is near-instantaneous (no buffering) and it feels as though the files are actually on your device. Of course, you don’t necessarily have to use AirAv to stream video with MediaShare. Apps like GoodPlayer (TMA Review) that support UPnP Media Servers will also work.
MediaShare’s worked great for me thus far, and it’s been the most painless setup I’ve tried to date. There are other media server options available though. On the Mac, you can check out TwonkyMediaServer, TVMOBILI, PS3 media server, Majestic, EyeConnect, Vuze,MediaLink,Orb and Playback. On Windows, the following should work as well: Win7 Media Player, TVMOBILI, Asset UPnP, FreeMi, XBMC, TVersity, Wild Media Server and TwonkyMediaServer.
Note: To use Windows 7 Media Player as a media server [as per Randysoft support]:
- Organize –> Manage libraries (add folders)
- Stream –>Allow Internet access to home media.