Apple’s various iOS devices are great for watching videos, but there are drawbacks. The process of transferring videos onto your device can be a lengthy one, and in many instances you may well have to convert to a format that can be played in iOS. Battling with iTunes is something that most iPhone and iPad owners want to avoid as much as possible, so the video streaming app Air Playit is likely to be welcomed with open arms.
Air Playit in fact comprises two components – server software that must be installed on your Mac or PC, as then an app for either your iPhone or iPad. The server software can be used to manage your video collection and choose which individual files and folders should be made available. PIN protection can be used to prevent unauthorised access, or to prevent the kids from watching videos that are not suitable.
With your video folders shared, fire up the app on your iPhone or iPad and you can happily browse through your movie collection and then stream videos without the need to convert – all that you need is a network connection. When at home using a wifi connection is definitely recommended if not for performance then for ease of use. Streaming via 3G or 4G connections is also possible if you want to access you movie collection on the move, but setup is slightly trickier and performance can be a little on the flakey side.
The key benefit of working with Air Playit is the fact that file conversion is not needed, but it you would like to be able to watch videos when you are not in range of your network, files can be converted and download to your iPhone or iPad. The server software also means that it is possible to access your shared videos through a browser interface which opens up even more options.
We recently took a look at Boxee for iPad which has been designed with very much the same sort of thing in mind. Boxee benefitrs from having an established desktop app that is familiar to a large following, and while Air Playit is impressive, the interface is not quite up to Boxee’s high standards. The ability to stream to iPhone as well as iPad, however, is a boon.