App of the Week: Air Video

Posted by Minnaar Pieters 27 Feb 2010

I came across a great new tool for anyone who has a iPhone and a wireless network at home - Air Video. You download the Air Video app on your iPhone (any version works), and then from there install Air Video server on your Windows or Mac machine.

Air Video converts videos on the fly on your machine of choice, and then plays it back on your iPhone. You tell Air Video server which folders to monitor on your computer, and then it will make the videos available to play on your iPhone. So far I found the file compatibility brilliant, it even transcoded a massive mkv file quickly enough for my iPhone.

I tested it on my relatively new Macbook Pro and it worked very well, and was very brisk. An episode of Modern Family started playing within 5 seconds on my iPhone. I also tested it on my other machines. I tried it out on a relatively weak Atom powered Windows 7 netbook, and it started playing videos within 15 seconds and then from there it played without a hiccup. The only place where processing power gives an advantage is seeking within a transcoded video, like when you want to skip the opening sequence of a show. It was super stable on all the machines I installed it on.

But the place where I appreciated Air Video the most, is on Windows Home Server. It might not have a Home Server plugin, but it works very well. I just pointed it to my videos folders, and just like that I had access to my entire video library... brilliant. It is pretty much what I wish for in the next release of Windows Home Server. HP makes a similiar solution for their own home servers, but it is nowhere near as functional and simple as Air Video.

Now you might argue - why would I want to watch a video on my iPhone instead of on a computer (or whatever streaming device you might have)? True, you do get a better experience on your big screen TV, but it is pretty great to quickly watch the latest The Office right there on your iPhone just before going to bed.



Currently Air Video is $3 in the appstore, and then you download the free Air Video server on the machines you wish to use.
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I am a R&D Analyst in Stellenbosch South Africa who has a immense passion for all things tech related. I embrace technology, open source and web standards, and I participate and contribute to the social web.