In my continued pursuit of integrating my iPad with my home entertainment setup I have been using an application that is simply excellent. If you have an iPad or iPhone and a Windows machine that stores your media your dreams can be realised with this little application.
The Application is called AirVideo and is available in the iTunes App Store, there are currently two versions available, a free version and a paid version which costs just £1.79, the difference is the number of files visible in the free versions is limited, so pay the money it is definitely worth it.
The other great feature of this App is that it is a Universal Binary, this basically means it is coded to work on the iPhone and the iPad in their native resolutions so it looks and performs perfectly on both.
To start with you need to install a small application on your PC, Mac or in my case a Windows Home Server, this application is the Server software and lets you specify what folders you would like to share to the iPad / iPhone
The software can also be configured to run outside your home network with a little bit of Router port forwarding jiggery pokery, quality of the resultant video on your iPhone / iPad would then be highly dependant on your ADSL upload speed.
Once you have your folders all selected, fire up the application on the iPad and it will find the server and show you the list of folders that you have shared previously.
Drilling down you will soon see your media files and small thumbnails of all your videos in the folders.
Here you have a few options, if the video is encoded in a format that is native to the iPhone / iPad it will have a straight forward Play button and it streams and looks fantastic, if it is a non native format you can convert it on the fly which does suffer from a poorer quality result although you can specify on the fly conversion properties.
The best way is to get the software on the server to encode the video to a native format, this is all built into the Server application and is very quick and the results are excellent every time.
Once this is done just select your video, sit back and watch it on the fantastic iPad screen, it really is a stunning application for streaming videos from your PC
I cannot recommend this application highly enough, for the cost it is probably the best application I have ever bought for the iPhone and iPad.