App Review: Air Video for iPhone

Air Video for iPhone

(Air Video for iPhone Forum Review by msbaylor. For more Forum Reviews, see the TiPb iPhone App Store Forum Review Index!)

I was quite surprised when I found Air Video for iPhone [$2.99 - iTunes link] was available in the App Store and was even more blown away with what is said it could do.

  • Video Streaming: Watch videos from your computer, over the air, on your iPhone or iPod touch. No need to sync with iTunes or transfer files.

  • Live Conversion: Convert video from a non-iPhone friendly container like AVI or MKV, or codec like XviD or DivX while you're watching. No need to convert-

iPhone and iPod touch are very picky about the video formats they can play. Normally this means you need to convert the entire video before you can watch it. This can easily take an hour!

But would it live up to it?

Besides downloading the iPhone App, you'll need to download the program for your computer (for PC & Mac OS X 10.4+). Neither app/program will work without the other. The iPhone app is basically a front end (UI) to the computer program.

The app has four main views - the server list, the file list, the file details view & and the queue view.

Installing the software and setup on my Vista computer was a breeze. The main thing here is to make sure you select what folders you want to have access to. Also there is an option to use "Internet access" which is an important option to have checked to really make this app scream! I even connected one of my NAS (Network Accessible Storage) drives to the app.

Switching back to the app, once you have everything on you Mac/PC setup, you will need to setup your iPhone app. Which, the two devices must be on the same Wifi network the first time for that the app can detect your PC/Mac

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Again setting up the iPhone local and Internet connection are easy to setup. At one point I had an issue where I couldn’t get one of the servers to show up under local network & I had to enter my IP manually to get it to work.

The flow of the program is easy to navigate – you have your servers, then your file listings. You also have the option to set a password for your server to keep other out.

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It seemed no matter what type of file I had, I was always able to see a screenshot next to the name whether it was converted or not.

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In viewing details about the video, if it’s not in iPhone readable format, the app can either convert it for you (you can go about other things & come back to it later) or you can use the “LIVE conversion.”

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When the videos convert, you’ll be left with a duplicate video file on your computer – the converted file, which is nonce to keep around other than being capable of streaming the video. Another thing you can do is add the video to iTunes and even to an optional playlist.

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One of the things that really caught me by surprise was the extensive compression & ratio settings. You can even create multiple presets (ones for Edge & 3G connections) and set a default preset.

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I never had an issue once I figured out the right conversion I wanted to use (the medium default preset worked out well for me to start with). I even made different conversion presets depending on what type of connection I thought I’d have.

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Lastly, that other thing that caught me off guard was that the app has the ability to stream files remotely (via 3G/Edge) rather than just your local Wifi. Imagine instead of waiting tediously for a video to download from the Internet, you can leave your computer, check you iPhone, convert it and view it on-the-go!

Conclusion

Overall, this is absolutely an amazing concept & app, I surprised Apple/AT&T didn’t block this one. ;) On a side note, I’d have to say – if you need a video converter & you “happen” to have an iPod touch or iPhone, for 3 bucks to have a well created video converter is a steal!

Pros:

  • Great interface
  • Live conversion of videos
  • Add multiple servers
  • Compression settings galore
  • Select audio streams
  • Create compression presets
  • Conversions are very good

Cons:

  • Remote server can be tricky to set up as Port forwarding doesn’t work on all networks
  • Smaller, less resourceful computers, will not be able to run the software.

TiPb Review Rating

TiPb Forums Review: 4.5 Star App

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Reader comments

App Review: Air Video for iPhone

24 Comments

AirVideo is indeed an excellent app, and I use it a lot. Note, however, that you do need some horsepower on the server for the Live Conversion feature. I have a really old box in the basement that I use for the server and everything but the Live Conversion works fine. Also nice is that it remembers your place in videos, so you can come back to a video and it picks up where you left off.

Probably the most impressive app in all of the App Store. Smoking Apples did a review of this a few months ago, and I was stunned.
I have a library of over 2TB of movies and television across the United States, and I can stream any video live over 3G in really good quality. It's freakin' amazing. They can now advertise the iPhone as - a thousand movies in your pocket. Once airwaves and computers get faster and better, this process will be even easier. Within 10 years there will be no need for storing any music or movies on your phone when you can just stream it from your home library.
This is the wave of the future, and they do it remarkably well. Very impressive app. The Live Conversion is flawless.

Yea this is one I paid for, it was well worth it. Converting videos at home was boring and resource draining but I can schedule it on the go so I've been able to convert my entire library. Not to mention watch it on the go, with excellent quality, much better than orb which was terrible quality

I have been using this app for a month now, and I think it is the best kept secret on the App Store. I am also a big evangelist, as I have gotten at least five friends to buy it also.
One of the side benefits I have found with this app is the fact that, once a video is converted, you can send it to iTunes, where I can either sync the video to my iPhone or play it on my Apple TV. This makes all of those AVI videos I download (all legally, of course) very easy to use. The converter is as good as many that you would have to pay $30 for, and all for $3 on the App store. A bargain.

The author forgets to mention, that a public beta of Air Video server (at least windows - haven't tried mac) supports standalone .srt and mkv encoded subtitles. It is still a work in progress - subtitle options are quite limited, but for foreign language film watchers it is an enormous plus.

Next time you write an app review mention WHAT THE APP DOES. I read the first five paragraphs and there's no mention of WHAT THE APP ACTUALLY DOES. Does anyone review these before they're posted? Doesn't TIPB have an editor-in-chief? Where's the quality control?

I did the same thing ー I stopped reading after only a few paragraphs of how to setup an app with no explanation of what it even is.
Terribly presuming.

I tried both this and ORB and Orb blows this app away. Why even bother converting when on Orb you can just stream any format at variable quality?

@Muero Sorry about that. Normally do say what apps are about. Guess I got a little too excited about te review. :-) Thanks Rene for adding that in.

I LOVE THIS PROGRAM! Definately better than orb (which is frankly rubbish) Never ever had an issue with it.
i dont bother storing any videos on my iPhone, I just bring my AV cables and the app everywhere I go!

I've tested this application at home, using a Windows XP machine as server. It works fine, and the conversion of all the files I've tried has worked perfectly fine. I already have various codec's installed on my windows machine, so I presume that the server uses these for conversion.
Om my local Wifi everything was more or less plug and play. I only had to punch in the servers ID to get access.
I haven't tried it over the Internet yet, but I guess that should work fine as well.
What I do miss for this application is a mac/windows client so you can watch your videos over the Internet, on a regular computer. Maybe even better a web based system that can be browsed much in the same way as youtube.
Also a Linux based version of the server would be fine. That would allow users to set up their own home entertainment system, and invite friends and family on other parts of the world to watch.
Added support for pure audio files, and a simple picture viewer would let you share mp3's and photo galleries using the same application.
It's more handy, and less time consuming to have one application that can do more things than having several programs.

one of my conversion has "estimated time "unknown" and has been for the last 3 weeks. I have tried to remove from the queue but keeps saying that the server has timed out. I've tried to delete it from my computer and download the program again but it stays there

Rather cool place you've got here. Thanx for it. I like such themes and anything connected to them. I definitely want to read a bit more on that blog soon.
Best regards

Dope app is dope.
If you're familiar with port forwarding the setup is quite easy.. If not.... It's well worth your time to figure it out.
Best 2.99 app available, bar none.