Airvideo for MacBook Pro?
May 30, 2010 3:01 PM   Subscribe

What's the best way to replicate the Airvideo app on a MacBook Pro?

I have a wonderful application on my iPad called Airvideo.

I use it to watch video from my PC on my iPad. Basically, you install a free application on the PC which acts as a server, and it allows you to convert and view any video from your PC, on your iPad. It does a "live" conversion, which means that the video plays instantly, with no need for lengthy conversion of non-Apple friendly file types.

What I would really like to do is find the easiest way to instantly play shared PC video files on my MacBook Pro in the same way (over the network) . Yes, I know I can copy them to my 'Book via sharing, which takes a while, but that's not ideal. If I just remotely connect to my PC and double-click a file, it's rather jerky and nothing as smooth as Airvideo allows on the iPad.

I'm probably not explaining it well, but hopefully someone who has used Airvideo will get what I'm trying to do.

I'm convinced that there is something dead simple that I'm missing, and I'll slap my forehead in shame when I discover it.

posted by newfers to Computers & Internet (12 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
You're not missing anything obvious.

What format are your original videos in? If they're jerky, the bitrate is too high for your wireless network connection. You basically have three options:

1. Copy the videos before you play them.
2. Make your wireless network faster, or use a wired network.
3. Reduce the bitrate of the videos by transcoding them into some other format. If you want to do this, you could use something like Handbrake. This is what Air Video is doing for you.
posted by Mwongozi at 3:36 PM on May 30, 2010

I think you'd want some sort of a VNC setup, so that the MacBook will share the screen of your PC.
posted by wyzewoman at 5:20 PM on May 30, 2010

If you have no problems with the live-converted videos, have you considered simply using the conversion option in Air Video to make a copy of your videos that are small enough to stream over the air? It won't replace your original video, it just re-encodes a mp4 copy into the same folder.

Using wired ethernet is probably your best bet though. (Or move everything closer to your wireless-n router.)
posted by tksh at 6:01 PM on May 30, 2010

Unless I'm missing something there is the Air Video for Mac at
posted by Pamelayne at 9:53 PM on May 30, 2010

Pamelayne: That's just the server component of the iPhone/iPad app. It doesn't allow you to actually watch streaming videos on the Mac.
posted by melorama at 11:41 PM on May 30, 2010

This is what VLC does (VLC=VideoLAN Client). The same program acts as client and server - just put it on both machines and go from there.
posted by O9scar at 12:39 AM on May 31, 2010

Ive been looking for exactly this for ages and it doesn't exist exactly. Weird huh?
My usual solution is to begin the file copying in finder, wait a couple of seconds, and then open the file (as it is being copied) in VLC. If I've given it enough lead time it plays well.
Ive been told that VLC can do some kind of networked video transcoding, but so far nothing i have tried has matched the elegance of AirVideo.
posted by raygan at 1:00 AM on May 31, 2010 [1 favorite]

Oh, also getting a wireless-n router makes a huge difference here, as mwongozi mentioned. On an 802.11G network I can't play files storerd remotely without the workaround i described. On an N network it's totally possible unless the files are particularly huge HD video.
posted by raygan at 1:03 AM on May 31, 2010

I believe that videolan can do what you want.
posted by TimeDoctor at 1:04 AM on May 31, 2010

Sorry for the multiple posts:
You probably shouldn't bother with the VNC option. Vnc is generally far too slow for watchable video playback and most VNC solutions don't include audio. And when they do it's rarely in sync.
posted by raygan at 1:05 AM on May 31, 2010

I've got a wireless-n router, but it's still not quite good enough, apparently. VLC sounds like a good option, since I use it on both computers...just gotta figure out how to make it do what I need it to do. But I like raygan's solution a lot and will give it a shot... that sounds like it might work, as it allows a short period of "buffering", essentially.
posted by newfers at 3:21 AM on May 31, 2010

You want orb. You install a server program like w/ air video and then you can access your content via a webpage (on computers) or an app (on iPhone / touch / iPad). Viewing content via the web is free but the app is not.
posted by reddot at 2:00 PM on May 31, 2010

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