iPad vs. pc
September 17, 2011 12:20 PM   Subscribe

I'm a pc, mr.p's a Mac. My laptop has died once and for all, and he's recommending an iPad since all I do is surf, email, and watch movies. I travel a lot, so the long battery life of the iPad interests me, but as near as I can figure, the only way to get a movie onto an iPad is to buy one from iTunes. Am I right about that? I welcome all pro/con opinions on the general question. Thanks.
posted by puddinghead to Computers & Internet (19 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
You could film it yourself.

In all seriousness though, Netflix on the iPad is awesome. That's probably your best bet without involving another computer. If you're on the same network as a computer that has a bunch of movies on its hard drive, Air Video is awesome. Or you can convert them and sync them to the iPad.

How do you watch movies now? Download? DVD?
posted by supercres at 12:25 PM on September 17, 2011

I have many movies and TV shows on my iPad which we have been able to transfer from our computer. We do store movies in iTunes, but many of the ones we have were copied from DVDs using HandBrake. I think we have only bought a couple of seasons of TV shows from iTunes proper.
posted by not that girl at 12:25 PM on September 17, 2011

You can use the iPad to stream movies from Netflix.
posted by Smart Dalek at 12:26 PM on September 17, 2011

You can rip DVDs with Handbrake and add them to your iTunes library, then transfer them to the iPad.
posted by procrastination at 12:28 PM on September 17, 2011 [2 favorites]

Link for Air Video. Basically, it converts and streams videos in any format to any iPad or iPhone that can connect to the computer. Being on the same wifi network leads to best quality, but 3G works too. Watch your data usage, though.
posted by supercres at 12:28 PM on September 17, 2011 [3 favorites]

The iPad also syncs with Hulu and YouTube.
posted by Smart Dalek at 12:31 PM on September 17, 2011

Of course you can also rent from iTunes, instead of buying. A rotating list of movies is 99 cents.
posted by The Deej at 12:31 PM on September 17, 2011

As for the general question, make sure you get a separate keyboard for all but the briefest emails. This guy is a keyboard and case all in one.
posted by supercres at 12:32 PM on September 17, 2011 [1 favorite]

No, you're not right about that. You can transfer all sorts of movies -- practically any movie you have been playing on your laptop can play on the iPad. There are a bunch of ways to play movies on the iPad:

(1) yes, buy them from iTunes

(2) Transfer them to the iPad using iTunes. If they are not already in iTunes compatible format (mp4/m4v) you'll have to transcode them using Handbrake or something similar. But once they are in iTunes format they transfer fine and play fine in the standard video app

(3) Download an app for the iPad that lets you play any type of video (not just iTunes formatted video) on the iPad. VLC used to be the best one but it was pulled by the developers. here's a list of alternatives. For these apps you transfer your files from your computer to the iPad over iTunes directly to the app. They play within the app.

(4) Use a streaming program like AirVideo that streams from your computer over Wifi or 3g. These are great because you don't need to transfer the movie file over and no space is taken up.

(5) Use Netflix or another internet-streaming movie player.
posted by neustile at 12:33 PM on September 17, 2011 [1 favorite]

The main snag I can see is that you would still need a computer for all this transferring. Does your husband want you constantly borrowing his computer to download and sync all of these?

I love my iPad. And it makes me reach for my laptop a lot less. But it is not a computer replacement.
posted by politikitty at 12:54 PM on September 17, 2011 [6 favorites]

I have heard of people who are not me who torrent all manner of tv shows and movies and convert them to itunes format for viewing on an ipad.
posted by elizardbits at 1:12 PM on September 17, 2011 [1 favorite]

Seconding Air Video. It's a pretty painless, one-click solution.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:20 PM on September 17, 2011

If you want to watch movies on, say, an airplane while traveling, then I doubt streaming movies would work. It's possible to rip movies from discs and re-encode them into a format that you can import into iTunes... but it's a lot of work and mainly something for people who make a hobby of doing things the hard way.
posted by itheearl at 1:47 PM on September 17, 2011 [1 favorite]

I have heard of people who very closely and uncannily resemble me actually used to help run a specific torrent site that posts videos only in a format that iPods/iPads can play. You know what to do...

*CAVEAT* As politikitty mentions above, at some point, you're going to need a computer to transfer stuff to the iPad.
posted by kuanes at 1:48 PM on September 17, 2011 [1 favorite]

I really enjoy my iPad for certain things but I'd prefer a MacBook Air for downloading/watching movies. Perian will allow you to play .avi videos in Front Row or Quicktime without the hassle of converting them. The 11" Air offers a wider screen without much more bulk than the 1st gen iPad. Web browsing is pretty laggy, cramped and dismal on the iPad. Also, there is occasionally Flash content I need to see, so I couldn't get by with the iPad alone. File management on the iPad is a bit of a pain in the ass, too.
posted by bonobothegreat at 2:45 PM on September 17, 2011

I also find the speaker on the iPad to be a bit wanting when watching movies -- both in maximum volume and it's annoying placement on only one (short) side of the device. The iPad2 may be an improvement on this, though(?).

I also get frustrated -- not often, but often enough -- that many websites force me to view their mobile site when I'm browsing on my iPad, which makes me yell bad words at my otherwise pretty screen.

I love having an iPad, but I'm glad it's not my only surfing/email/movie device.
posted by argonauta at 3:10 PM on September 17, 2011

*"ITS" annoying placement. Not "it's." Mumbleygrumblemustlearntousehandypreviewbutton.
posted by argonauta at 3:17 PM on September 17, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks for the input, everybody. I think I'll go with another laptop.
posted by puddinghead at 3:52 PM on September 17, 2011 [1 favorite]

I came to suggest VLC for iPad. I use Cyberduck to transfer the movie/TV episode (of any format, because VLC is awesome and will play anything, instead of reformatting for itunes) into VLC's folder. Basically you drag and drop onto the iPad. But as others have stated, you'd need an actual computer from which to do the transferring.

Now that you've reposted saying you'll stick with a laptop, maybe a Macbook Air is exactly what you need : )
posted by MansRiot at 9:51 PM on September 17, 2011

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