Can you watch movies on an iPad without a network?
May 16, 2012 11:06 PM   Subscribe

How can my friend watch movies on her iPad like you would on a laptop?

My friend's travelling around the world for a year and had her computer stolen. She bought an iPad as a replacement since for what she's using it for it does everything her laptop did and is smaller.

Except, she had a bunch of movies on her computer to watch during plane/train rides and moments of boredom. They're gone with the stolen computer but if I were to send her more on a USB stick or something is there any way (including gadgets but not including using a computer as a go between) for her to either copy them to the iPad or to watch them directly?
posted by Silentgoldfish to Computers & Internet (13 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
She would have to have a computer to connect the usb stick and sync iTunes to the iPad. The easiest method to obtain movies would be to purchase them from iTunes, stream from a video service such as netflix or a slingbox, or stream from youtube.
posted by andendau at 11:35 PM on May 16, 2012

Yes! You'll need to put them on an sdcard and use the camera connection kit (forum post) and they need to be iPad viewable but it's totally doable.
posted by mce at 11:41 PM on May 16, 2012

mce's probably got the cheapest solution.

A more extravagant solution would involve one of several portable drives capable of streaming to an iPad. Seagate's GoFlex Satellite is one such. That'd provide a lot of capacity, with more bulk and the need to power a second device, but with 500GB.
posted by mph at 11:45 PM on May 16, 2012

Rather than sending things through the mail or having to buy any extra kit, I think the easiest method would be for you to convert the films into MP4 (there are many programs online which can do this). Then use dropbox to send the files to her. This is how I watch movies on my iPad and it's always worked for me, and eliminates the need to buy and carry around extra kit.
posted by vodkaboots at 2:58 AM on May 17, 2012 [5 favorites]

Yes! You'll need to put them on an sdcard and use the camera connection kit (forum post) and they need to be iPad viewable but it's totally doable.

You can get a cheap iPad camera connection kit here
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 11:17 PM on May 17, 2012

Camera connection kit seems to be a goer - ordered one, if it all works I'll send it and some USB sticks over with her mum who's joining her for a while. Dropbox would be good but she's not likely to be in places where she can download large files - right now she's hiking across Spain!
posted by Silentgoldfish at 11:39 PM on May 17, 2012

I use Flexplayer for this. If she's in a situation where she can connect with a computer running iTunes, she can just drag video files of whatever type [DIVX AVIs, for example, work fine] over to the iPad. No conversion or extra connectors required.
posted by chazlarson at 7:33 AM on May 18, 2012

Be aware that if you go the camera connection kit, while it does come with a USB port, it is meant for connecting the USB cable of a self-powered camera. I bought the camera kit for my iPad 2, and it works great with SD cards, but I cannot get it to recognize any of the dozen or so USB flash drives I've tried. I always get a warning about the device drawing too much power or something. Using SD cards to transfer movies over should be a safe bet though.
posted by xedrik at 11:21 PM on May 19, 2012

So turns out the camera connection kit doesn't work. After some googling it appears they've disabled it for anything but photos taken with your own camera after one of the iOS upgrades - after some monkeying around I could get it to recognise some photos but not movies.

Scratch one for ipad functionality! At least the connection kit was cheap.
posted by Silentgoldfish at 10:54 PM on May 20, 2012

If she can jailbreak the iPad, she can install a Cydia app called "Resupported" which will allow the camera connection kit to read a USB key. At least, I was able to read files from my USB flash drive using the particular "Bob's Pretty Good" $5 camera connection widget on my jailbroken iPad 2.
posted by chazlarson at 11:35 AM on May 21, 2012

...the particular "Bob's Pretty Good" $5 camera connection widget that I bought from some random website...
posted by chazlarson at 11:36 AM on May 21, 2012

Hmmm, my only other thought to add to this discussion is somewhat similar to the previous portable-hdd-with-built-in-wifi suggestion: I own a portable battery powered 3G enabled wifi router. I use it mostly for internet access and it's great for that buuut it also accepts micro sd cards and has a little internal web server that will serve files from said card to its wifi clients.

Charges via USB, runs for about 4 hours on a charge, about the size and weight of half a deck of cards, useful for getting multiple devices to talk to each other when none of them will create their own hotspot or adhoc network (looking at you iPad & iPod and Nintendo ds) and, yes, acquiring Internet on the go.

I paid about $100CAD for mine, no contract, and i would imagine something similar shouldn't be too hard to find outside of the mobile desert that is the cCnadian telecom wasteland. Just a thought.
posted by mce at 11:11 PM on May 21, 2012

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