Version Reviewed: 2.2.2
iPhone Integration Rating:
User Interface Rating:
Re-use / Replay Value Rating:
You know, there are two problems with playing videos on my iPod: space, and file formats. Eight gigabytes just isn't enough for more than one or two movies, especially given apps, music, and everything else; and besides, taking videos from my hard drive and converting them into .mp4's is a complete and utter pain.
Thankfully, Jeff dropped Air Video into our review queue today, and am I ever amazed. It looks like library size won't be a problem for me anymore!
Air Video is an amazing app that takes your computer's video library and allows you to stream content from selected folders to your iPhone, iPod Touch...or even iPad, because it's a universal app. Best of all, it'll take almost any video format: MKV, AVI, DivX, MOV, FLV, and more. The app converts those files into the iPod's .mp4 format on the fly, and at least on a WiFi connection, I didn't notice any lag whatsoever. Watching videos is almost as simple as using Apple's Videos app: open it up, and choose which video to play. The only thing it can't do is read DRM-protected files (like movies from the iTunes store).
Of course, this magic does come with a minor price: you'll need to install Air Video Server, a free piece of companion software with support for both PCs and Macs. Without Air Video Server running in the background, your iPhone can't access your video files, so you'll need to leave your computer running. Also, using the server program opens your files up to anybody with the app on your local network, so don't open access to anything private. Or if you do, turn on the optional access password in the app.
That caveat aside, Air Video works like a charm. It's incredibly simple and intuitive, and you can't beat the value. I hate using my laptop to watch videos because it overheats; it's much simpler to store my video collection on my laptop downstairs and watch movies from my iPod in my bedroom. And, really, there aren't any downsides to using Air Video. It's worth every penny of its measly $3 asking price, and far more. If you've got anything resembling a video collection, you need this app—now. Don't believe me? Grab the lite version for free and try it!