January 6th, 2011
I got an iPad a while ago, and I’ve found it to be an awesome tool.
The only thing I’ve really wished for that it lacks is the ability to play videos directly from iTunes on my Mac over the network. You can do this between PCs, and my AppleTV can stream videos from iTunes, so why not the iPad? I’ve never understood why this functionality wasn’t there right from the start.
There are some apps you can buy, like Air Video, that allow you to stream video, but I wasn’t impressed when I tried them. In particular, most of them can’t play DRM-protected videos.
Then I stumbled across a simple way to set up your Mac to allow your iPad, iPod touch, or iPhone to play music and video from it without needing to install any additional software or purchase anything. It’s awesome!
Mac Observer has the best set of instructions I’ve found on how to set up the video streaming.
In a nutshell, all you need to do is enable Web Sharing on your Mac, and then make some links from the web share folder on your Mac to the folders where you keep your music and videos. You can also use this same technique to share PDF eBooks and other files.
You then access the files using Safari on the iPod/iPhone/iPad. The video will start in the Safari window, but you can make it full screen and you have full control of volume, playback position, pause, etc – it’s just like watching any other video on your mobile device.
You can even connect your iPad to your TV, and play the videos there (doesn’t work with DRM-protected videos, though).