How to Stream Video to an Ipad over LAN

My first priority once I got my Ipad was to set it up to play video streamed from my local network – I have a server with nearly a terabyte of ripped movies and TV shows. I found two ways to pull it off.

Stream Video from SMB Shares

This is the easy way to stream video to your Ipad. My files are stored on an Ubuntu computer, but this should work just as well with Windows. All you have to do is make sure that your videos are shared and publicly accessible.

Video playback with ExPlayer HD

Download ExPlayer HD¬†from the App Store (it’s $4.99). ExPlayer will let you browse through samba shares and stream most videos. I’ve found that it works great with most SD content, but hiccups a bit with files over 500 megs and HD files. But the hiccups are pretty minor and they don’t interrupt the videos too much.

Stream Video from a UPNP Server

If you have problems with video playback quality, setting up a UPNP server is a more robust way to handle video. I haven’t spent much time setting up a Windows UPNP server but apparently it can be done with XBMC. I use MediaTomb on an Ubuntu server and I’m really happy with the results. It’s also really easy to set up.

Browsing UPNP with Buzz Player

I use Buzz Player HD¬†($3.99) on the Ipad to view UPNP video. It seems to crash a little bit more than ExPlayer does, but every time it’s crashed on me I’ve been able to open the app again and view the same file without any issues.

Buzz Player HD video playback

Conclusion

Overall, both ways work pretty well. Video playback is great with both apps, although so far I like Buzz Player a little better.

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