Air Playit is a handy little free program that allows you to stream videos and music from your home computer to your Android or iOS mobile device. It features such smart options as on-the-fly conversion, support for multiple file formats, and built-in HTTP support, along with support for Apple’s proprietary TV-Out system.
As it progresses beyond the Beta testing phase and continues to develop further, we can expect Air Playit to turn into a really solid and easy solution for mobile streaming of your media collection.
Today’s watchword is mobile. Everything is mobile, from collapsible drinking cups to tablet PCs the size of a paperback novel. The electronics industry, in particular, has always had a predilection for making things more mobile, smaller, easier to carry around.
We carry our entire lives in our cell phones, it seems, and everything is so free and unattached now that it’s a wonder we ever go home at all! Air Playit takes that evolution of mobility right where you’d hope, by bringing your home collection of media to your mobile device, for free!
Air Playit is made up of two parts: The server program, which runs on your PC or Mac at home, and the mobile application (guess where that runs). The idea is the have your media collection easy to access and stream it to your phone. While the idea and the actual usage are very simple, the program is actually a wealth of options. This is not the only solution out there for streaming home media to your mobile, by any means, but it does stand out as one of the better ones, in my opinion. The main reason for that is because of the aforementioned options, and I will touch on just a few of the most notable ones in this article.
First off, Air Playit has a built-in system of conversion for your streaming needs. Let’s say you want to watch a scene from your favorite movie, and you own a digital copy of it on your home PC, but you’re out and about with nothing but your Android or iPhone. With the Airplayit server installed on the PC (or Mac) at home, and the app on your mobile, Airplayit will let you select that movie, and immediately begin converting it to mobile format and subsequently begin streaming it live to your mobile. This is an option not found in all the other programs of this type. With many of them (most, really) you have to convert the video (or audio) files yourself ahead of time. This can be done either manually with a third party program, or automatically within the program of your choice, but to have it done on the fly, while actually streaming the video to your mobile, is a rare and long-overdue feature that cuts out that extra prep-time.
Secondly, you’ll find that Air Playit supports multiple different file formats for on-the-fly conversion. In addition to the older, most common formats like .avi, .mp4 or .wmv, Airplayit supports many of the less common but up-and-coming file formats that are beginning to be far more common, like AIFF or MKV (very popular now) and others. Additionally, with Airplayit’s Offline Manager, you can have these files converted to use on your mobile while you’re asleep or at work, and when they are done you can transfer them via USB cable (or your favorite method) to your mobile and watch them whenever you want where ever you may be, without using wi-fi or 3g/4g or any other ‘data minutes’ on the mobile. This means that with Air Playit you are covered whether you want to convert and stream on the spur of the moment, or if you want to convert them ahead of time and keep them on your mobile. The only disadvantage to keeping them on your mobile would be storage space. If your mobile hasn’t got the available empty storage space either on it’s SDmicro card or within the internal memory, then streaming will be your only option.
Lastly, Air Playit has a couple of great functions built-in that make the whole process a snap. At the time of this posting, Airplayit has two extra options for your server side needs beyond just simply offering a passive host. The first is the proprietary technology known simply as “Apple TV-Out” which is exactly what it sounds like. It’s Apple’s attempt at making a version of USB that works only with and for Apple products. If your mobile device and your television have the technology, you can stream video from your PC to your mobile, and then from the mobile it will show up on the television. This means you basically have your entire collection of media, both video and audio, available to watch anytime on the go, as long as the Apple TV-Out is available for your devices. For those without, however, you still have the option to stream from your PC to your mobile and watch that way, using the built-in HTTP Server program within Airplayit.
Overall, I found the current Beta of Air Playit to be quite functional, easy to use, and effective. The only real downside to the Android version was that it is available as an .apk file which means you’ll need to download it and an external installation program, if you’re not already familiar with installing .apk files. The good news is that they will have an installation link in the Android Market soon so you won’t need to install the .apk file manually after that. I used Easy Installer for it, which works great and can be removed from your Android after using it to install any .apk files you may have, and it’s free.
The quality of the streaming itself was outstanding. Out of about 40 different files I tried streaming, I found less than a handful that gave me any trouble, and most of those could be chalked up to errors in the original conversion of the files, rather than anything to do with Air Playit specifically. Air Playit also has tons of other features, like parental controls, hardware encoding with CUDA support, automatic library creation and management, and even an option to power off your home computer via the mobile app. So, bearing in mind that we have looked at just a few of the great features offered in Air Playit , I think this is going to turn into a major contender for the title of ‘best video utility’ in the realm of mobile streaming, so give it a look and tell me what you think!
Until next time, my friends.