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Streaming videos to iPod Touch or iPhone using Webservers

Using the built in Wireless Network of the iPhones, you can stream your movie collection to your device and this is a very simple thing to do. If you have a large movie collection, it's not always possible to sync on all your favourite movies due to limitations of your memory on the iPod. Using this method can give you access to your media content from anywhere where you have a wi-fi connection in your house or potentially, anywhere in the world where you have a wi-fi signal.

Streaming videos to your iPod or iPhone

The iPods/iPhones are restricted in the video formats they can play so you will need to ensure your videos have been pre converted to an mp4/mov format. This is the same format for videos that are copied to your device using iTunes. There are a number of tools available to convert videos to an mov/mp4 format and you can click here to find out to do this. N.B. On some web servers this might not work and is probably due to the mime types. For instance, streaming mp4's will not work directly but streaming mov's will on the FreeNAS server. Click here to learn how to edit your mime types on a FreeNAS server.


Streaming videos to your iPhone or iPod

Once you have your videos, you will need to setup a web server. Microsoft offer one as part of the OS on Windows but your can also download Apache, one of its derivatives such as XAMPP, or even use the web server that comes built into a NAS device such as FreeNAS, QNAP or Thecus. If you have a NAS server, we recommend that you place them here.

  1. Set up your web server and create a folder for your videos under the document root. (eg C:\InetPub\wwwroot\iPod-Videos for windows, c: mpp\htdocs\iPod-Videos for XAMPP or \freenas\FreeNAS_Files\WebServer\iPod-Videos).
  2. Ensure your website has directy listing enabled. This will allow you to browse and access the videos in the directory using a web browser.
  3. Copy in your MOV videos
  4. You will now have a basic way of streaming your videos over your network and accessing your folder from your ipod will look something like this below

iPod Video Streaming Web Folder


Step 3- Create a Web Page

You can make this a little more user friendly by creating a simple webpage to show the box covers, a synopsis such as the example shown below.

Example Movie Web Page for Streaming Videos to iPods and iPod Touch

Below is the example code for this.

<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-transitional.dtd">
<html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml">
<head>
<meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=utf-8" />
<title>iPod Videos</title>
</head>
<body>
<table width="700" border="1">
<tr>
<td width="92"><strong>Movie</strong></td>
<td width="450"><strong>Description</strong></td>
<td width="136"><strong>Rating</strong></td>
</tr>
<tr>
<td><a href="iPod-Videos/Bolt.MOV"><img src="DVD-covers/bolt.jpg" alt="Bolt" width="88" height="136" onclick="iPod-Videos/Bolt.MOV" /></a></td>
<td>The canine star of a fictional sci-fi/action show that believes his powers are real embarks on a cross country trek to save his co-star from a threat he believes is just as real</td>
<td>IMDB Rating: 7.4/10</td>
</tr>
<tr>
<td><a href="iPod-Videos/cars.MOV"><img src="DVD-covers/cars.jpg" width="88" height="136" alt="Cars" /></a></td>
<td>A hot-shot race-car named Lightning McQueen gets waylaid in Radiator Springs, where he finds the true meaning of friendship and family.</td>
<td>IMDB Rating: 7.5/10</td>
</tr>
<tr>
<td><a href="iPod-Videos/Finding-nemo.mov"><img src="DVD-covers/finding-nemo.jpg" width="88" height="136" alt="Finding Nemo" /></a></td>
<td>A father-son underwater adventure featuring Nemo, a boy clownfish, stolen from his coral reef home. His timid father must then travel to Sydney, and search Sydney Harbour find Nemo.</td>
<td>IMDB Rating: 8.2/10</td>
</tr>
<tr>
<td><a href="iPod-Videos/Monsters-Inc.mov"><img src="DVD-covers/monsters-inc.jpg" width="88" height="136" alt="Monsters Inc" /></a></td>
<td>Monsters generate their city's power by scaring children, but they are terribly afraid themselves of being contaminated by children, so when one enters Monstropolis, top scarer Sulley finds his world disrupted</td>
<td>IMDB Rating: 8.0/10</td>
</tr>
</table>
</body>
</html>

Step 4 - Accessing your iPod videos from anywhere

It is possible to take this one step further and give you access to your videos from anywhere with a Wi-Fi connection. There are however some limiting factors which you should consider before attempting this.

  • Does your ISP provide you with a dedicated IP Address? If you are given a new Address everytime you connect to the internet, you are going to find this nearly impossible.
  • What is the upload speed? Normally, you will get a highly download speed of perhaps 8Mbps but may only have 448Kbps upload speed. If your video is encoded at 800Kpbs, there will be a lot of stuttering.
  • Can you secure your video collection from just anyone on the web? If not, you might find your system hacked or some copyright laws broken.

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