Technology Tuesday: Best Way to Stream Video to iPad

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I love my Boxee. I haven’t yet “cut the cord” to the cable company, but I watch quite a bit of video through it on my large screen TV. In addition to all my local content, the plethora of available video sources is phenomenal. I especially love easily queuing up videos from my Twitter feed and watching all the best of them on a nice TV and sound system every few days. (Think Music videos and not cat videos). I have to say, for $175, Boxee serves up quite a bit of value: tons of processing power to serve up even the largest of BluRay video files in 1080p and ability to view virtually any format of video that you can throw at it.

Recently, when my Boxee remote went missing I went to download a remote app for the iPad so I could queue up a new movie I had been itching to watch. I accidentally downloaded not a remote app, but Boxee’s relatively new iPad app to stream video. What an awesome mistake!

Here’s a few killer things about it:

  • You don’t even need a Boxee running to use it!
  • Absolutely free
  • Like Boxee itself, can handle virtually any video file
  • Plays video instantly: No need to wait while videos convert
  • Stunning quality!

Read on to learn a little more about this amazing way to push video to your iPad.

So what does this app do? With or without an actual Boxee, you can stream your own videos, watch videos from your social media sources, watch Boxee recommended videos, or videos you’ve bookmarked from the Boxee website. You can play the videos in High Def right on your iPad, push to your TV and even play the audio with AirPlay.

Sweet! What do I do? The setup couldn’t be simpler. Just download the App for free and create a Boxee account if you don’t already have one. If you want to stream videos from your own collection to your iPad you need to install the Boxee Media Manager on any computer you want to stream from. Windows 7, XP & Vista are supported along with OSX 10.5+.

Simply point to any folders that have video and you are done!

Now what? Fire up the app and start watching video. If you connect Twitter, Facebook or Tumblr accounts to your Boxee account, you will have a nice feed of video that you can watch anywhere, anytime. It is kind of like Flipboard with just video. Similarly, there will be some Boxee recommended video in another column.

But where Boxee App really shines is being able to watch your own video. As long as you are on the same WiFi network as your host computer, all the video that you pointed towards in setup will be available and displayed in the same directory structure. Unlike some other computer to iPad alternatives, selected videos play instantly. There is no conversion that needs to take place prior to watching. Everything is done on the fly.

How is the video quality? As good as the original. So if you are streaming HD, the quality on your iPad will be stunning! I’ve used AirVideo for quite some time and been generally pleased with the results, but Boxee seems to have a far superior compression and conversion engine with much higher quality video. And unlike AirVideo, it is free and videos start instantly.

What other cool features are there? If you are watching something on your iPad and then feel the need to watch with others, at the touch of button, you can send the stream to your Boxee if you have one. Of course like most audio applications on the iPad, you can send the audio to AirPlay if you’d like.  You can even add a Bookmarklet to your browser to add videos to your queue. Much like a Read it Later for video.

If I only will be watching videos on my Boxee anyway, is there a need for this app? Even if you don’t watch many videos on your iPad, I highly recommend this app. The interface is slick & intuitive and it is easier to browse for videos that you want to watch than Boxee itself. Since you can instantly push a video to your Boxee with one tap, the app becomes a beautifully designed remote and worth the download just for that.

[Screen Grab from local video: Quality is Spectacular]

[Interface is slick. Touching ‘My Media’ brings up thumbnails of local video]

Bottom Line: I have found no easier way to push videos to my iPad. The quality is fantastic and the interface well designed and intuitive. Set up takes less than a minute and you will be watching videos from your computer and social feed almost immediately after downloading the app. For the price of “Free”, there’s no reason not to give this a try. Coupled with an existing Boxee, it is even more of a compelling reason to use this app.

Update from Last Week: Last week we told you about PaperKarma, a way to rid your mailbox of unwanted mailings. Apparently the service has been very well received and many people have taken advantage of this great utility. They advise that identifications are taking way longer than expected and could even take up to a month. So if you are uploading those pics and still waiting for confirmations: Be patient.


Hidden Track Technology Tuesday
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One thought on “Technology Tuesday: Best Way to Stream Video to iPad

  1. Nate Reply

    Boxee is ok but I would rather use DISH’s Blockbuster@Home service where I can get the most for my money. The reason being is because I get new releases 28 days before Netflix and Redbox does and I can stream 3,000 movies to my TV and 4,000 movies to my PC. Blockbuster has movies from all over the world and all different types. I can also rent movies, TV shows, blu-rays and games by mail with unlimited store exchanges and there are no due dates or late fee’s. I work for DISH and I can tell you that customers will also receive 20 premium movie channels and new customers can get 12 months free streaming and 3 months free disc rentals.

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