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Streaming Movies from NAS to iPad 3

post #1 of 35
Thread Starter 
For those of you who are interested in wirelessly streaming HD movies from a NAS directly to an iPad 3 (without the NAS or another client doing real-time transcoding), I've found an acceptable solution. My goal was to find a solution that didn't require a client or beefy NAS. The trick is to reencode to an iPad friendly format and use a super-fast iPad player. I've found a combination that works acceptably well and should improve as player technology matures.

Today's state of the art method is to put a helper app on the client or server and use a client (Mac/PC) for transcoding. Then the iPad connnects to the client to receive the stream. The reason for this circuitous route is that neither the iPad nor typical NAS has enough umph to do transcoding. Thus the first step of the process is to reencode your DVD/Blu-Ray to something that is more easily served and played, such as MP4 or even MKV. There are many software apps that will reencode DVD/Blu-Ray to MP4 or MKV. After looking at several Windows compatible converters, I choose Pavtube Blu-ray Video Converter Ultimate. I liked PavTube's UI better than DvdFab's annoying UI, but DvdFab does provide more control over the reencoding process. Both will do batch conversions, use hardware accelerated assist, and use all core's of my quad core CPU for the reencoding process. They both have presets for the iPad 3 so you don't have to be concerned about selecting appropriate fps, bitrates, audio, etc. Reencoding process takes 90 minutes for Blu-Rays so unattended batching is a desirable feature. I reencode to MP4 using: h264, 1280x720 resolution, original framerate, video 4000-6000kbps, aac stereo 48kbps sampling for 128kbps. The iPad player is able to handle these encoding rates and a typical Blu-Ray main movie is shrunk to 4GB.

http://www.pavtube.com/blu-ray-video...rter-ultimate/
http://www.dvdfab.com/blu-ray-ripper.htm

The only software which I am aware of, that will real time stream DVD folders to the iPad, via a client, is VLC Streamer (not VLC). It requires a Helper app on a client or server. VLC Streamer didn't perform so well on my gear, nor can it stream Blu-Rays. In the end, I decided I must reencode all DVDs and Blu-Rays. That seems to be the only reliable and robust method.

I tried many iPad players. One after another was a fail because either they didn't handle streaming from my NAS (WHS V1) or couldn't play a 720p stream. A 1080p stream, per above rates, is beyond all current iPad streamers.

Finally, I found one streamer that actually streams the above rates well - EC Player

http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/ec-pl...442154538?mt=8

It streams well; very nice video and well synced audio. Unfortunately, the current version easily crashes during file selection process. It also throws up a dialog box that says the file is too large to play (the data rates are too high) but then proceeds to play the file quite well. The 2nd place streamer is BUZZ Player which played video with some stutter and audio out of sync. BUZZ Player's blog says a new version (3.1), which can play 1080p, has been released to the Apple Store for approval. Expect availability very soon. BUZZ Player is a professionally done player with lots of features. If 3.1 truly does perform as well as EC Player, it will be the new top choice.

I tried and rejected the following iPad players: Boxee, MLPlayer Lite, VLCStrFree, FlexPlayer, OPlayerHD Lite, CineXPlayer, MediaConnect, StreamToMe, VLC, yxplayer2 lite, 8player lite, It's Playing. The reason for rejection was either lack of streaming ability or inability to stream MP4 or MKV at 720p. I was unable to reproduce claims of streaming at 720p or 1080p with any of the rejected players.
post #2 of 35
Thread Starter 
Open questions:
1. Are there any lightweight hardware media streamers that will transcode DVD and Blu-Rays and stream to an iPad?
2. Anyone know of an iPad player that will stream 1280x720 or better (per above specs), with good video and audio quality? Maybe I missed a winner? Ideally it should allow multiple audio tracks and selectable subtitles.
post #3 of 35
Easier solution - use splashtop app to remote to any pc mounting the shares and run your preferred player app in full screen. Works flawlessly for me and no need to mess with transcoding.
post #4 of 35
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by patnalli View Post

Easier solution - use splashtop app to remote to any pc mounting the shares and run your preferred player app in full screen. Works flawlessly for me and no need to mess with transcoding.

"My goal was to find a solution that didn't require a client or beefy NAS."

I use Splashtop everyday, good product, but my Win8 systems are no go after hours.
post #5 of 35
You could also try mezzmo, which has pretty great ffmpeg-based realtime Or pre-transcoding and works with several of the clients you mentioned. I also tried various methods to enable my ipads to access my HD video library, but splashtop was the only relatively foolproof method I came across personally. Everything else seems prone to bugs & gotchas (although mezzmo worked fairly well & is great for streaming to DLNA gadgets). Also, if you happen to have a Sandy/Ivy Bridge based processor - I use a Cyberlink product called Media Espresso to convert for ipad/ipod touch. This app supports Sandy/Ivy Bridge quicksync which lets me transcode a DVD rip (orig, but in MVK via makemkv) in under 5 mins and a 1080P bluray rip in around 15 mins with excellent quality so far.
post #6 of 35
post #7 of 35
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by patnalli View Post

You could also try mezzmo ...

"My goal was to find a solution that didn't require a client or beefy NAS."
post #8 of 35
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by GusGus748s View Post

www.10muse.net

An off-topic product.
post #9 of 35
The iPad only enables H.264 hardware decoding when the video is an MP4/M4V/MOV file & your using Apples stock quicktime media player, anything else even if it has h.264 wont get hardware decoding and falls back to the CPU.

Most third party media players on iTunes app store don't enable the Quicktime player as it can break compatibility with other videos though a few have found ways to make it work but usually offer it as an optional plugin in the apps settings. If your not using the Quicktime player then the CPU is decoding the video which wastes more battery power and stresses the CPU which can affect network streaming too.

Goodplayer works fine for me, your can access media on the NAS directly plus if you go into the settings and enable hardware decoding (quicktime player) you will be given a prompt to play mp4/m4v media via iPod/Quicktime player instead. The only downside is that you don't get the prompt when browsing SMB you only get it through UPnP/DLNA, it's something the developer could probably fix.
post #10 of 35
Thread Starter 
Alx330, I tried Goodplayer, based on your advice. Here's what I've discovered. Goodplayer is considerably more reliable and well featured than EC Player. EC Player stands for Easy Crash Player, I figure. However, on my tests, streaming from SMB, Goodplayer either is a noticable step down in quality when playing same MP4 file, or has audio sync issues.

EC Player, while unreliable in the steps before playing, has best video quality and few sync issues. If a sync issue occurs, I just pause and restart and it recovers. Once going, it is acceptably reliable and plays well.
post #11 of 35
Thread Starter 
FYI, I've just tried Buzz Player's new version (3.1). Contrary to Buzz's blog, I find no improvement in playing files. When playing via SMB directly from a NAS, it still stutters or is out of sync. I'm still looking for an app that offers the play quality of EC Player but the maturity and features of Goodplayer and Buzz.
post #12 of 35
Plex is all u need
post #13 of 35
I've been using AirVideo for the last year on my iPad 2 and it has worked flawlessly. I can either queue up to transcode my movies which my WHS v1 handles OR play with on-the-fly transcoding. The on-the-fly method occasionally has hiccups if the wifi is weak but is solid if the movie has already been transcoded. Not sure if there are better alternatives but for now I'm a happy customer with AirVideo. I just love I can be anywhere with my iPad and if I have wifi available I can access my entire movie library at home.
post #14 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg Haynes View Post

I've been using AirVideo for the last year on my iPad 2 and it has worked flawlessly. I can either queue up to transcode my movies which my WHS v1 handles OR play with on-the-fly transcoding. The on-the-fly method occasionally has hiccups if the wifi is weak but is solid if the movie has already been transcoded. Not sure if there are better alternatives but for now I'm a happy customer with AirVideo. I just love I can be anywhere with my iPad and if I have wifi available I can access my entire movie library at home.

I've heard a lot of good things about AirVideo. I'm actually pondering about buying a couple of Ipads for the kids and wife. I built an unraid server, which apparently works with AirVideo pretty well. I'm going to try to borrow an Ipad from a friend of mine and test it out.
post #15 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by GusGus748s View Post

I've heard a lot of good things about AirVideo. I'm actually pondering about buying a couple of Ipads for the kids and wife. I built an unraid server, which apparently works with AirVideo pretty well. I'm going to try to borrow an Ipad from a friend of mine and test it out.

Yea my wife loves AirVideo. She takes the iPad to the gym to do cardio and has access to all our movies and it works great. She especially likes that it resumes automatically to the last session if you never finished a movie which she never does in one session. Well worth the few dollars for the app.
post #16 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg Haynes View Post

Yea my wife loves AirVideo. She takes the iPad to the gym to do cardio and has access to all our movies and it works great. She especially likes that it resumes automatically to the last session if you never finished a movie which she never does in one session. Well worth the few dollars for the app.

You can access your movies from anywhere? I thought it was only possible at your house via wifi. How do you get it to play at other locations?
post #17 of 35
Yes, you can watch anywhere in the world. Remote access was the BIG selling point for me when looking for an app. Plus it was so simple to setup and get working.

Here is a link talking about it: http://www.inmethod.com/air-video/remote-access.html
post #18 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg Haynes View Post

Yes, you can watch anywhere in the world. Remote access was the BIG selling point for me when looking for an app. Plus it was so simple to setup and get working.

Here is a link talking about it: http://www.inmethod.com/air-video/remote-access.html

This is awesome I've been looking for something like this for months. Does this work in Win7 PC and other none apple devices?

I looked in the frequently asked questions, but didn't find the answer for this.
post #19 of 35
Yes, it supports Windows (this is what I'm using) and Mac. The following versions of windows supported are Windows XP, Vista or 7.

http://www.inmethod.com/air-video/download.html
post #20 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg Haynes View Post

Yes, it supports Windows (this is what I'm using) and Mac. The following versions of windows supported are Windows XP, Vista or 7.

http://www.inmethod.com/air-video/download.html

Awesome. I am going to give it a try on my Win7 PC. I'm also going to try it out in my unraid server and compare them to see which one works better. I am not sure if I can access my unraid server with airvideo outside my network...we'll see!
post #21 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by ajgoyt View Post

Plex is all u need

I agree. And with myplex you get to view things everywhere. The one problem with Plex is the installation on a WHS system. You don't want it filling up c:\\ .

Philip
post #22 of 35
Thread Starter 
I'm a fan of Air Video and a few other client based solutions too. Regardless, this thread is about streaming directly from a NAS to the iPad without a client (Mac/PC). My WHS can stream a full gigabit pipe but its too feeble to run client software (Plex, Air Video, etc). It is way too feeble to do any transcoding.
post #23 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by pmcd View Post

I agree. And with myplex you get to view things everywhere. The one problem with Plex is the installation on a WHS system. You don't want it filling up c:\\ .

Philip

There is a PLEX server available for installation for my Synology NAS, but I've been reluctant to set it up as I anticipate that it will not have enough horsepower to transcode my many blu-ray rips.
post #24 of 35
Thread Starter 
I've qualified another alternative for direct streaming from NAS to iPad 3. I jailbroke my iPad 3 so I could install XBMC v11 (Eden). It's working better than any non-jailbreak player. I'm able to play MP4 as good as EC Player, and XBMC has the stability and features of the best players. So far, it looks like XBMC is the way to go provided you are willing to jailbreak.

http://greenpois0n.com/
http://wiki.xbmc.org/index.php?title...on_iPhone/iPad
post #25 of 35
The problem with XBMC is that the iPad does not have the horsepower to play my BD ripped content, I would have to transcode it all ahead of time, so something like Plex makes more sense (for me).
post #26 of 35
If you are looking to stream/distribute locally (at home) Plex is the great. I also have a Synology server and installation is a snap. It has taken me a few weeks to get perfect but I now have both DVDs transcoded and BRs remuxed to .mp4s that stream to ipads and rokus with NO transcoding from my server.

Away from home the SD content streams flawlessly but I have found I typically can't get enough bandwidth wirelessly to stream HD. Then you have to drop quality which leads to transcoding and not enough CPU. I don't need it much so not a deal breaker for me...there's Netflix for those situations.

Needless to say I am incredibly happy with it.
post #27 of 35
Thanks for the comments. I don't want to remix all of my content with extra copies wasting tons of storage space just for Plex streaming so looks like this will be on hold for a while.
post #28 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by jmpage2 View Post


There is a PLEX server available for installation for my Synology NAS, but I've been reluctant to set it up as I anticipate that it will not have enough horsepower to transcode my many blu-ray rips.

You have the 1.6 or 1.8 Atom based Synology? I can't say anything about HD audio but you shouldn't have any issue with the video part assuming it's h264. Someone posted about playing a Blu-ray rip to the new iPad and claimed it was fine. I have also seen reports streaming to the Roku2 from the Synology. Be neat if you would try one and see what happens. The idea of Plex on a Synology just sounds great to me.

Philip

Edit: Whoops, saw that someone has already done this.
post #29 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by jmanderson10 View Post

If you are looking to stream/distribute locally (at home) Plex is the great. I also have a Synology server and installation is a snap. It has taken me a few weeks to get perfect but I now have both DVDs transcoded and BRs remuxed to .mp4s that stream to ipads and rokus with NO transcoding from my server.

Away from home the SD content streams flawlessly but I have found I typically can't get enough bandwidth wirelessly to stream HD. Then you have to drop quality which leads to transcoding and not enough CPU. I don't need it much so not a deal breaker for me...there's Netflix for those situations.

Needless to say I am incredibly happy with it.

Which Synology NAS do you have?

Philip
post #30 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by pmcd View Post

You have the 1.6 or 1.8 Atom based Synology? I can't say anything about HD audio but you shouldn't have any issue with the video part assuming it's h264. Someone posted about playing a Blu-ray rip to the new iPad and claimed it was fine. I have also seen reports streaming to the Roku2 from the Synology. Be neat if you would try one and see what happens. The idea of Plex on a Synology just sounds great to me.

Philip

Edit: Whoops, saw that someone has already done this.

I have movies in H.264, VC1 and MPEG2 because I do straight rips of my BDs, I don't re-encode them unless they are television series. I have a DS1511+ I think it has a 1.6ghz atom cpu.
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