Let me fully explain how this works. FYI - I have Windows Vista on my home computer and an iPhone 3G. First you download the App to the phone then download a program to your computer called Air Video Server. You can watch virtually any video you have saved on your hard drive.
It is a very simple process to set your phone up to view the videos using Wi-Fi. On your computer, you open the program you downloaded, click on the Share Folders tab and add the file path (i.e. Public/Video). Then you direct the app on the phone to the same file path. It finds the videos and plays them clearly and quickly. I played both .avi and .mts files with no problems. I’m sure the iPad works the same way.
As for getting the videos to play over your 3G network, it was more difficult. My router is about 2 years old and I had to make some changes to it (newer ones may automatically detect the information). I went to the program on the computer and clicked on the Remote tab then checked - Enable Access from Internet (Experimental). I then checked Automatically Map Port. Since I don’t know much about working with routers, I emailed their support (on a Saturday) and spend an hour or so going back and forth with a technician. With his help, I was able allow the Air Video Server to get access through my router then through my Norton firewall as well. I then went back to the phone and set the phone up by typing in a Server PIN that is provided to you under the Remote tab. Now, when I am away from my house, I have the ability to access the same videos, but it is not as quick as the Wi-Fi option.
Air Video comes packed with features. It can share folders on your harddrive as well as iTunes playlists. It supports live conversion and offline conversion where the entire file is converted upfront. It lets you customize the conversion settings, zoom and crop the video.
Air Video works over local network and over internet (including 3G). However to enjoy streaming over internet your router must support UPnP or NAT-PMP protocols so that Air Video can setup the port forwarding for you. Otherwise you will need to configure the port forwarding manually.
Air Video will not play DRM protected videos. All video content purchased through iTunes includes DRM. Video podcast content is free and does not include DRM protection.
The free server software (available for Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard and Microsoft Windows) is needed to stream and convert the videos and can be downloaded at AirVideoApp.com
Air Video Server installs an icon in your menu bar, making it easy to access prefs without switching apps and that makes it one-click easy to configure this app to automatically load at startup. Additionally, configuring the server to require a password probably isn’t a bad idea either, especially if you live in a densely populated area
Air Video is available for $3 from Apple iTunes App Store