How to watch DivX videos on your iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch

Stream live video to your iPad, virtually any format gets converted live by an app called Air Video. No jailbreak required!

Yesterday night I wanted to watch a TV series on my iPad in the bedroom, but I had it on a DVD encoded with the popular DivX codec. Of corse, the iPad and the iPhone do not support any video codec other than MPEG-4 H.264 with MP3 or AAC audio out of the box and you just can’t add anything that is not Apple-approved unless you jailbreak the device.

I thought I was back to the pre-iPad era: before I got the “magic tablet” I had to move the MacBook, the power adapter, track down the dedicated IKEA pillow… No more!

Air Video can stream videos in almost any format to your iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch. You don’t need to copy your videos to the device just to watch them. If the videos in your collection are not in a format supported by the iPhone OS, which is very likely, Air Video will convert them on the fly! Yes, you’ve read it well: you don’t need to wait until the entire video is converted. You can start watching almost immediately!

Live Conversion requires iPhone OS 3.0 and a sufficiently powerful computer to run the server (Intel Core 2 duo or equivalent processor is recommended). But hold to your seats now… the thing really works as smooth as butter, setup is a snap, and it also remembers where you left off watching a video!

Video conversion took a 640×480 DivX and streamed it live to my iPad at the amazing quality of 640×480 (which is the maximum supported output) and it all looked and sounded crisp and clear. You can also set the live conversion to 480×320 if you’re streaming to an iPhone or iPod Touch (this is actually the default setting).

I also tried to watch a huge DV video saved in AVI format from my LaCie 2Big Nat, which required the video to be transferred via WiFi (G) to the MacBook, live converted and streamed via the same WiFi network over to the iPad. Amazingly, it worked.

What I did not try is to use this over the internet. The server app in fact allows to stream your videos to anywhere on the internet, provided you have a public IP address and a good router.

Air Video is a client/server application. The client costs $2.99 on the App Store and the server is a free download on the developer’s site.