So far so good. Now you should be the proud owner of a bit of hardware, and means of filling it up with data. Let’s hold to that a moment and make a proof of concept, just to see that everything is heading in the right direction. Let’s make it simple. Let’s stream video.
If you haven’t already, or simply don’t know about it yet, it is high time to check out Air Video Server. Probably the best app in the appstore, and perfectly suitable to our purposes. The concept here is to start streaming video across our network, and the internet, to our iPhone or iPad. The video media will of course be located on our NAS.
The theory is simple. First download and install a server component, then go to the appstore and download the client to our mobile device. After that we pop pocorn, the sit back and enjoy. Really couldn’t be easier. For proof of concept purposes let’s use your PC, Macbook, laptop (anything but Linux will work, but who cares about Linux anyway?).
You’ll find the server component of Air Video here. Just download for your system and next your way through the intallation guide. This should be a no brainer. Now, what you have just done will work across your home network without further ado (technology made simple, don’t you just love it?), however if you want to stream across internet and 3G (say your iPhone in the subway) we need to make one more configuration.
Thanks to the developers of this fantastic utility, setting up remote access is also really simple. Just open the program, click the remote tab, then check the box and enable internet access. Is there nothing complicated here then? Not really, no. We do however need to go over port forwarding, because you’ll need that to set this up properly.
Imagine a ship at sea, it knows which harbour it is heading for. It’s just like that with a computer program on the internet, but instead of a port of call, it is a computer port. Instead of names the port have numbers ranging from 0 to 65535, and in terms of this analogy all you need to do is tell the world you’ve opened up a port to start recieving that banana boat traffic.
You do this by logging on to your router and locate the settings for port forwarding. First things first though. Take a note of the local IP number on the computer you just installed Air Video Server (instructions), then click the settings tab in Air Video and make note of the port number (should be 45631 if you haven’t changed it yourself). Now logon to your router and locate port forwarding. Click add (service) and enter the IP and the port (if you are prompted for both starting and ending ports just use the same number for both, and choose the TCP protocol). Apply changes and logout.
One more thing. Don’t forget to click the shared folders tab in Air Video Server and add your media folders on your NAS. Finally, just download Air Video Server from the appstore to your mobile device, point it to the server you just set up and you’re done. Use the Server Pin on both ends and they’ll find each other automatically, wherever you are. Sweet!
At this point it is just to start streaming, and the app is pretty simple to get the hang of. If you’re having trouble with any of this, plenty of troubleshooting over at the Air Video forums. And what have we learned?
Let’s look at what not to do (unless you have an Android phone, in which case this is what you are stuck with).
As you go about your merry business doing all of this you may notice there is also an app called VLC Streamer. Perhaps you find it attractive because you use the VLC player for your media everywhere else, perhaps because you just think VLC is the shit. Usually it is, but not so in this case. VLC Streamer cannot stream media over the internet, only across your home network. In fact Air Video Server does everything VLC Streamer does, and more (and better and simpler). Using the VLC Streamer in a 2 room apartment is like masturbating with sandpaper. You may feel the urge, but I strongly advise against it. VLC Streamer is really uncool compared to Air Video Server.
Stay tuned for more people, and enjoy your new media streamer!