Sure, it’s easy to buy new content from iTunes for your iPad, but a new app available in the Apple App Store makes it just as simple to stream existing content, from pictures to movies to video, directly to your tablet device.
The ServeToMe app ($2.99) — designed for both the iPad and iPhone — streams files over Wi-Fi and 3G from your Mac or Windows PC with no required syncing. TechNewsDaily walks you through how to use it:
ServeToMe: The Server
First, a server component called ServeToMe must be installed to your computer. The component — which is free to download — transcodes files and streams them to the iPad on the fly, so no prior copying or converting of files is required. With support for more than 40 file formats and 17 of the most popular codecs — which is a microchip that compresses or decompresses data — most content should work fine.
TechNewsDaily tried out ServeToMe on a new 11-inch Macbook Air and it installed easily after dragging it to the Applications folder. ServeToMe then places an icon in your menu bar. Two important settings that are key for configuration include selecting the resolution videos that will be shared, making the content folders you want available. Although it would have been preferred if only one master folder held all of the content, it was a seamless process to add separate folders for storing photos, music, audiobooks, movies and TV series.
StreamToMe: The Client
After the server finishes running, download the StreamToMe app from the App Store. Load the app after installation and the device will automatically look for the local server you previously installed on your computer. After identifying your computer, it reveals a list of all shared files, including iTunes playlists and iPhoto albums that are shared by default but can be disabled in the server configuration. The folder then unveils the contents and selecting any item should promptly play or open it.
We were interested in StreamToMe primarily for watching video, and it firmly met our expectations. Movies and TV shows stored on the Mac were displayed flawlessly and beautifully on the iPad at 480 pixels and 720 pixels through a Wi-Fi connection. Videos can be viewed in a smaller window or in full screen.
Meanwhile, StreamToMe contains its own player, which offers various basic controls, including the ability to pause and skip to the next or previous file. There is also a button that allows users to skip back 30 seconds if part of the video is missed.
Overall, StreamToMe is an efficient, easy way to access and stream existing content from a computer to an iPad. It installed just as easily on a Windows XP SP3 laptop and produced the same high-quality results. The only major downside is that the app isn’t free, but at $2.99, it’s not even worth the energy to complain.