Air Stream Media Player lets you stream both pictures and videos from your iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch (iOS 4.2 or later) to your Windows machine. This means that if you want to show your friend the pictures from your recent trip, you don’t have to connect your device to his computer and go through the lengthy process that follows, but simply stream your pictures onto your friend’s computer. No wires, no wait. You only need a shared wi-fi network.
Do note that the app’s developers have not yet made changes for iOS 4.3, so some feature might not work as well. An update is on the way, and will hopefully come out soon.
Before installing, make sure you have .NET 3.5 (or higher) and Bonjour installed. The app will not work without these. Installing Air Stream Media Player takes virtually seconds. Download the ZIP file from the website, extract it and run the EXE file. That’s it. When you run Photos, Videos or even YouTube on your iPad, you will now get the option to stream to your computer.
The program itself has several options. In order to stream videos, you will need to have QuickTime installed. If you’re running Windows 7, you can also have the program use Windows Media Player. This might work or not, depending on the codecs you have installed. You are generally better off having QuickTime.
You can also have the program automatically start streaming videos in fullscreen. The program minimizes to the tray, so you can have it wait there all the time, and when you decide to stream something, it will open in fullscreen and show your video.
To stream videos, launch YouTube or videos on your iPad (this did not work with any other video players). You will now see the AirPlay icon next to the video controls. Any computer on the shared wi-fi which has the program installed should now appear on the list. Choose the computer you wish to stream your video to.
When you start streaming, this is what your device will look like:
Unfortunately, streaming videos that were already on my iPad (iOS 4.3.5) didn’t work very well. This might work better on a device that actually has a camera and can record its own videos. It might also be an iOS 4.3 issue, so I’m holding tight for the new version of Air Stream Media Player.
Streaming videos from YouTube, however, worked like a charm. This was the case both in Windows Media Player mode and regular mode. Simply search for whatever you fancy on YouTube, and stream it immediately to your computer. This is a nice feature, but obviously not as useful as streaming videos that are on the device itself.
Another difference between regular mode and Windows Media Player is the controls you get on your computer. In regular mode, there are no video controls in Air Stream Media Player, and you can only control the video from the device. When you switch to Windows Media Player, you get controls on the computer itself. This is pretty convenient.
Air Stream Media Player is also really useful for streaming pictures. Launch Photos on your device and tap the AirPlay icon to stream the pictures. There are two ways to go about this. You can thumb through the pictures manually on your device and watch them change on the computer accordingly, or you can choose the Slideshow mode. In the latter, you can put the device aside and simply watch the show on your computer.
Streaming pictures worked well on my iPad, but was a bit slow. When going through the pictures manually, it took several seconds for the new picture to get updated on the computer. Still a quick and easy way to show your pictures to your friends, especially if your device is an iPhone or an iPod Touch and you feel your pictures deserve a bigger screen.
Another handy option – you can choose to save as any of the images you view on your computer. You can use this to easily transfer images from your device to your computer. There are better ways to do it if you want to transfer a whole folder of pictures, of course, but if you’re just looking at pictures and wish to save one here and there, it’s really useful.
I was pretty disappointed that Air Stream could not really stream my video files. I do hope, however, that this was more a of a problem on my side. I did like Air Stream Media Player in general, and will definitely keep it installed on my computer for now. If you wish to stream media from your computer to your iOS device, check out How To Stream Music & Video To Your iPhone, iPod Touch Or iPad From A Mac Or Windows PC.
Did Air Stream work better for you? Do you know of another AirPlay client for Windows that’s better? Share them in the comments.
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