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Review: Air Playit – App For iOS, Android and Windows Phone

Having tried countless other apps to simply play different formats of music and video over a network, Air Playit from Digiarty Software Inc. finally ticked all of the boxes for me.

I have, like many other people, a myriad of video file formats littering my hard drive. For some of these files, not even my PC with all its technological might is a match for the complicated codecs with which the videos have been created. For example, a digital camera that I have been using for the past few years produces HD video which is great, yes? Well, unfortunately it may produce HD quality video but the only place I had found that would play it with no ‘invalid file’ messages popping up or jerkiness of play was the actual camera itself. As you can imagine it is something of a pain and whatever solipsistic life my camera leads is not much use to me video-wise. Therefore, you can imagine my surprise and glee when I found an application that not only plays a vast array of video formats – but it finally plays the previously misunderstood videos! If it were possible to high-five the application, I would have gladly done so at that very moment.

This nifty little app is truly packed with an array of features to not only view your videos and listen to your music over a network but to convert them and save them offline for you to view on the go. Coupled with all the great features was the ease of use with which the server application installs to the PC and within minutes I was watching a video over the network on my iPod Touch.

The app on the iPod Touch downloaded quickly and picked up the server app link pleasingly quickly. The app is generally very intuitive and the only slightly irksome point was that in the Tasks list, after conversion the only options were Cancel and Edit which left me in a little confusion as to whether the conversion had occurred, being that the task remained on the list even at 100% whereas downloads disappear from the task list once complete. Regardless of this minor issue, I endeavoured to put the app through its paces.

air playit app for ios review

Using a series of video files to test effectiveness of the app with different formats, I set to work trying as many as possible. With no hardship at all, the app obediently played a wide variety of video files including wmv, mp4 from a digital camera, mov file from the aforementioned difficult camera, mp4 that I created, m4v – DRM locked Apple iTunes videos that I had purchased (videos were played through Safari), avi, mkv, mpg, mpeg, rm, asf and flv files. To be honest, at first I did have a problem playing the m4v files through Safari as I think that some memory fragmentation issues had occurred on my iPod, having used it for various other tasks during the day. As with many mobile devices, especially in the hands of a software tester, it is sometimes necessary to reboot the device and once I had done so all was well with the video playback of m4v files. Similarly with music files, everything I threw at it performed without any glitches.

Selecting folders to share over the app is simplicity itself and this control allows the user to specify to which folders the app has access. This eases the burden of searching through countless folders on a fiddly device to find videos/music and the app can be used to create shortcuts to all of the video/music files you have, if they are scattered around the hard disk. Permission levels on the folders allow you to specify who should be able to gain access to the files and can be edited to prevent people accessing certain files.

 

One of the best things about the app is the ability to convert video and music files to allow listening or watching even when offline. While attached to the network you can take a video file, convert and save it to your mobile device for later viewing when offline. The only down side is that you have to watch those converted videos or listen to converted music files within the application rather than having them present in the video or music section of the iPod but this is no fault of the application, rather an accepted feature of the system.

As long as the Air Playit server is running on your PC, files can be accessed across the network easily and this includes streaming videos and music from a network drive on the same network. A simple ‘Start Server’ and ‘Stop Server’ option allows easy usage and prevents me having to explain how to get it up and running to technologically confused relatives as it does exactly what it says.

The feature to allow your files to be accessed over a browser is fantastic also as it allows you to access your music and videos over the internet whenever you have connection. Making listening to your music or watching a video in a coffee shop with wifi while waiting for your friends as easy as pie, or a muffin, or whichever pastry treat you are trying to avoid but will inevitably succumb (this may be just me…).

There is also an option for CUDA enabled devices to switch on the functionality allowing greater distribution of memory and this enables the computer to run faster and facilitate faster decoding which makes for a better viewing and listening experience.

Topped off with the feature to allow you to restart or shut down your PC remotely if you wish, the app brings your entertainment with you, without having to cart around a huge amount of media. Considering that I have been using around three different apps to play different files, this app is a welcome delight and a must-have for anyone with a voracious visual and musical appetite.

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