And now for something not completely different* at all. As our smartphone and various iDevices are also media players, we present an all-too Brief Guide to watching video content on iPad and iPhone. These are the apps and sites to use, and a run down on their particulars.
All this information is going to come in handy for me as I go without TV for a few days this month in preparation to move!
Note: click on icons for links.
mSpot movies $2.99/rental or $9.99/ month service
Essentially, mSpot follows the NetFlix model. There is an iPhone and iPad friendly version of the site. Steaming video, works on both 3G and Wi-Fi
AirVideo $2.99 in the app store
This app will stream content to your iphone or ipad from your music library. Your library has files in a format not supported by you magical device? No worries, this app will even convert the files on the fly so you can watch them immediately, or add them to a queue and convert them there. This is the app we were waiting for, it requires installation of server software on your desktop.
ORB $9.99 and Free version in the app store
Like AirVideo this app will stream content to your iphone or ipad from your music library.
HULU PLUS $9.99/month
The much-loved online video service has now gone pro. You can pay a monthly fee ala NetFlix and streaming movies to your hearts content.
ABC Player Free in the app store
A handy ipad/iphone app, looks gorgeous, offers streaming content in 3G or Wi-FI.
NBC, et al.,
Like other network sites the NBC site is limited mostly to previews and the like. It offers very few full streaming episodes. The mobile site is designed for your smartphone, and doesn't look as nice on an iPad. The CNS site looks to have a few more offerings, mostly live reality show repeats or from the Soaps. The site has an iPad friendly layout, but some of the video is in flash format and will not tplay on your Apple device.
This app slings Netflix, Hulu, CBS and more to your waiting Apple device over WiFi and (occasionally) 3G. The hitch is it requires and only works on Window PCs, not much help on the go. It's also in review and not publicly available right now.
NetFlix $8.99/month and up
The grand pappy of the apps, if not in time as an app, at least in that its arrival was so widely and eagerly awaited. You get a free introductory trial period and can stream movies over both 3G or Wi-Fi.
That's it, the big players are NetFlix and ABC in the app department, the big players that aren't the Apple iTunes store, that is.
What you select in an app of course depends on what you need. for those of us who want to own a copy of the movie or show, nothing beats the iTunes store. If you want streaming content on the go, NetFliix and Abc are the players to beat. In utilities, AirVideo is our app of choice, hence it's inclusion here.
*Monty Python reference… mostly