Sunday, March 28, 2010

Serving media to the iPod Touch -- my experience so far

I bought my 3G iPod Touch (32 GB) about six weeks ago and I am absolutely love this little machine. It is just so versatile. There's very little you can't do.
The biggest problem for me right now is that there's no multitasking which is a pain. It would be nice to be able to listen to music while reading from Stanza for example.
Another problem is that 32GB, by todays standards, is not huge. This is particularly so if you like movies.
Now, as it happens, I very rarely watch movies and have no real interest in them. Nevertheless, I have actually downloaded 20 full-length films onto my iPod which has consumed a sizable chunk of the available.
Alternatively, you can keep your movies on a desktop (I use my MacBook) and stream them to the iPod.
This works very well for me using AirVideoFree about which I have already posted. This is a wonderful free app for the iPhone or iPod Touch. However, it only does movies and nothing else.
Then I found Orb.
This claims to allow streaming of all media -films, music, photos, TV shows- to wherever you want, including your iPhone or iPod Touch.
So, I tried the free version on my Touch and installed the server on my MacBook. Thereafter it was easy to get Orb to recognize all of my media stuff.
On the iPod Touch, performance was, well, disappointing.
First problem was that every time I hit the Orb icon on my homepage, it connected to my Mac but then immediately crashed.
That didn't happen on various attempts today but it's already looking a little temperamental.
Streaming over music worked well without any significant amount of failures. Too, I could access photos streamed over from my Mac although I haven't as yet looked at whether they can be downloaded.
One big problem was an extremely patchy performance with movies. Based on my experience to date, Orb could not at all be relied upon for an evening of popcorn and movies. It does work occasionally but needs to go buffering frequently.
No, AirVideo is so much more reliable. Indeed, there's really no comparison.
Another problem with Orb is that the free version randomly selects just three of your music or films or whatever and that's all you can access unless you shell out for the pro version.
With AirVideo, the free version also allows just three movies to be accessed until you restart the app. However, you just need to pick your three selected movies and oput them into a special folder that will be served to your iPod. The choice is yours rather than hit-and-miss as it is with Orb.
Not sure I'll be iusing Orb a lot.

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