How to stream video to an Android device

How to stream video to an Android device


Like iOS Android doesn’t officially support a huge array of audio and video codecs — it’s a little better than iOS but not by much. However where they differ is the supply of software codec packs. Video players such as MX Player and MoboPlayer are brilliant — not just because they’re great players but because they can play a huge array of video formats by simply installing a codec pack. The trick is knowing which pack to install — if you have an Nvidia Tegra-based tablet or any of the cheap tablets with a Cortex A-series CPU you need to install the ARMv7 pack.

All Tegra-based tablets feature H.264 hardware acceleration so they’re capable of playing back at least 720p (1280 x 720-pixel) video even on a dual-core model. Quad-core Tegra tablets can do 1080p (1920 x 1080 pixels). Those tablets using the Chinese-built Allwinner A10 ARM CPU also have hardware acceleration. But when you talk about software video decoding you’re relying now on the CPU to do the job and that’s where things get tough — dual-core Tegra tablets will do DVD-resolution reasonably well but single-core A10-based tablets can struggle even with that.

However on the whole the ability to use passive/progressive streaming makes this an easy option on Android tablets. All you need is the combination of ES File Explorer and MoboPlayer on your tablet a shared folder of videos on your PC and you’re away. Both ES File Explorer and MoboPlayer are free so there are no limitations to worry about and any ads pushed onto the device aren’t visible during actual playback.

Stream video to an Android tablet

Step 1 :

First share a folder of videos on your server or PC. In Windows 7 right-click on the folder choose ‘Properties’ click the ‘Sharing’ tab click the ‘Share’ button select ‘Everyone’ from the drop-down box click the ‘Add’ button and press ‘Share’.

streaming to an android device step 1


Step 2 :

Install ES File Explorer and MoboPlayer along with the ARMv7 codec pack from the Play Store. Fire up ES File Explorer select the ‘LAN’ tab press the Menu button and choose ‘New > Scan’. When you see your PC listed by its IP address tap the screen and select the computer by tapping the IP address icon.

streaming to an android device step 2


Step 3 :

Select the shared folder with your movies click on a movie and select the movie player you want to play the file with. (Depending on the file type you may be given more than one media player option if you have multiple players installed on your device.)

streaming to an android device step 3


Step 4 :

The video should now begin playing. Adjust the aspect ratio if necessary to fit your screen.

streaming to an android device step 4

Watching on TV

If your Android tablet has HDMI output you can plug it into your big-screen TV and watch the show. Check your tablet for the type of output used — many use the microHDMI connector and you can pick up a micro-to-standard HDMI cable from eBay for under $5 shipped that works nicely (at least it does on Toshiba’s AT1S0 we tested).

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