Since buying Apple’s Time Capsule I’ve tried to find a way to stream movies to my iPhone/iPad from an external hard-drive connected to Time Capsule by its USB port.
After a few weeks of testing apps and what parameters to use, I am able to share with you the solution I have found.
To be able to watch movies streamed from a hard drive connected to Time Capsule you need an app capable of connecting to a mounted volume on your local network.
This is easy to do from OS X Finder but from iOS it’s a completely different story. For the most part, the apps you can find on the App Store only allow you to download files from a remote server, or mapped drive, to your iOS device. Only a handful of them allow you to connect to the remote server and stream the movie without downloading it locally first onto your iOS device.
Streaming a movie from Time Capsule (or Time Machine) to your iPhone/iPad involves three steps:
- Finding the IP address of your Time Capsule.
- Finding the path of the external hard-drive connected to Time Capsule via USB.
- Setting up the app.
1. IP Address of Time Capsule
To get this value, launch Airport Utility on OS X, click on Time Capsule and read the IP Address.
2. USB hard-drive path
Use OS X Finder to browse to folder where your movies are stored on the USB drive connected to Time Capsule.
Click on any movie to highlight its icon and press
?i or go to File –> Get Info:
You need to write down the section called Server, as shown in the image above.
In my case the folder has this path:
where Tera is the name of my USB drive.
- Setup the app
After you have these two parameters it’s fairly easy to setup eXPlayer.
Add a Windows Network Server with these options:
After you’ve created a connection like this you’ll be able to browse the folder where you have stored the movies to stream and watch them without downloading them to your iPhone/iPad.
In my tests, this setup works very reliably. The only problem I’ve noticed is the poor frame rate that I get when watching movies.
Even for short movies images are not fluid. I don’t know if this comes down to the app or the iOS device itself. I would rule out any network speed issue as I don’t have any problems when watching movies streamed to my Mac. If you find a reason for this behaviour please leave a comment.