The iPad is now very popular in the house.
I seldom can use it as a recipe book to cook something, as it was intended… It’s either in my oldest’s hands, playing Labyrinth 2 HD, either on my wife’s lap, browsing her Facebook & reading her emails.

But still, sometimes, it’s nice to use it for other things.
One such other thing would be to stream videos from the Amahi home server sitting in a closet upstairs.
One can watch a recorded TV show in bed, or hand the iPad to the big kid to let him watch Cars or Nemo while we’re watching the news, or something non kid-friendly.

Being of the DIY kind, I made my own web-app to achieve this, using the new HTML5 videos tag. Yes, I know, there are existing ‘solutions’ that would allow me do to something very similar, but what’s the fun in that. Plus, building my own, I’ll be sure the features I need and want will be implemented in a timely fashion!

The result can be witnessed on the Google Code page that hosts the application code:

I’m pretty happy with the end result. :)

  • There’s user profiles, that can be password protected, that allows me to hide the inappropriate videos from my children.
  • It integrates nicely with XBMC, that I was already using for those videos, to use the same thumbnails, and import ratings.
  • There’s batch encode and batch ratings, for movies and TV shows.
  • There’s an Encode Queue page allowing me to monitor progress of all the queued encodes.
  • Encoded videos will play nicely on all devices (iPad, iPhone, Apple TV, XBMC).
  • The home page shown after selecting user profile can be bookmarked (in the browser bookmarks, or the iPad home screen) to allow easy access to that specific profile. Perfect to allow the kids to reach their videos easily.
    Videos5 screenshot

If you want to try it, I created a pretty thorough README that you can follow.

You’ll need an HTTP server, PHP, MySQL, HandBrake-CLI, mediainfo and mplayer (command-line version), all of which are pretty easy to obtain for any OS.
Final note: You’ll probably need to manually edit the index.php file to point to the correct paths for some executables. And I doubt it would work in it’s current state on Windows, though it should be able to, with a couple of minor modifications.