So many times I wanted to just lie down somewhere and watch something on my iPod touch but the video was sitting on my desktop, unconverted, so the device was not able to play it. A while ago I stumbled upon this brilliant pair of apps: Air Video . I say pair because they are a server that runs on your Mac or Windows PC and an iPhone app that is the client.
I could not believe it until I tried it: the server gives you access to the videos on your shared folders and even if the videos are not converted for the iPhone, it converts them using a conversion queue OR converts them in real-time! It takes a powerful-ish desktop for the real-time conversion to work, but it had no problems on my older Pentium D. The videos started playing after about 20 seconds of buffering.
The videos can be in almost any format. This is brilliant because you can get access to your entire library of videos without copying them to your device. Streaming works over your wireless connection from your local network OR even via the Internet. You can adjust the conversion quality and resolution.
The free iPhone app only allows a certain number of folders/files to be retrieved from the server, so if you have a lot of videos you should probably buy the 2.99$ app that gives access to your full library. Network discovery happens quite fast, it detects the machines on the local network that run the server.
The new Air Server beta that is available on their website now includes Subtitle Support.
This is a brilliant set of apps and really get the job done. Hope you find it useful.