The market for setting up local network libraries and streaming content locally is extremely saturated. But if you’ll indulge me for a moment, you’ll see why the app I’m about to suggest is by far the best app to stream as it is most robust, reliable and fastest to stream content from any desktop/laptop running Windows or MacOS.
But be warned though. This app is not a looker. It looks extremely outdated compared to modern counterparts like Plex and BubbleUPnP and falls under the category of ‘Extremely powerful apps that look hideous’; joining the ranks of WiFi File Explorer Pro, Poweramp, & ES File Explorer Pro.
The Best App to Stream Videos Without Any Latency
It’s an unofficial fork of the iOS app, Air Video Server and thus the title Unofficial Air Video. This app doesn’t use DLNA or UPnP protocols like the other mentioned apps. Instead, it uses Apple’s Bonjour service to create shared libraries that can be accessed throughout your local network.
The app differentiates itself by directly sending the file’s network location to the mobile device for streaming. Thus, there is hardly any lag as it relies on an external video player like VLC to do all the heavy lifting. This shouldn’t be a problem since most smartphones these days are more than equipped to decode multiple codecs.
How to get started:
- Install the Air Video Server app (2.4.6-beta3) for Windows or MacOS [Not to be confused with Air Video Server HD]
- If you have iTunes installed you can skip this step. Otherwise, install Bonjour for Windows. [MacOS users need not worry since it comes bundled with the OS]
- Now launch the Air Video server application on the desktop and simply select the folders which you’d like to stream to your mobile devices and select start server.
- Open the Android app and press the Servers button. Now select the PC that’s detected and then finally hit Connect.
- Finally, you can go to the preferred folder and press Play after selecting the video you’re interested in, via any external video player such as MX Player or VLC.
Here’s a short video on how the app works:
If you are an Apple user, I welcome you to try the official version of the app. I’ve been using this app for many years now and can vouch for its performance. Unlike the free Android app, it costs $4.99 but it’s well worth the price because of its extensive feature set like a live preview scrubbing and Chromecast support.