How to play all types of video files on your iPad or iPhone without using iTunes

I often get asked what is the best free software to play videos on your iPad, iPhone or smartphone.

To play a video on your PC, you need Windows Media Player or Quicktime or VideoLAN VLC installed on your PC. The free open source VideoLAN VLC is the most flexible.

If you want to load a video file onto your iPad, I would not recommend using iTunes to do this. I believe the best way is to install the “VLC Mobile” app by VideoLAN on your iPad. Then if you are on the same network as your PC, make a note of the iPad IP address displayed on the app (it will be something like Then put that into a browser on your PC and you will then see that you can drop video files from your PC onto your iPad. It will take a few minutes to appear on your iPad if it is a big file.

In fact, once you have got the VLC app in your iPad, you will be able to view Local Network connected media server devices, which if they set to share properly, you will be able to see them – and watch them on your iPad and also Air Play them to your Apple TV – without needing to copy them to your iPad.

I regularly install Network Attached Storage devices as media servers for this purpose. If you have a smart TV, you can view network devices directly.

It is good practice to put all your photos, videos and music onto a NAS device (as well as having an off site backup copy). Then you can view them on any smart device connected to you network,and it is possible to set things so that you can view them from outside your home.

Dampness ruins video tapes

Dampness ruins video tapes. How you store your precious old video tapes is very important. They should be stored upright, like a book and in dry conditions. If they is too much moisture in the air, it can settle on the tape, the tape deteriorates and then the tape becomes unplayable. It is unplayable because the tape sticks to itself and/or the tape drum. If it sticks, when the tape is played, it can rip into tiny shreds.

We have had several tapes recently where little white specks are visible across the tape spool, which shows that moisture has got into the tapes and the tape will not come off the drum in one piece!

So, do not leave your video (or audio) tapes in a damp room, loft, garage or part of your house.

Whatever condition your tapes are in, get them digitised as soon as possible, so that you can enjoy them forever as they are, before they get worse.

If you want to digitise your tapes, have a look at the information and pricing below:


video formats

Video formats explained

The number of different video formats, codecs and containers and what it all means is one of the most difficult areas for people to understand once you start doing any significant video capture, digitising, production, editing, conversion, storage or streaming.

What is the difference between a video format, a video codec and a video container.

This article gives you a taste of the issues

If you want help with your video capture, digitising, production, editing, conversion, storage, streaming or other aspect of personal media then do contact Personal Media Solutions and we will be happy to advise you.


personalised dvd gift gold

Personalised DVD gift – why not give one to someone you love

Personalised DVD Gift Packages – are based on your photos, video and music carefully edited into a personalised DVD. They are ideal as a unique personalised gift for Birthdays, Christmas, special occasions. More details and pricing here

A personalised DVD package is a unique gift. We use your photos (photos, slides, negatives or digital photos), your video footage (video tapes, cine film or digital files) and your choice of music. We then carefully edit together your photos, video and music into a personalised video with titles and credits as required. This is then turned into a DVD with printed title, background image and case. All editing work is carried out on the industry leading video editing suite Adobe Premier Pro CC.


Aerial photography with the DJI Phantom 2

Aerial photography just got a lot easier with the highly manoeuvrable DJI Phantom 2 quadcopter. Have a look at the filming we did both of the quadcopter and the video from the quadcopter – synchronised together picture in picture. Thanks to Paul Deach for his help in making this film.

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