Need to stream video over a network using iOS devices? Transmitting video over wifi or Cat5e using an Apple tablet or phone can be really easy. This is how to do it.
A recent gig required live video and audio streamed from one building to a projection screen in another building some distance away. The gig came as a last minute request (the night before a morning event). I had little time to prepare. They were in a bind and didn’t have anyone else they could count on. Though I did not own very much video equipment, I knew I had to help. I had to be creative in order to accomplish the task. Here is what I did.
First, I broke the problem into 2 parts: audio and video. Figuring out an audio solution was easy, since I’m primarily experienced in audio and had all the gear for that portion. So the tough part was figuring out video. Another factor to consider was that the signals needed to be fairly secure (to prevent easy hacking), so wired was preferred over wireless options. My plan was to send audio over balanced audio cables and video over ethernet/Cat5e cable to reassemble on them together on the other end.
Second, I scoped out the location. The buildings were two small structures set on opposite sides of a small parking lot. A quick reading with my super handy laser distance measurer revealed the buildings sat about 100 feet apart. This measurement was helpful for figuring out how much cabling I need to run between the two locations. In addition to the distance between the two, there was also a height factor (the receiving location was on the second floor), plus there were interior distances that needed to be run. Altogether the total distance from the source to the destination required enough cable to reach somewhere in the ballpark of 200 feet.
Third, I needed to inventory my equipment list to figure what I needed to buy, if anything. Luckily, I found a nice iOS app that streams video quite reliably.
Video Signal Flow
This is the basic routing I came up with:
iOS Device with Video Source App > Wifi Router > Ethernet Cable > Computer with Video Destination App > HDMI Cable > Output Device (Display or Projector)
And here are the specific details of my setup:
- a newer iOS Device (iPad/iPhone/iPod touch) with good camera (I used an iPad Mini 2.)
- a video streaming iOS app (I used AirBeam by Appologics UG with its companion desktop app AirBeam Pro.)
- a wifi router (I used an older AirPort Extreme Base Station A1354. For increased security, I also made sure the SSID was not broadcast, the network required a WPA2 password, and the password was fairly long and complicated. Not a perfect solution, but much better than an open wide, password-free network.)
- Cat5e cable (I used cable rated for outdoor use since it was kind of rainy and wet outside.)
- an Apple computer with ethernet jack (I used an aged Mid-2010 MacBook Pro.)
- a video adapter for connection to video cable (I used one of these AmazonBasics Mini DisplayPort (Thunderbolt) to HDMI adapters.)
- a video cable (I used an HDMI to HDMI cable.)
- an output device (I used a projector.)
Here is a sketch of my set up:
Not shown: MiniDisplay Port to HDMI adapter
I didn’t describe or diagram my audio setup as it was a little more traditional in approach. I may or may not write about that in another article.
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An alternate method that might make your Bluetooth device connect with your iOS device.
Can’t get your Apple Bluetooth keyboard to pair with your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch? I couldn’t either. My A1255 keyboard wouldn’t connect at all. The iPhone would find the keyboard, but wouldn’t update the name of it, nor ever present the four digit code for pairing. I could only get this error:
Make sure “Keyboard” is turned on, in range, and is ready to pair.
I tried a bunch of fixes I read about online and none of these worked in any combination nor configuration:
- turning Bluetooth off and on
- rebooting the iPhone
- holding the power button on the keyboard
- deleting other Bluetooth device pairing from the iPhone
- clicking ‘Forget This Device’
- connecting to another device and then my iPhone
- replacing the batteries
- holding the V, A, and R keys while powering on the keyboard
- turning off Bluetooth on any other nearby devices
It seems Bluetooth under iOS 7 is broken. Lots of people are having issues with Bluetooth on iOS 7 that weren’t there in older iOS versions. Unfortunately, Apple is apparently ignoring this problem.
Here’s how I finally connected my keyboard to my iPhone.
- Switch off Bluetooth on iOS device under Settings > Bluetooth.
- Shut off the keyboard by pressing and holding the power button for 3 seconds.
- Switch on Bluetooth on iOS device.
- Turn on the keyboard by pressing and holding the power button until it green light blinks.
- The keyboard should appear listed under the DEVICES heading in the iPhone Bluetooth settings screen with “Not Paired” in gray next to it.
- Now at this point you’re supposed to just tap on the listed device on the iPhone to begin the pairing process, but when I would do that it would time out with the “Pairing Unsuccessful” alert. Here’s the trick: repeatedly tap on the listing (maybe 5-6 times) and hopefully the “Bluetooth Pairing Request” alert will appear with the four digit code you’ll need to enter.
- The pairing may fail the first time. Try again.
- I also found that subsequent attempts to connect after forgetting the device worked much better after that initial connection.
I hope this fix works for you. Let me know if it does.
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I made some noises and you can hear them in the Angie’s List app.
My brother Eric Troyer is the Mobile Design Manager at Angie’s List, a service provider ratings and review site for consumers. He has been redesigning the iOS app and it looks really nice.
Eric asked me for some sound effects to add to the ratings UI. I created a variety of blips and ticks and Eric chose the ones he liked. If you’re an Angie’s List member and have the free app, you can hear the sounds in the latest version. For non-members and non-iOS users, here’s a video of the ‘Write a Review’ process.
Angie’s List iOS App (2.9.1) – Write a Review! from Eric Troyer on Vimeo.
About Angie’s List
If you’re a homeowner, check out Angie’s List. The site requires paid membership, but can prove to be really helpful for finding a great service provider (like my brother Matt’s company Emergent Investments) when your kitchen needs remodeling or the furnace goes out. Get the Angie’s List app free on the iTunes App Store. If you want to make an app or improve your current app, consider hiring Eric to design your app. He’s really good.
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