I've looked everywhere for an answer to my question but I can't seem to find one:

I'm trying to watch a tv show on my iPhone 5s that I bought on my account via the computer. However, the only way it lets me watch them by downloading the episodes, and I want to just stream them on my iPhone because downloads use too much data. How do I fix this problem? Is it possible to stream tv shows on your iPhone?

  • 1
    Welcome to Ask Different. Streaming uses the same amount of data. Do you mean storage? Are you referring to purchases from iTunes?
    – bjbk
    Oct 30, 2015 at 1:29
  • Where did you buy the TV Show from/in? In iTunes or somewhere else?
    – nohillside
    Oct 30, 2015 at 7:02

2 Answers 2


I'm sure there is an answer for stuff downloaded from iTunes, but since you didn't specify, then the standard solution you are looking for is PLEX MEDIA SERVER -- https://plex.tv.

They offer a Plex Pass, which you have to pay for in order to receive extra features, but I believe the free version has everything you need.

Setup the media server on your home computer. You can even setup a NAT port on your router to access it externally, and it can either support authentication via Plex Pass or there is a hackish script somewhere on Github that allows authentication without having to purchase a Plex Pass subscription.

Then download the app on your smart phone, and you will be able to stream all of your downloaded movies that you are sharing from your Plex Media Server. I do this all the time, and it works perfectly. It supports transcoding on-the-fly, so you never have to worry about buffering and such.

XBMC, which is called something else now, is also an alternative, as well as OpenElec. I've done my research though, and Plex is the definitely the most full-featured of them all.

The setup is even simpler if you only plan to watch on your own wireless network and not over the Internet. Your mobile app (or smart TV) can find the server on its own, and it's pretty much set it and forget it.

There are multiple apps that you can download for Plex as well that integrate with Couch Potato, Sickbeard, etc. I do this all the time for my kids in the morning when I'm making their breakfast and they want to watch something that's not OnDemand or DVR. I just have all of their favorite shows downloaded to a folder on a Mac Mini running Plex Media Server.

I fire up the app on the iPad and get a few minutes of morning peace and quiet while getting breakfast ready. It's pretty much perfect in all aspects.

Also, to answer your question in regards to using data, if you stream over your wireless network, you will not use any additional mobile data, as long as your mobile device is connected to WiFi.

I know your question is regarding watching on your mobile device, but here's some additional helpful info for other users:

It should be known, that not all smart TV apps offer full integration with the free version of Plex. For instance, my parents Samsung smart TV has full Plex app integration, no problem (as does Google Chromecast). However, my Vizio smart TV requires a Plex Pass subscription in order for the app to even work at all.

  • If you downvote my answer, at least give an explanation as to why it was not good enough. The question was how to stream downloaded content from a computer to a phone. My answer was a complete response. Plex allows you to stream downloaded content from your computer to your phone over WiFi without using carrier data. I don't see the disconnect here. Nov 5, 2015 at 22:38

Instal FileBrowser App connect it to your computer using the same network and yhen you can stream it on your iPhone by selecting the file

  • If your iPhone is jailbroken, the best app for doing this is called iFile, which is available via Cydia. I'm not sure how well it would work with content purchased from iTunes, but OP never explicitly-specified whether or not it was iTunes content that he intended to stream. The cool thing about iFile is that it has full access to your filesystem and can mount network shares for streaming, as well. I have no experience with this "FileBrowser App", but I've used iFile extensively in the past to stream network content. Nov 11, 2015 at 21:15

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