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I have just configured my Drobo FS to be a uPnP server on which I have lots of 1080p MKVs.

My little boy loves his movies (Nemo / Cars / etc), so I was hoping to be able to let him watch them on the iPad streamed from the Drobo.

Am I dreaming the impossible dream here?

Or have I hit some hardware limitation of the iPad and/or the bandwidth limits of my wifi?

EDIT

The files are mostly AVC for video and DTS for audio

EDIT 2

Since I already had plex installed on my iPad (which I bought on iTunes) I re-enabled the software on my PC server and just pointed it to my Drobo movie share. I was really hoping to not have to transcode, but I guess that will have to wait until I've got faster wifi and a more capable tablet ;)

EDIT 3

I was having a play this morning as I would quite like to watch some 720p TV shows I have (stored on my DroboFS) on my iPad2. But it seems I cannot even watch those. About the only things I can watch smoothly are SD AVIs (very low bitrate)

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  • You want hardware accelleration in the player, so you have to transcode. – Thorbjørn Ravn Andersen Jan 3 '13 at 21:44
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Personally, I do this with a DLNA intermediary running on a Windows machine. In my case I use ZumoCast. It has a server-side component (I run the Windows-based component on but you could use the Mac one if you have a Mac in your house) and then an iDevice player that connects up to it. The server-side component does transcoding on the fly for you and I've certainly been able to use it with high-resolution files that are in MKV containers without any issues.

At its heart, ZumoCast is a DLNA server and client that just kind of keeps it all within the family. The ZumoCast client will only talk to ZumoCast DLNA servers.

There are app store apps that purport to any DLNA or uPnP server for streaming. I have no experience with them though. Some are free so you can try risk-free at least. For example:

Those are just a few that showed up in a quick search.

How well they work? Hard to say. It's going to be very dependent on your device and your network. A 1080p video+audio stream over your WiFi network might push it to the limit. Add transcoding and resolution downsampling (your iPad 2 only has 1024 x 728 pixels so it has to resample 1080p content to fit it on the screen) on the iDevice and you may not get the greatest viewing experience.

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  • I think I will have to transcode the video so that it can be streamed over wifi. Although the iPad still cannot play 1080p MKVs (H264 - MPEG-4 AVC part 10 avc1 + DTS) from the iPad local storage. So, I think I will transcode to the native resolution of the iPad and stereo sound. The wifi should cope with that. PS - I am so glad I wired my house with cat5e for all my other computers! – Antony Scott Feb 16 '12 at 8:36
  • I was hoping I could do it all from the Drobo without having to get another PC involved. oh well. – Antony Scott Feb 16 '12 at 8:36
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It really depends on the codec used (MKV is just a container). Fuppes and XMBC might help you but you need to jailbreak:

iDevices can playback most videos saved as high as 1080p.

[..]

XBMC on iOS can playback all formats supported by XMBC in standard definition. Due to technical limitations only H.264 (up to High Profile) encoded videos are supported for high definition. The iPad 2 and iPhone 4S are the only exceptions to this and will play some other HD codecs (means anything with 720p resolution and above) due to the more powerful CPU inside.

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