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The iPad’s beautiful screen makes it an ideal venue for watching video. Syncing your video to the iPad makes carrying around a small video library really convenient, especially when taking a long plane trip, commuting to work by bus or train, or just trying to keep the kids in the back seat distracted on a long drive. The downside is that the iPad has a limited amount of memory to hold the operating system, your apps, and all the other content that you are likely to be toting around, such as photos, music, and the documents you create with your other apps.
While I encourage you to perform regular housekeeping to remove content that is no longer needed, video’s rapacious appetite for storage space (over 500MB per hour versus about 1MB for the book on which a movie is based) makes it a special case, deserving of special attention. I'm going to break my recommendation into two cases, dependent upon how and where you are most likely to view video on your iPad.
If you use your iPad almost exclusively around your home or office, where you have access to your wireless network, I suggest minimizing the amount of video you actually sync to your iPad, choosing instead to use Home Sharing from your computer’s iTunes application for the content you wish to view that is copy-protected, such as the movies and TV shows you purchase or rent from the iTunes Store, and Air Video ($2.99) plus Air Video Server (free) for other content, as described in our book’s “Stream Your Own Video Project” (it’s in Chapter 3).
If you tend to view video where you’re out-of-range of your home network (eliminating the Home Sharing option), then sync that content and delete it from your iPad when you‘re done with it — you can always get it back when you return home and sync your iPad with your computer, if you wish. Similarly, convert and sync other non-iPad-friendly video (both Handbrake and Air Video do excellent conversions) if you don’t have access to a wireless hotspot, but if you expect to have wireless access to the Internet, then Air Video is still a solution there since it lets you access your home video library over the Internet.
Also, if you’ve been taking movies with your iPad 2 camera or editing video with iMovie on the iPad 2, get that content onto your computer and off the iPad as soon as feasible.
Dennis Cohen is the co-author of The iPad 2 Project Book.