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Sony HDR-CX290 with Goflex Satellite HDD and iPad

by Topvid / July 17, 2013 3:32 AM PDT

I am looking to buy the Sony HDR-CX290 and will be making a lot of video on a single trip. I thought I would be able to use a Goflex Satellite HDD and the Sony Direct Copy function to store video and then stream on my iPad and thus avoid needing to drag a laptop with me on the trip.

Before pulling the trigger on buying these two items I noticed small print that direct copy only works with FAT32 HDD and when investigating GoFlex further it seems to be formatted to NTFC and my understanding is that this format is needed for the wireless function that enables your ipad to connect to the GoFlex and stream content from there.

So my question is does anyone have any suggestions on hardware/accessory combinations that would enable me to transfer video from my camcorder/SD Card to a storage device that will work with an ipad so that I do not need to travel with a computer.

I'm happy to consider other camcorders if recommended that fit in my budget of $300, mostly it will be used to record my son playing soccer.

I'm sure someone else must have wanted to find a way to travel and using an iPad with a camcorder?

Thanks for any suggestions or help.

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Clarification Request
PS. Did you see if your iPad can play this content?
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / July 17, 2013 3:48 AM PDT

I've seen folk fame out on such an idea as the camcorder's native encoding does not play on their iPad.

Did you test this?

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Items not purchased yet
by Topvid / July 17, 2013 12:39 PM PDT

Hi, I haven't purchased the items yet because I notices that Sony say FAT32 for at is required and GoFlex is formatted to NTFS.
I do not think I can format the GoFlex to FAT32 because it comes pre,loaded with software to create a wireless signal that the iPad can connect to.

All Answers

Best Answer chosen by Topvid

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Odd problem. Why not format the drive to what you need?
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / July 17, 2013 3:45 AM PDT

That is more likely to be NTFS and is not carved in stone. However if the GoFlex wireless function needs NTFS I can see why and decline to dive into file system minutia at this point.

What's also odd is that you write "do not need to travel with a computer" but an iPad is a computer and if we look at the other devices, there are computers in those things too! Maybe you meant you are trying to reduce weight.

How about a little jail break? Read and watch ->

How about no jail bread? Read


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Prefer not to jailbreak
by Topvid / July 17, 2013 12:34 PM PDT

Thanks to both for your replies. I prefer not to jailbreak my devices at this point in time.
Personally I wouldn't consider an iPad to be a laptop but without getting into the pedantic yes, basically I don't want to take an iPad AND a laptop, the laptop would be deadweight since it would only be used to store video recorded on the camcorder.
The GoFlex is NTFS which is why I've halted my purchase until I figure out a better solution. It seems crazy to have to buy the GoFlex for my iPad and a different FAT32 for my camcorder and then I have no way to watch my videos on my iPad whilst I'm away.
I'm surprised if no manufacturer has thought to link these devices together yet.

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Regarding the no jailbreak option
by Topvid / July 17, 2013 1:00 PM PDT

I'm not sure how that would work for me.

It doesn't solve the ability to store the video taken from the camcorder somewhere and unlike the GoFlex, which streams the video from the HDD to the iPad, you would need to copy the files to the iPad, which means you need space on your iPad, before you can play them and you would need the direct copy feature of the camcorder to copy the files to the correct folder in the correct format.

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You still have the encoding issue.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / July 17, 2013 2:45 PM PDT

Yes it may stream but unless you can test this, my bet is like others before you, the encoding is not what the ipad can decode. See if VLC PLAYER is out for the iPad and see if the camcorder video and audio encoding matches the video players.

BTW, I own a Kingston WiDrive and it's in FAT32. However my bet is that the video encoding will cause all this to fall apart.

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PS. Looked at the video encoding. AVCHD.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / July 17, 2013 2:54 PM PDT and many other posts confirm that some convertor such as noted or HANDBRAKE would be needed. I see nothing of such power in the noted hard drive. It does stream but it would be the AVCHD.

Let's look for an AVCHD player for ipad next. as well without the VLC does not find happy folk.

Again, you may be repeating some prior disaster. Do your research.

And why not just play it on the camcorder, and then pop it on the HDD for later work?
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AVCHD app available on iPad
by Topvid / July 18, 2013 2:00 AM PDT

Many thanks for your thoughtful ideas and help.

The app is available for the iPad and I have read what it does.i can see that it can be a useful app but I'm not clear yet on the 'full' solution and how all the parts will fit together.

I have looked at Kingston Wi-Drive before, if I rem,ever correctly this is a solid state drive and has a much lower capacity as well as being more expensive. I'm not sure that would be suitable for my application.

If I don't find a better solution then I will need to store the video onto a FAT32 external drive and replay through the camcorder whilst away as you suggest but then I would need to consider another external drive for my iPad and I would not be able to share my video until I return home.

Maybe I should more clearly describe how I want to use all the hardware so you can see what I'm trying to achieve.

My son is taking part in a soccer tournament and I want to record the games in the highest quality possible on the camcorder so I can edit a DVD quality video of the image. This means I will record a lot of space intensive video in a short space of time.

It would be nice to be able to watch the games whilst at the tournament so the team can see how they did and just for enjoyment.

In addition it would be great if I could easily make some basic edits so I can upload some short clips onto my password protected Wordpress blog so my parents and other family can see some short clips of the tournament whilst we are there.

As you know iPads have limited storage space and if the external HDD worked with my iPad toothat would open up the possibility of better editing because I will have access to editing apps and a bigger screen to see what I am doing and also opens up the possibility of storing movies etc that can then be viewed on or via the iPad.

At present I only have an iPad 2 16GB, I will upgrade this to an iPad 4 32GB sometime this year but not for this tournament and that is still a small amount of space when you consider that I could have 32gb of recording per day that I want to be able to stream of create short highlights from.

So, in summary, the two track approach is fairly clear to me and is my last resort option but it seems to me that a solution that enables all three devices to work together would be a preferable and logical objective to aspire to not only from a personal point of view but also for many people.

I think the AVCHD App was a missing piece in my jigsaw that you've identified for me but it seems to me that I still need a HDD that both the camcorder and iPad can communicate with.

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Parting advice.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / July 18, 2013 2:17 AM PDT

Since we know that AVCHD is not a a standard and one AVCHD from one camcorder may not be the same as the other AVCHD you get from another camcorder my parting advice is to make sure of the return policies on the products.

This area of transfer and edit of AVCHD is a minefield for many reasons and before you think "why doesn't this all work now?" it's because of many reasons but the one I bumped into at the office (we work on DVR code) is the patents. So while VLC PLAYER is lucky to be from a country that does not recognize that patent, other authors can't craft such a solution and get it on the Apple store.

I mentioned the WiDrive because I had such and was tossing out all ideas such as it could be used as a bridge from the camcorder to the HDD you noted. That is, if you didn't figure it out, camcorder to WiDrive direct, over wifi using the ipad to the GoFlex.

For me all this is interesting stuff and my thought is that I would bring my laptop.

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Maybe GoFlex can be formatted to FAT32
by Topvid / July 18, 2013 5:11 AM PDT
In reply to: Parting advice.

I found in FAQ for GoFlex the following -

Can I reformat my drive to HFS+ or FAT32?
Yes, please see Document ID 219931.

And the document is -

I don't own an Apple computer but if I understand correctly if I find someone with an Apple computer and reformat the a goflex using these instructions it will become a FAT32 HDD and still have the wifi function.

In which case the Sony Direct copy will work to copy the files to the GoFlex HDD, the GoFlex will connect to the iPad via WiFi and the Video Converter App will be able to receive and convert the file into an iPad friendly for viewing and or editing.

Which would mean that my original plan can work if I find someone with a Mac to reformat the GoFlex HDD.

What do you think?

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I would not need a Mac.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / July 18, 2013 5:21 AM PDT

I can format USB drives in almost any format on my PCs.

I thought you revealed you had a computer early on. Why not use that?

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Concerned if Wireless Function would still work
by Topvid / July 18, 2013 5:49 AM PDT

I was concerned about whether the wireless function would still work if I reformat the HDD. But the FAQ seems to imply that's not the case if you reformat the way they describe but its still not clear if it would work by reformatting with a PC?

I'm also now reading that the FAT32 format cannot handle files larger than 4gb. Do camcorders create one large file when you record or will the video be in lots of smaller files?


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My bet is that it will make 30 minute max files.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / July 18, 2013 6:38 AM PDT

It's a well discussed area but let's see if they document the camcorder. Not documented.

However in the spec you see it can fill the internal 8GB in 35 minutes so it appears you need to talk to Sony. As that's something they can answer I'll stop here.

Most camcorders break it up but I can't know which do and do not and my advice is to never buy units that have no support.

As to the HDD question, again, I feel this is a dead end solution as AVCHD appears to require conversion before the iPad will see it. I see this camcorder has MPEG 2 and that does play.

-> After all this, if the makers are not talking, chastise them and make sure you can test it all and return it when it fails.

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Thank you
by Topvid / July 18, 2013 11:13 AM PDT

Many thanks for sharing your knowledge and ideas and for your support. I'm going to mark this as solved now because I think the rest is upto me.
It seems that their is no perfect solution for me at the moment and I need to choose something that best meets my needs.
I will come back in a month or so and let you know what I did and the results in case it will be of value to anyone that stumbles on this thread in the future.
Thanks again.

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I'd like that!
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / July 18, 2013 11:23 AM PDT
In reply to: Thank you
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4GB Limit a stupid question
by Topvid / July 18, 2013 11:25 AM PDT

By the way, my concern about whether the camcorder created files larger than 4Gbs was a bit of a stupid question. Since they have a direct copy feature that requires FAT32 then obviously they cannot create files greater than 4GB because then the Direct Copy function would not work!

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Not at all.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / July 18, 2013 11:29 AM PDT

I scoured the docs and could not find if there was or was not an issue. I can't count the number of times I've seen such happen so it's not a sure thing about it being a non-issue.

My bet is that you may not ever hold the record for that long. Besides I read the battery is only good for 45 minutes per charge.

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Using A Laptop
by Topvid / July 18, 2013 11:49 AM PDT

Hey Bob you keep trying to convince me to take my Laptop haha. Since I got my iPad I hate laptops, especially when traveling. It's just a pain wheeling a laptop through airports and airlines charge for every ounce these days.

Laptops take forever to turn on, always want to update everything, subject to lots of spam ware, malware, virus's etc. I hate them! I need one for work but I've made it my goal to be able to do everything on my iPad and at the moment I only need to use my laptop about 2 or 3 times a month. And thank goodness!

The GoFlex is available for $114 on Amazon and I already have my iPad. According to this guy-

He has successfully partitioned a GoFlex Satellite, but its not clear if the wifi feature still worked after he messed with it.

I have an old external HDD so I'm going to format that to FAT32 and take it with my iPad to the tournament and order the GoFlex and Camcorder off Amazon for delivery to the hotel (I don't live in the USA) and go for it.

I'll report back on the results. Worse case scenario is I have to reset the GoFlex back to factory default format and use it for my iPad and carry a second FAT32 HDD for my camcorder on trips and I won't be able to edit and upload video to my blog during my trip. Which probably isn't a bad thing because why spend evenings editing video in a hotel room instead of going out exploring!

Thank again.

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Just turned on that Asus
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / July 18, 2013 12:37 PM PDT
In reply to: Using A Laptop

It's less than 10 seconds. And re-testing from lid closed to open it's under 2 seconds. Hope this helps.

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