Playing avi video on the ipad

Last week my employer gave us an iPad. Happy happy joy, it's a lovely device, but it is as i call "autistic". Basically it can only use iTunes to send and receive files, it can only play registered filetypes and so on. For most users this is just fine, apple thinks. I disagree. I've got tons of video stored on my network and would love to watch some of them on the iPad without hooking it up with iTunes, just to get the video on the device.
There are of course a couple of solutions for this problem, but most of them require a windows or apple machine to be turned on which would airplay the video in a format the iPad understands. This works well for most, but I would not like to have yet another machine turned on day and night just to facilitate this video watching desire. I haven't looked hard, but i doubt there is a linux airplay so this was no solution for me.

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