What is Apple’s AirPlay?
In case you haven’t been following along, AirPlay is the ability to wirelessly stream audio and video from a device like an iPad 2 to your 2nd generation Apple TV. The Apple’s AirPlay tech lets you stream music photos and video throughout your entire house wirelessly so you can enjoy your entire iTunes library in any room and anytime. It’s essentially and enhancement on the existing AirTunes feature that already let you stream audio from iTunes to an AirPort Express router so that you could pipe your tunes directly into a connected receiver. AirPlay wireless technology will be fully integrated into Apple devices, speaker docks, AV receivers, and stereo systems. AirPlay does more than just stream your music to external speakers. It streams information about your music, too. Song titles, artists, album names, elapsed and remaining time, and album artwork all appear on AirPlay-enabled speakers with graphical displays.
iPad with AirPlay
iPad can be more amazing with AirPlay tech. Apple iOS 4.3 includes upgrade of AirPlay for iPad, iPod Touch, iPhone and Apple TV devices. AirPlay now lets you stream media from an iPad to Apple TV so that you can watch iPad movies on HDTV and speakers wirelessly. All the great stuff on your iPad, video, audio and photos can be streamed to Apple TV 2 without a hitch. Suppose you have great HD videos on your iPad and some friends on your couch, or you’re in the middle of an epic action scene that could use a little more screen, just tap the AirPlay icon on your iPad and see it on your HDTV.
(Tip: Make sure your iPad and Apple TV are connected to the same Wi-Fi network, and the AirPlay icon appears automatically.)
Apple AirPlay Hands on-iPad video and music on HDTV
iOS 4.2 let me stream content from the iPad to the new Apple TV that was connected to a 55-inch TV. After connecting the Apple TV to a wireless network, I tapped the TV icon located in the upper-left portion of the iPad's iPod section, and selected Apple TV. I started Blondie's "Heart of Glass" and was surprised how quickly Apple TV recognized it. A second or two later, and the music was blaring through the TV's speakers. I was impressed with the simplicity of the process. Bringing up the on-screen media controls by double tapping the Home button let me access the aforementioned media controls.
I streamed TV episodes and home movies from the iPad to Apple TV without a hitch. My Blu-ray movie rip Toy Story 3 looked just fine on the big screen. For the techies out there, the file specs are: 1280×720 in .mp4 at 2000kbps with stereo sound (it seems 5.1 sounds are losing after upgrade to iOS 4.3, and I had to convert AC3 5.1 to stereo with Video Converter software to get the sound back). I also streamed photos to Apple TV; naturally those of higher resolution looked sharper and clearer on the large display.
The system is dead-easy. Just make sure that your i-device and your Apple TV are on the same wireless network. Then choose your app: iPod for video or music, the Photos app for, well, photos and the YouTube app for, uh, you get the idea. Once your media is playing or your photo is displayed, simply tap the little rectangle pierced with upwards-pointing triangle icon and choose “Apple TV” from the list that pops up.
As of right now, the only apps that can send video wirelessly via AirPlay to the Apple TV is the Video app on the iPad (iPod app on the iPhone/iPod Touch) and Apple’s own YouTube and Photos apps.
If you have content on your iPad or iPhone that you don’t have on your Mac/PC, then I suppose it’s handy to be able to stream that content to the Apple TV without the need of a middle-man device. And you may also rip Blu-ray movies to iPad for streaming to Apple TV via AirPlay.
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