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AirPlay This Way

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So, AirPlay has been around for a while now, ever since the Apple TVir 2 arrived in fact. Since I received an Apple TV 2 from my wife and children for Christmas last year, I have been able to experience the wonder that is AirPlay. Since we have other iDevices, this feature has been a perfect companion. There have been a few times when I wanted to have an AppleTV connected to the other tvs in the house. So, for those wondering what AirPlay is...It is the ability to start a video or picture on a device with a smaller screen and send it wirelessly to the AppleTV which is usually connected to a bigger screen. You are probably asking why it has taken me so long to write about it. Well, I am glad you asked...since we do have the one Apple TVir, it wasn't always available for immediate use. The device is in our home office. Since I am only there when doing some work or writing articles, I don't always remember to use it for this purpose. Most of the time, I use it to play Netflix videos or videos from iTunes. With the recent addition of being able to play previously purchased tv shows and Vimeo with the iOS 4.3 update, I have tried to take more time to appreciate the additions. What this also means is old features become more evident.

The process really is easy:

  1. Make sure your Apple TV and iOS device or computer are connected to the same network (if you are at home, this should be the case)
  2. Launch your video, photo, or music app
  3. Start the video on your device
  4. Click the triangle with the box over it (it could be in the lower right or upper right depending on the app you are using)
  5. Select the name of your Apple TV
  6. Away the video goes...your screen will look like the picture below...

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While the iPad screen is big enough to watch most videos, the speakers are not stupendous. Using AirPlay lets you send music through as well, so the lower sounds are immediately improved. I can't tell you how many times we have had family over and wanted to show them our recent photos from a trip. Since most of our pictures these days are taken on our iPhones or our children's iPod touchir, we can just press a couple of buttons, and show the family the adventure they missed.

Since my favorite podcast app, Downcast, has enabled this feature, it allows me to begin an article in one room, watch the video a bigger screen, and move into the kitchen with the smaller screen without missing a segment or worrying about any wires. The implementation on other apps is not always as smooth and may only transmit the audio, but I am hopeful that changes are made to the more popular DLNA apps to allow steaming from our NAS. As more and more apps add or improve their AirPlay capabilities, this will most definitely lead to another post with an apology for wanting to have at least one more device for the livingroom. If you don't have an Apple TV, this may be one of those features that helps you spend the $99...




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