Sunday, October 16, 2011

On cloud nine with Airplay...

Have you folks tried the new Airplay yet? Of course you need an iPad (both gens will do), or an iPhone 3GS, 4, or 4S, or even an iPod Touch of the last two gens, and of course an Apple TV 2nd gen. The latter is of course HDMI connected to your big ass HDTV. Oh, yes, you'll also need a home Wifi LAN to interconnect all your Apple gear with one another. Good to know, making Airplay work for you is PC/Mac independent (that means, you won't need either a Windows or a Mac lap or desktop to make all this work. So, Windows folks, rejoice! Xmas time!).

Sounds like much? Not really. Many among you already own this equipment. You wouldn't be coming to this blog if you didn't. Right? With iOS 5 offered by Apple to upgrade all these devices this last week, you can hardly believe the eyecandy you are getting by mirroring a mobile iOS device's monitor to your 40+ inch 1080p HDTV screen. It all works like a charm. Almost orgasmic.

Actually, you first need to upgrade all your iDevices to iOS 5.0, and do the latest update to your Apple TV too. All you got to do next is enable Airplay on Apple TV. Look for the settings and spot Airplay. Turn it on by clicking once. Forget the password. That is only meant for the security obsessed among you.  On your iOS 5 upgraded device next, you double click your home button, and you swipe to the right the open apps row at the bottom of your screen. Provided your Apple TV is on and at the same home Wifi LAN, you get to see the picture above. This example is actually captured on my iPad.

The symbol on the right of the 'Next Track button', with the popup window above it, is where you enable Airplay and Mirroring. You pick up the Apple TV (in this case called Living Room Apple TV), a tick shows up, and off you go. If your HDTV is tuned to your Apple TV, you can watch on it whatever appears on your iDevice (iPhone, iPod, iPad). Well, almost. For instance picture zooming by double-tapping them in the Photo app is not taken over by the mirroring. Also, some apps, when they realize that Airplay is on, send their content to Apple TV and display a subsequent message on the iDevice. iPlayer (BBC) and TED worked like this for me. BTW, TED is superb to watch with Airplay. I just watched a show about Liar Spotting! Cool! iPlayer would be huge as well, if BBC didn't fuck up in their last update and left all their shows soundless. Well, we gotta wait for their next update to fix this. I'm sure they know by now and working on it. If you can't live without the BBC iPlayer shows, don't upgrade your stuff yet.

This mirroring function is pretty cool. Above all, you don't need to physically attach your iPad with a HDMI cable to your TV anymore, unless you got no Apple TV yet. But Apple TV is gonna be one of your best investments in the present century, so go out and buy one. You'll remember me.

Second, it's great for playing videos, or live TV with apps like BBC's iPlayer, Hulu, Netflix or whatever is available in your part of the world. Stuff like TED look really stunning with mirroring. And of course photographs and your own videos. Also, it's great as as educational tool to demo apps and how-to's to a larger group of apprentices goggling at your projection screen.

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