The main reason I’ve been looking forward to the iOS 4.2 release has been the AirPlay feature. Ever since it was announced, I’ve been trying to figure out how it was going to work with my 3GS, specifically in terms of streaming video from my phone to our much-loved Apple TV.
After I got my iPhone and Apple TV updated, I played around with some of the AirPlay functionality a bit. This is what I found:
- Streaming video from the iPhone seems to work in the iPod and YouTube apps. It, very surprisingly, does not work in the Photos app, so there’s no way to immediately play the videos you’ve shot with your phone on the Apple TV. Drag.
- The NFB app will play its audio through the Apple TV, but no video. I assume other third party video apps will work the same way, but didn’t try any others. Double drag.
- Playing back photos works well, for the most part. That said, I can’t see myself using it a whole lot, as the best photos I’ve taken are generally on Flickr or iPhoto, so I can see them there through those Apple TV apps.
- Photos taken in portrait orientation were shown sideways on the screen, with the exception of screenshots. I’m sure we’ll see a fix for this soon.
- Playing back music is exactly as one would expect it to be. Again, however, any music I have on my iPhone is already being streamed to the Apple TV from my computer, so there’s nothing too exciting here.
I think there’s some exciting potential for the AirPlay functionality. It’d be great to be able to stream any video I can play on my phone to the TV. It’d essentially bring hundreds of apps to the Apple TV right there. That said, content providers are generally pretty stingy with what devices they let their content be screened on, so it may be a while before we see this.
Also, the idea that anyone with an iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch on my network can stream their photos, music, or videos to the Apple TV is pretty cool too.
On another note, AirPlay from iTunes to the Apple TV is kinda fun. I know people have been enjoying it with AirTunes for a while now, but I only got to try it for the first time a few nights ago. It’s definitely nice to be able to play and control music from iTunes through the stereo while I work at the computer.