What is AirPlay
When Apple released iOS 4.2 for the iPad one of the new features was AirPlay. AirPlay allows you to watch video or listen to audio on your iPad and with the touch of a “button” on the iPad that content can be streamed from the iPad to any TV connected to a second generation AppleTV. It also allows for photos to be sent to AppleTV and other media depending on the app.
You might ask “What is the point?” I asked the same thing, but have recently discovered what I think is the best reason for using AirPlay. If you are in another room watching a movie, for example, on your iPad and you decide you would rather watch it on your TV. If the TV has an AppleTV (second generation) hooked up to it you can send that video straight to the TV with AirPlay through the iPad and continue from the same spot in the movie. Without AirPlay you would have to start the movie on the AppleTV and fast forward to where you were in the movie, or connect the iPad to your computer and have the movie sync through iTunes to get it to the same spot.
AirPlay takes out the fast forwarding and syncing and can save you a lot of time. That is just one use. Many apps are starting to incorporate AirPlay so you can display that content on your TV. However, several that have video functionality (ie. the EyeTV app) can only project audio. Video has to still play n the iPad. Hopefully, this will change.
How to use AirPlay on the iPad
AirPlay is very easy to use. If you are using an app that is AirPlay capable you will see the icon shown below in the app. If it is a video app this will be on the right of the player controls. With your AppleTV on press the AirPlay button. You will be presented with a list of devices (the AppleTV and iPad). Press AppleTV and the content will start streaming to the AppleTV and stop playing on the iPad.
If the app can only stream audio, the video content will continue playing on the iPad.
If AirPlay is not working, trying the following:
1. Make sure your iPad has iOS 4.2 installed. To do this connect to iTunes and in the iPad information screen your check the iOS version. If it is not 4.2 or greater click “Check for Updates.”
2. Make sure the AppleTV has AirPlay enabled. To do this go to the Settings menu on the AppleTV screen and choose AirPlay. Turn AirPlay on in the options.
When you are finished using AirPlay press that AirPlay icon on the iPad again and choose “iPad.” This will bring the content back to your iPad.
AirPlay can be very useful, or not useful at all, depending on how you choose to use it and how often. Once more and more apps can take advantage of the technology I think I’ll be using it a lot more.