THIS WEEK'S SPONSOR:

Backblaze

Astonishingly Easy And Unlimited Cloud Backup


AirPlay Notes: Netflix, Hulu Plus, Youtube Website & App

With the release of iOS 4.2 today, Apple introduced one of the features they’ve been busy promoting in the past months: AirPlay. While based on complex technology and a variety of Apple’s proprietary frameworks, what consumers get is really simple: streaming of audio and video content from any iOS 4.2 device to Apple TV, an AirPort Express station with connected speakers or AirPlay-enabled speakers. It’s one-way streaming from iOS to other Apple “living room devices” made simple and fast.

AirPlay went through a complicated iteration during the iOS 4.2 developer betas and GM seeds, but what we have today is a fairly stable feature easy to use for anyone. Apple, however, was apparently forced to remove some functionalities and some content providers decided to exclude AirPlay’s streaming support from their apps.

First off, Hulu Plus and Netflix won’t AirPlay. The Apple TV comes with native Netflix integration anyway, so it’s nothing to worry about – unless you really are that kind of user who wanted to start watching a Netflix movie on the iPhone or iPad and finish it on the Apple TV. In that case, you’ll miss AirPlay’s instant streaming. In its AirPlay article, Ars Technica also confirms the MLB At Bat is ok with audio streaming.

As far as Youtube goes, Apple took an interesting approach: the native Youtube app streams both audio and video to the Apple TV, while opening the Youtube website in Safari will only send audio to a configured Apple TV. Other users are reporting video streaming from Safari to Apple TV isn’t working in this final version of iOS 4.2, so we’ll look into it.

Overall, the AirPlay Apple shipped today it’s relatively stable and bug-free. The only annoyance we have found is that the engineers at Cupertino haven’t implemented a conflict-resolve system for when you’ll try to send an AirPlay stream to an Apple TV already streaming content through a previous AirPlay session. Maybe it’s not something you’ll stumble upon on a daily basis, but think about that party you’ll have at your place and people trying to send videos to the Apple TV. Now you get it. Also, it’s confirmed iPhone 3G users don’t get AirPlay on their 2-year old devices.

Perhaps the biggest and coolest feature of AirPlay is that it can run in the background: fire up Pandora Radio or a movie on your iPhone, start streaming it, close the media player and go back to checking your emails.

Or, you can just turn off the screen and keep streaming.

Unlock More with Club MacStories

Founded in 2015, Club MacStories has delivered exclusive content every week for over six years.

In that time, members have enjoyed nearly 400 weekly and monthly newsletters packed with more of your favorite MacStories writing as well as Club-only podcasts, eBooks, discounts on apps, icons, and services. Join today, and you’ll get everything new that we publish every week, plus access to our entire archive of back issues and downloadable perks.

The Club expanded in 2021 with Club MacStories+ and Club Premier. Club MacStories+ members enjoy even more exclusive stories, a vibrant Discord community, a rotating roster of app discounts, and more. And, with Club Premier, you get everything we offer at every Club level plus an extended, ad-free version of our podcast AppStories that is delivered early each week in high-bitrate audio.

Choose the Club plan that’s right for you:

  • Club MacStories: Weekly and monthly newsletters via email and the web that are brimming with app collections, tips, automation workflows, longform writing, a Club-only podcast, periodic giveaways, and more;
  • Club MacStories+: Everything that Club MacStories offers, plus exclusive content like Federico’s Automation Academy and John’s Macintosh Desktop Experience, a powerful web app for searching and exploring over 6 years of content and creating custom RSS feeds of Club content, an active Discord community, and a rotating collection of discounts, and more;
  • Club Premier: Everything in from our other plans and AppStories+, an extended version of our flagship podcast that’s delivered early, ad-free, and in high-bitrate audio.