Question: What is the difference between Airplay and Bluetooth

Discussion in 'iPad' started by AldoRay, Oct 16, 2010.

  1. macrumors member

    May 16, 2010
    I'm not very technical so I am having difficulty understanding this; What exactly is Airplay? I've read the material on Apple's website and searched the forums here and I'm afraid I still don't get it. If you want to stream audio from your iPad, wouldn't you just buy Bluetooth enabled speakers? Would that not be a cleaner set up than doing it via AppleTV? Any help is much appreciated. :confused:
  2. macrumors 604


    Mar 17, 2004
    Melenkurion Skyweir
    AirPlay does video too. There's not a Bluetooth video receiver as far as I know. Even if there is, the video quality is most likely subpar.
  3. Guest


    Sep 7, 2008
    forlod bygningen
    I don't know much about AirPlay, but AirPort is Apple's name for Wireless-LAN, or Wi-Fi as it is called nowadays. Wireless LAN is meant for wireless networks, thus able to reach farther distances in a house and creating mid-range networks.
    Bluetooth is for creating short-range "networks", as it is used for short distances and often for connecting devices, but not really transmitting files, though it can be done, but slow compared to W-LAN.
    AirPort (W-LAN) offers more speed (in Mbit/s) and farther transfers than Bluetooth, thus AirPort is used instead of Bluetooth.

    Have you found any information about AirPort and Bluetooth via a search engine or Wiki?
  4. macrumors 601


    Jan 6, 2005
    Airplay is the next generation of the Airport Express system that Apple has had for years. It is wifi (or cabled) which means it has much more available bandwidth than bluetooth. The new AppleTV will also support video rather than just audio. Sure, a set of bluetooth speakers would likely work, but you'd have limited choices, and be limited to a range of about 30'. Airplay devices can be stand alone, to connect to ANY stereo, or built in by an OEM.

    The real advantage of Airplay is that you can have multiple devices and control them from any Mac computer or iOS device on the network. You can have multiple devices and stream the content to one device, some, or all, and have individual volume control. With bluetooth you would be paired with one device at a time. Also, in my experience, bluetooth connectivity is not terribly reliable. That wouldn't be so great for something like a phone where you are walking in and out of range of the speakers all the time - if you were streaming with bluetooth, you'd have to stay within range of the speakers to keep your music playing.

    I've had several Airport Expresses connected around the house for years - it's one of Apple's great 'secret' products that is about to get a whole lot better.
  5. thread starter macrumors member

    May 16, 2010
    Wow. Thank you guys very much, that actualy helps a great deal. I get (most) of it now. Appreciate the responses.
  6. macrumors regular

    Dec 10, 2008
    Sorry but this is nonsense, airplay works over bluetooth. Not sure where you've got your information from but airplay has nothing at all to do with wifi, cables, or airport express.

    More details here
  7. macrumors 603

    Feb 4, 2008
    AirPlay sends media wirelessly between compatible devices (iPad, iPhone, Apple TV). I don't think it has much to do with Bluetooth. Bluetooth is a communication technology whereas AirPlay is kind of an app/service built in to certain apps.

    Don't get me started on AirPrint not working with my *ancient* HP Photosmart Premium that I bought about 10 bloody months ago. It has built-in WiFi and built-in Bluetooth. WHY is HP forcing me to buy a new printer to use that stuff? Hello, firmware upgrade? Now you know why I don't buy HP computers.
  8. macrumors regular

    Dec 10, 2008
    Airplay will work over anything that the device has a connection to including bluetooth. I know this as I tried at the weekend.
  9. macrumors 6502


    Sep 4, 2009
    airplay works over IP: your apple tv, airport express, Mac, iDevice or any compatible device must be on the same (wireless or wired, it doesn't matter) network. apple's bonjour protocol is used to connect these devices.
  10. macrumors 601


    Jan 6, 2005
    I don't think you know what Airplay is. It specifically works over wifi or Ethernet. Picking a Bluetooth speaker that you have to be in the same room to use is not the same thing. Airplay is also capable of carrying a full quality lossless audio signal, something Bluetooth can't currently do.
  11. macrumors regular

    Dec 10, 2008
    Sorry you are quite right.

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