AirPlay - fairly useless

Discussion in 'iPad' started by owen-b, Nov 23, 2010.

  1. owen-b macrumors 6502a

    Nov 30, 2005
    I have a big problem with tbhis Airplay thing when it comes to the iPad. Basically, I don't understand the need for it as it currently stands.

    It will let me stream videos that are on my iPad to my AppleTV. The thing is, when I go to the effort of converting movies to the iTunes format and syncing them to my iPad, it's for the very specific purpose of watching them on my iPad when I'm away from home. I have never watched videos on my iPad while at home, when I could launch iTunes and send them to my AppleTV that way.

    So that's a bit pointless for most people I'd say.

    It doesn't stream videos I've shot on my iPhone to the AppleTV unless they're synced back to a Mac first and then re-synced back to my iPhone. In which case I may as well just play them through the AppleTV normally, via my iTunes library. So that's pointless too, and very frustrating that they won't stream natively. Big miss there.

    It doesn't stream ANY third party video apps, or any video that launches within Mobile Safari (so iPlayer is a no-go). I've just read a forumite on another forum say that he's read that Apple has not made the info about Airplay available to their developers so there's absolutely no way that devs can add Airplay to their apps anyway.

    All in all, it's a great idea made completely impotent. Huge disappointment.
  2. QuarterSwede macrumors G3


    Oct 1, 2005
    Colorado Springs, CO
    It makes a lot less sense when you have a computer that is always on. For me, I have a MacBook that is shared between my wife and I and gets put to sleep whenever not in use. Having AirPlay is great since I can now stream from my iPhone without having to login or not being able to use it because she's on it.

    I'm also thinking about getting an AppleTV to use in place of my Airport Express (AX) in my HTC. I'd then want to put in speakers in the master bathroom and move the AX there to stream to it. Much better than messing with iTunes in the morning.
  3. owen-b thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Nov 30, 2005
    I just read TUAWs gushing appraisal of it. They pointed out all the flaws above about 3rd party devs being locked out, then brushed those under the carpet and went doo-lally over how it streams media from your iPhone and iPad.

    My point is, this is only super exciting if you keep your iPhone and iPad stuffed to the gills with all your latest media, and I simply don't think people really do that to the extent that they can then enjoy their entire library of media without the computer needing to be in the room - your case, for example: how much video that you really want to watch do you put on your device? For all the faff of having to sync it over iTunes and use up valuable space on the device, isn't it easier to just pop the lid of the MB up or ask your wife to simply launch iTunes while she's using it and then have AppleTV stream it directly from there?

    I just don't get it. Let 3rd Party Developers at it and we're cooking on gas. Otherwise it's very, very niche. In my opinion :)
  4. owen-b thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Nov 30, 2005
    What's an HTC? I've only heard of HTC phones but that makes no sense in the context of this quote. I'm imagining it's an abbreviation for a type of room in your house?

    If you use an AX plug in your HTC (?!) currently, why not just buy another AX plug for the bathroom?
  5. Phil A. Moderator

    Phil A.

    Staff Member

    Apr 2, 2006
    Shropshire, UK
    Personally, the single biggest benefit I find with AirPlay is when it's coupled with Spotify (which does support audio out through AirPlay): I can now stream any music I want from Spotify straight to my music system from my iPhone or iPad, which is awesome :)
    On the video side, it does seem a bit pointless in your own house, but if you are visiting friends who have an Apple TV it makes a lot more sense.
    I don't understand why they haven't enabled it for videos in your photo library though
  6. QuarterSwede macrumors G3


    Oct 1, 2005
    Colorado Springs, CO
    Sorry, HTC is short for Home Theater Center. Price is the only reason I'd go with an AppleTV over AX. It's only $20 difference for the refurb (same price if new) and I may as well to gain that much more functionality.
  7. Panch0 macrumors 6502a

    Feb 23, 2010

    I haven't tried it yet, but being able to stream my content onto a friend's entertainment system has always been the point of AirPlay to me.

    I guess that if you have multiple people in the same house all with their own libraries and iTunes Accounts this could also be useful since Home Sharing is tied to a single iTunes Account.
  8. owen-b thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Nov 30, 2005
    I don't know about you but even though I work in the media, traditionally where the most Apple-types can be found, I know only two other people in the entire world who have an AppleTV2 (the original doesn't do Airplay video) because there simply isn't a compelled market for the device. And Airplaying a movie off my iPhone on my mate's telly is not a compelling reason to spend a ton on a device that only really does anything else if you have your entire video library converted for iTunes, and again I personally know very few people who do that. I realise this is anecdotal of course.

    And it still comes back to the fact that it's only cool if you have a lot of video on your device and frankly I don't know many who do unless it's for amusing yourself on long journeys.

    I sound like someone for whom the AppleTV2 and Airplay are definitely not designed, but the potential in both devices is HUGE and Apple have predictably crippled it.

    The day they let 3rd Party devs at Airplay is the day it realises its own potential, but I honestly don't think they ever will allow this, for the same reason that Google is finding the networks are all banning the GoogleTV browser from their sites. At present most people using iTunes to host their video are probably buying that video from iTunes too. Sure, people can torrent shows and movies and convert them, but it's a faff and I bet most people don't bother. I see the Airplay hobbling as being purely copyright motivated.
  9. owen-b thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Nov 30, 2005
    Okay, questions:

    1) so who has ample video content on their iPads and iPhones>
    2) what is that content?
    3) where do you get it from`?
    4) how often do you sync it to your device from your computer
    5) how often do you view it (pre Airplay) on your device?
    6) and how often have you ever found yourself wishing you could stream a movie/show from that device to a friend's TV in the past?

    Honest questions!
  10. QuarterSwede macrumors G3


    Oct 1, 2005
    Colorado Springs, CO
    Possibly but Apple has also historically come out with very limited functionality for the iPhone and added more until a feature was robust. They tend to play it safe and add things over time to make it much more useful. Time will tell. I wouldn't be surprised if in one of the next updates you'll be able to stream video from your Photo library.

    I do agree that AirPlay will be much more useful when anything playing in the media player will stream video.
  11. shearm macrumors member


    Sep 27, 2007
    wait for the future

    I don't necessarily disagree with the original poster here. But keep in mind that Apple tends to have a focus on the future, not just the present. If the company really does plan to eventually move iTunes to the cloud -- essentially allowing us all to have our video, movies and music permanently online, rather than sitting on hard disks on a computer in our house -- then the idea of airplay may become much more appealing. Then, you just access your library in the cloud with whatever device you are closest to. If you have your iphone sitting next to you at the couch, just start the movie with that and you don't have to go upstairs to your spare bedroom where the computer is.

    Anyway, just a thought.
  12. Amazing Iceman macrumors 68040

    Amazing Iceman

    Nov 8, 2008
    Florida, U.S.A.
    I've been tempted to buy an AppleTV, but I do get better results connecting my iPad to my TV using the Component cable and streaming my movies using AirVideo.

    With AirVideo I could go to a friend's house and stream a movie Sitting at home to their TV using my iPad and the Component cables.

    Also, I have tons of movies that I would need to convert to play on the AppleTV, some of them are .mkv files with multiple-audio multiple-caption foreign films. Converting them to the ATV format would remove captions and extra audio, wouldn't it?

    I may still get an ATV if it let's me play NetFlix content. Otherwise, I may just get an alternative solution.
  13. owen-b thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Nov 30, 2005
    But that's different to Airplay. It's analogous to the current hard-disk-bound system of streaming my content from my Mac to AppleTV. The only difference is that as well as streaming that content from the *cloud* to my AppleTV I could also stream it from the cloud to my iOS device which is currently not possible from Macs to iOS devices.

    Airplay also wouldn't really interoperate with the cloud system. It streams media that's physically on my iPad to my AppleTV. If the media is all in the cloud, I'd just get it from the AppleTV menu a la streaming from iTunes...

    I do take the point that Apple starts with a totally crippled idea and then expands it slooowly, for example no App Store on the original iPhone whatsoever! So time will tell. Once we see them adding Airplay docs to the SDK then we'll know, but I don't see why they couldn't let devs start palying with it already.
  14. owen-b thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Nov 30, 2005

    It does. We don't even have Netflix in the UK but on my freshly updated UK-purchased ATV2 I have a whole bunch of Netflix movies to choose from on the main menu. Clicked one and it wanted my account details but like I say I didn't think UK folk were allowed Netflix accounts.
  15. THFourteen macrumors 6502a


    Apr 8, 2010
    Yeah i'm sitting on the "whats the point" side of the fence myself at the moment.

    My PC is always on, i use Airvideo to stream videos (of which i have tonnes) from it to my ipad/iphone, i use mediasharing to stream videos from it to my PS3 which is connected to my TV.

    In order to get all these videos on my ipad (which it doesnt have enough space for anyway) i'd need to convert them to mp4 first too.

    I can just about see the attraction of taking my ipad to a mates house and watching the latest sons of anarchy on his tv, but equally i could just take a tv out cable, or usb stick to plug into 360/ps3, because none of my mates would have airplay set up anyway.
  16. roland.g macrumors 603


    Apr 11, 2005
    One mile up and soaring
    I don't have a new Apple TV, I have the original. However, I can see several situations where AirPlay can be quite useful.

    1. You have photos you just shot on your iPhone and you want to share them, or you are at someone else's house who has an Apple TV and want to show them your photos.

    1a. It will be really nice to see if any digital cameras start adopting AirPlay. That will be significant.

    1b. Shooting video on your iPhone and being able to stream it to a large TV without a cable hookup or importing the file into iPhoto first and syncing it in your iTunes library, where you might not really want it until it is an edited home movie.

    2. You pull up or and are watching a highlight or interview clip or something, you should be able to AirPlay that video out of Safari/Quicktime player on your iPhone/iPad straight to the Apple TV. Likewise with Yahoo or something.

    2a. I don't believe something like ABC Player for the iPad will play streaming video through AirPlay.

    3. YouTube: while youtube is on the Apple TV, it is not always the easiest way to search for videos, etc. Sometimes if I want to see something specific on youtube, I find it on my Mac online, add it to a favorite and pull up my favorites on the Apple TV youtube to make it easier to get to. Navigating youtube on the iPad or in Safari is easier than through the Apple TV interface, at least sometimes.

    4. Let's say you are listening to a playlist in the car on your iPhone, which I often am, and it is shuffled, which I always use to give the playlist variety when listening to it more than once. If I come inside, while I can pull up that same playlist in the Remote app or direct through the Apple TV and play it, I can't necessarily take up right where I left off in the same song, in the same shuffle order. I'd be starting the playlist over, hearing the same songs I've already played that day.

    I think AirPlay isn't so much of use all the time feature, as a "Here, you gotta see this", instant big screen video push feature, etc.
  17. owen-b thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Nov 30, 2005
    This is my point - it *would* be useful if it did these things but the ones I've quoted are not possible.

    Safari doesn't send anything to Airplay from what I've seen, it isn't even an option. And the unexplained inability to stream your own recently shot videos or photos from the iPhone is particularly frustrating. The only way they are streamable over Airplay is to sync them from the iPhone to your computer, and then back to the Videos or Photo Albums section of your iPhone or iPad.
  18. andiwm2003 macrumors 601


    Mar 29, 2004
    Boston, MA
    my guess is that apple is blocked from the iTunes to iPad/iPhone streaming by some patent or copyright agreement. it is technically no problem.

    i guess the same is true for the limited airprint function.

    it's a shame because most people would be interested to have all their media on a server and stream it across the house to all iOS devices.
  19. roland.g macrumors 603


    Apr 11, 2005
    One mile up and soaring
    Take a movie on your iPhone. Go in to play it. Straight from the camera roll. Double click home. Swipe left, twice I think to get to the volume control and airplay button.

    Any time I play a video from ESPN or something, it usually loads as a QT movie in a full screen player, not an in-page video like on a desktop browser. You should be able to do the same as above, double click home and swipe twice left to access the AirPlay button. I don't have the new Apple TV, so I can't confirm, but I know that some apps like iPod app have the Airplay right in the app, others you have to access it from the multitasking bar to the far left.

    I got AirPrint working on my Canon MP530 in less than 3 minutes downloading a free script app that installs the 3 necessary files from the 10.6.5 beta that brings back shared printers and printed 3 emails shortly after. Check my recent posts for more info. No printopia, no real hacking. Just run the script, delete printer, reboot, and re-add printer. Was super easy. Sure it is a workaround and AirPrint should work by default with something other than HPs limited printers that do, but it works for me now, so I won't complain. I'm sure it will come online for all printers at some point once Apple gets whatever legal or other hurdles crossed that got it pulled.
  20. owen-b thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Nov 30, 2005
    I was going to ask why copyright would get in the way of Airprint but then I read the Jobs email on the topic and it seems they're trying to bypass drivers. I suppose that might impinge on some loosely defined software patent or something. Otherwise I don't get it, I think it's technically not as good as Jobs wanted it to be.

    As for streaming from Mac to iOS also being a copyright thing, I don't get that either. You can stream Mac to AppleTV and iOS to AppleTV, why would Mac to iOS be a problem in any way? I mean I can't think of any alternative either, but copyright doesn't seem right.

    However, I do suspect that copyright has at least something to do with why Apple won't let developers use Airplay in their apps.
  21. dcsatt macrumors member

    Apr 29, 2005
    I'm assuming most of you don't have young kids.
    We have a lot of kids' movies on the iPad(s). We sync the iPads to a MacBook Pro, so we don't always have the same content on our iMac (which shares its library with the Apple TV). Even if we had mirrored content on the iMac, our girls often prefer the mobility of the iPad, watching their movies wherever they may be (including the car). Now, after a car ride, or when we all move into the theater room, they can just tap AirPlay and begin watching on the big screen without missing a beat.
    Same goes when we visit our friends' houses (who also have Apple TV) or when they visit ours.
    For adults, you can watch your movie all over the house. Settle in the theater chair and watch; carry the iPad down to make popcorn, while still watching; back to the theater chair to watch some more; carry the iPad to the bathroom for a pee break, still watching, etc.
    Why knock it? It's an ADDED feature.
  22. sracer, Nov 23, 2010
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2010

    sracer macrumors 604


    Apr 9, 2010
    I "get" that you don't understand the benefits of the Apple TV2 and AirPlay. But what I don't get is your repeated knocking down the explanations that others are offering... it is almost as if you think that others should feel the same way that you do.

    The Apple TV2 is a very nice device that offers something that, while not revolutionary, is a well-put-together package. Well worth the $99.

    You may not have a use for AirPlay but for those of us who do, it is a great feature.

    It's nice that you are now the spokesman for "most people".
  23. hitekalex macrumors 68000


    Feb 4, 2008
    Chicago, USA
    What?? His view of AirPlay is perfectly justified, and echoed by many people on MR. Go read Apple TV forum and see how many people are disappointed with AirPlay. The fact of the matter is - AirPlay in its current state is hugely limited and yes useless for many of us with always-on computers. So, there is no "misunderstanding of the benefits" here, just the fact that the benefits aren't really there.

    Reading comprehension issues? No one here is questioning the value of ATV2 as a whole. We are simply talking about AirPlay being useless in its current shape.
  24. Dr. Teeth macrumors newbie

    Nov 23, 2010
    I attempted to view a rental last night using Airplay. The movie stopped several times for several minutes. I eventually gave up and watched it on my iPad since we only have 24 hours. I originally only rented the movie to watch it on a flight. When I had heard the update would come out before Thanksgiving, I waited to see how it would work using Airplay. I don't think I would do it again regardless of the quality, but it was disappointing that I couldn't finish the movie.
  25. frunkis54 macrumors 65816


    Apr 2, 2009
    You sure about that owen? it was on the homepage yesterday i believe that netflix said they will not be adding airplay i think they figure it doesn't need it since the atv already stream netflix.

    ok here's the linkhttp://

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