Apple TV Update 6.1 Allows AirPlay Discoverability Over Bluetooth

Discussion in 'Mac Blog Discussion' started by MacRumors, Mar 12, 2014.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    When the Apple TV was updated to version 6.1 earlier this week, it was initially thought that there were minimal changes outside of the ability to hide icons in the main menu. However, a new report from AFP548 (via Daring Fireball) indicates that Apple also enabled AirPlay device discovery over Bluetooth as well.
    Image via AFP548This change allows Apple TV to search for connectable devices over Bluetooth, bypassing Bonjour and making it easier for education and business administrators to set up iOS device and Apple TV pairings. Previously, Apple TVs could have a difficult time discovering devices on networks that might block Bonjour.

    The new feature has three requirements: an Apple TV updated to 6.1, an iOS device updated to 7.1, and IP connectivity between both devices. AFP548 found during its testing that the feature doesn't yet support Macs, but that the ability could be added in a future update.

    Apple TVs have become an important replacement for traditional projectors in both educational and business settings, and these changes are likely to make it even easier for administrators to consider switching to Apple's solution.

    Article Link: Apple TV Update 6.1 Allows AirPlay Discoverability Over Bluetooth
  2. JerryCards macrumors member


    Nov 20, 2011
    Richmond, VA
    That is a great feature. Apple should have done this long time ago.
  3. Klae17 macrumors 6502a


    Jul 15, 2011
    Wifi still required right? Then I can't use it at work because wifi is blocked.
  4. Goldfrapp macrumors 68040


    Jul 31, 2005
    Interesting. I wonder if the audio streaming is better over Bluetooth than WiFi.
  5. Goldfrapp macrumors 68040


    Jul 31, 2005
    It says you do not need Bonjour. I assume Bonjour is like WiFi.
  6. jclo Editor


    Staff Member

    Dec 7, 2012
    WiFi is still required.
  7. MacSlut macrumors 6502

    Aug 12, 2002
    The media is still streamed over WiFi or WiFi/Ethernet. All the Bluetooth does is negotiate the connection.

    That said, the audio streaming protocols that do exist for Bluetooth have their pros and cons as compared to WiFi. One main disadvantage is that the audio will likely be transcoded with lower quality as compare to what's possible over WiFi with AirPlay.
  8. zhenya macrumors 603


    Jan 6, 2005
    Bonjour is a protocol used over wifi for service discovery. You still need the devices to be connected on the same IP network, but the discovery can now happen via Bluetooth rather than Bonjour if the Bonjour protocol is blocked.

    Great for schools and businesses. Not going to offer anything new to the average user.
  9. tonytiger13 macrumors regular

    Jan 9, 2008
    Apple TV has a number of features to stop this. On-Screen code, user set password, etc. Once a user has control with the code mode, they won't loose control until they relinquish it. The password mode however allows a new user to kick the current user off (if, of course, they know the password).

    On another note, I work for my team at the university that installs these in the classrooms (we only have a handful so far). Wi-Fi has been a headache with these because of what network settings have to be allowed for Bonjour over a enterprise network (and sub networks). Bluetooth will solve this easy (if the users have an iOS device running 7.1).
  10. MacSlut macrumors 6502

    Aug 12, 2002
    No, Bonjour is a way for devices to identify themselves over a network. It's an Apple protocol that is sometimes blocked in routers and switches.

    So before 6.1 your Apple TV would announce itself as being available on the network using Bonjour. You would then connect and stream to it. Now, you can still use Bonjour, but if that's being blocked, the Apple TV can still be found via Bluetooth, but streaming is still done the same way over WiFi/Ethernet.
  11. Garsun macrumors regular


    Oct 20, 2009
    The way I read this is that the video and audio are still only streamed over ethernet (either wired or Wi-Fi as appropriate) there's no change in this.

    The change is how they discover the AppleTVs IP address in order to stream.
    Now, instead of only using Bonjour over ethernet, they can now use Bluetooth for devices within direct Bluetooth range to discover the IP number to use
  12. jayducharme macrumors 68030


    Jun 22, 2006
    The thick of it
    So I don't get it. What's the advantage? My iPhone syncs instantly with my Apple TV over the AirPort router at work. But the work network is really unstable. I wish I could just connect via Bluetooth.
  13. AstronomyiPhone macrumors regular


    Jun 9, 2013
    Not a general consumer feature; it's for schools and businesses that have restricted networks.
  14. NocturnalJazz macrumors regular

    Jun 24, 2013
    This is not what you're hoping for. We use an application on our desktop computers at our school to share ipads to the computers>projectors since all of our projectors are VGA and lack the HDMI for an Apple TV hook.

    The applications displays the available computers accessable, which will label as the computer name. It may look like it's bluetooth, but it's not.
  15. 2457282 Suspended

    Dec 6, 2012
    This sounds like a great think for network admins that do not want to open up to bonjour. I am the network admin of my home network (1 Mac, 1 Mac air, 2 ATV, 1 ipad, 2 iPhones, 1 time capsule). This was never an issue. So I think for most people this will mean nothing. But for network and security folks at schools and offices, this is a very good thing indeed.
  16. MikhailT macrumors 601

    Nov 12, 2007
    No advantages for regular customers.

    Bonjour is for automatically establishing a connection between two endpoints without doing any configuration, it's used to find a specific resource (computer, printer, etc) on the network to register your app with. The actual data transfer is then handled by Wi-Fi or ethernet now that the two know each other.

    In a home network, it's not a problem to have bonjour running sending out data to find services/devices to register with.

    If we didn't have bonjour, we would have to figure out the IP address manually on the printer/computer, and then manually enter it in the app to start the connection.

    This is for networks where Bonjour is restricted or blocked outright, such as corporate or school networks where there might be dozens or hundreds of devices.

    Instead of using Bonjour to establish the connection, you can now use Bluetooth, which doesn't use up the network traffic and instead uses short-wave radio to find other bluetooth devices to establish the connection. After the connection is established, Airplay will use the Wi-Fi network to transmit the data now it knows both endpoints to transmit the data between.
  17. zorinlynx macrumors 601


    May 31, 2007
    Florida, USA
    Once again, Apple does things half-assed.

    It would be great if Bluetooth could be used to negotiate a direct Wifi connection between the devices, so it would be possible to stream media to an Apple TV even when there's no local WiFi network both devices can connect to.

    It isn't even that difficult to implement, and would be awesome in situations where someone brings along an Apple TV and plugs it into an available projector or TV, then streams to it with their phone or iPad, without having to join any local Wifi networks.

    But of course, this is Apple we're talking about. They tend to half-ass really cool ideas.
  18. ArtOfWarfare macrumors 604


    Nov 26, 2007
    And yet it was placed in the Mac Blog by MacRumors. Because that's where news about the Apple TV and iOS devices connecting together over Bluetooth belongs, and not in the iOS Blog.
  19. Solver macrumors 6502a

    Jan 6, 2004
    Cupertino, CA
    Wi-Fi is just a bit faster than bluetooth. A rather large bit. You can send high quality audio over bluetooth, but not YET the video resolution WiFi can do.
  20. iolinux333 macrumors 68000

    Feb 9, 2014
    He was arguing for Bluetooth to negotiate an ad-hoc connection I believe?
  21. w0lf macrumors 65816


    Feb 16, 2013
    Clearly you misread what they wrote. They wanted bluetooth to initiate an ad-hoc Wi-Fi connection, not actually use a bluetooth connection to stream the content.
  22. potatis macrumors 6502a


    Dec 9, 2006
    so you can't Airplay with an iPod nano over bluetooth?
  23. till213 Suspended

    Jul 1, 2011
    What part of "if Bluetooth could be used to negotiate a direct Wifi connection" did you not understand?

    Hint: There was never any mention of sending actual media over Bluetooth...


  24. till213 Suspended

    Jul 1, 2011
    Yes. Bluetooth is only used for "service discovery". The actual streaming still takes place over "conventional" Wi-Fi/Ethernet connection.

    Background: "Bonjour" is a "service discovery protocol" (aka "zeroconf": - Apple's Bonjour is the first such implementations).

    Basically it uses "multicast", that is, whenever a device "enters" a new network (or periodically seens "update" packages) it sends "discovery" packets to any other device in the same (local) network! A few of those devices actually have "services" to offer ("Hey! I am a printer!" - "Hey! I am an audio device!" - "Hey! ..."), and they then reply to that request. Simplified.

    Now as you can imagine at a university there are many many many devices, entering and leaving the local university networks, multicasting each time to every other device as they do enter/leave. That can bring network performance to a halt, hence multicast (aka "Bonjour") is usually blocked, as to stop that "flooding".

    "Bonjour" was never meant to be used in large-scale networks, so in your private Wi-Fi network at home that is totally not an issue.

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