Saturday, October 27, 2012

Apple AirPlay is incredible in my home

Here's the setup.

I have
- An Apple TV, connecting to an HDTV.
- A Macbook Air running OS X Mountain Lion - I need Mountain Lion for AirPlay feature
- An iPad 2.  It is kind of a family device used by all the members of the family, although any iOS devices are designed and meant to be used by a single user

Not too many Apple products alright - just enough for now.  But I think an iPod touch or iPhone will definitely complements this setup nicely.

Then I also have
- A Synology NAS in the setup.  The features on this thing is incredible.  I configure it to provide WebDAV, FTP, VPN, and other cool stuff that I will talk about next time.
- A notebook PC running Windows 7.  This runs iTunes and catalogs the NAS media files, and sharing the iTunes library out using the HomeShare feature.

All of these devices are connected to a LAN network in the same subnet.

So these are what I do with the Apple TV:

  • View movie streaming on it or browse the files on NAS via iTunes
  • Browse the previews of movies and songs - maybe I will buy some of them
  • Browse some of the news channels (WSJ Live)
  • With an iPAD, I can use the Remote Control app to control and type on the Apple TV.  This is when a smaller device such as the iPod touch or an iPhone is more convient for this job

But the primary feature I use Apple TV for is its AirPlay feature.

  • While working on the Macbook Air, I play video from any players, iTunes, or whatever, I can instantly hit the AirPlay icon and stream the screen AND audio to the Apple TV.  Viola, a bigger-screen display to share with others in my house
  • I can use the iPad to do the same thing on most of the applications.  However, the picture sometimes does not fill the entire TV area and I have yet to find out why
  • I can use the iPad to stream music to Apple TV via AirPlay too - so the iPad can access the iTunes library, play the music and stream the audio to Apple TV.  Or the APple TV can also access the iTunes library and play the music directly.  But for me, it's easier to search and play music on the Macbook or the iPad.

This works pretty well for me.  Now let me think how I can expand this setup for an even better experience.

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