AirPlay is a technique developed by Apple Inc. that allows wireless streaming
of audio, video and photos between devices. An iPad, iPhone or a computer
running iTunes server streams the music to an Apple TV, AirPort Express (that
has an audio output through a jack connector) or a compatible receiver that
then plays the music.
So if you have an iPhone (or other iDevice), AirPlay is a great way to easily
play the music on it through a receiver and even control the volume and turn the
receiver on. You can also show photos and play some videos and games that way
which is added value. Third-party apps like Spotify and Youtube can also send
audio and video streams over AirPlay. The iTunes Remote app for iOS can be used to control media playback from a Mac to selected streaming devices.
But before you build an multi-room solution based on AirPlay you shold know
there are some drawbacks. AirPlays biggest disadvantage compared to Sonos and
Squeezebox is that you cant play different songs in different zones at the
same time from one device (which is a core requirement for many
multi-roomers). You cant even play the same song in all zones from an iOS
device, only from a computer running iTunes server.
There has been plenty of reports about streaming issues following the iPhone
4S and iOS 5 launch. However, it looks like the issues have been resolved with
the release of iOS 5.1 so especially iPhone 4S users are recommended to upgrade
to iOS 5.1.
AirPlay issues is also reported after upgrades to iOS 6. Read more in this support thread.
AirPlay wireless technology (receiver mode) is integrated into speaker docks, AV receivers, and stereo systems from companies such as Marantz, Bowers & Wilkins, Logitech and Denon. Song titles, artists, album names, elapsed and remaining time, and album artwork can appear on AirPlay-enabled speakers with graphical displays.
The simplest way to get started with AirPlay at home is to buy an Apple AirPort Express
device and connect its audio out (optical and analog) to a receiver. If
you also want to stream images, video and games, buy an Apple TV instead. Both
of them require a receiver to play audio with quality. Audio through a TV will
also work with Apple TV and computer speakers will work with the analog 3.5mm
out on the AirPort Express but usually not optimal sound quality in those
One of the interesting devices that supports AirPlay is the Boxee box from D-Link. Check out our blog post on Boxee. Another interesting and even cheaper device is the Raspberry Pi. The Sonos multi-room system is AirPlay compatible, if connected to an AirPort Express.
1. Connect an iPhone to the local wireless network.
2. Make sure the receiver device is attached to the network through wireless or ethernet.
3.Start a music app on the iPhone and look for the AirPlay logo.
4. Press the logo and select output device.