What is Airplay?
Airplay is a protocol developed by Apple which lets you stream music, pictures, films (any media really) wirelessly. This streaming is usually done from an Apple device or piece of software such as an ipad, iphone, ipod touch or just using itunes on your computer to a set of speakers, receiver or Apple TV. This is all done wirelessly and has a range of several hundred feet.
If you have one set of speakers at one end of your house, and a second set of speakers at the other end, using your iphone you could select your favourite song to be playing on both sets of speakers in two different rooms. Another great use of Airplay would be if you were watching a movie on your ipad and wanted the sound to be a little louder or better quality. You would just set up the sound to come out of the speakers.
Which Systems are Airplay compatible?
Although Airplay is designed by Apple and available on speakers designed by Apple there are also third party manufacturers who make Airplay compatible speakers. So what Apple do is grant the manufacturers a licence to use the software which allows compatibility with Apple software or hardware.
What are the main benefits of Airplay?
• Range – Bluetooth has a range of around 30 feet, where as Airplay has a range of hundreds of feet because it’s based on Wi-Fi.
• Steaming to multiple devices – If you have several 3 Airplay speakers you can stream to all of them.
• Not just the streaming of audio – movies and pictures can also be streamed with Airplay technology.
• No need to leave your apple hardware docked in the speaker; just keep it with you so you can easily change song.
How can I connect my Apple device to Airplay?
You can connect your device to Airplay speakers with essentially two methods. Firstly you can use a home network using your wireless router. Then it’s simply a job of connecting your Airplay product to that network. For the second method you need an Apple Airport Express which connects all your Apple devices together regardless of whether you have an internet connection or not. Just connect the Airport device to pretty much any set of speakers (they don’t even need to be Airplay speakers because the Airport Express makes them compatible) and you’re ready to stream.
Once a device is on the wireless network or connected via Airport other an Airplay source, such as an iPod Nano, automatically detects it. There is no need to manually add the system. Then just select the song or film and away you go. If you’re using a home network, and you have a poor or slow internet connection, it’s possible that there will be dropouts or pauses in the media (especially movies). Using an Airport Express this should virtually never happen.
Which software are Airplay speakers are based on?
Of course there is all the software needed to get the devices to talk and interact with each other too. But that technology is not exactly new. In 2002 Apple introduced Rendezvous (later renamed Bonjour) that allowed the discovery of services on a local area network without major configuration.