Turn your Mac or PC into a cheap and easy Apple TV

The Reflector 2 app turns your computer into an AirPlay receiver.

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If you've got an old iMac lying around -- or any Mac or PC for that matter -- you can repurpose it as a cheap alternative to an Apple TV so you can stream your iPhone or Android phone to its larger display. 

All you need is the Reflector 2 app, which is much cheaper than going out and buying an Apple TV. With the app, you can quickly connect to your computer's display for viewing photos or videos or just mirroring your phone's display.

I used the Mac app, but there are versions of Reflector 2 for Windows, Android and Amazon Fire TV. The app works with Google Cast as well as Apple AirPlay.

Reflector 2 setup

Download and install the Reflector 2 app. It costs $15 (about £12 or AU$19) and you can try before you buy with a free, seven-day trial. You don't need to install anything extra on your iPhone.

Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

With the Reflector 2 running on your computer and it and your iPhone connected to the same Wi-Fi network, you simply need to swipe up on your iPhone for the Control Center and then find the computer running Reflector 2 in the AirPlay menu. The app mirrors your iPhone's display but is smart enough to switch to a larger, resizable window when you are viewing photos or watching a video.

Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

On a Mac, Reflector 2 adds an icon to the menu bar where you can hit an eject button to disconnect. (You can also disconnect using the AirPlay menu in the Control Center on your iPhone.) The menu-bar window also provides buttons to record your display and stream to YouTube Live. For screen mirroring, you can choose an iPhone frame to add a little polish.

Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

In Reflector 2's Preferences, you can choose a default resolution for AirPlay and password protect your connection on the Connection tab. On the General tab, I turned off the setting for Show Client Name, which removes the header at the top of the Reflector 2 window that features the name of the device to which it is connected.

Via Cult of Mac