CNET First Look
AirPlay for AppleTVScott Stein takes a look at the new AirPlay feature on iOS 4.2 and new AppleTV software.
-Hi, I'm Scott Stein, and this is AirPlay on the Apple TV. Now, iPhone and iPad owners, and iPod Touch owners too, were in for a bit of a surprise today, especially if you've already bought an Apple TV because AirPlay, the vaunted new video streaming feature, is finally available with the new 4.2.1 update that's available across all iOS devices. Now, your Apple TV also can be updated to this and it enables AirPlay streaming. What it is, is a way to stream audio or video onto your Apple TV from a Mac or from one of your iDevices. Now, the nice surprise is that audio playback on AirPlay isn't limited to the iPod app itself. In fact, we found audio playback capable in just about any app across the device. You can use it for playing back videos. You could use it to playback streaming radio apps such as Pandora, or music. So, it's a really great way to use a very Bluetooth-like feature for streaming audio throughout your home. Now, probably a lot of people are even more excited about the video playback elements of this, and we found out that was a bit hit or miss. Certainly, playing back video from purchased videos on iTunes worked great. We found video playback worked in other conditions as well. Other times, it didn't. You sort of have to figure out which ones do and don't. It depends on which apps support the video playback. What's nice about the audio playback part is that's available within the multitasking menu on the bottom. You can activate it at any time across apps. Sometimes we found that certain apps would overpower others and you'd have streaming going on in the midst of playing a game. But it's really as a way to add audio enhancement, connect a pair of speakers. AirPlay is available as a feature now. You need to update to 4.2.1 on your iPod, your iPhone, or your iPad, and also on your Apple TV. It's a really cool feature that we'd like to see it support even more on apps. We'll probably need to work through some of the kinks to see it really used to the utmost in the future. I'm Scott Stein and this is a look at AirPlay on the Apple TV.