How Apple's AirPlay Does and Doesn't Work in iOS 4.2

By Sam Cook

Apple's new version of iOS brings us the ability to quickly and easily stream our multimedia content, here's the good, the bad, and the ugly of the feature.

Multitasking may be the most noteworthy feature in the recent iOS 4.2 update, but the award for “coolest” addition easily goes to AirPlay, which lets you stream video, music, and photos from your iPad/iPod Touch gen 2-4, or iPhone3G/3GS/4 to the TV in your living room. AirPlay’s initial release seems to have its share of quirks, though, and you’ll need the right setup to make use of it at all. But the ability to fire a video from one screen to another is so slick, you’ll forgive Apple if it’s not perfect just yet.

impressively easy. Once a video is loaded on your handheld, you simply bring up the on-screen controls and click the AirPlay button, then select the destination device you want. After a few seconds of buffering, your HDTV starts playing your content, just like that. Back on the handheld, you can then switch to another application using those handy multitasking controls, and your video will march right on. But sound generated by those other apps will get pushed out with everything else, so you’ll need to mute any games you load while using AirPlay.

ny Bluetooth audio device . As time goes on we’ll likely see more AirPlay-enabled media hardware, but for now your choices are rather limited. On the up side, controls on your media hardware (like the AppleTV remote) seem to work just fine for stopping, playing, and skipping your streaming content.

And speaking of limited, don’t expect AirPlay to work perfectly with any app on your device. The Video and YouTube apps stream video out like a charm, but anything else like Netflix or VLC will only send out audio. Hopefully that limitation will be resolved as more third party developers patch in AirPlay support. The biggest compatibility oversight is that you can’t AirPlay a video shot on your iPhone —at least, not unless you first move it to your computer, add it to iTunes, and sync it back to your handset. And that’s a lot of hassle, in fact you’d be better off skipping the last step and just using the Airplay functionality in iTunes itself.

favorite videos ready .