Sep 29 2012

News - Apple TV Updated to Version 5.1, Adds iTunes Account Switching and Enhanced AirPlay

Gen 2 and gen 3 Apple TV devices have received an update to version 5.1. It marks the first substantial update we have seen to the Apple TV in some time and it brings with it some long-awaited features. For many folks, the most exciting new feature will probably be the iTunes account switching feature that allows the Apple TV to save multiple Apple IDs and makes it easy for users to switch between accounts. There is also support for new screensavers, more advanced networking configurations, and an option for subscribing to shared Photo Streams. There are also a couple of surprising new features, particularly the ability to reorder the app icons on the second screen and the ability to use the Apple TV to send AirPlay content. The inability to customize the apps icons on-screen was a major issue when the new UI launched alongside the gen 3 Apple TVs, so it is nice to see Apple finally respond, but hopefully it is also a sign that Apple might be preparing to offer more Apple TV apps. As for expanding the AirPlay capabilities, the Apple TV's role as an AirPlay receiver makes perfect sense, but using the Apple TV as an AirPlay broadcaster seems like a rather limited use case.

Apple TV 3

Apple TVs of the second and third-gen variety are getting update 5.1 today, which brings two long-awaited features. Both shared photo streaming and iTunes account switching are now part of Apple's set-top box -- the combination of those two finally freeing parents from the potential nightmare of discovering their child's "not safe for parents" photo streams, of course. 



Apr 05 2012

News - Pioneer Adds Two New Elite Receivers, Yamaha Receivers Add AirPlay and 4K

'Tis the season of new receiver releases. Pioneer and Yamaha have each announced a pair of new additions to their 2012 line-ups. Pioneer has added two new models to their line of Elite receivers, the VSX-42 and the VSX-60. Both models bring Pioneer's usual AirPlay and DLNA support along with the new-for-2012 Pandora support. The VSX-60 also includes optional WiFi support and a front HDMI port.


Pioneer's 2012 AV receiver lineup is growing by two with the new VSX-42, priced at $450, and the $650 VSX-60. Both feature six HDMI inputs on the back, Ethernet, video scaling, optional Bluetooth ($99) with A2DP, AirPlay, DLNA, Pandora and iOS or Android apps. 

Engadget HD

Pioneer VSX-60

Yamaha has announced the RX-V473 and RX-V573. Yamaha's new offerings feature a collection of streaming media options similar to the new Pioneer receivers, including AirPlay support, a feature new to Yamaha's receivers this year. One interesting differentiating feature adds a bit of future-proofing in the form of 4K video passthrough. Given the rate at which receivers are adding new features, it's anyone's guess whether Yamaha's new receivers will still be relevant by the time 4K video goes mainstream.

 There's not much differentiating the models, save for a $100 gap in price ($450 for the V473, $550 for the V573), and 7.1 channel audio in the pricier model (you'll find 5.1 channels in the bargain offering). Both flavors include front-panel USB ports (also with iOS compatibility), four HDMI inputs and digital audio inputs, and 115 watts per channel.

Engadget HD

Dec 28 2011

News - Google TV Gets AirPlay with Airtight App

Airtight App

I have become a bit of a fan of AirPlay over the last several months. I have to admit that there is something undeniably cool about starting Pandora on my iPod and pushing the stream out to my receiver with just the touch of a virtual button. Google TV users who want to get their device in on the AirPlay action can too thanks to the recently released Airtight app. The $0.99 app is still pretty limited as it only supports photo and video streaming. Music streaming and mirroring are still in the works, so I won't be pushing Pandora to the Logitech Revue just yet. Hopefully the developers won't run into any legal trouble with Apple. I know that there are developers that have built apps for making WMC play nice with AirPlay that haven't received any legal missives, but activity on a Google platform might attract more attention in Cupertino at the moment.

However, the app is still in beta and can only stream videos and photos at the moment. It doesn’t yet support features such as music and mirroring. It also isn’t sanctioned by Apple, which could take legal action to prevent Airtight from using AirPlay technology for Android devices.


Nov 02 2011

News - AerodromMCE brings Airplay to Window Media Center

One feature that some Media Center users would love to take advantage of is Apple AirPlay. There are already some Windows based AirPlay receiver applications and one of those is Aerodrom. The same developers of Aerodrom have now released a Media Center Add-in that integrates their Aerdrom application and brings it into Media Center adding the ability to play media from your iPhone and iPad directly into Media Center.

If you have an Apple TV Airplay is a great way to deliver media to your TV from an iOS device. If you want Airplay to work with Windows you ca use  Aerodrom  and now you can fully integrate Windows Media Center with AerodromMCE. The addin for Windows Media Center enables video and audio playback from Airplay so you can browse videos on the iPad or iPhone and send them directly into Windows Media Center. 


Oct 21 2011

News - BBC Global Version Of iPlayer for iPad Adds AirPlay Streaming

Along with all the other Apple TV, and AirPlay news, BBC has added AirPlay support to their BBC iPlayer Global app. There are two versions of BBC's iPlayer, the first version which is UK only then second with is their Global app and is available world wide.

If you have an iOS device and are running the BBC iPlayer Global app and own an Apple TV you can now stream all of the BBC Global content on your Apple TV. I am a huge fan of Top Gear and have been using the iPlayer Global app on my iPad for some time now. The only thing I do not have is an Apple TV.


The Global version has been updated to include Airplay streaming so you can watch iPlayer content on your Apple TV.  Strangely the UK version of the app doesn’t do video streaming from Airplay and unlike the global version doesn’t support downloading for offline playback.  Lets hope the UK version catches up soon.


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