Last time, I showed you how to stream music around your house with an iPad, iPhone or AirPlay-connected speakers. Today we’re going to talk about streaming video.
This is the AppleTV. Often misunderstood, sometimes maligned, it’s actually a cool little box. It plugs in to an HDTV with an HDMI cable, and you connect it to your network via wifi or ethernet. What can it do? Well, it can stream movies and TV shows from the iTunes store, Hulu, Netflix, YouTube and Vimeo, photos from Flickr, and you can watch NBA, NHL and MLB games on it if you’re a subscriber to those premium programs. But you might already have a Roku, or a PS3 or an Xbox to do all that. That’s cool. We’re just going to talk about Home Sharing.
Connect your AppleTV and join it to your home network. Then navigate to Settings>AirPlay and turn it on. This will let you stream video and audio from iTunes or an iPhone or iPad right to your TV with just one tap. Have you ever been looking at a photo or watching a YouTube video on your phone, and you want to share it with people? Don’t make everyone gather around your 3” screen, beam it right to your TV.
Also great for projectors in meeting rooms, by the way. Never again will you have to stand on a table to plug in a VGA cable. Newer Macs running 10.8 can stream video and audio to an AppleTV, as well.
Like the Airport Express and iOS devices, AppleTV supports Home Sharing, as well. Navigate to Settings>Computers to turn it on.
Now there will be a Computers button on your main menu. Click it, and you’ll see every computer on your network that is a: turned on, and b: running iTunes. You can browse them, and play any song, view any photo, and watch any movie or TV episode.
Finally, the missing piece that pulls it all together. The Remote App, free from Apple, lets you control all of this from your iPhone or iPad. You can browse libraries from anywhere on the network, and play songs/movies out through any Airplay device.
That sounds kind of confusing, so here’s an example: You’re cooking gumbo in your kitchen, and you can’t step away, or this thing is gonna burn. Whip your iPhone out of your pocket and tap the Remote app. You can browse all the music from your iMac in the office upstairs, and play a song or a whole playlist through the Airport Express speakers in your kitchen. Cooking music, yeah!
Here’s another example: You’re sitting on the couch reading funkyspacemonkey.com, and your kids are screaming that they want to see Wreck-It Ralph for like the 100th time. Tap the remote app, browse the Mac Mini in your closet, find Ralph, and play it out through the AppleTV in your living room. Halfway through the movie, you can pause it, go upstairs, and continue where you left off, playing it through the AppleTV in your bedroom. While your wife watches Love Actually or whatever on her iPad.
Okay, yeah, that was a sext joke and a cheap shot. I like Love Actually more than my wife does. That part where Liam Neeson’s stepson is running through the airport to tell the girl from his class he loves her? um, I mean, never mind.
Where was I? Oh yeah, the remote app even acts a a keyboard for entering on-screen text on your AppleTV, for example, if you’re searching for a YouTube video. It’s a lot easier than trying to enter text with that little silver remote.
Okay, I gotta go, but one more thing. You probably realized this all depends on you having a Mac or PC running somewhere in your house, and running iTunes. If you have a Mac, you can take some measures to ensure you don’t have any unfortunate outages while you’re not home:
- Open the Energy Saver system preference on your Mac. Set your computer to never sleep.
- Turn on Start up automatically after a power failure. This will reboot your Mac if the power goes out.
- Go to the Users & Groups system preference. Click Login Options, and turn on Automatic login. Select the user you normally run iTunes as. That way, if the Mac reboots, it will automatically log in.
- Still in Users & Groups, select your user account. Click the Login Items tab and add iTunes. Now, if you reboot and log in, iTunes will automatically relaunch.
Well… I think that’s it. Now you’ll be slinging media around your house like a rock star. Enjoy!
ALSO CHECK OUT:
- HOW TO: Master Streaming Media With iTunes [ part 1 ]
- HOW TO: Master Streaming Media With iTunes [ part 2 ]
- HOW TO: Master Streaming Media With iTunes [ part 3 ]
This post was written by Alex Kaloostian who is an IT trainer and consultant in the Boston area. He specializes in Mac servers, video editing, and the technologies that keep them going. In his spare time, he likes cooking, comics, and neglecting his WoW account since he had two kids. He works for www.fmctraining.com and his personal blog can be found at www.alexkaloostian.com.
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