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AirPlay is one of the sweetest updates ever to grace iOS. Simple and elegant, AirPlay makes it a one-tap snap to share and stream video, audio, or photo content residing on your iOS device, Apple TV, or third-party AirPlay compatible device.
As great as AirPlay is, you can make it even better by tweaking it to suit your individual needs. To make sure that you're getting the maximum amount of awesome out of AirPlay possible, we've put together this quick list of tips on how to tweak your hardware and AirPlay-compatible content to make your AirPlay experience just that much better.
Don't get rid of your trusty Apple TV Take Two because it doesn't run AirPlay right out of the box--bend it to your will. Thanks to aTV Flash, and Remote HD, not only will you be able to get AirPlay up and running on it, but you'll also be able to give it other great features including a web browser, the ability to connect an external drive, and rock your living room with installations of XBMC and Boxee. You can find Mac|Life's guide to cracking your old school Apple TV open like a nut here.
Why should your iOS devices and home entertainment system have all the fun? Thanks to Erica Sadun's AirPlayer for Mac, you'll be able to send AirPlay content to an Apple desktop or laptop the same as you would any other AirPlay-compatible device. That means you can share content from your iOS device on a buddy's computer without having to sync or authorize it. Nice!
Your Photos and Music will look and sound great when sent from an iOS device to your home entertainment system via AirPlay. Why should your video be any different? If you buy the bulk of your television and movies from iTunes, you're ready for action. If you have an extensive DVD collection, however, you'll want to rip it in such a way that it looks good on every device you own. If you use Handbrake to rip your DVDs (and why wouldn't you, it's both free and awesome), consider using the application's Apple Universal setting to keep your rips looking their best, no matter what you view them on. While using the Universal setting might make for slightly larger files than you're used to, you're sure to be happy with the results.
Sure AirPlay's ability to throw photos from your last vacation up on a TV screen is great for wowing the folks at home, but what good is it out in the real world?
Quite a lot, actually.
You'd be hard pressed not to find a television set in most office or educational environments these days. The next time you're set to give a presentation for work or school, instead of turning to Keynote or QuickOffice, consider putting together a custom photo gallery of the images and screen shots you want to use. In doing so, you'll save yourself scads of time by by having your iPhone or iPad take care of putting the transitions and music into the mix for you automatically as opposed to doing it yourself. Once your photo sideshow is ready for prime-time, pack your iOS device and your Apple TV in a bag and take it your show on the road. Finally, to really drive your presentation home, you can even include AirPlay compatible video and audio into the mix.
Consumers aren't the only ones who think AirPlay's revolutionary: A lot of well-known hardware manufacturers are jumping at the opportunity to make sure that their products can benefit from the wireless marvel as well. Currently, Denon, Marantz, Bowers & Wilkins, JBL, and iHome all offer AirPlay compatible hardware. There's little doubt that other hardware manufacturers will hop on the AirPlay bandwagon in the near future, so be sure to keep compatibility in mind the next time you search for new home audio or video hardware.
If you've already invested in some high-end Denon audio gear, thanks to a $49.99 firmware upgrade, your pricey amp or receiver can be made AirPlay-ready in minutes. Check out the company's AirPlay blog for details.
Follow this article's author, Seamus Bellamy on Twitter