Yesterday

AAPL: 112.76

-0.53
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One of the downsides of being early adopters of new technology is that we tend to buy the best system available at the time, only for a better one to come along later. I’m sure we’ve all been there.

That was the case for me with wireless audio. I wanted, many years ago, to be able to stream music to two other rooms in the house. I invested in a couple of Logitech Streambox Booms, which did the job. My Mac acted as a music server, and I could stream both my music library and Internet radio to the Logitech boxes.

But it was a clunky setup, a scrollwheel used to select artist, album and track in much the same way as the original scrollwheel iPod – though viewing only one line at a time. AirPlay, when it came along in 2010, was a markedly better solution, but also came with a far higher price-tag.

However, the upside of Apple neglecting AirPlay is that there are a lot of heavily-discounted discontinued products around. It was only when writing that opinion piece that I noticed just how low prices on these had fallen. That means that you can now put together a multi-room AirPlay setup for way less than it would have cost when the system was launched …  expand full story

August 26

AAPL: 109.69

5.95
Stock Chart

I love AirPlay. It’s simple and elegant. It also means that my elderly but much-loved B&O Ouverture hifi system (with BeoLab 6000 speakers) – which is actually so old that it has a cassette deck – needed only a low-cost WiFi audio receiver to allow it to wirelessly stream music from my MacBook Pro. One $40 add-on and a 20-year-old hifi became bang up to date in its capabilities.

With my particular setup, AirPlay does exactly what we expect of Apple products: It Just Works. I open iTunes, select ‘B&O’ from the speaker output menu, and anything I play in iTunes – whether from my own music library or streamed from Apple Music – plays through the hifi, while system sounds continue to play through the Mac speakers. My partner can stream her own music from her iPad or iPhone just as readily.

I’d previously tried a Bluetooth audio receiver, and the difference between that and AirPlay is night and day. No pairing. No worries about distance. No interference when someone walks between the Mac and hifi. No system sounds emerging at deafening volumes though my hifi speakers.

But despite my own happy experience of it, AirPlay is not without its problems …  expand full story

July 27

July 14

TiVo-ios-airplay

One of the long-running complaints among TiVo users has been the company’s decision to block Apple’s AirPlay mirroring feature, preventing users from streaming content from the TiVo iOS app to an Apple TV. That’s all changing today as the company plans an update to the app that enables the functionality for the first time, allowing TiVo hardware owners to stream any content accessible via the iOS app to an Apple TV connected to the same network. expand full story

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January 23

AirPlay isn’t dead as a wireless speaker standard, but it’s not exactly healthy: many models have been discontinued, and new releases have all but stopped. Having previously gone all-in with AirPlay, Danish designer speaker maker Libratone is now rolling out updated versions of its circular Loop, tube-shaped Zipp, and triangular Live systems that augment AirPlay rather than ditching it. The new Libratone Loop ($500) modestly tweaks the prior version to add Bluetooth 4.0 support — a feature that radically increases Loop’s compatibility. Though its high price tag will continue to keep this model out of reach for most consumers, long-awaited and substantial discounts on the prior-generation models (Loop here, Zipp here, Live here) may bolster their appeal.

Having tested the new Loop, my personal feelings are mixed: I applaud Libratone for consistently releasing speakers that look distinctive, working both as design objects and audio systems, but the MSRPs remain somewhat hard to justify given the sonic performance…

expand full story

January 6

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Google today announced Google Cast for audio, which the company says takes advantage of Chromecast tech to send audio to third-party hardware like speakers, A/V receivers, and sound bars. The feature will allow users to tap a “cast” button from within music and radio apps on Android, iOS and the web to stream audio to Google Cast enabled speakers. expand full story

December 17, 2014

December 4, 2014

eddycue

Despite a trend of declining sales, the iPod has been in the news again this week as Apple defends itself against a class action suit over antitrust issues and DRM complaints with iTunes. After emails and a video deposition from Steve Jobs resurfaced some of the late Apple co-founder’s snark, testimony from Apple SVP of Internet and Software Services Eddy Cue went into the company’s history with DRM and the iPod… expand full story

September 23, 2014

Peer-to-peer-airplay-ioS-8-012

When Apple released Apple TV software update 7.0 earlier this month, it came with support for new iOS 8 features including the new Peer-to-Peer AirPlay feature. First announced when Apple unveiled iOS 8 earlier this year, Peer-to-Peer AirPlay allows users on iOS 8 and the upcoming OS X Yosemite release to stream content to an Apple TV without having to connect to the same wireless network. What we didn’t know at the time, however, is that the feature is limited to only the latest Apple TV hardware: expand full story

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