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Wednesday, January 16, 2019

AirPlay Is Coming to Smart TVs. Here’s How It Works

Smart TVs are now integrating Apple’s AirPlay 2 technology. That was one of the big stories of CES 2019, where many TV manufacturers simultaneously announced AirPlay was coming to their TVs. Some are even updating existing TVs with AirPlay.

What Is AirPlay 2?

Apple’s AirPlay 2 standard lets you use Apple devices to control media playback, stream audio, mirror your screen, or do other similar things. It’s built into Apple devices like the iPhone, iPad, and Mac. Think of it a bit like Apple’s version of Chromecast.

Previously, you could use AirPlay with your TV—but only if you purchased an Apple TV and connected it to your TV. There are unofficial AirPlay receiver software programs you can run on a PC or Mac connected to your TV, but nothing official. Now, AirPlay will be integrated into many smart TVs from many manufacturers.

This isn’t a replacement for Google’s Chromecast. We saw TVs that had both Chromecast and AirPlay integrated. You can use whichever your devices work best with. Choice is great!

AirPlay isn’t officially supported on Windows, but VideoLAN has announced plans to integrate AirPlay support into a future version of the popular VLC Media Player. VLC already has built-in support for Chromecasting, too.

What Can I Use It For?

Here are some things you can do with AirPlay:

  • Browse for something to watch on Netflix, iTunes, or another service on your iPhone and send it to your TV, using your iPhone to control playback. The TV will stream the content from the cloud.
  • Show photos and videos from your iPhone on the TV, controlling the presentation on your phone.
  • Play music (or any other audio) on your TV and synchronize it to multiple AirPlay 2-compatible speakers elsewhere in your home.
  • Mirror your iPhone, iPad, or Mac’s screen to your TV.

RELATED: How to Use Apple’s New Multi-Room Audio Features in AirPlay 2

How Can I Use AirPlay on a TV?

We saw AirPlay on smart TVs in action at CES 2019, and it will come to consumer TVs soon.

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