AirPlay as Apple’s Backdoor Strategy for Apple TV Content

Seth Weintraub:

AppleTV is an AirPlay-compatible device, meaning it can stream video/sound from other Apple devices. We found out last night that it isn’t just iTunes content that it will be able to broadcast. Any H.264 content from the web can be broadcast over AirPlay to your HD TV.

That includes any video that can play on your iOS 4.2 device, like: Facebook, YouTube, Netflix, Videos, BBC News, MLB and really anything else you can watch on your iOS device. That also includes videos built into Apps and magazine subscriptions too.  Everything can all be beamed to your AppleTV via AirPlay.

I noticed this in iOS 4.2, too. E.g. the MLB At Bat app for the iPad — it now has an AirPlay button. Presumably, once I get the new Apple TV, I’ll be able to use it as the playback destination for any video on the iPad or iPhone. This is exactly what I was wondering about after the Apple TV 2 announcement: maybe we don’t need Apple TV apps, but instead just AirPlay and existing iOS apps.

It’s unclear to me, though, whether developers will have any control over this. Can a developer make a video app for the iPad that purposely doesn’t support AirPlay? Hulu, for example, has notoriously blocked efforts to make it work on devices connected to a TV. What if there is no opt-out?

Update: From a friend:

Apps using the built-in media controller views get AirPlay out for free. Apps that don’t (like Hulu) need to roll their own using AVFoundation.

So any iOS app that uses the built-in media playback views is going to be an AirPlay source.

Friday, 17 September 2010