AirPlay media streaming debuted with iOS 4 last month. It failed to catch on as a game changer because many people criticized its half-baked implementation. 

Based on the hype preceding iOS 4 launch, folks were left under the impression that AirPlay would facilitate two-way media streaming between any iOS device.

Instead, the technology in its current incarnation only streams media one-way to the Apple TV, that’s it.

It’s Apple’s way of upselling people to its set-top box until they perfect two-way streaming between all iOS devices and a computer, without restrictions.

But why wait, you ask.

Enter AirPlayer, Erica Sadun’s wondrous software that enables AirPlay video streaming from any iOS device to your Mac.

It works like magic. Upon installation, AirPlayer starts the AirPlay service on your Mac and listens to incoming streams on your local WiFi network via Bonjour networking. It also makes your Mac visible to your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad running iOS 4 or later.

Simply start a movie in the iPad or Movies app on your iDevice, hit the AirPlay icon in the media player, tap your Mac, and the video automagically outputs to your computer’s screen – no wires required. What’s best, AirPlay even decodes copy-protected content purchased from iTunes.


STEP 1 Download and install the free AirPlayer app and run it on your Mac. Hit the Start AirPlay Service button to make your computer visible to iDevices over your local wireless network.

STEP 2 Play the video via the AirPlay-enabled app on your iDevice (for example, the iPod app on iPhone or the Videos app on iPad), hit the AirPlay icon in the media player, and tap your computer in the list.

STEP 3 Voila, the video automagically outputs from your iDevice to your Mac’s screen – in this case, copy-protected Alejandro music video by Lady GaGa, purchased from the iTunes Store.

Erica’s hack follows the AirVideoEnabler app for jailbroken iDevices which unlocked AirPlay streaming in third-party iOS applications. I previously opined that Apple’s goal is to create a multi-billion dollar ecosystem around AirPlay that will spawn wireless speakers, home theater systems, receivers, etc. Matter of fact, the process is already underway.

When you think of it, there’s nothing preventing Apple from exposing AirPlay to third party apps via iOS APIs. I have no doubt in my mind that unlimited AirPlay streaming between any iDevice and enabling the technology in third-party apps are both on Apple’s iOS roadmap. In the meantime, I urge you to download Erica Sadun’s AirPlayer here and take it for a spin. Trust me, it’s worth five minutes of your time – the app costs absolutely nothing and works like a charm.