Learn About AirPlay

Welcome to the learning page where you can get schooled on everything AirPlay. To start, let’s learn a little more about AirPlay.

AirPlay Basics: Wireless Speakers and More

What is AirPlay (and why should I care?)

AirPlay is a wireless protocol that enables you to stream music, photos and video from iTunes on your computer as well as iTunes or an AirPlay enabled app on your iPod Touch, iPhone or iPad to an AirPlay-enabled TVreceiver, or speakers. This means the next time you have guests over, you can impress (or annoy) everyone by choosing your dinner music on the fly, without leaving your chair. With AirPlay, you can scroll through your music, skip tracks, and adjust the volume just as you would when playing music through your headphones. If you have more than one set of AirPlay speakers installed, you can control all of them from your Apple device.

What do I need to stream music using AirPlay?

All you need is an AirPlay-enabled transmitter (an Apple iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, or computer running iTunes) equipped with iOS 4.2 or later, and something to receive and play the signal, such as an AirPlay-enabled home theatre receiver, or a set of AirPlay-enabled speakers.

Will only Apple gear work with AirPlay?

Since AirPlay is a proprietary Apple protocol, it’s designed to accommodate your Apple signal-sending devices (or at least anything running iTunes) first and foremost, but when it comes to receiving that signal, there’s a lot more flexibility; a growing number of manufacturers now offer AirPlay-enabled speakers, receivers and more.

What types of gear can I stream to?

As mentioned above, integrated AirPlay-enabled speakers are now offered by lots of manufacturers, including iHomeKlipsch, and Philips. The latest home theatre receivers from DenonPioneer and Marantz–to name a few–now come with AirPlay built in as well. And if you’d rather just stream music to an existing set of speakers or an older receiver, you can equip it with Apple’s Airport Express wireless router. (For more on this, check out the workaround described in “Airport Express + Powered Speakers or Stereo”) Although we’re more focused on listening than watching, you can also stream your music (along with your photos and video) to a TV equipped with the Apple TV media receiver if you prefer. Just another option to explore…

What sort of iOS applications use AirPlay to manage music?

For starters, you can stream music through AirPlay from the iTunes library on your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch, or use the Apple Remote app to access your iTunes library on your PC or Mac. Once you’re ready to branch out, you’ll find a growing range of  AirPlay-enabled iOS apps on the iTunes App Store.

What’s the best solution for me?

There are lots of choices, and more on the way, so check back often to find the best solution to suit your space, budget, and listening preferences.