Airfoil, AirPlay, and the new Apple TV

Apple Online StorePaul Kafasis of Rogue Amoeba, makers of quality Mac OS X audio software, has posted the following to the company blog:

Over the past two weeks, plenty of excited users have received their new (version 2) Apple TVs, including everyone here at Rogue Amoeba. We’ve gotten a lot of questions about the Apple TV, as well as Apple’s updated version of AirTunes, now called AirPlay.

For years, our audio transmitting tool Airfoil has made it possible to send any audio to devices which support AirTunes. Originally, the only device of this type was the AirPort Express, Apple’s strange little router with an audio output. Later, the Apple TV (version 1) came along, and we supported that as well.

Currently, Airfoil supports sending audio to the AirPort Express, AppleTV, iOS devices (running our free Airfoil Speakers Touch app), and even other Macs, Windows, and Linux machines (running our free Airfoil Speakers software). Airfoil aims to let you send any audio, all around your house, using the AirTunes protocol.

In September, Apple announced that they’re changing AirTunes into AirPlay. AirPlay will do everything AirTunes did (wireless audio to AirPort Express and AppleTV), with some important additions:

• AirPlay will be supported by additional hardware from third parties like iHome and JBL, making it possible to send audio to more devices.

• AirPlay will enable you to send audio from an iOS device out to an AirPlay-enabled device.

• Airplay will enable you to send video from an iOS device to an Apple TV (version 2), and likely from iTunes as well.

With all that in mind, let’s answer a few questions related to Airfoil, AirPlay, and the new Apple TV.

Can Airfoil send audio to the new AppleTV?

Yup! The current versions of Airfoil send audio to the new AppleTV with no updates required. We’ve worked with version 1 of the AppleTV since 2008, and we support version 2 as well. Download and enjoy!

What about sending video?

Right now, this part of AirPlay’s functionality is not available in the iOS betas nor in iTunes. When it is available, we’ll be taking a close look at it, and determining what we can do then. Sending non-iTunes video from your Mac to your AppleTV is certainly something we’d love to make possible, if Apple doesn’t.

Won’t it be easy to send video, with Airfoil Video Player?

We don’t have any way of knowing just how the video sending will work with AirPlay. Once we see it, we’ll be able to tell if we can mimic it. Right now, we have no idea what format AirPlay will send it, or if it will accept streams rather than seekable files.

However, even then, Airfoil has never done much with video. Airfoil Video Player is a tool for playing video files and DVDs on your Mac, with remote audio. We’ve never sent video.

So, in short? We’ll see what happens.

Will I be able to transmit from my iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad to Airfoil Speakers?

Unfortunately, this is not currently possible. Just as iTunes currently won’t see or send to Airfoil Speakers, iOS devices also will only send to Apple-approved outputs.

Do I still need Airfoil Speakers Touch to receive audio on iOS?

It appears so, yes. Nothing currently in AirPlay makes it possible to send from your Mac to an iOS device. Airfoil enables this.

What about Airfoil for iOS?

This is still not possible for a third-party. However, AirPlay on iOS appears to obviate the need for a third party app to send audio out.

Closing

Right now we’re eagerly waiting for more information. It looks like Airfoil will continue to be useful in the future, and we’re working on some major updates already. You can be sure we’ll be working on updating Airfoil to provide the best possible AirPlay functionality as well, so stay tuned!

Source: Rogue Amoeba Software, LLC

20 Comments

  1. Although an Apple support rep told me that it would, my ATV will not connect over a local network without Internet connectivity. Bad. I have no Internet at the moment in my remote house. (It would be over $1100.00 to install with a two year contract.)

    I need it to work on a local network.

  2. Although an Apple support rep told me that it would, my ATV will not connect over a local network without Internet connectivity. Bad. I have no Internet at the moment in my remote house. (It would be over $1100.00 to install with a two year contract.)

    I need it to work on a local network.

  3. @Mac-nugget…
    I know it seems strange. I recently took ATV to a hotel where I got to try it on full Internet. Very nice. But at home, even without Internet, I can use it to access/share multiple devices over local network. At some point, I’m hoping to get Internet there. It is a long term job assignment. But it doesn’t work. Apple support told me that it should work, but it doesn’t. ATV is supposed to allow sharing of computer content. There should be no reason to have Internet access in order to do that. But it doesn’t work. I did take both the computer and the ATV to an Internet location to be sure I had Home Sharing and confirm the account. Really, even that should not be necessary if one is only accessing local content. Apple, and most everyone, assumes all use will be via Internet content. But that should not be necessary. If your Internet at home goes out, ATV should still work locally. Mine is not.

  4. @Mac-nugget…
    I know it seems strange. I recently took ATV to a hotel where I got to try it on full Internet. Very nice. But at home, even without Internet, I can use it to access/share multiple devices over local network. At some point, I’m hoping to get Internet there. It is a long term job assignment. But it doesn’t work. Apple support told me that it should work, but it doesn’t. ATV is supposed to allow sharing of computer content. There should be no reason to have Internet access in order to do that. But it doesn’t work. I did take both the computer and the ATV to an Internet location to be sure I had Home Sharing and confirm the account. Really, even that should not be necessary if one is only accessing local content. Apple, and most everyone, assumes all use will be via Internet content. But that should not be necessary. If your Internet at home goes out, ATV should still work locally. Mine is not.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.