If you’d shown this feature to the masses in 2005 or so, they’d have fallen down and worshiped it as a god.
Today, we’re used to wireless everything. But this is pretty cool: With one click, you can send whatever is on your Mac’s screen to your TV’s screen, in hi-def. No wires.
That stunt premiered on the iPad 2 and iPhone 4s. But on the Mac, AirPlay becomes far more useful. Now you can present photo slideshows on the TV from your laptop. Or play movies you’ve found online. Or give presentations from PowerPoint or Keynote. Or present software lessons to a class.
There is a catch, of course: This trick requires both a recent Mac model (mid-2011 or later) and an Apple TV. That’s a tiny, $100 black box that connects to a hi-def TV and lets you watch videos from services like YouTube, Netflix, MLB.TV, NBA, NHL, and Vimeo. It can also play videos, music, and photos from Macs or PCs on the network.
But with AirPlay, the Apple TV (and therefore your TV) can now play anything you can see on your Mac, including services like Hulu that aren’t available on the Apple TV alone. You can play your iTunes music while watching those cool screen-savery visualizers on your HDTV. And you can carry your $100 Apple TV around with you to corporate boardrooms to project your pitches, rather than a $1,500 projector.
The Mac and the Apple TV have to be on the same wireless network—but that doesn’t mean they need a WiFi hotspot. You may remember that your laptop can create its own WiFi network (see ...