One of the biggest features an Apple TV offers you is the ability to stream AirPlay audio/video and mirror iOS device screen to your big TV. This single feature is the number one reason some decide to purchase an Apple TV instead of other competitor’s device. It accommodates your iOS device ecosystem very well. Little you might not know, you don’t need an Apple TV to make AirPlay work. In fact, you can have all the AirPlay features with the only Windows machine. AirServer, running on Windows, allows you to receive almost all type of AirPlay content from your iOS device, streaming iTunes music, Spotify, or Photo album etc. It turns your Windows machine into an Apple TV. If this is something you are intrigued read along and see how you can setup your own AirPlay server on your Windows.
Note, this isn’t a sponsored post by AirServer. I simply enjoy using their service and would like to share my thoughts on this.
Setup AirServer on Your Windows To Receive AirPlay Content
First thing first, you need to install AirServer. However, it’s not free but you do get 7 day trial period to get your hands on this. If you see the value, there are various license type you can purchase.
After installing the AirServer, make sure you also have iTunes installed on your Windows as well. Because it relies on Apple’s bonjour service to resolve network connection namespaces.
There are quite a few detailed settings you can configure. Be sure to go through every single tab in the settings configuration to change it for your need. If you have a good network connection and would use AirPlay mirror often make sure to select optimized for Retina High Quality to get the best of this.
The other advantage AirServer allows you over the traditional Apply TV is the ability to support 1080p or more depends on your Windows’s screen resolution. It’s definitely an upgrade from any Apple TV 2, which capped out at 720p.
Below is an in action how it looks like when you mirror your iPhone in a landscape view.
In portrait view from iPhone.
AirServer does stream video and audio very well, the only thing it doesn’t do is casing YouTube video or Netflix. But if you are already going to play those on your Windows machine what’s to play it from your iPhone or iPad and mirror it to your Windows? This is understandable and something doesn’t look like going to get added in the future.
There is a plus with the latest AirServer. It enables YouTube live streaming from your projecting content. All you need to do is enable YouTube streaming from a Google account.
There are many use cases with AirServer, whether you are home or at work with this handy server running to show off what’s your iOS device is a neat trick. If you are looking to get an Apple TV but only use it for its AirPlay feature, consider recycling your old Windows box and turn it into an Apple TV with AirServer! I’ve personally used AirServer for some time on a wire connected desktop, it’s flawless in terms of performance. Because it’s doing most streaming wireless off your iOS device, your local network connection will dedicate how well it performs, it’s strongly recommended to install AirServer on a wired desktop to avoid any glitches when streaming audio or mirror video playback.
Co-founder of Next of Windows and a cool geek 🙂
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Last updated: 12/06/2015