Apple TV, AirPlay and Incorrect Expectations

It’s so hard to figure out ahead of time what is supported by this AirPlay stuff. Or at least it was for me it seems. So here’s what I know for some other lost soul stumbling through the damn wilderness one day.

The Apple TV (newest revision as of 01/23/2013) will play audio for music to wireless AirPlay speakers. It will not play audio for videos to wireless AirPlay speakers. The audio for your videos – Trailers, YouTube, etc – is passed through HDMI or the digital audio output connection.

The iPad (gen 3 retina), iPhone 5 and Macbook Air can each be mirrored onto the Apple TV and both sound and video will be passed. However, the audio will follow the same restrictions laid out above and will not be played through your wireless AirPlay speakers but through the HDMI or digital audio output.

I was able to get the Macbook Air, connected to the monitor via HDMI, to stream audio via AirPlay for the video I was playing, but the audio was about 4 seconds off and seemed to be causing the laptop a lot of pain.

Short version – only expect audio from music on any of your devices to play wirelessly. Do not expect audio from video on any of your devices to play properly. If you achieve a different result… please share!

My next step is to try one of these HDMI to HDMI + Audio adapters as I’m trying to do all of this without a real TV, just a DVI monitor that doesn’t support audio over HDMI. Fingers crossed.

Twitter Is Still Hard – Thoughts On Cross Application Usability

A lot of work is still involved with using Twitter.

Example.

I was just reading a story on the Ft. Hood shootings in the CNN application on my iPod and saw a line in the middle of the story that said “Twitter list: Keep up with who we’re following“. Now, this is a strike against the CNN app, as the text didn’t link to anything. But even if it had, what would it link to? More than likely the @cnnbrk/fort-hood Twitter list, which was created specifically to follow that story.

How would I use this?

If it were linked in the story, it would bring up a Safari window showing the list on Twitter.com.

Safari isn’t my default Twitter reader on the iPod though, Tweetie is.

This isn’t iPod specific either, this is web application specific. If I were looking at the CNN story in Chrome or Firefox, there is currently no way for me to tell the browser that clicking on a Twitter.com link should bring me to Brizzly to read it.

It would be very cool if there was a way for users to specify this type of cross-connection between apps.

I’m betting this is something that could be solved relatively easy in the PC browser world through extensions, but at this point can’t see it even be approached in the strict Apple app development world. At some point, we will realize the need to start treating web applications more like desktop applications in that users will want to leave one to visit another at times as part of their natural application flow.