Apple TV 4: Using AirPlay

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As I mentioned, this isn’t due to WiFi reception. When I stand in front of the devices, the WiFi signal indicators still show a perfect signal. Sometimes they may drop to 4/5 circles on my Apple TV and 2/3 curves on my iPad. In this case, the WiFi signal should still be strong enough to beam music over AirPlay. I also know the problem isn’t with Spotify. It happens with downloaded music and even audio that isn’t beamed from Spotify. It appears that when Apple overhauled AirPlay they decreased the buffer size. Any minor fluctuation in WiFi signal can cause a dropout, even if WiFi signal strength is still very strong. We can only hope that Apple fixes this in an upcoming tvOS release.

Restart Apple TV After AirPlay Session

Dropouts aren’t the only problem with AirPlay. After some AirPlay sessions, a few of my Apple TV apps experience difficulties. I think that AirPlay may not clean up properly when the connection is closed. This extra overhead seems to stymie some video streaming apps. They either have a slow connection or none at all.

Restarting Apple TV is the easiest way to fix this problem. I also like to close all open apps before doing this. First, double tap the Home button (looks like a TV) to display the App Switcher. Flick up on the touchpad to close each open app. When you are back on the Home screen, go to Settings > System > Restart. You can also hold down the Menu and Home buttons until the light on your Apple TV starts flashing rapidly. Release both buttons and your Apple TV will restart. This latter technique is essential if your Apple TV ever freezes.

Restarting Apple TV will fix most problems. You may find yourself restarting Apple TV a lot. Apple TV doesn’t offer the same level of quality as the Mac or iPhone. After all, Apple isn’t going to put their best engineers on Apple TV. Fortunately, it only takes about 30 seconds to restart Apple TV.

AirPlay Opens Up a Universe of Content

AirPlay is a versatile and powerful technology. It opens up Apple TV to a universe of content. The App Store for Apple TV is relatively new. It only has a fraction of the apps available in the iOS App Store. Apple TV doesn’t have a browser, so you can’t play videos embedded into news stories or other web pages. Fortunately, with AirPlay, you can beam just about anything onto Apple TV. While it does have some limitations on iOS, AirPlay for the Mac or other computers can deliver anything to Apple TV. If you can see it on your computer, you can beam it onto Apple TV.

I am surprised at how many people are unaware of AirPlay. Fans of competing TV appliances point out that their chosen device has many more apps. This is true, but these are only built in apps. These other devices don’t have anything like AirPlay. While some can display content beamed from devices, the competing technologies aren’t as good. Without AirPlay, Apple TV would be a limited device. I wouldn’t be able to listen to Spotify or play videos from the web. If you are considering purchasing an Apple TV and are concerned about the lack of apps, keep in mind that AirPlay lets you watch just about anything. As the Apple TV App Store expands, AirPlay will become less useful. In the meantime, it is the bridge to beaming just about anything onto your Apple TV.

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2 comments

  1. Thanks for all the great info. Super easy to understand and lots of stuff I never knew…for example who knew the Apple TV 4 remote had a trackpad and clicked…only discovered when I read about it on this website. Was using it paired with my tv remote before that to make it usable. Appreciate all the work. It’s my go-to Apple website now.

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