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After making the configuration changes and following this process, I have almost eliminated AirPlay dropouts. I get maybe one dropout per 10 hours of music playback. I can live with that. As for the time involved with the process, it’s still faster than finding a CD in my collection.
Alternatives to AirPlay
If all else fails, you may want to consider avoiding AirPlay altogether. It’s unfortunate that it may come to this. AirPlay used to be rock solid. If it doesn’t work out for you, it’s best to consider alternatives.
Although there are a variety of Bluetooth adapters and speakers on the market, I don’t recommend this technology. Bluetooth has a much shorter range than AirPlay. I haven’t been very impressed with Bluetooth for transmitting high quality audio. If you want to stream video over Bluetooth, it probably won’t work well.
If you have a newer iOS device, peer-to-peer AirPlay may work better. This technology uses Bluetooth for the AirPlay connection. For more information, please read “Apple TV 4: Peer-To-Peer AirPlay Without WiFi”.
You can attach an iOS device to your TV or stereo using cables. There are a variety of HDMI adapters that connect to both the classic and lightning Apple docks. They’re not cheap and they limit mobility. If you just want to play music, you can connect your device to your stereo using a 1/8″ male to stereo RCA male cable. Make sure to turn the volume down on your source device before you start playing music. Also, the digital to analog conversion won’t give you the best sound quality.
If you have an older stereo equipped with a tuner, you can buy an inexpensive FM transmitter. This isn’t the best solution, as the FM band does not support high fidelity audio transmission.
Chromecast is another alternative to AirPlay. I haven’t used Chromecast, but it’s a popular device and people seem to like it. I can’t attest to its reliability, but it may provide sufficient buffering for trouble-free streaming. Chromecast devices are inexpensive and will definitely perform better than Bluetooth, wired connections or an FM transmitter. Make sure that your preferred apps work with Chromecast before you buy one.
Submit Feedback to Apple
When I first discovered the AirPlay flaw with Apple TV 4, I was irate. They hobbled one of my favorite Apple TV features. I’m still a bit annoyed that I have to perform a complicated ritual before I start an AirPlay session. I have reported this problem to Apple. If AirPlay is causing problems, please inform Apple. They won’t fix it unless people complain.
I had a theory that Apple may be neglecting AirPlay in order to promote their own services. After all, AirPlay lets you stream Spotify, Google Play Music and all of their competitors’ content to Apple TV. Lately, I have been reading reports that Apple intends to use AirPlay for some augmented reality features. These are all rumors, but, if true, Apple may need to overhaul AirPlay again. Let’s just hope they don’t break it even more.
UPDATE: Apple is launching AirPlay 2 soon. Let’s hope they don’t break it even more!