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Play Video Games
While some pine for Apple TV to evolve into a video game console, many are unaware that gaming is already a possibility. If you have an iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch, there are games that use Dual Screen AirPlay. This turns the iOS device into a touch-screen controller while the game is played on the big screen.
There aren’t a lot of games that support this, but I expect the selection grow. There are 8 games that I know of: MetalStorm: Wingman, Ducati Challenge HD, N.O.V.A 3, Real Racing 2, SketchParty TV, The Walking Dead, The Incident, and Zombie Gunship. I also expect an update to bring the AppStore, games and game controllers to Apple TV. Apple TV is, after all, an iOS device. It has the same A4 or A5 chip as an iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch. It’s not a huge leap to bring video games to Apple TV.
To enable Dual Screen mode in iOS 7, slide up Control Center and turn on AirPlay Screen Mirroring, then start your game. With previous versions of iOS, you can double tap the home button to reveal the multi-tasking “tray”. Slide your finger to the right to reveal the media controls. From here, turn on AirPlay Screen Mirroring, then start your game. I have played MetalStorm: Wingman a few times, and it’s really fun. Tilting my iPad flies the jet. Tapping different areas on the screen fires weapons and operates other features. There’s nothing quite like this gaming experience!
Read “Apple TV Games” for more information on Dual Screen AirPlay games.
Use Your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch to Access More Content
While Apple TV has quite a few built-in content channels, there are hundreds of apps offering AirPlay functionality. Networks such as Adult Swim, NBC and CBS offer iOS apps with AirPlay. You can watch most of the shows the network has to offer. I use an app from my local independent channel (KRON) to watch live local news on my Apple TV.
The video quality varies quite a bit, but tends to be below SD. This is not a limitation of AirPlay. It costs money to host streaming HD video. As this cost decreases, I expect to see more of these apps offering better quality. The better apps end up becoming built-in content channels on Apple TV. For more information on free content available using iOS apps and AirPlay, check out this article.
Surf the Web on Apple TV
Apple TV doesn’t have a web browser. Given the simple remote, it would be a chore to surf the web on Apple TV. If you have an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, the AirWeb app is a great browser for Apple TV. Using Dual Screen AirPlay technology, AirWeb turns your Apple TV into a web browser, with your iOS device acting as a track pad. AirWeb features an on-screen cursor so you won’t have to constantly shift your gaze between your device and your TV. To find out more about AirWeb, check out this review.
Don’t Forget About Podcasts
Podcasts offer a wide array of programming content, but are often overlooked. Some people think Podcasts are only audio, but there are many video podcasts available.
While most podcasts are short, there are some full-length programs. I often watch the NBC Nightly News podcast. It’s the full program, without commercials. The video quality isn’t amazing, but it’s good enough for a free newscast. Apple releases all of their keynotes as HD Podcasts. These are worth watching if you’re interested in upcoming Apple products. (continue…)