There’s An App For That™
You may remember the Apple iPhone commercials touting “There’s An App For That™” (yes, it’s trademarked). The idea behind the slogan was no matter what you are interested in, there is an app that can accommodate your needs. Ironically, today we are looking for ways to eliminates apps. Our phone screen is littered with icons and it’s easier to use our voice with Siri, Google Home, and Amazon Alexa to fill most needs. For instance, just yesterday I was looking for a DIY way to create a sunshade for my front porch. When the solution required an app and account, I moved on. No way, too many apps, too many accounts.
Stream Music and Video without an App
We can say the same with our home entertainment systems. Most multi-room audio systems require their specific app to work. Therefore, when your guests are at your house an app download and account is required to stream their music. Imagine a VRBO rental with this system installed. Previous tenants logged in with their Pandora Radio or Spotify accounts, confusion on how to use the unfamiliar app, and constant service calls required just to listen to music. Well, the good news is there is a solution on how to stream audio and video without an app.
Airplay and Chromecast
Airplay (Apple iOS) and Chromecast (Android) were introduced in the 2010s as the first step to eliminate the need for so many apps. These new protocols came pre-installed on all Android and Apple phones, giving the user the ability to wirelessly “send” their media to a device. Originally, Apple had a plug-in device called an “Airport Express” that would connect to a home stereo using a simple audio cable. Using Airplay, the user could send their downloaded iTunes music to their home stereo system. Control of the house music could now be controlled using the device you carry with you all the time.
How does it work?
When Airplay was introduced in 2010, it gave the user the ability to send your music from your phone to one device such as an Airport Express as mentioned above. However, what happens when you have multiple speaker zones in your home with multiple Airport Express’?
In 2018, Apple introduced Airplay 2 as a solution. Airplay 2 allows the user to play their music to any or all of the user’s audio zones. Over the years many companies like JBL, Bose, VSSL, Bang & Olufsen, Sony, and more have incorporated Airplay technology into their products. For example, Airplay 2 can stream a Spotify “dinner jazz” playlist to in-ceiling speakers in the Kitchen, Living Room, and Dining Room coming off a VSSL A.3 amplifier. At the same time, someone else is listening to a YouTube “pop music” playlist in the bedroom on a JBL Link WiFi speaker. As a result, no one interfering with the other’s tunes.
To use Airplay 2, it’s quite simple. First of all, open your favorite app on your portable device, swipe up (or down) and find the Airplay icon. Next, a new menu will appear and ask where you want your music streamed. As a result there is no extra app needed and you can stream your audio.
So far, the only media we have talked about is audio. In 2013, Apple introduced the option to mirror your iOS device to an Apple TV. Airplay 2 allows a user to wirelessly send any video source (webpage, youtube, photos, iTunes movie, etc.) to their home television. Originally the Apple TV was the only compatible device to Airplay video to your High Definition television. Today, TV manufacturers like Sony, Samsung, and LG have introduced Airplay 2 technology right into their smart TVs.
Here is a great link on the specifics of how to Airplay 2 to your Airplay 2 compatible device.
Meanwhile when we go to the Android world, we “cast” instead of airplay to our devices. In some ways you can certainly say Android was ahead of Apple with their innovation. Chromecast has always been able to stream to multiple devices. Not only that, but their original device was a video device that plugged into an HDMI port on a TV. Since then, an audio device (similar to Airport Express) was introduced in 2015 and discontinued in 2019. They have developed the Chromecast name with newer video devices capable of 4K streaming video, faster processing, and more features. Like Apple, other brands like Pioneer, Sony, Vizio, JBL and others have included “Casting” into their products with no additional hardware required.
Here is a great link on how to Cast to your Chromecast enabled device
In conclusion, there are solutions to stream audio and video without a new app. Airplay 2 and Chromecast make it easy for everyone. There are dozens of products in the audio/video world that are compatible with these technologies. Importantly, we can help find the right solution for you. Our free design services and available installation give your home the proper, easy to use solution for your home. Contact us today for a solution!