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Introduction to the iOS 5 AirPlay: How It Works with Your iOS Device and Apple TV

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Do you want to wirelessly stream audio or video content from your iOS device to your television set or home theater system? Jason R. Rich explains how an Apple TV device can be the perfect companion product for your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch running iOS 5 by using the iOS 5 enhanced AirPlay feature.
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If you're a fan of iTunes Store and use Apple's online service to purchase, download, and enjoy music, TV show episodes, and movies, you should definitely consider investing in an Apple TV device and connecting it to your high-definition television set or home theater system.

Thanks to iCloud, all your iTunes content purchases are now readily accessible from your computer(s), iOS devices (including your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch), and your Apple TV device[md]as long as each is linked to the same iCloud account.

This means you can purchase a song, TV show episode, or movie, for example, on any of your computers or iOS devices, but then enjoy listening to or watching that content from any other computer, iOS device, or Apple TV device, without having to repurchase it. Thus, every song, music video, TV show episode, or movie you've purchased from iTunes Store in the past to listen to or watch on your Mac, PC, iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch can now be streamed from your iCloud account directly to your Apple TV and watched (or heard) on your big-screen HD television set or home theater system.

Just in time for the holidays, Apple is dropping the price of Apple TV from $99.99 to $89.99. It connects directly to the HDMI In port of your high-definition television set, as well as to the Internet via Wi-Fi or an Ethernet connection. You can then use it with your iCloud and/or iTunes Store (Apple ID) accounts.

As a stand-alone device, when used in conjunction with iTunes-purchased content, Apple TV offers you a vast selection of on-demand programming. Just like on your Mac or iOS device, you can purchase TV show episodes, purchase music and music videos, and rent or purchase full-length movies.

When Apple introduced iOS 5 for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch, however, it also enhanced the capabilities of the operating system's AirPlay feature, which allows your Apple mobile device to work wirelessly with your Apple TV, as long as both devices are connected via Wi-Fi to the same wireless home network.

What this means is that you can stream content from your iOS device to Apple TV and watch it on your big screen television. You can begin watching a movie you've purchased (or rented) from iTunes on your iPad 2, for example, and when you get home, tap the AirPlay icon within the Videos app and begin streaming the rest of the movie to your Apple TV. You can watch it on your television set in high-definition (and perhaps surround sound).

Your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch's AirPlay feature works with all purchased music, music videos, TV show episodes, and movies purchased from iTunes (as well as movies rented from iTunes). It also works with photos or video clips stored within the Photos app of your iOS device (including images and video shot using the iOS device's built-in cameras or imported to the device from other sources).

Just as you can create an animated slide show to showcase your digital images on your iOS device's screen thanks to AirPlay, when used with an Apple TV device, you can wirelessly stream that slide show from your iOS device to your television set simply by tapping the AirPlay icon.

Also, videos you've shot using your iOS mobile device and potentially edited using the optional iMovie app (which is available from the App Store) can be streamed from your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch to your home theater system and watched (via Apple TV) on your big screen television set in high definition resolution.

While you're at home, you can also enjoy listening to any of the digital music that's stored on your iOS mobile device (including your Playlists) by streaming it to your home theater system via Apple TV. Doing this allows you to hear the music through your home theater system's speakers, without having to connect your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch to other equipment using wires or the Dock port.

In situations where iTunes purchased content is stored (or is being streamed from iCloud) directly to your Apple TV, as long as your Apple TV and iOS device are connected to the same wireless network, you can use the free Remote app (available from the App Store) to transform your iOS device into a feature-packed remote control for your Apple TV.

Once it's set up, using iOS 5's AirPlay feature to stream content between your iOS device and Apple TV, to be experienced on your high-definition television set and/or home theater system is very easy to use. You can turn the feature on or off as you desire, so you can instantly switch between watching or listening to content on your iOS device and on your television set by tapping the AirPlay icon that appears within the Music, Videos, and Photos app when your iOS device is connected to a wireless network and can be linked to an Apple TV device.

How to Set Up AirPlay to Work with Your iOS Device and Apple TV

To set up your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch to use the AirPlay feature in conjunction with Apple TV, you'll first need to install the latest version of iOS 5 onto your iOS device. Be sure to turn on the Wi-Fi feature of your iOS device from within the Settings app.

Next, connect your Apple TV to your high-definition television set or home theater system. To do this, you'll need to use an HDMI to HDMI cable that's sold separately. To use AirPlay, you'll also need to utilize the Wi-Fi feature of your Apple TV (as opposed to connecting it to the Internet using an Ethernet cable).

Make sure the latest version of the Apple TV's operating system is installed. The easiest way to do this is from Apple TV's main menu. Access the Settings menu and then select the General option. From the General menu, select the Update Software option. Either you'll see a message that says, "Your Apple TV is up to date" or you'll be told to update the operating system, in which case you should follow the onscreen prompts.

You're now ready to use Apple TV and your iOS device together via iOS 5's AirPlay feature. As long as both devices are linked to the same wireless network, the connection is made automatically. On your iOS device, within the Videos, Music, and Photos apps, you'll see a new AirPlay icon. When you tap it, the content you're viewing on your iOS device's screen will be streamed to your television set or home theater system.

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