AirPlay not quite music to users' ears

Just hours after an update to Apple's iOS added much-hyped AirPlay functionality to iDevices, users are reporting a less-than-smooth media streaming experience.

AirPlay has been touted as an all-in-one WiFi streaming solution for iPhones, iPads and iPod touches, with Apple's PR highlighting the ease with which users can stream ''whatever'' to an Apple TV.

''So if you feel like watching a movie you have on one of your devices, you don’t need to rent or buy it again. Just tap to start playing content on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, then tap again to instantly stream whatever you’re watching — or listening to — directly to Apple TV.''

But blogger Dave Zatz reports that in reality, iPhones and Apple TV devices aren't playing nice, with streaming often proving a hit-and-miss affair. He claimed that while streaming video works using Apple's built-in apps, his attempts to stream from third-party apps such as Hulu were met with little success.

''Although the occasional app can pass along the audio half of the feed – which is of pretty limited value. It’s unclear if I have all the wrong apps or if this functionality needs to be enabled by developers. Perhaps it’s just not ready for primetime,'' he said.

Mr Zatz reported better luck with audio streaming, though he claimed it was unclear whether an app was compatible with AirPlay or not.

''The music just starts playing — there’s no real Apple TV visual cues as to what’s going on,'' he said.

Similar stories are emerging from Apple's support forums, with users reporting patchy and confusing AirPlay experiences.

''Both my iPhone 4 and iPad are having a very inconsistent experience enabling AirPlay. At first, the iPhone did not see any of my [AirPort] Expresses or AppleTVs (both 2nd gen),'' wrote ''slouchsock8''. ''This is really buggy...it's unfortunate that it got released this way.''

Users have also reported that streaming video from Safari does not work, with only audio playing. Streaming videos recorded on an iPhone is also unavailable.

It has been suggested that fault for many of the bugs may lie with third-party developers who have yet to update their apps to use the AirPlay APIs, a situation which is likely to improve in coming weeks and months.

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