App Review: AirView for iPad
One of the most common complaints about the iPad is the lack of HDMI. This always makes me bang my head against the wall because first of all there are HDMI adapters for the 30 pin connector, and second of all you have AirPlay which for many would be a more convenient solution. AirPlay is Apples proprietary (ffs Apple, start using standards) over-the-air media streaming system that lets you stream media from an iOS device or iTunes to an Apple TV. This system doesn’t let you stream TO an iOS device though, and that’s where AirView comes in.
On one hand Apple’s proprietary lifestyle is driving me nuts, but on the other hand it has some advantages. The 30 pin dock connector, for instance, has all the functionality (through adapters) and lots more compared to any Android tablet yet doesn’t make the tablet look like a swiss cheese. AirPlay is another mixed blessing; on one hand it’s even more Apple-only crap, on the other hand it’s integrated very well- but I’m sure they could have made it work with DLNA as well if they just tried.
AirView is pretty much the simplest app ever.You start it up, and as long as you’re connected to the same network as another AirPlay device you can stream media from that device to AirView. A button conveniently appears besides the playback controls on the transmitting device when you have launched the app, and from there all you have to do is select iPad as the output device. Sounds simple? It is, but it has some issues.
For the life of me I haven’t been able to play anything from iTunes. Half of the problem is that it doesn’t let you stream copy protected video, such as TV shows and movies you’ve gotten off of iTunes (this does however work when you stream to Apple TV, if anyone wondered). It shows that it’s playing and gives you no warning or error messages, but at the same time it doesn’t work. However, it also doesn’t work with normal videos for me- it either displays a blank screen, or the paused image with no way of getting it to play. I don’t know if it’s the source files (I doubt it), iTunes, the app or whatever it is but it will not work. I know it works for some, and I know some have the same issue, so who knows what it’s all about.
It does however work for streaming from my iPhone. At least for videos that is transferred from iTunes, that is. If you film anything yourself and try to get it to play through AirPlay you’ll soon discover that the video playback controls are different in the Photos app and so the AirPlay button is missing. Pretty pathetic, in my opinion, and Apple is to blame here. Apparently they’re rolling out AirPlay for more OS features such as photos and apps, and if that happens this app will suddenly become more useful as well. Imagine taking a picture or filming a video on your iPhone and then showing it off on the iPad- if you have a Wifi connection, anyways…
For now this app is pretty useless due to bugs and lacking AirPlay features in the OS- but it has great potential. Even being able to stream from iTunes (with no bugs) would be a great thing to have if you’re watching a podcast or whatever and want to take it with you to another room or whatnot. By the time Apple rolls out an update there might be an AirPlay receiving feature in iOS itself though, so the developers might be out of luck. The app is however both universal and free in the App Store so it’s worth picking up just to play with.