Praise for Apple TV's AirTunes Support

Posted Thursday, February 21, 2008

In my previous post, I criticized the Flickr support in the Apple TV "Take Two" update.

Now it's time for some Apple TV praise.

One of the new additions to Apple TV is support for AirTunes, the Apple technology that enables you to wirelessly beam music from iTunes. AirTunes has been around for a while, having debuted in Apple's AirPort Express mini-wireless base stations. But support for AirTunes is new in Apple TV, and it's a big deal.

"But," you say, "why use AirTunes when you can connect to a shared iTunes library with Apple TV? After all, Apple TV has always been able to do that."

You are correct, astute reader. But there are some excellent reasons to use Apple TV's new AirTunes support.

Crossfades. When playing music in iTunes, you can have the program crossfade songs: one song fades out while the next fades in -- like on the radio. Apple TV can't do crossfades with the music on its hard drive, nor can it crossfade tunes that it's accessing from a shared iTunes library. Ah, but by playing back in iTunes and beaming to AirTunes, crossfades are yours. They add a professional-sounding touch to your playlists.

To set up iTunes to do crossfades, choose iTunes > Preferences, click the Playback button in the Preferences dialog box, then click the Crossfade Playback box. Adjust the slider to specify a duration for your crossfades. Tip: To quickly navigate the many panes in the Preferences dialog box, press Command-(left bracket) and Command-(right bracket). These shortcuts also work in the Song Info dialog box. They're in the book!

Better still, you can even use your Apple TV remote control to pause and resume playback and skip to the next and previous songs.

Radio. Like the Internet radio stations in iTunes? With AirTunes, you can stream them to your Apple TV -- and your stereo. Bliss.

AirFoil. Want to stream any audio from your Mac to your Apple TV? Get AirFoil, from Rogue Amoeba Software. This $25 wonder lets you beam any audio your Mac produces to your Apple TV. Play radio stations that use RealPlayer, QuickTime Player, or Flash.

AirTunes on Apple TV? A good thing.

Labels: , , , ,