Music Streaming & Apple AirPlay

Music Streaming & Apple AirPlay
Music Streaming, Apple, AirPlay

Today I had an opportunity to visit with a friend and client of many years. The purpose of the visit was to re-grill his 40+ year old audiophile loudspeakers.  The foam grill covers had simply disentigrated and the resulting look was certainly unfashionable, to say the least.

My friend posed a question about how to get his music files off his MAC "Confuser" so that they would play on his equally old audiophile music system.  As it turns out, the hardware designers of the late 70's era were more concerned on how to best present vinyl records and perhaps cassette tapes and had no vision of what was to unfold in the ensuing years.  Today, we operate in a "digital world" and almost every new AV appliance has some manner of connecting to the internet.  It could be via wireless (Wi-Fi) or perhaps via a hardwire category cable (CAT 5e or CAT 6). Regardless, having that capability is critically important on multiple levels. 

You see, with a connection to the outside world, we can now do Firmware updates without ever needing to remove a piece of gear from the premises. Firmware updates provide the ability to fix issues and to add new feature sets to appliances in the field. We no longer need to return items to the factory for modifications or updates (in most cases).  Perhaps more importantly, having an audio appliance connected to the WWW supports numerous highly desirable Streaming features such as:

  • Apple's AirPlay
  • Pandora Radio
  • Spotify Radio
  • Tidal Radio
  • Roku 
  • Google TV
  • Amazon Fire TV 
  • Video On Demand
  • Etc.

In a nutshell, all of the above products and services require a robust and reasonably fast IP connection.

Meanwhile back at the ranch, I instructed my friend that his new 60" flat panel TV would most likely have the ability to accept streamed files via his Wi-Fi network. As it turns out, the TV did have that very capability.  With a quick visit to the Apple APP Store, I was able to find multiple APPS that supported wi-fi connectivity from IOS Devices to the TV Dsiplay.  I downloaded one such APP and immediately began to play (Stream) music files on my iPone to his audio system via his TV set.  The APP also supported Video and Photo files without the need of ever connecting a hardwire to his actual equipment.  Pretty neat, I must say.  Unfortunately for my friend, his MAC operating system is probably too old to support the AirPlay features.  Having said that, he could certainly update his IOS and possible gain that ability?

The moral of this story is simple.  One never truly knows what lies behind the next bend as far as technology is concerned.  We do know that the pace of change is relentless and continues to accelerate.  While it is difficult to stay abreast of the changes,  I'd respectfully suggest that everyone make a concerted effort to better understand the possibilities available to them before making an impulse purchase decision.  In closing, I'd also like to remind everyone that there are differences between products and services and they are definitiely noy "all the same".

Good Luck,

M. S. Moran

Resident Stereomeister