Airplay is great when it works, but I can’t help feeling that it’s a bit half-baked. For example, why can’t I play audio from one Mac desktop to another over Airplay (using iTunes)? Both machines have to have Mountain Lion installed to support mirroring. Instead, I have to “home share” my content via iTunes and pull it up from the other machine. That’s a bit clumsy, especially if my other machine is “headless” (I have to use screen sharing). Also, why am I forced to use only a single type of video or audio file?
Someday (soon, I hope) there will be more Airplay compatible devices and file handling options, but, until then, we have to get by with what we can. Apple TV and the Airport Express seem to be the only devices that receive content over Airplay. iOS devices (and iTunes on your desktop) will act as senders, but not receivers.
Beamer is a great application for getting video to stream over Airplay onto an Apple TV that isn’t in Apple’s bonafide format. Why should you care? Because you might have ripped a bunch of DVDs as mpeg’s or avi’s, or captured video from your non-Apple camera device, etc. and you want to be able to beam it over to your television.
The Beamer App runs on your Mac desktop. You tell it which Apple TV to connect to and then simply drag-and-drop video files onto it. After a brief wait, they will play through your Apple TV device.
I tried a bunch of different file formats and Beamer handled them pretty well. The only time it got its knickers in a twist was when I through Blu-ray quality mk2 files at it. There was a long delay before they started playing and there was one crash. Overall, however, I think the application is very good and does what it says on the tin.
Now, I have a great way to share videos from my laptop to my TV whenever I am near an Apple TV device.