After Apple introduced Airplay in iOS 5, the Apple TV was the only device capable of mirroring your iOS device to your big screen. Questions were raised, complaints were made, and Apple has yet to support the Mac as an AirPlay device. There have been a few applications for the Mac claiming that they offer a solution to AirPlay streaming, but few have been able to perfect it.
Look no further, because the solution for AirPlay streaming on your Mac is here! AirServer is a Macintosh application that allows you to stream audio and video to your Macintosh in all it’s glory. We’ve had a chance to test it for the past couple of weeks, and have put together a nice review of its features and performance. Check out the details below!
The user interface is something you’d expect from a native Mac app. It’s implemented in the background by a menu bar application, which is perfect, unlike other applications on the market. It has a very easy to use interface, with only a few clicks required to be up and running. It has options to distribute your audio to different outputs, whether that be from system default, to any external sources you have connected to your Mac. It does it very well, and in my testing, no audio tracks were affected, even through Bose speakers. It sounded as if the audio was connected via a cable to the audio jack. You also have the option to select the screen you wish to display your iOS device on, which may be your shiny new TV, or just your secondary monitor. AirServer also has options for mirroring, allowing you to select optimized sizes for your iOS devices. This is a neat feature for those who don’t want mirroring to take up a lot of screen real estate on their Mac. AirServer also comes with an option for people with slower bandwidth, which is an option lacking in many of its competitors. What sets AirServer apart from other applications is its support for dual AirPlay mirroring. This is perfect for gaming with your friends, whether that be from your iPhone, your iPad, or even your iPod touch. This one key feature is something that’s not supported by the Apple TV, as of yet.
Using the application
The application is very easy to use. AirServer is very intuitive, with simple controls. After installing the application, it seems like you’re presented with nothing, as the application is lurking away in the background through a menu bar app. Activating your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch is super easy, as you simply double tap the home button, presenting the multi-tasking bar. Slide to the left, and then once more. You should see another icon next to your volume slider. That is where you can activate your AirPlay mirroring through AirServer. After clicking the icon, you’re presented with an options menu, where you can stream your audio & video from your iOS device to your Mac. Remember that you can even stream multiple iOS devices to the same Mac. It’s that simple! If Apple is going to add AirPlay into the Mac, this is the way they should go about it.
AirServer is the industry standard for Macintosh AirPlay applications, and it’s absolutely a breeze to work with. It just works, as Steve Jobs would have said. It converts your Mac into a multiplayer game console. Perfect for times when family is around. AirServer only supports iOS devices for now, but is the first and only AirPlay enabled Mac application that allows AirPlay with a Microsoft Windows computer. These features make the AirPlay experience a lot more pleasurable, and the cross-platform compatibility allows Windows users to join the fun as well. Overall, AirServer is a must for anyone who enjoys serious gaming on the iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. AirServer also comes in handy when you’re displaying photographs to relatives or friends, as it saves the hassle of gathering around when you can use technology you already have. For the very reasonable price of $15, AirServer is a must buy for anyone who owns a Mac, and wants to extend an improved AirPlay experience to more screens around the home or office.
Below is a summary of the main improvements to AirServer 4.3 for Mac:
- Free 7 day trial version
- Gaming split screen for multiple devices (16+ devices)
- Added ability to change aspect ratio while mirroring.
- Added iSight camera preview ability while mirroring.
- Greatly improved mirroring performance.
- Added full support for Mountain Lion.
- Added mirroring optimization preferences which enables 1:1 pixel mapping.
- Fixed audio jitters and sync issues.
- Fixed rendering on Macs with HiDPI setting enabled.
- Fixed rendering on virtual machines like VMWare fusion.
- Fixed shimmering borders appearing on some displays with certain games.