AirPlay is one of those Apple standards that is beneficial when you have a lot of Apple kit but can be less convenient when you have a heterogeneous environment (so a mix of Apple and either Windows or Linux computers). This can be problematic if you want to use something like AirPlay to view content on your iPhone or iPad on another device with better speakers and/or a larger screen.
One simple solution I have come across is by installing XBMC (which is an old acronym that stood for Xbox Media Centre when it was built for the original Xbox) and enabling support for AirPlay and uPNP (Universal Plug and Play) in the network settings. Once done, you should be able to see your AirPlay receivers from your various iPhone and iPad apps in compatible applications (including the native music and video players on the device and apps such as AirVideo).
It’s a free download and a snap to get running with little effort. It’s available for:
- Apple TV,
- Mac OS X,
… and also as a Linux distribution known as XBMCbuntu if you are wanting to create a dedicated media centre device on the network.