Streaming movie audio from a PC to AirPlay speakers | iLounge Article


Streaming movie audio from a PC to AirPlay speakers

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Q: I recently bought an Apple AirPort Express and set up a set of speakers to give me AirPlay capability. It works perfectly from my iPhone, my iPad and from iTunes on my Windows 7 PC. Well, almost perfectly. Last night I rented an iTunes movie to watch on my PC and when I started the movie I realized I couldn’t select my AirPlay speakers. A quick Google search told me it is apparently not possible. Do you know if this is true? It seems crazy that I can play iTunes music, podcasts and radio through AirPlay, but not a movie.

- Nick

A: Unfortunately, this is indeed the case. AirPlay audio seems to be primarily intended for streaming things like music to a remote set of speakers located elsewhere in your house. Since watching a video on your PC generally requires you to be located in front of the PC, Apple is obviously (and incorrectly) making the assumption that you would only play your audio through directly connected speakers in this case. It’s also worth noting that even the Apple TV, which adds support for external AirPlay speakers in the recent 5.1 update also has the same limitation on streaming audio during video playback.

AirPlay can, of course, be used from iTunes to stream the entire video to an Apple TV, but even in this case there is no standard way to stream only the audio component while playing back video on a Windows PC itself.

This limitation with regard to AirPlay audio streaming has actually been an issue for years, going back to when the technology was known as AirTunes and supported audio only. Traditionally AirPlay/AirTunes audio streaming has been available solely from iTunes, and it is only recently that Apple has expanded it allowing Mac users to use an AirPlay destination as their system sound device in OS X Mountain Lion.

Fortunately an enterprising third-party developer, Rogue Amoeba, stepped in to fill the gap with an app known as Airfoil. Available in both Windows and Mac versions, Airfoil is a $25 software app that allows users to stream any audio from their Mac or PC to a remote AirPlay device. Airfoil also has the advantage of streaming audio only from specific applications, rather than redirecting your entire system audio stream to the AirPlay device, which makes it useful in some cases even for OS X Mountain Lion users who may be concerned about every system-generated beep and click coming out of their remote speakers.

Airfoil provides a number of other useful features that also help to justify the $25 asking price, including the ability to stream audio from your PC to multiple destinations, including AirPlay speakers, other computers or iPhone, iPad or iPod touch devices as well as to receive audio on your PC from other AirPlay sources.

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On a Mac with 10.8 at least, you can actually select the system audio output to be an AirPlay device. This is separate from the advertised AirPlay mirroring feature. This is also available on older Macs that don’t otherwise get the AirPlay video mirroring.

Posted by Ryan Gray in Toronto on September 27, 2012 at 12:36 AM (CDT)


umm.. you guys failed to mention that AirFoil has a video player that will send the audio from the video to your airplay speakers, with an appropriate delay so that it synchs up with the video.

however, last time I looked, this was not available for the PC version of AirFoil. But for those mac owners out there who want to watch a movie with great sound, you should’ve included that info :)

Posted by Hex in Toronto on October 5, 2012 at 11:53 AM (CDT)


Tuneblade is another option that can stream PC audio on AirPlay. Tuneblade controls VLC media player’s audio latency for audio-video synchronization.

Posted by Nomad in Toronto on June 18, 2013 at 9:16 AM (CDT)

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