Streaming movie audio from a PC to AirPlay speakers
Ask iLounge offers readers the opportunity to get answers to their iPod-, iPhone-, iPad-, iTunes-, or Apple TV-related questions from a member of the iLounge editorial team. We'll answer several questions here each week, and of course, you can always get help with more immediate concerns from the iLounge Discussion Forums. Submit your questions for consideration using our Ask iLounge Submit Form. We reserve the right to edit questions for grammar, spelling, and length.
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.
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.
- Will removing a credit card from Safari also remove it from Apple Pay?
- Can I mute Handoff calls coming into my Mac from my iPhone?
- How do I keep my iPhone calls from ringing on my Mac?
- Why doesn’t Traffic show up on my Today Notifications Screen?
- Why doesn’t my iPhone reconnect to Wi-Fi after I turn it on?
- Why can’t I see the iPad-style landscape view on my iPhone 6 Plus?
- Apple’s new ‘Echo rival’ may feature a camera
- Apple ‘working rapidly’ to extend Apple Pay to more countries
- Report: Apple’s Siri-based Amazon Echo competitor will be a new Apple TV
- Report: Apple SVP Eddy Cue proposed bid to buy Time Warner
- Beta testing for Pokémon GO begins in the U.S.
- Apple’s plan to open stores in India hits a snag (Update: India’s finance minister ratifies ruling)
- Apple looking into charging stations for electric cars
- Apple hires hint at improvements in encryption, health monitoring
- Hyundai adds CarPlay support to more vehicles
- Plaintiffs file new motion to keep ‘Error 53’ Touch ID lawsuit alive
- OtterBox Symmetry Series Hybrid Case for 12.9” iPad Pro
- Logitech Logi BASE Charging Stand for iPad Pro
- Twelve South TimePorter for Apple Watch
- August Doorbell Cam
- August Smart Lock HomeKit enabled + Smart Keypad
- ecobee3 HomeKit-enabled smart Wi-Fi thermostat
- Zagg Now Cam
- Yantouch EyE Portable Wireless Speaker
- Netatmo Wind Gauge
- Incipio Stashback for iPhone 6/6s
- Filling the Gap: A look at third-party HomeKit apps
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of tvOS 9.2
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of iOS 9.3
- Opinion: Why Apple needs a dedicated HomeKit app
- Inside the betas: What’s new in iOS 9.3 and tvOS 9.2 (Updated)
- Life with HomeKit: Our experiences with Apple’s home automation system
- Under the Radar: 10 ‘hidden’ details about the new Apple TV
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of iOS 9.0
- Under the Radar: A closer look at smaller iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus changes
- A First Look at iOS 9’s Transit in Apple Maps (Updated for watchOS 2)