Technology Review: Apple TV and AirPlay, sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t

Technology Review: Apple TV and AirPlay, sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t

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Apple TV and AirPlay, sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t

By Ray Hanania

English: The 2nd generation Apple TV ‪中文(繁體)â€...

English: The 2nd generation Apple TV ‪中文(繁體)‬: 第二代 Apple TV (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You probably figured out by now that I buy a lot of technology. Yes and yes. I use a lot of it in my consulting work and am constantly looking for ways to save time.

Apple TV has a lot of uses, but as a consultant, I use it for group meetings and projecting what is on my iPad on large screen TVs.

Basically, you connect the little black box using an HDMI cord to the TV, plug it in to an electrical outlet and then connect it to the local wireless system and your iPad presumably can pick up the signal. If you are designing something with your iPad2 you can project the image and live mirror of you iPad onto the TV Screen for everyone to watch.

Most people use it as a way to project movies from their iPads to television sets or to play music on their TV systems. Although honestly, if the music sounds good on an iPad unless you have a very hi-tech sounding TV with surround sound and some heavy-duty speakers, will the sound be much different? Probably not.

For $29 you can purchase a utility cord for the iPad (and iPhone) that allows you to connect to the video inputs on your TV. So if you have a movie on your iPad you can watch it on the TV.

So far, no matter what people are claiming, NO ONE — I will repeat — NO ONE has invented a simple wireless system that will allow you to take what is on your iPad or iPhone and project it to a TV easily.

Apple TV is close but it gets tripped up by the huge complexities of iTunes. iTunes was made to sell you movies and music. It wasn’t made to make your life easier.

Supposedly, you can simply link your iPad2 to the Apple 2 system using the same wireless network by turning on “Sharing.”

English: Apple iPad Event

English: Apple iPad Event (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But I discovered that the Apple TV insists on linking to your iTunes account on the laptop where you save your iTunes purchases and then sync with the iPad. Who invented that idiotic, excessive effort system anyway? Why can’t I just put everything on my iPad and back it up to the iCloud? Why dod I have to link it to a PC or a laptop?

But unless you are running iTunes on a laptop on the same wireless network, you won’t be able to get Apple TV to work with your iPad. Please don’t believe the claims from Apple. It’s just not true. It doesn’t work.

So you have a TV, your iPad and your computer all connected just to project a movie onto your big screen TV? Why not just by the DVD Movie for $17 and save $72?

The success rate of getting the system to work is sporadic. It is inconsistent. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. If you have your TV plugged into the internet using a fast Ethernet wire, you can’t use Apple TV. You have to disconnect the Ethernet wire and then access wireless on your TV to get to the network.

Supposedly you can also “mirror” your iPad onto the TV but that doesn’t work consistently either.

They give you this small, sleek looking but difficult-to-use remote with 3 buttons on it to type in the username from your iTunes account and your password. That takes about 20 minutes to complete, it is so awkward.

Right now, there is no good way to connect your iPad to your TV so you can, for example, talk to people on Skype and use the large TV screen instead of your iPad or iPhone screens.

Don’t buy Apple Tv until they figure out a way to improve it. It doesn’t work efficiently. Every time I would turn it off and retry it the next day, I had to go back and start the installation all over again.

On the other hand, Apple does have great online support services. That allows oyu to help cut through the muck of poorly written instructions. And you are lucky if you even get poorly written instructions. Most Apple products and most technology don’t come with good instructions at all. You just have to be intuitive with systems that contradict intuitiveness.

Good luck with this one.

AirPlay is a system that supposedly automatically kicks in on your iPad to connect the iPad directly to the Apple TV control so you don’t have to go through your Laptop of PC iTunes library.

But AirPlay doesn’t work consistently, either. It worked once and then stopped. Why? I don’t know. But why should I have to waste so much time trying to figure it out. It should be automatic.

Technology people are concerned first and foremost with making money and secondly with protecting their products from theft. So they make it so difficult to install to prevent theft that it becomes so difficult to install for regular people.

Don’t get your hopes up.

(Ray Hanania is an award winning columnist and managing editor of The Arab Daily News You can also reach him at his personal web page at www.TheMediaOasis.comor follow him on Twitter at @RayHanania and LIKE him on Facebook at

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Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania is an award winning political and humor columnist who analyzes American and Middle East politics, and life in general. He is an author of several books.

"I write about three topics, the Middle East, politics and life in general. I often take my life experiences and offer them in an entertaining way to readers, and I take on the toughest topics like the Israel-Palestine conflict and don't pull any punches about what I feel is fair. But, my priority is always about writing the good story."

Hanania covered Chicago Politics and Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992. Hanania began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He later published “The National Arab American Times” newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East food stores in 48 American States (2004-2007).

Hanania writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at, and at, and at He has also published weekly columns in the Jerusalem Post newspaper,, Newsday Newspaper in New York, the Orlando Sentinel Newspapers, and the Arlington Heights Daily Herald.

Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem.

Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media. In 2009, Hanania received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. He was honored for his writing skills with two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild. In 1990, Hanania was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times editors for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.

His writings have also been honored by two national Awards from ADC for his writing, and from the National Arab American Journalists Association.

The managing editor of Suburban Chicagoland Online News website, Hanania's columns also appear in the Southwest News Newspaper Group of 8 newspapers.

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Ray Hanania