Reverse AirPlay

AirPlay redux: How AppleTV might stream content to iPads, iPhones

When I look at my Apple TV, I see a box that plays content on a connected screen. I also see a hub that lets me stream media or mirror apps from an iPhone or iPad thanks to AirPlay. What if that worked in the other direction and the Apple TV could provide content to the smaller screens of iOS devices?

It may not become a reality but Apple has a patent on the idea and implementation according to AppleInsider:

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office granted Apple U.S. Patent No. 8,918,822 for “Displaying a synchronized instance of content on a portable electronic device,” which lets iOS device owners view an Internet video stream synchronized to an identical stream playing on a fixed position device, like an Apple TV. Additionally, the invention supports mirroring from an Apple TV to an iOS device without entering service provider passwords.

It’s an interesting idea that could be useful in places where presentations are the norm: Say in the classroom, for instance. Another scenario could be where not everyone has the best TV viewing angle when watching a movie or show, something that we experience around this time of year when people visit for the holidays.



Imagine a crowded family room where there are both good and not so good seats for watching National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. I may call dibs on the middle couch seat but my son gets stuck in the corner. (Ha!) With a reverse AirPlay type of mirroring as described in the patent, my son can get a perfect, synchronized view of the movie on his [company]Apple[/company] iPad, even from another room.

Playback controls too could then be distributed in this situation; helpful for when someone steps out of the room for a minute and would like to pause the content from their own device. Of course, knowing my son, he’d repeatedly pause playback discreetly and suggest a problem with our network. Maybe this isn’t such a good idea after all, Apple.

4 Responses to “AirPlay redux: How AppleTV might stream content to iPads, iPhones”

  1. BluntObjekt

    Also, other people’s devices may not have access to the same content in the cloud that my Apple TV does. I might have HBOGO, and they don’t. Or I just want to multicast photos or home movies that I have stored locally on my laptop. It would also be nice to take advantage of the headphone jack on the mobile devices to allow one or more people to have the sound louder. Kind of like how the Roku remote has a headphone jack. Very nice for late night watching when people are sleeping.