I found out the hard way that Apple’s AirPlay doesn’t always work as advertised. According to Apple: “With AirPlay, you can stream music, photos, and videos to your AppleTV, or stream music to your AirPort Express or AirPlay-enabled speakers.” Of course if you’re using AirPlay with any Apple suite of products, chances are the feature will work fine on your phone, computer, or tablet. But what if you’re using Flickr video, or Spotify? Have you noticed that sometimes your video won’t play? You get the boilerplate error message saying something went wrong.
After some serious time troubleshooting and a lot of trial and error, I stumbled upon a solution that allows your video to play. Be aware that since you are connecting devices, notifications from one of your connected devices may interrupt your movie viewing? What do I mean? When you’re trying to access Apple TV and you’re trying to play a Flickr video, the only way I found to make it work is to mirror your screen or connect using mirroring. This allows the video to play both on your device and through Apple TV. Don’t get me started on the inconvenience this causes. Using this option, you’re basically tying up two devices and using up your mobile phone or tablet batteries unless the device is plugged into an electrical outlet.
The moral of the story? If you have an Apple TV, try to download all your movies through iTunes when given the choice. Ultraviolet, Universal, or any other service will want you to use their proprietary system and encryption technology. I do understand the monetary reasons for forcing consumers to do this, however the frustration and poor user experience it causes outweighs any potential branding benefit or residual income these large movie studios are hoping to gain.
I hope this little tidbit helps you streamline your technology options so you can enjoy your purchased content anywhere.