Apps
Beamer
How to AirPlay Any Video Format From Your Mac

Apple’s nifty AirPlay feature, quietly snuck its way into my life the day I bought my first iPhone. Before I realized what was happening I already had an Apple TV hooked up to my big screen and AirPlay was setup on every device imaginable in our household. Cords slowly started disappearing around the home as I started falling in love with power of wireless streaming. Days of faulty and short cables were far behind me, but then I started seeing the not glamorous side of the restricted platform. Every product has its pros and cons, and my precious Apple TV had one major downside: the MP4 streaming limitation. For better or worst I stuck around for long enough to figure out a way to stream my media without having to sit through lengthy process of converting files to MP4.

Google once again proved itself useful and presenting me with pages and pages of content that I had to read through. Having used XBOX as my media center previously, I kind of knew that I was looking for an application that offered live transcoding and AirPlay support. I was introduced to OS X’s AirPlay mirroring functionality and an amazing piece of software called Beamer. Judging by the quality of the mirroring functionality I decided to fork out the $15 to try it.

Keeping in mind the software has its downfalls, it has indeed enhanced the entertainment experiences in my household. Long gone are the days of time-consuming conversions and the hassles of incompatible and broken files. Much of my entertainment consists of re-runs of of the 90′s sitcoms. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Opening a file and streaming using Beamer is as simple as dragging and dropping the file onto the application interface. Perhaps, less impressive is its inability to perform basic operations such as fast forwarding and rewinding. Queuing files in a playlist is also not an option and that can lead to a less than ideal experience.

Running the trial version of Beamer, allows for the first 15 minutes of the clip to be played with no interruptions. Some might need more time to make up their minds, but 15 minutes is plenty of time to get into an episode of Friends. There are other alternative solutions out there for those who think $15 is not a fair price, but trust me you’ll be spending days on end trying to build these solutions from the source code.

Until Apple decides to open up its platform to other media formats, I’ll be using Beamer and hoping that its user experience will improve to a more optimal level. ¬†Views and opinions may differ from user to user, but I personally believe and always have believed in open platforms that put the power in the end user’s hand, but the tech giant doesn’t seem to be in favor of that belief. Waiting seems like the only option here.

X-mas is almost here. You can make your tech savvy loved one very happy by gifting them Beamer and the power of AirPlay. Zero cables = Zero headache.