Apple delivered iTunes 10.1 last night, setting the stage for the release of iOS 4.2, which requires that version of the media player. This means I can connect my iOS 4.2-based iPad to the PC again; previously, I had to use the Mac (shudder). More important, perhaps, iTunes 10.1 also provides AirPlay integration with the new Apple TV, which I'm interested in testing.
AirPlay (previously called AirTunes but renamed when video support was added) appears to be a proprietary take on DLNA Push, or what Microsoft calls "Play To" in Windows 7. Here's the UI, such as it is:
AirPlay UI in iTunes 10.1
What you're seeing there are My Computer (i.e. playback via the PC and its speakers), Apple TV (which I assume is obvious; is in the living room) and Paul's Office (which is an Apple AirPort Express base station that supports only audio-out).
The Boxee Box arrived yesterday as well. I'll review this one, but my first impressions are positive. It does a nice job of melding disparate online services into a single, semi-seamless UI, unlike Google TV, and many of those services are actually useful. More on this next week. But here's a picture of the cute little bugger.
Netflix is working to add subtitles to its Instant Streaming service, and there are now almost 250 titles utilizing subtitles. This is great news, and hopefully they move quickly to add more. Right now, subtitles are only available via the PC, Mac, Wii, and PS3, but not the Roku box or Xbox 360, which I'd imagine are the top two Netflix platforms.
And since I'm apparently in a screenshot mood today, here's what it looks like on the PC:
Thanks very much to Todd B. for the link.
Speaking of Netflix, the company of course has great iOS and Windows Phone 7 implementations of its streaming service (I made the Windows Phone 7 version an "app of the week" pic recently). But where's the Android version? Turns out Netflix is an even better company than I thought, and they're being very upfront with the problems developing for Android:
The hurdle has been the lack of a generic and complete platform security and content protection mechanism available for Android. The same security issues that have led to piracy concerns on the Android platform have made it difficult for us to secure a common Digital Rights Management (DRM) system on these devices.
We are able to work with individual handset manufacturers to add content protection to their devices. Unfortunately, this is a much slower approach and leads to a fragmented experience on Android, in which some handsets will have access to Netflix and others won’t.
The current lack of an Android-generic approach to quickly get to all Android devices is frustrating. But I’m happy to announce we’ll launch select Android devices that will instantly stream from Netflix early next year.
Thanks to William D. for the link.