One great feature about the Apple TV is its ability to act as an AirPlay receiver, allowing iPhone and iPad users to beam content from their devices to their televisions using the Apple TV. However, if you don’t have an Apple TV, here’s how you can add AirPlay support to your Mac or Windows PC.
Using a piece of software called AirServer, you can beam content to your Mac or PC using AirPlay, letting you watch that content on the screen of your computer. Of course, if you plan on using AirPlay frequently and want to do so on your television, it might just be worth it to buy an Apple TV, but if you’ll only use AirPlay every so often, buying AirServer can be a great investment, and you’ll ultimately save some money by not buying an Apple TV.
Plus, if you have a home theater PC that’s connected to your television, that’s the perfect setup right there. Simply install AirServer on it and you’ll be able to beam content from your iOS device or Mac to your television without needing an Apple TV.
No matter your intentions or how you expect to use AirPlay, here’s how to set up AirServer so that you can beam content from your iPhone or iPad to your Mac or PC’s screen.
AirServer is a paid piece of software, priced at $14.99 for a basic consumer license. However, you can try it for seven days with a free trial and if you like it enough, you can then choose to buy it and use it forever.
To download AirServer, head to the AirServer website and click on Download in the upper-right corner of the web browser window. Choose the option on the left where it says 7-day Trial.
You’ll need to register for the trial by entering in your name and email address. From there, you’ll get an email containing your AirServer download link. After you download the software and it comes time for installation, if you’re on Windows, you can choose whether or not to install Miracast capability as well. You can include it or not include during the installation process. If you’re on Mac, AirServer will only come with AirPlay capabilities.
Setting Up & Using AirServer
After you install AirServer, launch it up and it will automatically be ready for AirPlay duties, but make sure that your computer and your iOS device are both connected to the same network. Your computer can be connected through ethernet, but it’s important that it’s connected to the same router that your iOS device is connected to wirelessly.
Furthermore, you can mess around with the AirServer settings if you want to, but the default settings are fine for most users, and you likely won’t ever need to touch them. You can however, change the name of the computer to something that’s easier to remember. In the General tab in AirServer settings, you can change the Computer Name to anything you want, but the default name will work just fine, as it’s the name that you gave your computer when you first set it up.
Once AirServer is up and running, you’re ready to beam content to your computer from your iPhone or iPad. To do this, simply swipe up from the bottom of the screen on your iOS device and tap on AirPlay. From there, tap on the computer that AirServer is running on. In this case, I have it running on my MacBook Pro, which is connected to a 23-inch external monitor.
You can either mirror your iPhone or iPad’s display to the monitor or simply leave that option off and use AirPlay in any app that supports it. YouTube, for example, will let you play a video and then beam it to an AirPlay compatible device. AirPlay isn’t supported in every app, though, so be aware of that if you’re thinking about spilling $15 on AirServer.