Inside iOS 4.3: mobile streaming with iTunes Home Sharing

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited January 2014
Apple's release of iOS 4.3, due for public release next week on March 11, introduces iTunes Home Sharing to the company's mobile devices, allowing iPhone, iPod touch and iPad users to stream content from their local iTunes computer.



Home Sharing in iTunes



Home Sharing is a feature of iTunes that is currently restricted to Macs or PCs. It allows up to five computers running iTunes to stream or transfer music, videos and other content between the system's iTunes libraries.



On each computer running iTunes, the user activates Home Sharing as a feature within preferences. The user then logs each into the same Apple ID, and then only needs to be on the same local network to allow other similarly configured local systems to stream content from the other computers' iTunes libraries.



Computers running iTunes can also use Home Sharing to both manually transfer (import) iTunes content from other Home Sharing libraries, or configure them to automatically transfer new purchases from another library on the network.







Home Sharing in iOS 4.3



With the release of iOS 4.3 (and iTunes 10.2), Apple brings Home Sharing to its mobile devices, allowing users to access content from their local iTunes library without downloading or syncing content; it simply plays wirelessly.



To use the feature, iOS users log into their Apple ID under iPod Settings, which then allows the device to discover the Shared Libraries on the local network and access them from remote streaming of songs, movies, TV episodes, podcasts, iTunes U and audiobooks.



An unlimited number of iOS devices can access content via Home Streaming, just as iTunes supports any number of iPods, iPhones and iPads via sync. In order to use Home Streaming in another location with systems tied to a different iTunes account, the user would simply enter the new account information.



Remote streaming of iTunes movies and music appeared to be very high quality on the high speed 802.11n WiFi network. While initial playback of a commercial movie took a few seconds to begin, we were subsequently able to scrub through the movie to jump to another point with playback resuming instantly.



Playback requires a WiFi network, and is limited to iOS devices that can support iOS 4.3 (which currently excludes both the older first and second generation iPod touch, iPhone and iPhone 3G models from 2008 or earlier, and the newest CDMA Verizon iPhone 4, which won't support iOS 4.3 until Apple releases a parallel update that includes its required firmware.)







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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 44
    So yeah, obviously same feature could be used to stream from your backed up version of itunes, will be saved on the Apple Data Centre and available anywhere there's wifi



    Does the mobile device count as one of the 5 allowed machines to use home share?
  • Reply 2 of 44
    ghostface147ghostface147 Posts: 1,629member
    So I guess iTunes can't pull /stream content from an iOS device?
  • Reply 3 of 44
    After this feature was announced yesterday I kept saying to myself just one word:







    FINALLY
  • Reply 4 of 44
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by nicwalmsley View Post


    So yeah, obviously same feature could be used to stream from your backed up version of itunes, will be saved on the Apple Data Centre and available anywhere there's wifi



    Does the mobile device count as one of the 5 allowed machines to use home share?



    ATV's don't so I doubt it. It's 5 computers and as many idevices that are authorized under the same account or I guess now as many idevices that are shared?



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ghostface147 View Post


    So I guess iTunes can't pull /stream content from an iOS device?



    From the pictures of the iOS control panel, it appears to be the case that it won't work that way. Isn't that kind of what airplay is for though? Not the computer part, just the push part. Pull from computers push to ATV. Seems a little convoluted doesn't it? We'll have to wait and see
  • Reply 5 of 44
    Does iTunes have to be open for this to work? Or can it just work as a service?
  • Reply 6 of 44
    chabigchabig Posts: 623member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bigbadrobbo View Post


    Does iTunes have to be open for this to work? Or can it just work as a service?



    I believe iTunes has to be running and the computer must be awake.
  • Reply 7 of 44
    dick applebaumdick applebaum Posts: 12,505member
    I am very disappointed -- ServeToMe is better!







    But I have to post issue details to developer site.
  • Reply 8 of 44
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by chabig View Post


    I believe iTunes has to be running and the computer must be awake.



    indeed it does
  • Reply 9 of 44
    christophbchristophb Posts: 1,452member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ghostface147 View Post


    So I guess iTunes can't pull /stream content from an iOS device?



    Very correct. What's interesting is I can use an iPad IPod app to pull from an iTunes library and ship it to my AppleTV. Nice for when viewing on the iPad move to Family Room TV then to hide from noise in the den or the display in the kitchen while I prepare an adult beverage.. The lag while it shifts is a bit long. While iTunes is the source content is passing through the iPad. Can still swap out and look up the proportions of that drink she likes. Convincing me to keep the iPad for home use and the iPad 2 to look secksy at SBUX.



    Played with it tonight watching the iPad2 podcast.
  • Reply 10 of 44
    christophbchristophb Posts: 1,452member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by nicwalmsley View Post




    Does the mobile device count as one of the 5 allowed machines to use home share?



    Home Share devices don't count against the 5. A drawback is that if your home has several libraries with different ITunes accounts feeding them, they have to use a common AppleID for Home Share to see each other on the Home Shared network. And it's not possible yet to have an iOS device participate in more than one Home.



    Edit: You can send the same DRM protected content to two iOS devices at once. I'm pulling digital copy of Dark Knight to and iPhone and to an AppleTV at the same time. Of course different content works too. Not sure yet how many. Only 6 iOS devices at the moment.
  • Reply 11 of 44
    cameronjcameronj Posts: 2,357member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ChristophB View Post


    Home Share devices don't count against the 5. A drawback is that if your home has several libraries with different ITunes accounts feeding them, they have to use a common AppleID for Home Share to see each other on the Home Shared network. And it's not possible yet to have an iOS device participate in more than one Home.



    Edit: You can send the same DRM protected content to two iOS devices at once. I'm pulling digital copy of Dark Knight to and iPhone and to an AppleTV at the same time. Of course different content works too. Not sure yet how many. Only 6 iOS devices at the moment.



    Maybe I'm missing something...



    How is this different from the Remote app?
  • Reply 12 of 44
    macslutmacslut Posts: 514member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ghostface147 View Post


    So I guess iTunes can't pull /stream content from an iOS device?



    That's somewhat of a trick question. Yes, iTunes can do this, but the iOS device has to enable sharing to iTunes, which neither 4.3 or any other Apple approved app does.



    However, you can jailbreak your iPhone and then run FireFly Media Server and share publicly to anyone on the WiFi network. I do this all the time and have gotten interesting feedback from random people playing music from my iPhone.
  • Reply 13 of 44
    walshbjwalshbj Posts: 864member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by cameronj View Post


    Maybe I'm missing something...



    How is this different from the Remote app?



    The Remote App won't play content to the iOS device you're holding. It'll play to ATV or Airport Express.



    With AirView you could have done something similar, video only. Not as easily though.



    http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/airview/id412370918?mt=8
  • Reply 14 of 44
    christophbchristophb Posts: 1,452member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by cameronj View Post


    Maybe I'm missing something...



    How is this different from the Remote app?



    What's different is the remote app controlled the AppleTV. Mobile iOS devices did not have the ability to stream from iTunes but required the content to be stored on local flash to play. They've added a way for the iPod app to connect to a Home Share and stream from any iTunes library in that Home Share. I hadnt thought of streaming the same DRM content to multiple devices before this evening so hadn't yet tried it on both Apple TVs. Also, in the past you told the AppleTV to get the content from the library so it didn't pass through the iPad/iPod remote. Perhaps they are bypassing the mobile device. Next is connecting a network sniffer to watch the flows.
  • Reply 15 of 44
    djmikeodjmikeo Posts: 178member
    I wonder if this will let me stream over the radio stations in iTunes. I don't know why I can't do it on my iOS devices.
  • Reply 16 of 44
    christophbchristophb Posts: 1,452member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by djmikeo View Post


    I wonder if this will let me stream over the radio stations in iTunes. I don't know why I can't do it on my iOS devices.



    Still doesn't. This used to work with old AppleTV if you made a playlist that linked an iTunes Radio Station. That stopped with iOS AppleTV and I'm forced to create favorites on the AppleTV Internet Radio. At least I can control those with the remote.
  • Reply 17 of 44
    aiaaia Posts: 179member
    Very interesting, I think this will take sales away from some specialized home A/V systems.



    I envision having an iPod touch or an iPad in each room, docked to an A/V device. For more rooms and/or situations where simultaneous video feeds are requested and could saturate the wireless network, just have several wireless routers each serving a subset of the rooms (configure the routers to use different channels). As long as gigabit ethernet is used to link the server and wireless routers, this should be sufficient for most homes.
  • Reply 18 of 44
    postulantpostulant Posts: 1,270member
    This feature is very handy - I'm stunned that it has taken so long to implement it. Is it March 11th yet?
  • Reply 19 of 44
    kibitzerkibitzer Posts: 1,113member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum View Post


    I am very disappointed -- ServeToMe is better!



    I'm okay with Home Sharing for iTunes, but you're right in that ServeToMe/StreamToMe can handle non-iTunes files on an iPad or later generation iPhone or iPod Touch. That would include EyeTV recordings before they've been exported into a file format that's compatible with Apple mobile devices. It's a tremendously flexible app and costs just a couple bucks. Moreover, it works with 3G wireless, though video quality degrades as the app adjusts to lower bandwidths.
  • Reply 20 of 44
    postulantpostulant Posts: 1,270member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum View Post


    I am very disappointed -- ServeToMe is better!







    But I have to post issue details to developer site.



    I'm curious to know what you are disappointed about. Does it not function as detailed by Apple? Is it buggy?
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