All done? Good. The crucial part of that article is this:
Any H.264 content from the web can be broadcast over Airplay to your HDTV.
What does that mean? BBC iPlayer comes to Apple TV. Finally.
Very simply, BBC iPlayer video content for the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad is encoded in H.264.
Daring Fireball had a little more information to add, namely:
Apps using the built-in media controller views get AirPlay out for free. Apps that don’t (like Hulu) need to roll their own using AVFoundation.
BBC iPlayer on iOS devices uses the built-in media controller. Therefore, it stands to reason that iPlayer played from an iOS device running iOS 4.2 will stream to an Apple TV, and be playable on your television.
Is this a good solution?
That depends on your point of view. It means that not only BBC iPlayer, but any video content on the web that’s encoded in H.264 will be streamable to an Apple TV.
However, it’s a two-box solution, requiring you to have your iOS device streaming the content to your Apple TV. It’s not clear yet if AirPlay will allow streaming in the background – if not, it means your iPhone is effectively locked up while you watch telly.
Wait, there’s more
There are other solutions coming to get web content on your TV, not least Google TV.
I saw earlier today that Sony announced their Bravia TVs will get iPlayer capability built-in, including some existing Bravias. But this does mean hooking it up to your existing home network with a cable.
There’s also the Boxee Box, launching in the UK at the same time as iOS 4.2 will roll out, in November. That is going to feature an app to view BBC content (but will it be iPlayer?), plus ITV and Channel 4, and it’ll play content in non-H.264 format from local network sources.
And don’t forget, YouView, just announced today – featuring Freeview, catch-up TV, High Definition and a personal video recorder (to pause, rewind and record live TV). It was previously known as Project Canvas, and looks very interesting.
But are two boxes are better than one?
It would be much better if Apple had allowed apps on the Apple TV. The BBC could have then built a dedicated iPlayer app for the device, which would have obviated the need to have another device streaming content to the Apple TV.
Two devices just to watch a bit of TV seems overkill, but don’t underestimate the power of easy. Especially if the Beeb actually delivers on their announcement in February that they will be releasing a dedicated iPlayer app for the iPhone.
I’m going to wait for more details to emerge before I decide if I’m going to buy an Apple TV or Boxee Box, or maybe something else. But iPlayer is coming to the TV. About time.
This post was brought to you by Vodafone Australia, the leader in mobile phone deals.