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AirPlay 2 and the HomePod

Discussion in 'Digital Sources' started by uofmtiger, Jun 5, 2017.

  1. uofmtiger

    uofmtiger Super Member

    Messages:
    4,364
    Location:
    Memphis
    According to a developer on Macrumors, iOS11 is backward compatible (I have not watched the video), his notes are below:


    "The "Introducing Airplay 2" talk for developers has been posted and can be watched from the WWDC App, or here: https://developer.apple.com/videos/play/wwdc2017/509/ (~40 min long)

    I just watched it, and am posting the highlights below. [Comments in square brackets are from me]

    Interesting take-homes:
    -3rd-party apps may need to be updated to opt in to Airplay 2 features.
    -Airplay 2 receivers need more memory [which will likely limit upgradeability]
    -Nothing today about multi-room audio or UI. Multi-room not included in the current beta.


    Intro:
    -You can still wirelessly send your app's content to an Airplay (1) Speaker
    -You can also send it to multiple Airplay 2 speakers, with "very tight sync"
    -We've enhanced audio buffering on the Airplay 2 speakers
    -Multi-device control: multiple Apple devices can interact with audio streamed throughout the house

    Airplay 2 will work from iOS, tvOS, and macOS.

    Supported speakers:
    -HomePod
    -"latest generation" of AppleTV
    -Future devices that will be coming to market
    -(No mention of upgrades for existing Airplay clients, including Airport Express)

    Other devices on the network will be able to send remote commands back to the source app (pause, etc.)
    Metadata about the currently playing info will be available to other devices

    Deeper look at Airplay buffer levels:
    Airplay today:
    -real-time stream, "to which the speaker adds just a few seconds of buffering"
    -but we can do better if we have long-form audio

    Airplay 2 "enhanced buffering":
    -we've added very large buffer capacity on the Airplay 2 speakers; "minutes not seconds"
    -can stream audio from app to speaker faster than real-time

    More robust: larger buffer can survive network glitches like dead spots, microwaving popcorn (!)
    More responsive: latency to respond is not linked to buffer level. Play/pause/skip should be instantaneous. [Audio startup should be faster too]

    More stuff:
    Audio formats supported? All platform formats supported from within app (LPCM, AAC, mp3, ALAC Lossless, lots of samplerates and bit depths) [not stated what format is used for transmission to speakers, Airplay 1 reportedly used ALAC (lossless) at 16-bit, 44.1kHz ].

    Video synchronization: you can sync up Airplay 2 audio to your in-app video (NB: this is not referring to Airplay of Video)

    Availability:
    -"Happy to say" everything discussed is in today's Beta. Toggle "Airplay 2" in the developer panel, and use an updated Apple TV as the receiver.
    -Multiroom audio will be available in a future Beta"'

    https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/airplay-2-details.2050617/
     
    mhedges likes this.
  2. mhedges

    mhedges AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,180
    Location:
    Greensboro NC
    Good stuff. The buffering improvements are very welcome. I gave up on using Airport Express because of this. My Yamaha receiver does better, and has intelligent volume control unlike the lossy control you get with AE.

    Instant Play/Pause/Skip is very nice too. Hopefully we can get control from lock screens. It takes too long to unlock, open Remote app, etc. if you need to pause the music. And speaking of the remote app it really needs some help too. We lost artist names from the "Album" view a while back, and it would be nice to have a "recently added" section similar to the Music app. I've been trying out Teamviewer to remote control my music PC instead of the Remote app because the remote app is so behind.
     
  3. uofmtiger

    uofmtiger Super Member

    Messages:
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    Location:
    Memphis
    I am not a fan of the Remote app because it is so limited with Apple Music. It should take some notes from Spotify at this point.

    My APEs have always worked great. My main issues were with a Phillips Soundring Speaker wanting to be the same IP Addess as some stuff already on the network. Even when I fixed it, a power outage would screw everything up again. I now just use the speaker for its aux connection with my Echo Dot and it powers the iPad in the kitchen with its USB port. The only time I use it for Airplay is when I want to test something like multiroom audio because it is close enough to the living room that I can hear any sync problems from the couch.
     
  4. mhedges

    mhedges AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,180
    Location:
    Greensboro NC
    Yeah it's really dated. It was great 5 years ago but it hasn't kept up. And for some reason it keeps getting worse? Seems like they are letting it wither on the vine.

    That's good that they have worked well for you. I would get them working well, then they would start working poorly for no apparent reason. And I never had any luck using them with non-Apple routers, which is a problem since Apple routers are not being developed anymore.

    I did track down some of the trouble to a wireless subwoofer causing issues, but by that point I had enough, hardwired everything, and switched to an Airplay equipped Yamaha receiver since I wanted surround and I had good luck with one in another system.
     
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  5. uofmtiger

    uofmtiger Super Member

    Messages:
    4,364
    Location:
    Memphis
    I have Airplay devices in areas that I can't or won't put in a full system. I have an Airport Express in the bathroom connected to a Tivoli Radio that I listen to when I get ready every morning. It never has an issue, even when I am streaming from the web to the iPhone and back the Airport Express.

    I have thought about putting a receiver in my Sunroom, but it gets no heat or Air conditioning, so I prefer an Airport Express ($50 used) connected to a T-amp ($30) and some outdoor speakers. That APE/T-amp has been through extreme heat in the summer and some fairly cold (for Memphis) winters and it still works great. I now have Orbi(s) routers in my setup, but I have been through a lot of routers. At one time, I simply used a HomePlug solution out there because wifi was too weak for my phone or APE to pickup a signal.

    Since I don't really care about multi-room audio, I would switch the APE to the Dot if I had issues (like I did in the kitchen setup).

    That being said, you aren't the first person with issues. I am glad they are beefing up Airplay to make it work for more people....assuming it will fix the problem for those people, which we won't know until it gets to market. My guess is that it will fix some systems and won't fix others...there are just too many independent issues that can cause problems.
     
  6. mhedges

    mhedges AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,180
    Location:
    Greensboro NC
    A while back I tried an early (and very common) Linksys router (G only, i believe) and Airplay didn't work well. And recently I tried a very fast current TP Link router and it didn't work at all. Couldn't find the AE on the network. Their tech support was useless and blocked me from replying to their answer. Shame because the router certainly was faster than my current gen Airport Extreme.

    I gave up after that. If I try again its going back if it doesn't work straight out of the box - I've found trying to troubleshoot etc. is a waste of time.
     
  7. uofmtiger

    uofmtiger Super Member

    Messages:
    4,364
    Location:
    Memphis
    I have tested several routers over the years. I have had Google's OnHub, TP-Link AC1200, Linksys AC900, Netgear Orbi and others I have forgotten about. I had an Airport Extreme in the mix for a while and it is still on my network for the USB connections, but the Airports no longer run through it. I have had 3 of the older Airport Express units with the entire device built into the plug and the newer one with the power cord. I have yet to run into a problem with any of them...other than the one in the Sunroom, which was outside of wifi range (until I got the Orbis).

    I have no idea why mine all work and yours (and others) do not. Very strange, but I have no explanation for it. I should mention that I have had Macs in the setup for years,so that may have helped. When I had a Windows PC, I think I had to set them up via an Ethernet connection or they would not show up and then I could disconnect them and put them where I wanted for wifi. It wasn't a plug and play situation back in those days, but that was back when it was called Airtunes, so it could be easier to setup with PC now.

    I sure hope Airplay 2 resolves this issue, but I don't know that it will help the APE if it doesn't get updated.
     
  8. mhedges

    mhedges AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,180
    Location:
    Greensboro NC
    Good list. I tried a couple other routers that I can't remember the names of and no luck.

    The biggest issue I had with other routers was streaming from PC to AE, using the Remote app for control. That's what usually didn't work. Maybe using a Mac for the source is better? Usually I could stream directly from my phone or iPad, but the PC just couldn't find the AE.
     
  9. uofmtiger

    uofmtiger Super Member

    Messages:
    4,364
    Location:
    Memphis
    Maybe it is PC related. I have a Toshiba laptop that I can try it with...when I have the time ( it runs J River instead of iTunes, so I will have to install all the iTunes stuff on it first). Is it just an issue for multiroom or is it an issue from PC to one AirPlay device?
     

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