Photo: Apple screenshot
One of the coolest features in Apple’s new desktop operating system, Mountain Lion, is AirPlay.AirPlay already exists for the iPad and iPhone, but this version appears to be extend what AirPlay can do.
This new version is going to make life much better for users, and much less comfortable for big media companies.
If you’re unfamiliar with AirPlay, here’s how it works. You can wirelessly beam what’s on the screen of your iPhone, iPad, or Mac to your TV, if you have an AppleTV, and have it running through your HDTV.
With Mountain Lion, this means you can send “webpages, YouTube videos, iTunes rentals, Keynote presentations, or anything else you can think of onto an HDTV without any added wires,” says Jason Snell at MacWorld, who had some time to demo Mountain Lion.
If this is accurate, and you really can send webpages to your TV, it should scare the crap out of media companies who are doing everything they can to prevent themselves from being disrupted by TV on the internet.
If you can easily beam Safari to your TV, it makes pirated video streams that much more attractive. You can watch them on the big screen with ease.
It will also fluster Hulu. Hulu blocks Boxee and GoogleTV from broadcasting Hulu, even though both of them are web-based. There is code in GoogleTV and Boxee that tips off Hulu about what people are using.
Why does Hulu do this? We’re not entirely sure, but it seems like Hulu’s corporate parents don’t like the idea of people watching free shows on big screen TVs. It’s too similar to regular TV, without generating enough revenue. To solve the revenue problem, Hulu wants people to pay for Hulu Plus, which gives access to different devices.
Hulu isn’t alone in blocking Google TV. ABC, CBS, NBC and all other media sites block it too.
With AirPlay, they won’t know what’s what. It will just be a Safari or Chrome or Firefox browser. And users will be able to get the big screen experience.
We’ll be curious to see how Hulu and other media companies react.
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