Apple’s AirPlay wireless streaming feature can certainly come in handy for easy music playback in nearly every room of your home. As convenient as AirPlay is, it certainly has some limitations. Break the boundaries and bypass some of those restrictions to expand your audio experience with Clever & Son’s WiFi2HiFi.
The two biggest restrictions of AirPlay comprise the ability to stream only certain iTunes content, and media can only be directed to an AirPlay-capable device. WiFi2HiFi has none of those drawbacks because the Mac OS X and Windows “station” hosting software diverts all audio from your personal computer to your iDevice.
This means you can use a speaker system with dock, home theater, or nearly any other audio output equipment in place of your computer’s speakers. Using WiFi2HiFi as a wireless audio receiver is pretty nifty, but it can also be used in a more personal manner like listening to your desktop or laptop music library or radio apps on your iDevice with headphones.
No matter what the reason to stream audio to your iDevice, the steps are basically the same. Install the “station” hosting software on your Mac OS X, Windows Vista, and Windows 7 computers and install the WiFi2HiFi iOS app on any iDevices you wish to use as a wireless audio receiver. When both the desktop app and iOS app are active, pairing should be automatic but can be performed manually.
You enable and disable the WiFi2HiFi audio rerouting service by right-clicking on the icon in the menu bar (top-right) on Mac OS X system or the system tray (bottom-right) on Windows-based systems and choosing either On or Off. When activated, the app will divert all audio to all paired and active WiFi2HiFi iOS apps. Therefore, not only does the audio from songs and videos in iTunes get rerouted, but also system alert sounds, instant messaging chimes, Windows Media Player content, and all else.
The WiFi2HiFi iOS app contains two indicators and a volume knob. The Out virtual LED indicator will glow green when your iDevice is connected to headphones, audio cable, or placed in a speaker dock. The WLAN LED will glow green when paired, glow red when there is an insufficient connection, and flash amber when the buffer is being filled. Tapping the information (“i”) symbol in the bottom-right allows access to stations and help resources. Tap on an IP within Stations to switch to that source.
Testing on my 64-bit Windows 7 system revealed an interesting action that isn’t present on my MacBook. Despite showing recognition of my iPhone in the WiFi2HiFi panel, the WLAN LED on the iOS app didn’t illuminate until playing audio in an application. I’m unsure if this is a bug for Microsoft Windows WiFi2HiFi in general, for x64 systems, for Windows 7, or other. I feel inclined to mention this because it seems misleading and may frustrate you if solely relying on the WLAN LED for pairing confirmation. You can access the WiFi2HiFi panel by right-clicking the menu bar (Mac OS X) or system tray (Windows) WiFi2HiFi icon and choosing Open Panel.
WiFi2HiFi is designed for iPhone and iPod touch running iOS 3.0 or later. Background audio support requires an iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, second generation iPod touch and later running iOS 4.0 or later. Get a copy of WiFi2HiFi in the App Store for the introductory price of $.99