Want Airplay on Your Existing TV? You’re Stuck With Two Options


Apple’s AirPlay protocol allows you to cast video from your phone or laptop to a TV. It’s a useful feature, but if you want to add AirPlay support to an existing TV, you’re stuck with just two options.

Update Your Smart TV

A smart TV updating.
AFANASEV IVAN/Shutterstock

Smart TVs used to rarely come with AirPlay support. But earlier this year, LG, Sony, Samsung, and VIZIO announced that some of their smart TVs will gain AirPlay support through software updates. Additionally, certain new models from these companies will be released with AirPlay support out of the box.

To see if your TV will get AirPlay, take a look at Apple’s list of AirPlay-ready TVs. Some of the TVs on this list are labeled with the word “announced,” which simply means they don’t have AirPlay support yet, but they will in the future.

If your TV should have support and is fully updated but AirPlay isn’t working, it might not be turned on. Go to its settings, open the “General” menu, and look for an option to enable AirPlay.

Buy an Apple TV Streaming Box

A photo of the Apple TV4K streaming box.

If your TV doesn’t have AirPlay support built-in, you’re stuck buying an official Apple TV 4K streaming box. Maybe “stuck” isn’t the right word. These boxes have fantastic interfaces; they support 4K HDR video; and they work with a mess of streaming apps (including Netflix and Prime Video).

Yes, other versions of the Apple TV are cheaper than the Apple TV 4K—and they’ll work just fine with AirPlay. We specifically suggest buying the Apple TV 4K  because it’s future-proofed for 4K streaming, and it’s a bit faster than the other Apple TV products (for something this expensive, you want it to last as long as possible).

While it’s hard to justify a $140-$170 price tag if you’re just trying to mirror YouTube videos from your phone to your TV,  Apple isn’t handing out any other options. The company has made an incredible effort to crack down on third-party AirPlay support, and not a single third-party AirPlay receiver on the market actually works.

A Raspberry Pi Can Stream AirPlay Audio, But Not Video

The Raspberry Pi 4 logo over the Pi 4 circuit board.
The Raspberry Pi Foundation

The go-to answer for video streaming woes is usually “buy a Raspberry Pi,” or “use Kodi.” Well, sorry Buster, but Raspberry Pi and Kodi can’t save you from Apple’s tyranny.

Yes, the internet’s full of old Raspberry Pi AirPlay guides. When Apple rolled out the iOS 9 update (in 2015), however, third-party devices and software (including Pi and Kodi) completely lost their ability to stream AirPlay video.

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