I have video content on my iPad that I’d like to display on my main computer screen. Can I somehow send the video output from the iPad to my computer?
With the latest versions of iOS, Apple has made it extremely easy to stream video from an iPad or iPhone directly to your TV using the Apple TV component (http://www.apple.com/appletv/). This feature, named AirPlay, makes it easy to either stream content from a phone or tablet to Apple TV, and it also makes it easy to mirror the contents of your device’s screen to the Apple TV. In many applications that display video or play audio content, press on the icon near the bottom of the screen that looks like a little box with an arrow at the bottom and select your Apple TV device as the recipient of the content. That’s all it takes. (Note that not every iOS application supports AirPlay, and some support only audio over AirPlay.)
Streaming content from your device to your computer isn’t as simple, however, as that feature isn’t built in on either a Windows or Mac computer. But that doesn’t mean you can’t do it! If you want to do it, most likely someone before you has expressed the same desire, and software developers have created applications that fill this exact niche.
We don’t know of a free solution, but you can find a relatively inexpensive commercial solution: AirServer (http://www.airserver.com). This utility installs onto a Mac or Windows computer and acts as a receiver for AirPlay content. Ken tested it recently, and it worked flawlessly, receiving videos from his iPad. Like we said, it’s not free, but it does work well and satisfies this particular need.
This excellent product also supports AirPlay mirroring, so that you can display the content from your iPhone or iPad directly on your computer screen, which can be useful for screen sharing, presentations or any other situation in which you need to see the content of your device’s screen on your computer.
Upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 8?
Do you think it’s worth upgrading from Windows 7 to Windows 8? It seems like a lot of work to perform the upgrade, and I’m not convinced it will get me very much.
Although we like to play with the latest software and hardware we can find, our general attitude for people actually trying to get stuff done is to leave it alone. That is, unless you really need some of the new features in Windows 8, leaving your computer running Windows 7 for now is probably the best alternative.
If you feel the need to take advantage of a touch screen, or if you like the full-screen Windows 8 start screen experience, then, by all means, take the plunge.
If your computer runs Windows 7, it will most likely run Windows 8 without a problem. (If you’re currently running Windows XP or the misbegotten Windows Vista, then if your hardware meets the minimum requirements for Windows 8, we strongly suggest you consider upgrading your operating system—you’ll find the requirements listed here: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-8/system-requirements).
Performing the upgrade, however, is something we suggest getting help with, unless you’re a seasoned computer user, and you’re comfortable making and restoring backups.
Under no circumstances would we suggest that you perform an in-place upgrade without having a tested backup of your system first.
To be completely safe, we like to put a new hard drive into the computer that has a running backup of the original hard drive, and upgrade on the new drive.
That way, you know you have a working original hard drive in hand, in case something goes wrong. (For creating a clone of your computer’s hard drive, we recommend Acronis True Image, available here: http://www.acronis.com/TrueImage).
Be careful — upgrading your operating system isn’t a simple operation, no matter how much Microsoft works at making it as foolproof as possible. You must have a backup first, and you should be prepared for the worst, although must upgrades proceed with no difficulties.
If you’re worried about the upgrade, however, call in a professional.
Doug Behl and Ken Getz spent years answering technical questions in private and are minimizing the questions by pre-emptively publishing the answers. Hear Doug and Ken’s tech tips on KNCO radio weekdays at around 8:21 a.m. and 5:38 p.m.; find full write-ups, including links to the products they mention at http://blog.techtipguys.com. Submit your own technical questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.