July 11 , 2016

Apple TV and Chromecast: Which Screen-Sharing Solution is Right for You?

There are two main players in the screen-mirroring arena right now: Apple TV and Chromecast. Both have pros and cons. We’ll discuss those differences along with Ditto, the newest screen-sharing service on the market.

Functionality
While Apple TV and Chromecast were both created to solve content-sharing problems, they solve the problem differently.

Apple TV
Apple TV allows users to install apps like games, TV channels and movie/TV services such as Netflix and HBO Go. Apple TV was built to be a stand-alone unit. Users can plug it in and use the included remote to navigate menus and content.

The device pulls content from specified service providers when a user tells it to.

Both the new generation and previous generation Apple TV work this way, but the slightly older models require users to stick with preinstalled applications.

Chromecast
Chromecast was created to work with mobile devices and computers. The package does not include a remote, and when plugged in, the device will prompt the user to download a mobile application for setup. The mobile application works with both Android and iOS.

Unlike Apple TV, Chromecast does not rely on installed applications. Users push content to the device from mobile phones, tablets or computers.

Form Factor

Dittochromecast

Chromecast is meant to be hidden away behind a TV. Apple TV is meant to sit front and center for all to see.

Mobile Screen Sharing
Android users can easily share their device screen to a Chromecast. Likewise, iPad and iPhone users can easily share their screen to Apple TV. The process is similar for both setups. However, the two cannot cross. For example, iPad users cannot mirror their screen to a Chromecast and Android users cannot mirror their mobile device screen to Apple TV.

Desktop Screen Sharing
Apple users can easily share Mac screens to an Apple TV using the built in AirPlay feature. However, Apple users cannot share their entire computer display to Chromecast. Windows users actually can’t natively share their entire desktop to Apple TV or Chromecast.

Price

Apple TV
Apple TV has been available for years. The device is currently in its fourth and most expensive iteration. The new Apple TV is priced at $149 and $199 depending on storage options. The slightly older third-generation Apple TV is priced at $69.

Chromecast
The currently available 2nd-generation Chromecast retails for $35. For users who don’t need the bells and whistles of an Apple TV, it’s the more cost-effective option.

Alternative Screen-Sharing Solutions
Our team specializes in screen-sharing solutions that allow everyone, regardless of their operating system, to share to either receiver (Apple TV or Chromecast). In the screen-mirroring world, our products don’t care which receiver you use. We have bridged the technological divide between the set-top boxes and receivers created by tech giants such as Apple and Google.

Our AirParrot 2 software allows individual Mac and PC users alike to share their screen to Apple TV or Chromecast. AirParrot even allows users to mirror and stream to both Apple TV and Chromecast simultaneously, if needed.

Ditto, our newest offering, bridges this gap for organizations that may not want to purchase software for every employee and guest. It brings a unified and consistent screen-sharing experience to conference rooms and meeting spaces in any business, school or institution.

Desktop Screen SharingMultiple Users
Use the Ditto screen-sharing service to mirror employee and guest screens to Chromecast or Apple TV. Ditto is a service that allows unlimited screen sharing to a receiver regardless of the user. Ditto is priced per room, not per user, so your business doesn’t need to pay for a software license for each individual employee or guest.

Single User
AirParrot 2 is a robust, dynamic screen-mirroring and media-streaming software. It allows a single user to mirror their desktop or a single application to one or more receivers (Apple TV, Chromecast or Reflector-enabled computers) simultaneously. Once installed on a user’s computer, they can mirror their screen, stream media or extend their desktop to the appropriate receiver.

Apple TV or Chromecast?
Which solution is right for you? There isn't an easy answer! It completely depends on your personal or business-related screen-sharing needs, the devices you have available and the third party screen-sharing services you choose to use.

Learn more about our industry-leading screen mirroring and streaming solutions at www.airsquirrels.com.

June 22 , 2016

How to Configure a Chromecast Background to Display Ditto Connection Details

When not in use, Chromecast displays a slideshow of seemingly random photos from around the world. What few people know is that the ability to change these photos does exist deep within the Chromecast settings.

If you’re using a Chromecast in a Ditto-enabled room, it’s rather handy to automatically display Ditto connection instructions on the Chromecast itself. To connect to Ditto, users only need to read the on-screen instructions.

Ditto with Chromecast

To begin, you’ll need to download the background image for the room you’re setting up.

Obtain your Ditto connection instructions background image:

  1. Visit the Rooms section of your Ditto account.
  2. Select the desired room.
  3. Click the “Room Background” button.
  4. Save the image that appears. This image explains how users can connect to the display wirelessly. 

Once you’ve saved the image, you’ll need to add it to Google Photos.

Create two new Google Photo albums for each Chromecast you would like to set up:

  1. Visit the Google Photos website.
  2. Upload your room background image.
  3. Add the previously saved room image to two new albums. Create two albums that are named similarly to the room you’re setting up. Two albums containing only the same Ditto background image are required for each room you would like to configure. The albums must be empty of everything but this image. You need two photo albums because Chromecast automatically rotates between albums. If you don’t have these two albums selected, Chromecast will rotate between the other preset Google Photo albums.

Now that the room background is in albums, you can tell the Chromecast to only use a specified image for a screensaver or background.

Set a new background image for use with Chromecast and Ditto:

  1. First, you’ll need to download the Google Cast application on a phone or tablet. The app is available for Android and iOS, and it lets you configure Chromecast options including the background and screensaver for your Chromecast.
  2. Once downloaded, connect your phone or tablet to the same Wifi as the Chromecast you would like to configure.
  3. The Google Cast app on iOS and Android works nearly the same for both platforms. Tap the “Devices” tab to be presented with a list of available devices on your network.
  4. At the top right of the Chromecast you would like to configure, tap the three vertical dots to open a menu.Step1
  5. Select “Backdrop Settings”.Step2
  6. Tap the Google Photos option.
  7. Enable this option.Step3
  8. Select the image albums that match the room you’re setting up.Step4
  9. Be sure to disable other Backdrop options like “Art” and “Earth and Space”.

That’s it! The background image will now appear on the Chromecast you’re setting up. Perform these same steps for each Chromecast you would like to setup.

You can learn more about Ditto or begin your 30-day free Ditto trial at www.goditto.com.

Related: Discover a little-known Apple TV feature that will make connecting to Ditto even easier.

March 21 , 2016

AirParrot Remote: A Tool For The Living Room

Couch-Potato-2

AirParrot Remote is a couch potato’s dream. It takes being lazy to a whole new level by giving you the full list of AirParrot 2 features and controls on your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch. That’s right. Leave your computer on the desk where it belongs because you don’t need it beside you to mirror your computer or stream songs and videos to your TV anymore.

Screen mirroring and streaming your computer to your big screen TV has always been cool, but was it convenient? It is now.

Without AirParrot Remote
Without AirParrot Remote, lounge time is constantly interrupted. Each time you want to stream or mirror something to your TV, you need to access your computer. So your laptop must be sitting by you on the couch, end stand or pillow. We cringe thinking about the brightness in your peripheral vision.

If the computer isn't beside you, then you have to get up and walk to it.

Ugh. Talk about ruining the vibe.

With AirParrot Remote
Open the AirParrot Remote app on your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch. You will be able to control the AirParrot 2 software running on your computer no matter where the computer is located in the house. AirParrot Remote allows you to control your computer’s mouse and keyboard from your phone. So, not only can you begin mirroring your computer display and select media files to stream, you can also open a document, view it on your TV and begin editing it from your phone or tablet. Crazy, right?

Goodbye, nightmares
Do you know what couch potatoes have nightmares about? Effort. So we used AirParrot Remote as an opportunity to add playlist support to keep things ultra easy.

Previously, AirParrot could only stream one media file from a computer to Apple TV, Chromecast or AirPlay-enabled speakers at a time. Now you can use your mobile device to create large playlists full of songs and movies you’d like to play in order. Minimal effort. Optimal relaxation. You’re welcome.

For all the couch potatoes
We all have our couch potato moments. Things should be easy when you’re in couch potato mode. AirParrot Remote does just that – it makes life easier! It brings control of AirParrot 2 to your phone or tablet so you can begin streaming and mirroring your Mac or PC without ever leaving the couch.

Learn more about AirParrot Remote. You can purchase this iOS app in the Apple App Store ($6.99).

Note: Make sure you have the most recent AirParrot 2 update running on your Mac or PC to ensure compatibility with AirParrot Remote. The latest AirParrot 2 update is free for current AirParrot 2 customers. If you do not already have AirParrot 2, it costs just $12.99 in our online store.

October 22 , 2015

What is Screen Mirroring?

The complicated answer: “Screen mirroring” is a tech-industry term used to describe a form of wireless device-to-device communication software.

In layman’s terms: “Screen mirroring” is a way to make your smart phone, tablet and computer screens appear on other screens. Simple, right?wireless screen-mirroing

The screen-mirroring market is young, and unlike the smart phone or tablet industry, screen-mirroring technology lacks a universally accepted word or application that defines it.

We often find that people don’t know what to look for when they need a mirroring solution because it isn’t a mainstream concept. What do you call it when you want to see your iPhone or Galaxy appear on your Mac or PC? What term do you use when you want your computer screen to appear on your TV or other computers simultaneously?

Mirroring technology is used to accomplish a wide array of tasks across many markets. We develop industry-leading apps for these markets every day. In this blog post, we will define screen mirroring, its primary applications and compatible devices.

What is screen mirroring?
Screen mirroring is the act of wirelessly displaying computer, smart phone and tablet screens on external devices in order to view and share content in real time from one screen to another.

Wirelessly send a computer screen
Users can wirelessly send a computer screen (Mac and PC), specific desktop window or application to one or more Apple TVs, Chromecasts or Reflector 2-enabled computers simultaneously using the industry-leading AirParrot 2 software.

Wirelessly send a mobile device to a Mac or PC
Users may also wirelessly display one or more smart phone/tablet screens onto a Mac or PC using the industry-leading Reflector 2 software. Compatible devices include iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Chromebook, Surface Pro and Android devices.

This mirroring app wirelessly displays mobile device screens by receiving AirPlay and Google Cast connections from iOS and Android devices. It’s the only screen-mirroring technology in the world that’s compatible with Google Cast-enabled Android phones and tablets.

All of that information is great, but seeing is believing. Check out our screen-mirroring tutorial below!

[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=blbCwNdBod0[/embed]

Who uses screen-mirroring technology?
Screen mirroring is common in education, gaming, entertainment, business and application-development environments.

Education
Educators use screen mirroring to command the classroom from their iPads and show student Chromebooks, Android devices and iOS devices wirelessly to the entire class. Mirroring enables student device screens to wirelessly display on the teacher’s projector-connected computer, allowing every other student in the classroom to see any individual mobile device from the comfort of their desks. Screen-mirroring apps are a must for any edtech program.

Gaming
Mobile gamers mirror gameplay from their smart phone and tablet screens to a computer. From there, they can record their screen and post the video later or share it to the world immediately with the new Reflector 2 YouTube live stream feature.

App Development
App developers mirror mobile devices to analyze and test application interfaces. This allows them to review apps on the big screen and record the experience.

Business
Business professionals often mirror from tablets to computer screens and computers to Apple TVs or Chromecasts to share presentations, collaborate and brainstorm in the conference room.

Do you have any screen-mirroring experience or unique applications? Leave us your feedback in the comment section below. To learn more, visit http://www.airsquirrels.com.

January 5 , 2015

Squirrels School - Lesson #1: How to Mirror your iOS Device to Chromecast

Our support team has gotten a number of inquiries since we released AirParrot Chromecast support; a lot of customers are wondering if we have a solution to mirror an entire iOS screen to Chromecast. Lucky for you, AirParrot 2 and Reflector make a great team! 

To begin, connect your iOS device to your Mac or PC using Reflector.

Next, open AirParrot 2. Select the display that the iPhone is being mirrored to, and then select the Chromecast device for mirroring.

Your desktop should be mirroring through Chromecast, Reflector included!

 

To mirror your iOS device only, open the AirParrot 2 menu. Scroll over “Applications” to change from your display to a specific application.

Click Reflector, and voila!

It’s as easy as that. Feel free to access our support knowledge base to troubleshoot any problems you have or to create a support ticket. Try AirParrot 2 and Reflector free for seven days or purchase here!

About Us

Squirrels is a software development company based in North Canton, Ohio. Our excitement and passion lies in creating high-qualty, budget-friendly software that can be used to enhance the devices already found in today's home and work environments. Follow our blog for all the latest product releases, #TeamSquirrels news and industry insight!