Today’s iOS devices are direct descendants of Apple’s original iPod line, and the iPhone is perhaps the most popular iPod ever. iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad are all great for playing back music and videos. The only problem is, many of us store much more audio on our Macs and PCs than could fit on a standard iPhone or iPod Touch. Then, streaming audio from Flash-powered sites won’t play back on iOS, no matter how much storage you have. Apple has tried to make a solution with their AirPort Express, but most of us don’t want to pay $99 for a new device just to stream music around your house.
But isn’t your iPhone an internet-connected smart device with a speaker? Seems like you could use it to stream audio from your PC, doesn’t it? There’s no way to do it by default, but thanks to the new WiFi2HiFi app, you can use your iPhone for yet another crazy thing: streaming audio! Paired with a set of speakers or a HiFi dock, you’ve got a full wireless speaker system with just a $0.99 app. Keep reading to see how WiFi2HiFi works and if it’s the app you need to free audio from your computer!
WiFi2HiFi is a great new app that lets you stream any audio from your computer to your iPhone or iPod Touch. You could play back music, audio books, streaming online radio, and more on your Mac or Windows PC, then listen to them anywhere in your house from your iPhone. The iOS app is very simple, with just a volume dial and an audio stream selection.
The most important part is the streaming app for your computer. The WiFi2HiFi app for Windows and OS X lets you stream any audio that’s playing on your computer over your WiFi network. You can download the WiFi2HiFi apps from the developer’s site for free, and you’ll find instructions for setting them up on your computer right in the WiFi2HiFi iPhone app. The only thing you’ll need to buy is the $0.99 WiFi2HiFi iOS app.
Setup Streaming on Your Computer
Once you’ve installed the WiFi2HiFi Station program on your Mac or PC, it’s easy to start streaming audio. Open the app and enable streaming, then start playing music, internet radio, audio books, or anything else you want to listen to. You should see your iOS device listed in the desktop app, and you can choose to automatically or manually stream your audio.
The Windows app is somewhat more bare-bones, but it still gets the job done fine. Turn the audio streaming on and off from the left button, or change the volume with the slider. If for some reason your iOS device doesn’t automatically show up on the Connections list, you can enter its IP address directly to connect. To find your iPhone’s IP address, open your WiFi network settings and click the arrow on your current network to get your IP address and more network info.
The only problem we hit was with our computer’s audio settings. Wifi2HiFi Station requires your computer’s audio sampling rate to be 16 bit at 44200 Hz. If your settings are different, then you can open your audio properties and change it directly. Also, note that WiFi2HiFi will automatically run when you start your computer. On Windows, you can remove the shortcut from the Startup folder to disable this if you wish.
WiFi2HiFi on iOS
Back on your iPhone or iPod Touch, make sure you’ve got WiFi2HiFi running and are connected to the same WiFi network that your computer is connected to. Then, as soon as your computer starts streaming audio, your iOS device will pick it up. You’ll see quick info about your streaming quality with the WLAN light; green shows a good connection, while orange or red show worse connections. The OUT light is lit if you’re connected to a speaker dock or headphones.
Then, you can control the volume with the realistic looking volume dial. You can spin it or tap one of the dots to jump to a standard volume level. WiFi2HiFi actually controls your iOS volume directly, so if you turn the streaming music down your main device sound will turn down, too.
If you have multiple computers on your WiFi network, you can stream audio from all of them to your iPhone and then choose the stream you want to listen to. Tap the i button to open the app’s preferences, where you’ll be able to select the audio stations and get more info about the app.
Each computer will be listed by its IP address, so just tap the one you want and seconds later you’ll be able to hear the audio stream. It’ll play right from the Stations list, so you can make sure you’ve got the one you want before going back to the main screen.
WiFi2HiFi worked seamlessly in our tests, and the streamed audio sounded beautiful. It even works in the background, so you can listen to streaming music while using other apps. The only odd thing is the constant 3 second delay, but that’s what keeps the audio coming through clear without stutters. If you do hit a snag, you’ll find a fairly detailed FAQ in the settings pane. It also includes a few examples of how you can put the app to use.
I’ve often wanted a way to stream audio throughout my house, but never could decide to pay for a dedicated set of wireless speakers. Now, though, with my iPod Touch and a cheap set of portable speakers, I can play anything I want anywhere around my house. For just $0.99, that’s not too bad of a deal. WiFi2HiFi solves the streaming audio problem in an elegant and simple fashion, and if you’re been wanting a way to stream music and more in your home or office, this just might be the solution you need!