Affinity Consulting Blog

The January 2014 Feature Article and Webinar focus on Presentation Matters. Now let's take a look at inexpensive software called AirParrot that can give you greater flexibility in presenting content from a standard Windows computer wirelessly to a $99 Apple TV video streaming box, no Mac or iPad needed.

When AirPlay mirroring from an iPad, and later from Macs running OS X Mountain Lion and newer, became a reality starting in 2011, the Apple TV streaming media device surged in popularity for lawyers wanting to present wirelessly in the courtroom, during ADR sessions, for marketing presentations, and at CLE programs. Affinity Partner Paul Unger is one of the nation's leading proponents of using iPad's in litigation. He presents several seminars each month from coast to coast teaching lawyers how to use iPad's in their practices.

As a result of AirPlay functionality that allows for secure wireless display mirroring, many courthouses and classrooms now have Apple TV devices built-into the in-house projection systems. If you have an iPad or a newer Macbook, you can present slide shows, video, and other content wirelessly from your tablet or computer via the Apple TV to the room's projection system.

But what if you are, like many lawyers, Windows-centric and want to present from your Windows notebook computer or tablet? Sometimes, for training or other reasons, you need to display full versions of Windows-only software that will not run on an iPad or Mac. You are not out of luck. Inexpensive software called AirParrot turns your Windows computer or tablet into an AirPlay sending device that will essentially replicate what an iPad or Mac can do by streaming both video and audio content via Wi-Fi to the Apple TV and from there via HDMI cable to a projector or series of monitors.

I have been using AirParrot for well over a year. At first, I used it to wirelessly stream content from my Windows 7 desktop PC in the bedroom to my big screen TV in the living room via the Apple TV device connected to the TV. It worked fine, its only limitation being the speed of my home Wi-Fi network. I then put AirParrot to the test in a more demanding setting, a law practice management class I teach at Stetson University College of Law. At my urging, Stetson's IT department permanently installed Apple TV devices in several classrooms and connected them the classroom projection system. They also have several extra Apple TV's for use in those classrooms where permanent installation did not make sense. For several semesters, I used my iPad or iPad Mini to wirelessly present material to my classes via the Apple TV devices. It was liberating to be able to move around the classroom without being tethered to the lecturn or to be forced to present from a computer connected by thick cable to a projector.

Although I used the excellent SlideShark app and web-based service to convert and display my PowerPoint presentations from my iPad, there was still something missing. If I needed to demonstrate law office software that ran only on a Windows PC, I couldn't do that from my iPad. I purchased an inexpensive Windows 8.1 convertible tablet/notebook, the Asus Transformer Book T100. Because it runs a full version of Windows, I was able to install all of my law office software on the T100 (it comes with Office 2013 Home and Student, but I added PCLaw, Acrobat Pro, and several other programs useful to lawyers). I also installed AirParrot to see if I could present my course content wirelessly from the T100 via AirPlay to the Apple TV device connected to the classroom projector. It worked for both video and audio, essentially replicating the AirPlay functionality of my iPad, but with the added ability to run and demonstrate Windows software. There is also a Mac version of AirParrot for users with pre-Mountain Lion Mac computers.

If you have the need to present video or audio content in court, during ADR proceedings, or during marketing or CLE programs, but want to use your Windows PC as the source device, installing the $9.99 (per license) AirParrot software will meet your needs. Just make sure that your PC and the Apple TV device are on the same Wi-Fi network. AirParrot will then search for and give you a list of the available Apple TV devices and prompt you to connect to the device of your choice. Simple, effective, and very inexpensive.

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