How To Make All Your Video AirPlay-Compatible

How To Make All Your Video AirPlay-Compatible

With iOS 4.2’s release, iOS devices and iTunes can now stream video to Apple TVs—video that meet’s Apple’s specs, that is. Here’s how to convert your video collection to play over AirPlay and look good doing it.

The Settings

Apple’s specifications allow for both the MPEG4 and H.264 codecs, but H.264 is a better choice (for several reasons we’re not going to get into here) so we’ll just stick with that. In the video above we’ve used Handbrake to apply these settings and convert our videos to be AirPlay-friendly because it’s 1) free and 2) cross-platform, but you can user any video encoder that can create an H.264 .mp4 file. Here are the settings you want to use:

  • Video Codec: H.264 (Main Profile)
  • Video Bitrate: 5442kbps (anywhere between 5000 and 6000 kbps should be fine)
  • Video Resolution 1280×720 (also known as 720p)
  • Frames Per Second: 30 (or less)
  • Audio Codec: AAC (Low Complexity)
  • Audio Bitrate: 160kbps
  • Audio Samplerate: 48 or 44.1 kHz

Video Encoding Software

download HandbrakeEvom
Any Video Converter

If you’re sticking with Handbrake, you need to do three things. First, click “Picture Settings” to adjust the video resolution:

Next, set the video bitrate to 5442 (or, really, anything between 5000 and 6000 kbps):

Finally, set the audio bitrate to 160kbps, the samplerate to 48kHz or 44.1kHz, and the encoder to AAC (although these options will likely be selected for you already):

That’s all there is to it. Once you’ve got all your videos queued up, convert them and you’ll soon have an AirPlay-ready video library at your disposal.


  • I could stream video to the new apple TV from iTunes out of the box when I purchased it over a month ago. Are you referring to Apple TV version 2, or the original? Just a note on conversion, I found that in handbrake if I didn’t select the ‘de-comb’ filter before converting the resultant video was horrendous. Also, take a look at metadatahootananny if you want to put meaningful chapter titles on your video files (tather than just chapter 1, chapter 2, …)

    • airplay allows you to stream music/movies/pictures directly from an ios4.2 device without the need for itunes in the middle

      so someone can bring their own iphone/ipad/ipod touch to someone elses apple tv with whatever content theyve got on it, and play it through the apple tv (or airport extreme/express and in the future ipod speakers with airplay built in)

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