Play music from iTunes, your iOS device or anything that supports Apple’s Airplay on your Windows computer. If you have a media center running Windows, or any PC you want to use as a second set of speakers for your music, Shairport4w is the program you’re looking for.
Apple’s AirPlay makes it easy to play music from any computer running iTunes or any iOS device on speakers around your house – provided those speakers are connected to an Apple-approved device. Windows computers, obviously, don’t make that cut. Until now.
Shairport4w is a small, third-party program that sits in your Windows system tray and streams audio sent to it. You’ll be sending audio from your phone or iTunes in no time. It’s really not any more complicated than that, and it doesn’t need to be – it’s a simple program you’ll forget is even there.
Not sure what I’m talking about? Read Simon’s explanation of Airplay here, then keep reading to get your Windows Airplay server up and running.
Shairport4w is a small portable application. When you start it up you’ll see a few options:
Minimize the program and it will run in your tray. Simple. Alternatively you can change the name of your speakers and password-protect them. There are also a few advanced options:
Tweak to your heart’s desire, but know that it’s not at all necessary.
Are you ready to stream? Assuming everything’s working you should now see your new speakers offered in iTunes for all computers in your network.
That was easy, wasn’t it? If things aren’t working check your Windows firewall settings.
Note that you can make your Windows PC act as one of several speakers in your house. In my experience the audio is a little out of sync, though, so be warned.
Ready to try this? Download Shairport4w at Sourceforge. As I said before, this is a small, portable program. If you plan on using it regularly you’ll need to move it to an appropriate folder. I recommend the StartUp folder in your start menu, if you want this program to start up every time your computer does.
Note that Shairport4w only supports audio sharing. If you want to stream video, I recommend you check out Eden, the latest version of XBMC. It supports video streaming in Windows but not audio. With these two programs combined you can do pretty much anything.
Air Stream Media Player streams videos and photos in Windows using AirPlay. This isn’t the first time we’ve covered AirPlay hacks. We shown you how to use Apple’s Airtunes in Linux. It’s been without updates for a while, but it’s worth trying out. No music support.
You can even get AirPlay set up on a Raspberry Pi, thanks to the included AirPlay support in XBMC.
So there are a few options out there for Airplay, but so far as I can tell Shairport4w is the best way to stream AirPlay audio on a Windows computer. Do you know of something better? Share it in the comments below. Also feel free to let me know what you’re using this software for.