Much of what I watch on our television is streamed from my iPhone – usually from the iPlayer app, or from Air Video HD – via an Apple TV using AirPlay. In general, the system works wonderfully well, but there’s one major irritant. Both iPlayer and Air Video HD allow the stream to persist even when the phone is sleeping or when the app is ‘in the background’, and that’s great, of course, but the stream can get disrupted when using another app. I’m not daft enough to load YouTube and start browsing for other videos – of course they would take precedence over the existing background stream — but if I scroll past an autoplaying video on Facebook or Instagram, say, or tap on an image in Alien Blue that turns out to be a GIF, they’ll try to hijack the stream.
So I’d like some way of telling iOS ‘protect this video stream over AirPlay; play other video content on the iPhone itself’, but I don’t know what the UI would be for this. There’s a temptation to add another switch to the AirPlay overlay, similar to the Mirroring switch, but then that’s a system-wide control rather than app-specific. There again, if I understand correctly, the streaming will be handed-off from an app to a system-level process anyway, so maybe that’s not a bad thing; maybe a ‘protect current stream’ toggle isn’t a bad solution.
It may be that solving this problem is just too inelegant, and that may be why it hasn’t been solved yet. But if Apple does, I’ll be delighted.