Within the last few weeks, both Apple TV and the Reflection App by AirParrot have gotten considerable attention. I have had a 2nd gen Apple TV since Fall 2011 (we have an all-Apple household). But I also have purchased the Reflection App because I can already see applications for both.
Why has the Reflection app developed such a big following so fast? I think it is for two reasons:
#1 - Most people do not have HDMI inputs on their projectors yet. Although there was buzz about HDMI to VGA converters a few months ago, it's $40 for the converter on top of a $99 Apple TV box, plus cables, and you are still left with an audio issue. And HDMI projectors are not cheap yet.
#2 - Cost. Reflection is only $14.99 for a single installation.
But the single biggest drawback for both of these products for education or business is that neither functions well on secure, enterprise networks without some sort of work-around (at least in my experience so far). If someone could address this problem, life would be so much easier. So far, the work-arounds that seem to work best are Mrs. Magiera's for Apple TV (here) and Mr. Eley's for Reflection (via Tony Vincent here).
Right now, I am using both Apple TV and Reflection. Here's what I am doing:
• If I am in the computer lab with an HDMI projector, I will hook up my Apple TV. It is the simplest way to still have internet so I can use Edmodo, Safari, and other internet apps with students. I find Apple TV to be a little more "seamless" in its operation.
• If I am in my classroom, I can easily plug in my laptop to an ethernet cord, set up a computer-to-computer network and use Reflection. I find Reflection easier to use on the go. And as a stand-alone window on the desktop, I can drag it from my laptop's screen to another non-mirrored monitor or Smartboard. But Reflection can only be installed on a single computer. I can take my Apple TV anywhere and plug it in.
So, at least for the time being, and if you have the funds, I would use both. Like so many things in life, it is not "either/or" but "both/and". At least for the near future. And with this Summer's coming version of OSX to include Airplay mirroring of your laptop's screen, I hope somebody solves the enterprise network dilemma soon.
UPDATE - May 14 - My views on Reflection and Apple TV continue to evolve. Please see my more recent blog post.
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