If you happen to own both an iPhone and AppleTV, then yesterday’s release of iOS 4.2 was thought to bring you great joy. One would have thought that you could easily view videos shot on your iPhone on your HDTV with a few clicks. Sounds plausible right? You shoot a few videos of your kids or in my case cats and you want to share them with friends and family. This feature is not part of AirPlay in iOS 4.2.1. Say what?
AirPlay fail

What Can You Do With AirPlay
The iPod and Video app allows you to utilize AirPlay to watch videos with ease, provided you have the current generation of AppleTV. As an early supporter of AppleTV, when it was their hobby, I’m not quite sure why they have not included support for that product. Is it impossible due to the hardware or lack of iOS? Either way, the first generation AppleTV continues to be the bastard child of Apple’s product line. As for the current generation AppleTV, AirPlay support is extremely limited. More than likely, any movie you purchase is likely going to be done via iTunes or you’ll rent it via AppleTV. No one is going to buy a movie, sync it their iPhone and then deplete their battery to sync via AirPlay. Unless of course you are looking to wow the masses with your technology prowess. That of course we’d understand.

What You Cannot Do With AirPlay
It’s Thanksgiving and your a parent who has a camera roll filled with videos that you’re looking to share  with family on your TV. Immediately you think AirPlay the videos from your iPhone (or iPod touch) to your AppleTV. No can do. Not with iOS 4.2.1. As John Gruber points out, you cannot share videos using the camera roll. One would think that’s the whole point of AirPlay. An intuitive way to share videos from your mobile device to your living room. It still might be one day, but sharing videos of little Timmy will take a few old school steps.

How To Share Videos With AirPlay (current edition)
There is a way to wow your friends with AirPlay technology, but it’s certainly a bit convoluted. If you sync your camera roll videos and then bring them back to your iPhone in Videos, they will work via AirPlay. Of course, you don’t need the iPhone, since you can simply stream them via your Mac/PC.

AirPlay is certainly cool technology, albeit one that has a limited audience. You have to own both an iPhone and AppleTV before you can consider using this feature. Despite it getting top billing as one of the major features of iOS 4.2.1, it’s clearly missing the one feature that would be attractive to those in this niche audience and that’s the ability to share videos instantly on your big screen TV. AirPlay is cool technology, but it’s usefulness is limited in iOS 4.2. If you want to share videos of little Timmy this holiday season, AirPlay won’t make things any easier.