Apple’s AirPlay was firstly introduced in 2004, as AirTunes, representing a way to wirelessly stream audio from iTunes to speakers connected to the AirPort Express base station. Since then, it got an update in OS X Mountain Lion, in order for the modern Macs with compatible hardware to have the ability to wirelessly mirror the screen to an Apple TV-attached HDTV display.
The feature received support from content providers. HBO introduced AirPlay streaming to its HBO Go app, as well as Cinemax’s MAX Go title, in February, granting users access to shows, movies, comedy specials, sports, documentaries and special content. Furthermore, Google recently updated its YouTube app for iOS adding a new streaming feature similar to the AirPlay capability built into Apple’s devices.
At the beginning of 2013, The NPD’s “Inception of Screen Sharing” report asked 2,600 U.S. smartphone and tablet owners about their experiences with screen-mirroring technologies. According to the final report there is a substantial amount of awareness of screen-sharing as forty percent of the respondents were aware of the mirroring functionalities of their devices. However, it appeared that only 7 percent of tablet and smartphone owners had ever used the screen-sharing feature on their devices.
Furthermore, the final report also showed that photo and video sharing was the most used activity by those who had shown interest in the screen-sharing tech.
Regarding most popular screen-sharing tech, the report showed that Apple was on the first place. The second and third places were occupied by Samsung’s AllShare and Microsoft’s Xbox SmartGlass.
The report attributes the wide disparity between awareness and actual use to two factors, which are the relative newness of the technology as screen sharing solutions were launched recently, and the hardware requirement for screen-sharing features, since for using AirPlay is required an Apple TV in, and Samsung’s AllShare must be accompanied by a Samsung-specific box and mobile device.
According to this report, although screen sharing solutions represent something new, and because of that, until now there were not expected too many users, the awareness number is a positive indicator that is extremely helpful for building the foundation to attract more customers with a second screen experiences.
The NPD’s “Inception of Screen Sharing” report conclusions were that in order to bring sharing experiences to a larger consumer base not only simplifying hardware requirements, but also amplifying the value of being able to share content across screens are necessary.