Move over, console: the iPad comes to the big screen

Move over, console: the iPad comes to the big screen

Summary: Apple's new iPad 2 has the ability to mirror its video output on an HDMI display, when paired with the $39 Apple Digital AV Adapter, also on sale this week. And it's going to change iPad gaming in the living room in a big way.

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TOPICS: Hardware, iPad, Mobility
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Apple's new iPad 2 has the ability to mirror its video output on an HDMI display, when paired with the $39 Apple Digital AV Adapter, also on sale this week. And it's going to change iPad gaming in the living room in a big way.

The Digital AV Adapter is a short dongle that has a 30-pin pass-through dock connector and an HDMI video port suitable for connecting to your big-screen HDTV. When attached to an iPad 2, all the iPad 2's video content is mirrored on the big screen. (This feature isn't unique to the iPad 2 - you can also mirror HDMI video on Motorola's Xoom tablet.)

The device also works with older iPads (and iPhones and iPod touches), though only for video output like movies and TV shows, not for video mirroring.

The mirroring is automatic; as soon as the iPad senses the device is connected, you'll see the image sync on your TV. From there, any app you run appears on your TV screen exactly the same way it appears on your iPad screen, and the video output will even rotate depending on the orientation of your iPad.

The applications for this are pretty broad, but it turns the iPad 2 into a fantastic presentation device for any kind of still or video content - slideshows, movies, application walkthroughs - anything you can imagine. I suspect we'll see even more universities and K-12 schools using iPads thanks to this feature, once the iPad 2 makes its way out into the world.

Now, at 1024 x 768 resolution - the native resolution of the iPad - you're not going to see graphics at the same resolution you might expect out of a PlayStation 3 or an Xbox 360 - it doesn't spread from edge to edge either, since the aspect ratio of your TV and iPad 2 are different - but gaming is hilariously fun on the new device.

Where it really shines is in games that use the whole iPad 2 for an interface. A great example is Firemint's Real Racing 2 HD, which has been optimized for the iPad 2, and has support for the device's accelerometer and gyroscoping capabilities. You can use your whole iPad 2 as a steering wheel, which keeps your eyes glued to the TV as you make your way around different racing tracks, racing dozens of different real-world cars against computer-controlled opponents or against other players over Wi-Fi or the Internet.

Real Racing 2 HD on the iPad 2

I also gave a few other games a try - Rovio's ubiquitous Angry Birds, of course; Chair Entertainment's swordfighting masterpiece Infinity Blade; and EA's hardcore shooter Dead Rising HD. All of them looked and played great on the TV, and while different control schemes required me to look at the iPad 2's display more than the TV, having the image on the TV gave me an instant cheering section in the form of my family, who were able to watch the on-screen action without having to crowd over my shoulder.

Obviously, having an HDMI cable sticking out of one end of your iPad 2 isn't an optimal use experience all the time - it's bulky and a bit awkward. But Apple has expanded AirPlay video support in the release of iOS included with the iPad 2 (and available for free download for other iOS devices), and that lets you stream video from other applications to Apple TV and other devices that support AirPlay (like forthcoming Pioneer A/V receivers, for example).

Infinity Blade on iPad 2

AirPlay doesn't mirror video in all applications - at least not yet - but it'd be a home run if Apple exposed that feature in a future iOS update or on a future iOS device. Then you could play games from across the living room and show them on the HDTV without any wires to get in the way.

Right now this functionality is incidental. It's a nifty hack, but it really isn't integral to the gaming experience on the iPad 2, because it's a brand-new feature. But I'm looking forward to seeing what game developers do with it. It's another step towards making the iPad 2 and other emerging tablet devices premiere gaming platforms.

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Topics: Hardware, iPad, Mobility

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74 comments
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  • RE: Move over, console: the iPad comes to the big screen

    Uh... no.

    A Wii costs $179 and comes with two games. XBox and PS3 aren't far behind that.

    No thanks to spending $500+ for a crippled gaming unit that can only support one player at a time.
    Droid101
    • RE: Move over, console: the iPad comes to the big screen

      Hurray!! iPad can connect to your TV! this changes... Nothing?
      tatiGmail
      • RE: Move over, console: the iPad comes to the big screen

        @tatiGmail

        LOL!!!
        mcfant
      • RE: Move over, console: the iPad comes to the big screen

        @tatiGmail LMAO!! :D
        MrElectrifyer
    • RE: Move over, console: the iPad comes to the big screen

      @Droid101 Did I say it was going to replace consoles? No, I said, "move over," as in "make room."

      People are buying iPads by the truckload. A lot of people are using them in their living room alongside other products like their Xbox 360s and PS3s and Wiis. There's plenty of room for everyone, pal.

      - Peter
      flargh
      • Since iPad has more functionality than game consoles, it makes sense not to

        @flargh: by the latter, if buyer is going to buy iPad 2 anyway *and* he/she is not very rich to have a game console, too.
        DDERSSS
      • RE: Move over, console: the iPad comes to the big screen

        @flargh [i]No, I said, "move over," as in "make room."[/i]

        I realize this is nit picking... and I'm not questioning the iPad's ability to be used as a gaming platform, but generally when I hear the term "Move Over" it's in reference to replacing something or someone, not just making room for another.
        Badgered
      • RE: Move over, console: the iPad comes to the big screen

        @flargh

        Nice attitude, "pal."

        Where I live in the real world, "move over" means get out of the way, as in you're about to be replaced.
        aep528
    • RE: Move over, console: the iPad comes to the big screen

      @Droid101 As often as I disagree with you in this I have to agree... While this is a neat feature with the iPad2 the iPad2 is no threat to any console gaming device.
      athynz
      • Shades of gray

        @athynz

        Life is never that simple. Gamers come in many different needs categories. Hard core gamers will stick with consoles or gaming PCs, but a lot of casual gamers may find this very appealing and end up not buying a console.

        There are ALWAYS people at the margin who switch, we just don't know to which extent. Time will tell.
        Economister
      • RE: Move over, console: the iPad comes to the big screen

        @athynz yea true.
        Jimster480
    • RE: Move over, console: the iPad comes to the big screen

      @Droid101 And then you spend $50 a game after the price for the gaming console but of course it not like you could ever open up your mind enough to see any benefit or value from anything Apple. We have FAR more money tied up in our Wii than we do in the iPad yet the iPad is used throughout the day every day and the Wii hasn't even been hook up since moving 9 months ago. Small minded haters (any product) just miss out on so much of life.
      non-biased
      • Are you sure?

        It doesn't make it any better than consoles (have you seen the GPUs) no matter how much casual users buy it or use it. Unless they put all the latest gaming technology in it then it will be bulky not to mention heavy. The ipad is already jam-packed with tech adding more will transform it to (as heavy as) a stone tablet.
        hydrargyrum
  • Can it connect to a network enabled projector?

    Because that is what I see many schools using these days for presentation. Very convenient and no short restrictive cables necessary. We have many installed in classrooms and some on mobile carts that any computer on the network can present to even if it is across the room or at one of our other schools on our network. Seems to work well.
    bobiroc
    • RE: Move over, console: the iPad comes to the big screen

      @bobiroc
      I am not sure about iPad2 but I found Atrix 4G, LG Optomus (Windows Phone7) and EVO 4G can do this. These are the ones I tested and they all have DLNA feature.
      Ram U
      • RE: Move over, console: the iPad comes to the big screen

        @Rama.NET

        I think there is a cable that the iPad can use for this like the new HDMI cable but that kind of defeats the purpose of a tablet IMO.
        bobiroc
  • RE: Move over, console: the iPad comes to the big screen

    When will Apple get off there collective behinds and come out with a WS form? Freaking lame resolution they currently have.
    Like I really care about connecting it to any of my tv's - they are all WS and the iPad output leaves me with either a distorted picture or a picture with wide black bars down both sides.
    Get real! WS is here to stay.
    Besides, I can do this via WinMedia on any of my tv's.....
    or my PS3
    or my XBox
    or......

    Chuckle - yes, I live in gadget central!!!!

    :)
    rhonin
    • RE: Move over, console: the iPad comes to the big screen

      @zenwalker
      I use what works for me.
      The iPad connected to a TV doesn't.

      chuckle :D
      rhonin
  • Premier Gaming Platform?

    I don't think so. They only upside to the iPad as a gaming device is it's mobility. Also like someone pointed out above it is a $500 device at it's minimum. Not sure if gamers want to be tethered down by a cable just so they can play on their TV.

    Besides just how big do you need your Angry Birds to be? I mean they are already Angry so why make them big and Angry?

    So as I pointed out above maybe as a presentation device but even then why be tethered down by a wire or have to use some proprietary Airplay technology. No matter how much they try to make iPads and other tablet devices running light mobile OSes a computer it is not going to happen. At least anytime soon. They can be a great supplemental device but that's about it. Most times they are used as toys from what I can see.
    bobiroc
    • First point there is nothing wrong with a good Toy:P

      @bobiroc
      It serves a good and useful purpose. As for it's expense well what is a motorcycle and or snowmobile, ATV? Toys right and expensive ones at that. Toy is not an insult but a compliment:) As for most being used in that way? Well how about this one can use an iPad as a toy and maybe most of it's use can be such but one can use it to do work as well or production might be a better word. After all iWorks allows one to do "OTHER" things with an iPad that one can not actually do on an XBox that I know of.

      Pagan jim
      James Quinn