Play to on Windows 8 a pretty good Airplay alternative


In a post on MSDN Microsoft discussed the Windows 8 Play To functionality, which allows Windows 8 devices to connect seamlessly to Xbox 360 and other (unspecified) devices and stream media like photos, videos and music to the device.

The post describes how developers can enable to feature in only a few lines of code in their own applications, and that even web pages can be Play To enabled, meaning a video streaming website could easily allow one to move the stream to a big screen.

The functionality is only waiting for developers to take advantage of it. If that’s you hop on over to MSDN to make sure your app can take advantage of the biggest screen in your home.


  • Twisticles

    It’s a neat feature, and part of the functionality of Xbox Smartglass (if you have an Xbox).
    On Win8, the feature is built into Windows Media Player and plays to my WDTV no problem. Not so with the Video app on the Surface…doesn’t detect any compatible devices. Dropped ball, I think.

    • Mark Robinson

      It works on the Video app. You need to swipe in the charms, tap Devices, and the Xbox or Xbox Media Center Extender should be visible, as long as a video is currently playing. It works in the YouTube+ app as well. If that doesn’t work, try reinstalling the Videos app.

    • nickcraze

      But this is not new on Media player/windows.. why is it that people all of the sudden discover something that has been there way before airplay came out.

      • Chris Georgeson

        Seriously, it’s been out since (I believe) Windows 7. It’s just DNLA from my understanding. The downside though is that it doesn’t allow mirroring, from my understanding.

        • stanvx

          Nope, its been out since Vista!

      • SocalBrian

        You do realize that DLNA and AirPlay (originally called AirTunes) both got their start around the same time, right?

    • Mark Qvistgaard Jakobsen

      Its the same on my desktop with Win8, and it seems to be that the issue is that under settings, devices, my TV is listed as “Not Windows Certified”. It did work with the consumer preview, so maybe MS is just trying to avoid backwards compatability, and will only support newer DLNA media renderes.

      My video app plays fine to xbox, and to media player 12 on my laptop

  • Walter

    It’s a great feature in my opinion, but it’s definitely no AirPlay alternative as long as it’s not available on Windows Phone devices.

    • Chiranjeeb Jena

      You should know that there is a PLAYTO app for Lumia devices. (A Nokia Exclusive)

      • Walter

        Yeah, but it’s only available for Lumias with WP7 and it’s not yet able to stream music.

  • MarkyMark

    I can’t tell you how disappointed I was to find out my Surface can’t ‘play to’ my certified Brava TV from the video app. MS needs to add the ‘few lines of code in their own apps’. Even my Symbian phone (about to be replaced with a Lumina 920) can play to my TV.
    Aside from that, the Surface is a great bit of kit