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Published on November 16th, 2012 | by Dr. Bulent Dogan


Mirroring iPad’s screen to your computer or projector

Mirroring iPad’s screen to your computer or projector: A less expensive alternative to Apple TV-Which actually works!

Have you ever wondered how you can display your shiny iPad’s screen on a PC or a projector? I can hear you saying, “There is Apple TV for that!” Well, you can still use Apple TV to achieve this seemingly expected feature (obviously not a standard feature on iPad, more about my rants about iPad here). Don’t be misled by the heading of this post; there is no magic device out there which can replace Apple TV, but from our standpoint (educators who are desperately trying to use insanely popular, but sometimes difficult to implement iPads in the classroom), there is something as close to magic as you can get. In this economy, where budgets are shrinking, an inexpensive alternative to Apple TV’s Airplay function (which is only compatible with iPad 2 and the new iPad), is a huge welcome.

Overall, we liked Airserver over Reflection both in functionality, performance, and price.

Let’s do the numbers. Apple TV costs $99, plus you will need an HDMI cable to connect your iPad to a projector or a computer, that’s an extra $20 on average. If your projector does not support HDMI (chances are it doesn’t), an additional HDMI – VGA cable will cost around $10. So, already you are looking at $130 to achieve this task. http://www.airserverapp.com/en/Info/Compare

Fortunately, there are two pieces of software available which won’t break your piggybank: After tedious research and trials, I have found “Reflection” and “Airserver.” No, they are not iPad apps, but software programs which you can run with your Windows or Mac computer. They both work pretty much the same way, well at least, with the same logic. They use wireless access points to enable your iPad to communicate with an airplay compatible device, in our case it will be our computer. Ultimately, they make your computer Airplay compatible. After making sure your iPad and computer are connected through Airplay, you can easily connect your computer to a projector, and voila, magic. I have briefly reviewed both applications below for your convenience:

Reflection vs. Airserver




Airserver includes a 7 day free trial, after which you will need to buy a license for the software. The standard license is $14.99 (for individuals on up to 5 PCs) and for students and teachers the license is $11.99 for up to 3 PCs. An authentic educational email address is required for a student license.

Click here to see how Airserver works.

Here is a comparison of Airserver with Apple TV.

In our trials, Airserver worked better than Reflection, with virtually no lag time, especially during the transitions and animation on iPad’s screen and when playing video.





Reflection is available for $14.99 for an individual user. It also has a limited (10 minutes only!) free trial. Here is a video about how Reflection Works. In our trials, Reflection had more lag time, as compared to Airserver.

Below are a few technical support tips, if you would like to run these programs. This is particularly beneficial if you are on a school/work network where more than one wireless router is used:


Technical Issues:

1. In order for these programs to work, you will have to disable your Firewall. Here is an article on how to disable your firewall on a PC.

2. If you are using your home wireless router (which is typically one router), you will have no issues with connecting your iPad to a computer over Airplay. However, if you are on a school/work network where more than one wireless router is used, this system won’t work for you unless you apply one the following workarounds:

-Create an ad hoc (computer-to-computer) network between your PC and iPad so they are in the same wireless system. Here are the steps for creating an ad hoc network on a PC.  For Mac please click here.

Once the two devices are connected, you will lose your wireless internet connection both on your PC and iPad because your wireless adapter is now part of ad hoc network. A solution to this problem would be connecting an Ethernet cable to your PC and bridging that connection with Wireless adapter so you can ultimately extend the internet to your iPad. Here is a Youtube video explaining how to bridge connections on a PC.

-Carry a separate wireless router with you (if you can), create a wireless network, and connect both your PC and iPad to this network (with no internet required).

Out of these two options, creating an ad hoc network would be the easiest method, as it does not require you to carry around additional devices – like we don’t have enough gadgets to carry around already!



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About the Author

is a "Lifelong Learner" and "Educator". He works as an Assistant Professor of Instructional Technology at North American College, Houston, TX... Dr. Dogan's Research Interests are: Digital Storytelling, Tablets/Games in Education and Social Media in Higher Education…Dr. Dogan may be reached via Twitter or Facebook…

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