While we've blogged about the AirPort Express before, we haven't really touched on just how versatile this gizmo really is. I initially purchased my AirPort Express for wireless printing which it did well. Now that we've gone paperless, the AirPort Express lives at the center of our home media system connecting our TV to Hulu and Netflix via an Xbox360, and streaming iTunes to our stereo.
The AirPort Express is essentially a scaled down version of the AirPort Extreme Base Station but with the bonus of audio out. Not only can you create a wireless network from scratch for up to 10 users (simply plug it into the wall and connect internet service), but you can also connect a USB printer to your network as well as wirelessly stream music to a stereo via an analog/optical audio jack.
If you have another wireless router that is connected to your internet service, you could instead use the AirPort Base Station as an wired access point (Replacing the $80 Xbox 360 wireless adapter in my case) or use it to extend the range of your existing wireless network.
Got all that?
- An old 12" aluminum Powerbook using Remote Desktop connects to a 20" iMac running Windows XP under Bootcamp.
- PlayOn Media server is all that's needed to connect Windows XP to the Xbox 360 via UPnP.
- Xbox 360 is connected to the internet and home network via the AirPort express's ethernet port which serves up it's own NetFlix via Xbox Live.
- Home stereo is connected to iTunes via AirPort express stereo out.
- 12" Powerbook can stream music from iMac library via iTunes to AirPort express acting as a giant remote (no iPod touch or iphone but those would work as an even better remote).