For some time I’ve had a Windows Media Center running our TV. It has dual TV card and records TV, as well as holds our movies, pictures and some other stuff. What it doesn’t have is our music collection because we both use Macs and iPhones, and Windows Media Center music management doesn’t really compare with iTunes and the iPhone. Until now I’ve had a fly lead going into the surround sound system to play music from the iPhones through the stereo. But that really kinda sucks because it means the iPhone has to be next to the stereo and that may be pretty inconvenient.
Enter shairport4w - a free (open source) airplay receiver for Windows.
Normally, AirPlay is only available on Apple TV or specialised AirPlay speaker systems. But by adding it to the Media Center, it turned our TV into an AirPlay destination. Now I can charge the iPhone on one side of the room and wirelessly stream the iPod music to the TV / Surround system. Much better sound quality, no need for wires, all through the existing network. It’s awesome.