When it comes to making AirPlay sit up and do tricks, we're proud to have one of the best in the business right here at TUAW. Erica Sadun has released a full suite of in-progress Mac apps to work with Apple's video streaming protocol.
While AirPlay is intended to allow iOS devices or iTunes to stream media to the current-gen Apple TV or third-party receivers, Erica's AirFlick, AirPDF and Bruce utilities extend the AirPlay universe to allow you to show content, weather/RSS or arbitrary video files and images from your Mac to your Apple TV, all without diving into iTunes. AirFlick even cooperates with Air Video Server to transcode files and streams on the fly, meaning that otherwise-incompatible video formats like AVI or MKV play just fine.
Now she's given us a preview of an app that's hopefully coming very soon: Banana TV. This handy tool turns the AirPlay pathway back around, allowing you to play video or images from your iPad, iPhone or iPod touch running iOS 4.2 or higher directly onto your Mac. While you probably have most of the same content on your computer that you have on your iDevice, it's a great way to show videos on a bigger screen when visiting a friend or family member; it also opens up AirPlay streaming from iOS devices your friends or colleagues have with them, even if you don't have an Apple TV (at the office, for example).
No word on when Banana TV might be available or at what cost, but it's a sign of very interesting things to come from Erica's secret underground labs. Keep an eye out for more updates to the other AirPlay apps and more new features.