AirParrot: Airplay Mirroring from Mac to ATV

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by dgalvan123, Feb 16, 2012.

  1. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2008
    #1
    Macworld describes this new Mac Application called AirParrot witch uses Airplay to mirror your Mac's screen to the Apple TV. This functionality will become built in with the release of Mac OS 10.8 Mountain Lion this summer, but AirParrot allows the functionality on Mac OS 10.6 Snow Leopard and 10.7 Lion, today.

    It costs $10. I haven't tried it, but am considering it since it would allow me to watch TV shows from network TV streaming sites on my big screen TV. Caveat: Apparently it only sends video right now, no audio. But the developers claim they will add audio in a future update.

    Here's the macworld review
    http://www.macworld.com/article/165...mac_display_to_an_apple_tv.html#lsrc.rss_main

    And here's the AirParrot website:
    http://airparrot.com/

    Anyone willing to try it out and report how they like it?
     
  2. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2006
    #2
    That looks interesting. Not much use for me until they add sound though. I am interested to see how well it works.
     
  3. macrumors 6502

    obsidian1200

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2010
    Location:
    Albuquerque, NM
    #3
    Another member posted a demo of airparrot in another thread here on the forums. http://forums.macrumors.com/showpost.php?p=14336825&postcount=23

    From the looks of it, on high settings, the video playback on the :apple:TV was stuttering a bit on video playback, but the Macbook Pro was not. Maybe if the video quality was a little lower in the application's preferences, the stuttering wouldn't be an issue, but if it is an issue for most video playback, I don't think the application is worth it just quite yet. Of course, we don't know what the LAN speed is for this demo, or how many other devices are actively using the LAN. Your mileage may vary with this one :) I'll definitely be keeping an eye on it for updates.
     
  4. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2008
    #4
    Thanks for linking to that, obsidian1200, and thanks to evansis for posting the youtube demo!

    Here's a direct link to the AirParrot demo youtube video:
    http://youtu.be/S-Tse43lLLE

    The current lack of audio support and the seemingly laggy response and poor frame rate make this a sub-optimal solution for watching streaming TV shows, IMO. My current method of using a jailbroken ATV and the Bluecop repository in XBMC provides a superior experience to this.

    Note also that the Mountain Lion developer's preview seems to show that it already supports audio in the airplay desktop mirroring.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=SAEH1H-4Siw

    I wonder whether the AirParrot frame rates are processor-dependent? Would they be better on a newer machine?

    Anyway, my view is that AirParrot will be a good solution for those who don't want to upgrade to Mountain Lion. For everyone else, it seems the Mountain Lion built-in functionality will be superior.
     
  5. macrumors 6502

    obsidian1200

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2010
    Location:
    Albuquerque, NM
    #5
    Given how airparrot works (it's basically re-encoding the desktop images in the h.264 codec before streaming to the :apple:tv), it's possible it may run much more smoothly on a more modern mac, say an i5 processor and above. This depends on whether airparrot can utilize the multiple cores on an i-processor or not. I've seen a few encoding apps, generally speaking, that in this day and age can't use more than one core and were recently released. It'd be disappointing if airparrot turns out to be one of those applications.
     
  6. macrumors Core

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2004
    #6
    i was all set to buy this before the announcement of ML yesterday. now i just may hold off to see how well the built-in airplay features work
     
  7. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2011
    #7
    A little insight

    I just wanted to provide some insight for everybody.

    Straight from the AirParrot developer's lips:

    AirParrot is definitely built for multicore. Unfortunately many portions of the process can not use more than one thread. Image capture (and scaling) is a CoreGraphics UI operation, and must happen on the main thread. We multithread the colorspace conversion from RGB to YUV(I411), and some portions of the H264 compression. Many normal multi-core encoding operations cannot be used, however, since we never have more than one frame in the pipeline to ensure minimal latency.
     
  8. evansls, Feb 20, 2012
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2012

    macrumors regular

    evansls

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2004
    Location:
    Leesburg, VA
    #8
    My apple tv is tethered to my router

    Hi all,

    I just saw you referenced my demo. I do have my apple tv tethered to my router that you see in the demo for optimal performance.

    These are the tech specs of my MacBook Pro (15-inch Early 2008)
    Graphics Card: NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GT
    Card Memory: 256 MB
    Processor speed: 2.4 GHz,
    Processor Type: Intel Core 2 Duo (Penryn),
    Number of Cores: 2,
    Bus Speed: 800 Mhz,
    Cache: 3 MB L2 cache.

    So, this could explain why the video performance is not up to snuff, but we will see what can happen with future updates of theirs.

    I'm a big fan of anything desktop mirroring and since I won't be able to benefit from Mountain Lion when it drops this summer, since my mbp has a non supported graphics card, I'm pretty much betting on this app to get the job done well. I thought $10 was pretty low risk for an app that can mirror my entire desktop to both my cheap $80 refurbished apple tv devices.

    Also, according to the their official twitter feed, they are currently solving the lack of audio as we speak.

    Evan
     
  9. macrumors regular

    evansls

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2004
    Location:
    Leesburg, VA
    #9
    Beta version now available with Audio

    Hi all,

    If you have the $10 app already, please note the developer released a beta version that now includes audio which is definitely worth the price of admission. I've downloaded it and can say with a lot of enthusiasm that it works really well. Share your opinions below with different macs since again mine is an 15-inch Early 2008 macbook pro.

    new features
    - frame frate customization
    - frame rate meter
    - monitor extending
    - audio!!

    You can see their tweet with the direct download to the beta here:
    http://goo.gl/S2zxg
     
  10. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2008
    #10
    The monitor extending sounds like it means you can use your HDTV/ATV as a wireless second monitor, such that you could drag, say, a finder window off the edge of your mac screen and it would then be visible sliding onto your HDTV. Is this how it really works?

    If so that is definitely an extension beyond what is being promised in Mountain Lion, which only has the "mirroring" function as far as I know.
     
  11. macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2011
    Location:
    NY USA
    #11
    This app update has just pushed me from a maybe to a buy assuming mirroring works well with Hulu (here in japan the xbmc Hulu plug in is geo blocked) and the monitor extension works like I think.
     
  12. macrumors newbie

    Zachemc2

    Joined:
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    Location:
    United States
    #12
    It sounds nice, but I think I'll wait for Mountain Lion.
     
  13. macrumors 68000

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    Mar 30, 2011
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    NY USA
    #13
    IDK, for $10 to be able to have the functions now and use them for 3,4 or even 6 months before ML is worth it. Not to mention the huge uncertainty around Apple unreasonably restricting AirPlay to gen II core I processors as well as how Apple at times neuters functions, like no airplay for Hulu and SD only via cable connections on the iPad.

    Seems worth it now that it seems to support audio and better encoding.
     
  14. macrumors Core

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2004
    #14
    hmmm i guess i'll have to keep an eye on this after all then. being able to extend the desktop and have audio rather than just mirror it makes it very intriguing but i'll have to wait and hear some reviews once its all out and official and that.
     
  15. macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2011
    Location:
    NY USA
    #15
    Well I tried this software and as far as I can tell its rubbish. I installed the trial; it doesn't connect to either atv I have. When selecting the atv to airplay I just get a spinning beach ball for about two or three minutes and then nothing. Then the software states it needs an audio update, which I allow it to install which requires a system reboot. Okay this isn't windows most software updates do not need a system reboot but whatever I let it reboot.

    After the reboot the software says my trial expired and the signature is invalid. Putting my mbp to sleep after giving up but before i uninstalled the software, when I wake it the screen does not come back, forcing another reboot.

    So I got a non working 10 min trial of buggy software. Fail.

    I'll wait for ML.
     
  16. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2011
    #16
    Your 10 minute trial starts immediately after launching AirParrot. Wait another 10 minutes and try again!

    As for the reboot requirement: OSX requires a reboot to initialize new drivers. If we don't force a reboot, you'll get a kernel panic.

    There's an update coming down soon to fix these issues. Look for it by the end of tonight.
     
  17. macrumors regular

    evansls

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2004
    Location:
    Leesburg, VA
    #17
    Beta updated to fix 'wake from sleep' issue

    Hi all - Be sure to grab the latest version to fix the 'wake from sleep' issue with the previous beta. I'm using 1.1.3

    Evan
     
  18. macrumors 603

    nfl46

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    Oct 5, 2008
  19. macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2011
    Location:
    NY USA
    #19
    I can confirm the latest version fixed the wake from sleep issue, but I am wondering why the issue persisted even after I removed the app. Eitherway it is fixed but I still cannot airplay. If fails to connect.

    The only reason I can think of is because my ATV is jailbroken, so that must be the issue unless someone else has it working on a jailbroken ATV.
     
  20. macrumors regular

    evansls

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2004
    Location:
    Leesburg, VA
    #20
    Apple TV iOS 4.4 is required

    For those who have compatibility issues, there's an FAQ on their site.

    Your Apple TV must run at least iOS 4.4 and I'm assuming since you've jailbroken your device, you have not upgraded to at least this version therefor you can't take advantage of this functionality, right? Hopefully you can update your jailbreak.

    Also, I see they now offers a try before buy at no cost for 10 minutes. After 20 minutes, the clock resets and you can try it again.

    Evan
     
  21. macrumors 68000

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    Mar 30, 2011
    Location:
    NY USA
    #21
    The latest jailbreak supports 4.4 it is what I am running. There must be some other issue related to the jailbreak. However I can AirPlay all my other devices to my atv so I have no idea what the issue could be.

    Just a word of caution to anyone with a jb atv try it before you buy to be sure it works for you.
     
  22. macrumors 603

    nfl46

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2008
    #22
    Wow, this works GREAT with my Macbook Pro 2011. I am posting from my laptop and viewing it on my flat screen tv now. I just watched a YouTube video and the frame rate was the same on both the laptop and when I viewed it on my tv. I HIGHLY recommend the app! The audio was in sync, as well! I'm buying it. No point of waiting six months for this, when you can have it NOW for only $10!
     
  23. macrumors regular

    evansls

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    Jul 18, 2004
    Location:
    Leesburg, VA
    #23
    write to their support -- they respond pretty fast. they helped me with my issue i had. maybe it's an issue they need to investigate.
     
  24. macrumors 68000

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    Mar 30, 2011
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    NY USA
    #24
    Yep I will give that a shot.
     
  25. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2009
    Location:
    North Carolina
    #25
    I've wanted the functionality Air Parrot provides for a long, long time. I've had this dream to fire up espn3.com and watch the plethora of sports on my big screen. I read about Air Parrot a week or so a go, I believe a day or two before Mountain Lion was announced, and thought I had found the holy grail. I continued reading and saw "no audio" and my excitement was lost.

    Reading this thread, today, and observed audio support and I couldn't download the trail fast enough. I had, initial hic-ups in getting running but a tinkering in the settings and I was up an running. I am running the trial of Air Parrot on a base 11" MBA 2010. I brought up espn3.com and will say I was pretty surprised by the quality, in a good way. Not entirely certain if it's this program or my Air but I was noticing dropped frames but audio was spot-on. The dropped frames were noticeable, to me, but I would not have any problems watching basketball, football, etc in this manner. Noticeable but not bad.

    I pulled up iTunes and watched a couple videos I have stored on an iMac via iTunes Home Sharing and the picture and audio quality were great. I'll be playing around with the trial for a bit more, but will most likely purchase the full version as it is something I've wanted for a while and to support the developer. I know this functionality will be built into ML, but the developer has made a great piece of software and should be rewarded.

    Whether it is Air Parrot or ML, businesses that run Macs will be very happy with functionality like this when it comes to being able to "beam" a presentation/video/etc to a TV/projector.
     

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