Apple TV, Airplay, Plex question

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by guidoverduci, Jun 11, 2013.

  1. macrumors member

    Oct 17, 2008
    I like the convenience of the plex ipad app. I like being able to scroll through my content on the app and airplay it to the ATV. With that being said, what is the best way to mitigate any lag? Is airplay from the plex app basically just mirroring what's on my ipad? If that's the case, the movie is being streamed from my macbook to my iPad to my ATV, correct? So in theory, it's all based on my wifi capabilities, correct? I can hardwire both my macbook and ATV to the router, but that shouldn't make a difference because the ipad is the limiting factor... if I'm understanding this right.

    What are other ways to get rid of lag? The macbook and plex library will be in a different room than the TV. Hardwire, whether ethernet or HDMI, is not an issue. It seems to me the issue would be choosing the movie in one room and watching it in another... unless I'm lost. :confused: Thanks for any help!
  2. macrumors member

    Jun 25, 2010
    As far as i know, when you try to play a video using airplay, in your case, appletv directly talks to macbook i.e., iPad tells the appletv on where to look for the video, and iPad just acts as a remote i.e., controlling the video play like stop, FF and REW etc.,
  3. thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 17, 2008
    Thanks. I'll have to look into this more. If this is the case, then hardwire would be my best bet and I'll still be able to use the ipad to scroll for content!
  4. macrumors 68020

    May 27, 2008
    if you can get HDMI from the macbook to the TV, that would be the best quality.
    you can use the plex iOS app to control the client on the mac. both to browse & select media on the iPad screen and then play it on the macbook, as well as a remote control for playback on the mac. doesn't matter what room they are in, as long as they are on the same network.

    the one advantage airplay gives you is you can use the physical remote for the aTV.

    another option is plexconect
    it takes over the movie trailer app on the aTV, and points it at plex, so you can access your full library that way, without jailbreaking.
    it's currently very new, and i'm not sure of the ease of installation currently, but there are good step by step guides.
    you would loose the browsing on the ipad, but it allows playback on the aTV directly from your plex server.
  5. thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 17, 2008
    So if I understand correctly, the plex app is just controlling the media server on the macbook. So when I play a movie on my plex iOS app and airplay it to my ATV... it's going from my macbook to my tv via HDMI?
  6. guidoverduci, Jun 11, 2013
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2013

    thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 17, 2008
  7. macrumors 68020

    May 27, 2008
    there are 3 ways of doing it.

    1. client on iPad.
    server - running on macbook.
    client - running on ipad.
    TV - connected via airplay from ipad to appleTV.
    control - using the player on your ipad. or the silver remote and the aTV.

    2. client on mac.
    server - running on macbook.
    client - running on macbook. (they seem to have hidden the download, here's a link)
    TV - connected via HDMI from macbook.
    control - using the remote functions of the iOS app to control the player on your macbook. you can browse your library like normal on the iPad, but can select the player to use, in this case, the macbook.

    (you said you could run an HDMI cable, so i suggested this)

    3. PlexConnect.
    server - running on macbook with the plexconnect add on
    client - running on aTV (really the apple Trailers app, but data is coming from plex)
    TV - connected via HDMI to appleTV
    control - using the silver remote or the remote app. (no browsing of library on screen of your ipad though)
  8. macrumors member

    Oct 15, 2013
    You Forgot A Way!

    Similar to #2 you could run the server and client on your macbook and then instead of hdmi from your macbook you could air play it (provided your equipment meets the following: )
  9. macrumors 68020

    May 27, 2008
    you could do this, if you don't mind your video stuttering. and a loss in quality.

    airplay mirroring is notoriously bad for sending full screen video playback. for things where the entire screen is not changing at the same time, it can be OK.
    on wi-fi it will not be a good experience
    on wired gig-ethernet, it may be OK, but it won't be great.

    with regular airplay the file is either already in the proper format, or can be converted on the fly (using something like airflick on your mac, or the previously mentioned plexconnect), either way, it can read ahead and build a buffer.

    with airplay mirroring, it doesn't know what's going to happen till it hits your screen, and then has to convert and send it in real time to the aTV. leading to dropped frames, and a lower quality signal.
  10. macrumors regular

    May 15, 2011
    Sorry to rehash an old thread but I was wondering if there were any updates on this recently? I am seriously considering getting an ATV3. At the moment I've been plugging in my macbook air and the respective external hdd (that holds my media and has plex reading from it) to the TV via HDMI.

    I control plex via the plex remote app on my iPhone/iPad. I control the mouse on the laptop via an app I downloaded that does just that but it's becoming cumbersome because eventually I need my MBA for work and have to disconnect everything. I want to eventually just have my macbook on my desk with the hdd plugged in with atv pointed at it via plex.

    Just wondering if this is still working or if apple have killed this in an update.
  11. macrumors member

    Sep 8, 2004
    Yep, I use the method you're asking about even though I have an ATV2 with PlexConnect installed. I find PlexConnect to be very hit or miss, sometimes it connects and sometimes it doesn't. So I gave up on PlexConnect and just use my iPad as the client and AirPlay to my ATV.

    Here's my setup:

    Plex Server: iMac
    Plex Client: iPad or iPhone
    TV Connection: Apple TV 2
    Control: Plex client on iPad/iPhone. I can also do basic stuff like Pause, Skip, Rewind from my physical remote (which is a Harmony but it's just emulating the silver ATV remote).

    When I want to watch something via Plex, I just turn on all my components (TV, ATV, receiver), open Plex on my iPad, tap and hold on whatever I want to watch and select AirPlay to Apple TV. At that point, I can close the cover on the iPad so it goes back to sleep while the Apple TV and iMac talk to each other directly.

    The iMac and Apple TV are both on a 5GHz 802.11n network. I have no buffering, lag, or quality problems.

    It's not a hack. It's using AirPlay exactly how Apple intended it to be used. There's nothing to kill.
  12. macrumors member

    Oct 1, 2009
    PlexConnect is the way to go.

    Works completely fine on ATV3 and is a doddle to set up.
  13. macrumors member

    Aug 13, 2006
    Battleground Europe?!
    You could also consider to use Chromecast. Use an iPad/iPhone as a "remote" to choose the movie. In my experience this works better than using Airplay.
  14. macrumors regular

    May 15, 2011
    Awesome thanks! That's what I'm hoping for! You say plex connect is hit or miss, how often would you say you run into issues?
    I'm using a 5th gen AirPort Extreme plugged in via Ethernet to the router to send my wifi signal. Should be enough?

    *sorry I think I misunderstood. Plexconnect is the github workaround for plex through the trailers app? Your atv setup you mentioned is just using the stock airplay function right?*

    Yeah I looked at this. I'm going to thr states in a few weeks and was thinking of getting one but I'm so invested in the Mac environment in my house (everyone has a Mac and Mac peripherals) that I figured they'd all just play nicer with an atv
  15. macrumors member

    Sep 8, 2004
    PlexConnect is the workaround through the trailers app, except that I have an AppleTV 2 that is jailbroken so I installed PlexConnect as its own app rather than hijacking the trailers app. Sometimes it worked, roughly half the time. The other half of the time, with all the settings exactly the same as when it did work, it would simply fail to connect to the Plex server on my iMac. Immediately after it failed, I would open my iPad and the Plex client on my iPad would connect immediately, so I would just AirPlay it from there.

    Eventually I grew tired of PlexConnect being flakey and I stopped even trying to use it. I go straight for the Plex client on my iPad now and use AirPlay. It works every time. This is the stock AirPlay setup that you can use with a new Apple TV straight out of the box.
  16. macrumors regular

    May 15, 2011
    Awesome! Looks like Apple TV is my next purchase ;)
  17. macrumors 6502a


    Jun 15, 2006
    If by doddle you mean a convoluted, PITA process, then yea, its a doddle.

    PlexConnect needs to be restarted with frequency, as the ATV can't always connect to the Media server.
    Also, Airplay some times gets jacked up, where the computer can't connect to the Apple TV.

    Oh, and the whole system only really works if the computer remains wired. For one, WiFi is very unreliable - even under 5GHz, with minimal signal interference. Also, as soon as you go WiFi on the computer (I have a laptop) the IP address changes on the computer, and the ATV will be rendered useless, since it's looking for the computer's IP as it's DNS.

    And don't tell me about assigning a static IP to the laptop, either :mad: I tried that. Maybe it can work for a different router, but with Time Capsule, the IP is reserved based on the MAC address, which is different for either wired or wireless connections.
  18. macrumors newbie

    Dec 11, 2012
    Bad experiences do not necessarily represent all who have tried Plexconnect. Yes I've used Time Capsule, yes I've set dedicated ip's both on the iMac and the atv's. Currently 2 :apple:TVs' one wired and one wifi, both can access and play different movies at the same time without issue. Very rarely does anything have to be rebooted. While YMMV, this setup has passed the MAST (mommy approved simplicity test) one remote for the entire system, hit the play movies button and Bob's your Uncle. ;)
  19. macrumors 6502a

    Aug 13, 2008
    I am using OpenPlex on my mac mini with plexconnect. In the 3 months i have set it up it has been solid. While it is inherently a workaround and thus will be more subject to failure in various environments, if set up correctly it is rock solid.

    Airplay of course works flawlessly but the streams have dropped for me on numerous occasions. Tends to work better from my iPad 2 than all other devices. I am sure its something in my network but have never tried to diagnose because the option above works so well.

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