Portable Home Theater System for Camping

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by bbapps, Aug 27, 2011.

  1. macrumors regular

    Looking at setting up a iTunes based portable home theater system using my macbook (early 2008) and a 19" HDTV. We have a small camper and when we are camping (e.g. no internet); we like to watch movies at night; rather than lugging a TV, dvd-player, case of dvds; it would be nice to just take a TV, maybe a apple TV2, and macbook (always take macbook anyways).

    I was thinking by using apple TV2, I could connect the apple TV2 and macbook via wireless; thus, we could watch TV outside if we wanted (e.g. leaving the macbook in the camper). Created a network on the macbook (e.g. Wi-fii icon->create a network), but could not get the apple TV2 to see the network in the list of available networks; nor could I manual specify the network name, I would get a network not found.

    I was able to connect apple TV2 to the macbook via ethernet cable. The issue there is if I tried playing a movie purchased at ITunes store; I would receive an "Authorization Error"; I could play movies that I ripped from a DVD. The other issue is that I am hard-wired; thinking I might as well get a mini-dvi -> HDMI cable and take the apple TV2 out of the picture.

    So, given that history I have some questions….

    1. Am I going about this the right way? Any suggestions? Tell me about your setup...

    2. Can I connect Apple TV2 to macbook wirelessly (e.g. no router; rather computer-to-computer)? If so, any hints on what I'm doing wrong?

    3. Is there anyway to get around the "Authorization Error" on iTunes purchased movies? I'm guessing this is due to Apple TV2 not having an internet connection.

    4. If I go macbook direct to TV; what is the best connection option 1)mini-DVI -> HDMI, 2) mini-DVI -> DVI -> HDMI, 3) mini-DVI -> Composite-Video, 4) mini-DVI -> VGA. TV would support all those options.

    5. If I go macbook direct to TV; will I still get the "Authorization Error" on iTunes purchased movies?
  2. macrumors 68020

    DVI and HDMI are the same video signal, just different connectors, (HDMI also has a few extra connections), so video quality is the same

    the mini-dvi port doesn't have audio on it, so... if you go from the macbook to the TV, you'll still need an audio connection, you'll have to check your TV, it probably has a 1/8" audio in jack (like headphones) on the back, you'll need to check in your TV settings to see if you can use that with your HDMI port, or if you need to use the VGA to get that audio.
    you can also use a mini-toslink to toslink cable if your TV has an optical in port, also check your manual to see if you can assign that.

    if you don't have the 1/8" jack, the composite probably has the red and white audio connections with it, but this will be your lowest quality signal, videos won't be horrible, they won't be great either,but on a 19" TV, from a few feet away it should be ok. Trying to use it as a second monitor for web and stuff will probably be unusable though.
  3. macrumors regular

    Have you checked that the MacBook is authorised with the iTunes account? I'm about 90% sure I've played iTunes content back on my ATV2 without an internet connection.
  4. macrumors regular

    Thanks, didn't think to check that the tv supported HDMI + audio import. looks like it does...

    From the manual: "When using an HDMI/DVI cable connection, you must use the HDMI IN 1 (DVI) jack for video. A DVD, Blu-ray player, HD cable box, or HD STB satellite receiver may require a DVI-HDMI (DVI to HDMI) cable or DVI-HDMI (DVI to HDMI) adapter. The PC/DVI AUDIO IN jack is required for audio."
  5. macrumors regular

    I believes it is. I was actually messing with this when I started getting the "Authorization Errors". From iTunes, went to store->Authorize this computer, said computer was already authorized.

    Also, turned-off wireless on the macbook (e.g. so I was sure that I was off the internet) and the macbook could play the iTunes purchased movies; only when connected to ATV2 via ethernet that ATV2 would report an Authorization Error.

    I also check that my macbook user ID was associated to an Apple ID in "System Preferences"->"Users and Groups" (OSX Lion). It was set up with the with an old Apple ID that I had setup for ichat. Changed it to the one I use for iTunes purchases and it still didn't work.

    Thanks for the input though; given there is a chance that it should work, I'll play with some more, maybe something didn't take.

    FYI... Not sure that it matters, but I had purchased these movies on my iMac , I added them to my macbook iTunes library by selecting File->Add to Library..., and navigating to my iMac iTunes folder. Preferences->Advance is setup to "copy files to iTunes media folder when adding to library"; thus, the movie was physically copied to my macbook. Plays fine when on macbook.
  6. macrumors regular

    FYI, I did get ATV2 to connect directly to my macbook via Wi-Fi. What was missing was not only do you have to create the "computer-to-computer" network, but you also have to enable "Internet Sharing".

    Preferences->Sharing->Internet Sharing; "Share your connection from: Ethernet", "To computers using: Wi-Fi". Then ATV2 would see the network, inform you that it is unable to connect to Internet using that Network, but giving you the option to continue to use.

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