Airplay : wifi only or ethernet ?

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by FrenchPB, Nov 3, 2013.

  1. FrenchPB macrumors 6502

    Sep 15, 2005
    Hey all,

    I'll have my iMac in a room upstairs, and an Apple TV in the living room. I'd like to use that setup to airplay video files from the iMac to the Apple TV, but to get the best sound quality, I'd like to know if you can connect both to an ethernet cable, or if the airplay feature is wifi-only ?

    Since the computer and the aTV won't be next to each other, I'm afraid the wifi won't work well enough to "stream" high quality video. Would an ethernet connection help, or should I get a Mac Mini linked to the TV to do that and get great quality ?

    Thanks :)
  2. Mrbobb macrumors 601

    Aug 27, 2012
    That's fine.

    Airplay (the name may have thrown you off) is not restricted to wireless. Any way you can get to the other device via the LAN, whether ethernet or otherwise is good.
  3. FrenchPB thread starter macrumors 6502

    Sep 15, 2005
    Thanks a lot, I asked because of the name indeed.

    I tried to stream 720p videos through wifi using airplay, and I thought it was not as fluid as it should be, very annoying lag from time to time (using aTV2 and a 2012 MBA, with the wifi router being 10 meters away).

    In my apartment, I'll get an aTV3 and would love to be able to "stream" 1080p videos through ethernet between an 2011 iMac and the aTV, but I'm not sure the quality / lag-free experience will be there.
  4. Mrbobb macrumors 601

    Aug 27, 2012

    Wiressless: share airway with many people, neighbors, microwaves...

    Wired: You basically "own" the highway. The only way you would be stymied by ethernet is that you have multiple people in the house using the network at the same time and they are taking bandwidth from you. But there is an "App for that" and is a switch with QOS capability, for your next upgrade.
  5. waw74 macrumors 68030

    May 27, 2008
    are you using airplay mirroring?
    "airplay" and "airplay mirroring" aren't the same thing.

    airplay sends the file directly to the aTV to be played there. it can buffer so you gain a little bit of resilience to network problems. most wireless networks should be able to handle 1080 video played this way.

    airplay mirroring only gets the file once it hits the screen of your computer. so VLC (or whatever program) plays it, it's then converted in real time off your screen, and sent to the aTV. since the image is on your screen and the aTV at the same time, it gets no chance to buffer. and any and all network hiccups are seen on the aTV. for mirroring, you'll get the best experience from wired ethernet. (you will never get the same quality from mirroring as you would form direct airplay or a direct video connection like HDMI from your computer)
    also with mirroring, a 720 and 1080 source file won't impact your experience too much, as your screen resolution is what is being sent.

    there are options if your file is not in an iTunes/:apple:TV compatable format.
    one is airflick. It converts the file as you're watching it, but since it's reading directly from your hard drive, it can read ahead and build up a buffer.
  6. FrenchPB thread starter macrumors 6502

    Sep 15, 2005
    Thanks for your answer. I was indeed using "airplay mirroring". Can you use airplay with VLC videos, or is that option available only from itunes ?

    I'll have to look for that airflick app. Can it stream any kind of video files, such as mkv or avi ?
  7. Macman45 macrumors G5


    Jul 29, 2011
    Somewhere Back In The Long Ago
    We have 2 ATV's the one in the lounge just happens to be close enough to the router to be cabled in....the other is in the bedroom and works perfectly over wifi....It is however accessing the wifi network via an AE. Still, wifi is wifi and you should be fine.
  8. cynics macrumors G4

    Jan 8, 2012
    You don't generally notice lag while AirPlay mirroring a video because everything is equally lagged and syncs back up (video and sound).

    You notice it when mirroring and user input. For example a mouse cursor is just slightly behind its actual movement.

    Regardless if you are airplaying (not mirroring) it buffers and is fine.

    Only time I've seen lag in a video is when my network gets backed up. Like airplaying mirroring the Vine app. I'm downloading the source to my phone the uploading to the network. And that's rare plus I'm using an old linksys wireless g router. Wireless N would cure that.
  9. FrenchPB thread starter macrumors 6502

    Sep 15, 2005
    Lag was probably not the right word, it's more of a fluidity problem.
    When I watch my videos, sometimes the video would freeze for less than a second (the sound would keep going), then it'd get back to normal. It can get very annoying when watching sports though :(

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