Apple TV vs MacBook / iPad or iPhone

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by thisisheston, May 23, 2018.

  1. thisisheston macrumors newbie

    May 23, 2018
    Why is that streaming films to my Apple TV from my iPad/iPhone goes without a hitch? But through my MacBook, it really struggles and is basically a lost cause?

    Internet issues?
    Or is this a known problem?

  2. HobeSoundDarryl macrumors 604


    Feb 8, 2004
    Hobe Sound, FL (20 miles north of Palm Beach)
    There's no particular reason why your MB can't do what your iPhone can. MBs tend to have plenty of horsepower for displaying video. And countless numbers of us with Apple computers do not have your problem, which probably means it's something on your end. There's many variables here. Here's a few for starters:
    • Relative distances (phone close to :apple:TV, while MB is on a desk downstairs or similar?)
    • Old MB vs. new iPhone (varying wifi technologies)?
    • Comparing exact same files or is MB maybe trying to send a higher res, bigger file vs. phone?
    • MB maybe wired vs. iPhone using wifi? (note that wired is usually better so this would lead to questions about cables, router/switch, etc)
    When you have this kind of problem, there are all kinds of possibilities. A good idea is to try to narrow down possible issues to the minimums and then systematically change variables to try to find the weak link. The cause could be as simple as a single cable.

    For example, use a video you've downloaded that has historically had streaming issues. You want to download a test video so that both devices can stream the SAME video rather than potentially having a streaming source feeding one version to one device and a different version to another device. Sync that video to your iPhone temporarily. Now that you have 2 copies of the SAME video on both devices, test playback on both devices. Does your problem persist?

    Test 2: hook up the MB via ethernet to eliminate wifi issues temporarily. With potential wifi issues out of the equation, try streaming the downloaded file(s) now. Still have the problem this way? If so, check the middleman tech between your MB and your :apple:TV, particularly router/switch. If you have alternates, slug them in and test with them. If you are confident about your router/switch hardware, swap out ethernet cables, testing with each change.

    Test 3: rule out that it's your :apple:TV by taking your MB and phone to a friend's home (or an Apple store) with an :apple:TV and try playing the downloaded files on their :apple:TV. If it works fine on theirs, something in your home is an issue. A great followup test: unhook just your :apple:TV box and take it over to that friend's home. Now try to play the downloaded file from your MB and phone to your :apple:TV (now completely leaning on the friend's network). This eliminates EVERYTHING that can be at fault in your home network setup, testing just the :apple:TV itself to be sure it has no issues.

    It's through tests like these that you can narrow in on the problem. Right now, it could be a dozen different things, ranging from any piece of hardware (MB, :apple:TV, router, switch, ethernet cables) to various software issues (different files being fed to different devices, different playback software being used, etc) to user error (are you actually testing the same video head-to-head or different videos?).

    Some ideal test videos would be those you know for sure are made for Apple devices- such as movie trailers in iTunes, rather than just any old videos you find out on the web somewhere (which may be mixed in terms of what will play well on Apple hardware). Conceptually, your iPhone is being fed a h.264 MP4 file while your MB might be fed a Flash video version (thus the reason to download a video(s) to sync to the phone so you are testing the exact same video(s) head to head).

    I hope this is helpful. This is definitely not a case of phone > computer. The problem you are facing is in the details somewhere. Systematic testing can help you zoom in on the specific thing(s) at fault.
  3. BODYBUILDERPAUL macrumors 65816

    Feb 9, 2009
    Also, for the MacBook:
    1. Are you using Apple HomeSharing to watch the film from it?
    2. If using AirPlay - is the AirPlay Mirroring switched on? If yes, this causes problems. Make sure that Mirroring is switched off.

    Is your MacBook using 5G WiFi? Using 2.4Ghz can be a total disaster. I have 350mbps fibre and get a reading of 349-352 with 5Ghz however if I use 2.4, it can drop to 0.6mbps at times caused by interference by neighbouring 20+ houses.
  4. Tech198, May 23, 2018
    Last edited: May 23, 2018

    Tech198 macrumors G5

    Mar 21, 2011
    Australia, Perth
    Antenna's in Mac books arn't as strong signal than iPhones connected to the same Wi-fi ?

    Technically you should be able to stream no matter what device, at the same distance in the same location. The only reason why you wouldn't would be because of signal issues, or connection not as strong.

    i.e the signal strength on the Mac only tells you how strong a connection is, doesn't mean it will be a stable connection in all cases.

    Airplay is local only, no internet access.
  5. thisisheston thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 23, 2018
    Thanks for your very in-depth reply. I’ll be sure to try to troubleshoot from your suggestions, and see how things go.
    --- Post Merged, May 24, 2018 ---
    We (my partner and I) do mirror our MB to our Apple TV, I always though this may an issue. I’ll give Apple homeSharing stitched off and see how that goes.
    Our internet is awful, apart from streaming Netflix on any device (this seems to work anywhere and anytime and full HD.Actually, streaming to the Apple TV through the app on iPad or iPad works great, but mirroring from the MB can be problematic. Strange.

    5G WiFi - I highly doubt. Although this is changing soon we hope.

    Thanks for your help.
    --- Post Merged, May 24, 2018 ---
    My thoughts entirely, when purchasing the latest,non 4K Apple TV, the Apple employee said everything was over LAN, so internet speed or connection isn’t an issue anymore (we had the original Apple TV and experienced the same issues).

    And in other news, the MB drops the connection randomly and continues playing films on the MB with sounds.

    Cheers ✌️
  6. Mrbobb macrumors 601

    Aug 27, 2012
    Not strange at all.

    What you are doing is: Internet ---> WIFI Router ---> Laptop ---> WIFI Router ---> AppleTV.

    See how you hit the WIFI router TWICE? Are u running 802.11n or better? how noisy is your WIFI? What's your real-life WIFI speed? How many concurrent WIFI users? What's the laptop cpu load when u do this?
  7. BODYBUILDERPAUL macrumors 65816

    Feb 9, 2009
    OK here are my suggestions...

    1. Try Apple HomeSharing from your MacBook to the ATV. Orange Computers App on the Apple TV.
    On your MacBook, going into iTunes THEN 'File' THEN 'Homesharing'. Turn this ON

    If a film stops and buffers, you may have WiFi interference. It could be using 2.4ghz. Use 5ghz setting on your router.

    2. If AirPlaying from the MacBook MAKE SURE THAT MIRROR IS OFF!!!!!!!!!!! I believe that Mirroring id CPU intensive and could be over working the Mac hence the buffering.

    Have you bought any film from iTunes? Do these play perfectly from Apple's Cloud?

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