Apple TV w/ airplay mirroring vs Roku w/ plex

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by clxa38, Oct 29, 2013.

  1. clxa38 macrumors member

    Jul 4, 2009

    Currently have a Mac mini hooked up to my HDTV. I'm thinking about moving it back to my desk. What is the best way to stream hd videos to my HDTV once I make this move? I've used plex and it works great but I'm curious about airplay mirroring with Apple TV. Is airplay mirroring as fluid as a Mac connected directly to HDTV?

  2. KylePowers macrumors 68000


    Mar 5, 2011
    Well I can tell you one thing: PLEX on Roku is friggin horrible. It's slow, needs a new UI, and if your media collection isn't in .mp4/.m4v/whatever, it has to be transcoded before being able to play.

    If you have a good wifi network, I'd stick with AirPlay mirroring.
  3. sim667 macrumors 65816

    Dec 7, 2010
    I use plex to just airplay to my appletv from ipad/iphone.

    Works like a charm.
  4. davids8477 macrumors 6502

    Jan 4, 2008

    Well since you were using the mini I assume that your movies are in ITunes

    That being the case the Apple TV would be a good bet.

    I had a system like yours and now have a central library and stream to 3 ATVs. Works great and seamlessly

    I also have 3 Roku - for the channels ATV doesn't have - that works great also, no problems with the plex media server app.

  5. jmac049 macrumors member

    Jul 21, 2011
    I have to disagree with Kyle. Plex on Roku is awesome and plays any file type. AVI, MP4, MKV, it doesn't matter. It has problems on older Roku units, but I have a Roku 2 and 3 and it works great. The UI does need some work but I have never had any issues. I also think it is a little easier to work with. I also have an Apple TV and have messed around with the movies and tv shows. If you don't buy the movies from apple, it sucks putting them into itunes. Plex is much easier. All you have to do is have the movie and year and it fills in the info for you. Same with tv series. As for mirroring, if Plex works, why would you need anything else? Turn on wireless on your mini after you move it and you should be good to go. As long as you have Plex Media Server installed, it will send all your movies over to Plex on the Roku.
  6. d21mike macrumors 68040


    Jul 11, 2007
    Torrance, CA
    After ripping180 DVD movies I gave up doing that. I now just buy HD on iTunes. Therefore, I am required to use AtV for those
  7. KylePowers macrumors 68000


    Mar 5, 2011
    AVI isn't natively supported on the Roku and has to be transcoded by PLEX/your server. The Roku 3 supports MKV, but I believe the XD (the one I have) does not (not sure about the Roku 2). So unless you have a really good server and are on the same network, you're not going to have a good experience (in my experience).

    Compared to running the PLEX client on a TV via a computer, everything else fails in comparison. It's beautiful and intuitive. Roku's is horribly lacking, though can work if you don't care that much.

    Maybe a Roku 3 would solve my issues, but the UI still needs a lot of work.

    EDIT: Don't get me wrong though, I love PLEX and think it's amazing from my computer clients and iOS devices. Never have an issue with those :)
  8. waw74 macrumors 68030

    May 27, 2008
    unless you are on a wired connection, you don't want to use airplay mirroring for watching videos, it will stutter and the quality will suffer as your available bandwidth drops. even wired you may have problems.

    with mirroring you will also loose your 5.1 surround sound, if that matters to you.

    you will also have no control of your mac through the apple TV, (you can't use the apple remote aimed at the aTV to pause plex on the mac) you will have to control your mac directly either with another apple remote, or using the plex app on your phone.


    the interface on the roku isn't the prettiest, but it works fine.
    video and audio quality is far superior to what you will get from mirroring.


    another option is airplay from an iOS device to an aTV, that will work well for video, and the aTV remote will control playback. you will be limited to stereo though.
  9. jdaniel macrumors 65816

    Mar 21, 2009
    Lviv, Ukraine
    So at first I tried ATV on is not bad but sometimes it pauses to load..which is a pain.... so since my tv is next to my desk..

    I hooked up the ATV to the ethernet port of the TB display, and I used sharing to share the wifi with the TB display port. It doesnt seem to be able to share with its own ethernet port but i am using a MBP..

    With this new set up, I have not experienced any pauses thus far, not with netflix and not with plex.

    Also now that I have discovered plex, I would NEVER go back to normal itunes....but plex is buggy for example now.. my artwork doesnt display so all I see if grey icons... but it did work before.
  10. jmac049 macrumors member

    Jul 21, 2011
    Plex is quite buggy on older Rokus. My experience on olders ones was not the greatest, but it works great on the 3 and the newer 2s. Never had an issue. I highly recommend updating if you use it often. UI could be better, but its manageable. Really, anything could be better. Just depends on how much one will put up with.
  11. damienvfx macrumors regular


    Jul 28, 2006
    Los Angeles, CA
    I could not disagree with this stronger. I have plex media server running on an older, 2008 macbook pro that I have turned into a dedicated server. My Roku 3 / Plex setup starts streaming ANY media within 2-5 seconds. It is the reason I bought a Roku.
  12. KylePowers macrumors 68000


    Mar 5, 2011
    As jmac049 and I discussed slightly up above, I'm probably in need of a Roku 3 because it supports .mkv natively (which means no transcoding required for my horrendously outdated server).

    UI still needs to be updated though.
  13. aced411 macrumors 6502

    Jun 2, 2007
    It's really a matter of function over form. Plex on a Roku 3 blazes along, that I can promise. It played all of my handbrake movies converted for Apple TV perfectly without transcoding. While it's not "sexy" or whatever, it gives you features I've long since wanted on Apple TV. Your TV episodes will play continously (optional), you can actually ..wait for it... search your own library! It really is great.

    Now that I've said all that, I also have to admit I stopped using Plex. I've personally become fed up with ripping/converting DVD's and blu rays. I've probably ripped 600 discs over the last 5 years when you count all the TV shows. Now I'm finding some movies aren't even on blu ray yet, but you can get them in HD digitally. I shut down Plex and chose to buy most of my content in iTunes from here on out. iTunes is the only digital store front I trust to be in existence for a long time. Besides I already had like 30 iTunes movies. That and I can finally let my mac mini go to sleep again. Apple devices will wake your mac when needed. With Plex that sucker needed to be running fully awake 24/7.

    Long story short, Plex and Roku 3 are a beautiful combo...but iTunes and Apple TV have their benefits!
  14. jmac049 macrumors member

    Jul 21, 2011

    Plex can still run on the Roku when the Mac is asleep. I do that all the time. It can also be asleep when you initially connect to the Plex server. It takes a few moments for your media to show up that way, but the Mac does not need to be awake to use Plex.
  15. waw74 macrumors 68030

    May 27, 2008
    you need a server awake running, it won't work otherwise.

    do you have an airport express/extreme on your network?
    it's possible you're experiencing the sleep proxy feature, when your mac goes to sleep, the airport express will take over advertising services from your mac. when a request comes in for that service, the airport express will wake up the mac. your display doesn't turn on, but the mac does wake up. which would explain the delay.
  16. aced411 macrumors 6502

    Jun 2, 2007
    With wake on wireless?

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