Connecting the MBA to a TV - Better option than Apple TV ?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by Terwal, Mar 8, 2008.

  1. Terwal macrumors regular

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    Jan 29, 2008
    #1
    I have to say, today was a day of disappointment for me... :mad:

    I thought I had figured out the best home set up for my MBA:

    - Wireless data storage with the TC (even though not available in any store in NYC !)
    - Wireless input with the bluetooth keyboard and mouse
    - And wireless connection to my flat screen TV with the Apple TV

    The objective is for me to have a quasi desktop computer at home (in terms of comfort of use, not computing horsepower) and the best laptop to carry around when I travel.

    Was about to buy the Apple TV yesterday, but came across an article today clarifying that the Apple TV can actually ONLY be used to stream media on your TV. Not to use any other applications (safari, iChat, word, powerpoint...) on your TV.

    My misunderstanding... :(

    To cut a long story short and get to the question:

    Is there a way to connect the MBA to a monitor (or TV) wirelessly, while being able to use all functionalities of the MBA on such TV ?

    Thanks for your input...

    W.
     
  2. Consultant macrumors G5

    Consultant

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    Jun 27, 2007
    #2
    There are wireless transmitters for video signals but they are expensive.

    Mac Mini can be bought for as little as $429 in the apple store refurb section (the $429 ones sell out quickly). There is your solution.

    Hacking Apple TV to run safari etc is doable, but is not worth the time.
     
  3. clayj macrumors 604

    clayj

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    #3
    Here's how I would do what I think you're talking about:

    1. Get a Mac mini and connect it to the TV. Let it use WiFi to talk to your router and the Internet.

    2. Set up Screen Sharing on the Mac mini so that you can drive it from another Mac (like your MBA).

    3. On the MBA, fire up Screen Sharing and connect to the Mac mini.

    The only thing you'd have to remember is that what you see on the screen is not the MBA, but the Mac mini. You'd be using the MBA just to drive the Mac mini. This means you'd need to install all of your apps, etc.

    However, you could reverse the situation slightly if you have a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse for your Mac mini:

    1. Get a Mac mini and connect it to the TV. Let it use WiFi to talk to your router and the Internet. (This part is actually the same.)

    2. Set up Screen Sharing on the MBA so that you can drive it from the Mac mini.

    3. On the Mac mini, fire up Screen Sharing and connect to the MBA.

    So now you could use the Bluetooth keyboard and mouse to control the Mac mini, which in turn would be driving the MBA. The MBA's screen would appear on the TV, via the Mac mini.

    I would definitely stay away from the AppleTV if you want to do more than just play media files.
     
  4. gotohamish macrumors 65816

    gotohamish

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    #4
    The MacBook Air's headphone port is not optical, so it could not deliver the true 5.1 surround sound that a MacMini, Apple TV, or well, any other Mac you can buy today would give you.
     
  5. Terwal thread starter macrumors regular

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    #5
    Thanks guys for the input.

    it seems that the Mac mini is the way to go. With the set up described by clayj.

    And actually, it would allow me to kill 2 birds with 1 stone and be the solution to another of my objectives: connect to my TC from my MBA while on the road (using the mini as the remote access into the TC).

    Correct ?
     
  6. clayj macrumors 604

    clayj

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    #6
    I don't know about that last part. I think the MBA is going to want to talk directly to the Time Capsule. Even though you might be connecting to the Mac mini, you would technically not be on the same network as the Time Capsule if you were out of the house.
     
  7. Terwal thread starter macrumors regular

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    #7
    I see... would that also be the case if the Mac mini and the TC were connected through Ethernet (assuming the TC would then show as an external HD on the Mac Mini) ?
     
  8. aristobrat macrumors G5

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    #8
    When you're away from home and want to connect your MBA to the mini/Time Capsule, what kinds of things are you going to be doing?
     
  9. clayj macrumors 604

    clayj

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    #9
    I think so. Remember, there is a HUGE difference between being connected to the Mac mini and being on the Mac mini. Just because you are able to access the Mac mini's hard drive from across the network does not mean that you can take advantage of all of the software that's running on it.

    If what I understand about the Time Machine/Time Capsule functionality is correct, then the machine you're at (the MBA) has to be able to establish a direct connection to the Time Machine location... it may not work through a proxy, such as a second computer.
     
  10. Terwal thread starter macrumors regular

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    #10
    Thanks clayj. Would you see any other ways to access the Time Capsule while on the road ? It would be so great if we were able to have a set up similar to the one you described in your other (stickied and "guide'ed") thread (i.e. keeping your MBA light with files; storing most of your docs on your MB Pro and accessing your MBP from your MBA remotely), but with the TC...
     
  11. clayj macrumors 604

    clayj

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    #11
    Well, if someone would like to buy me a Time Capsule, I'd be happy to test all of that out and document how to do whatever it is it will allow you to do. ;)

    But since I already have an AirPort Extreme and 5 TB of HD space on my Mac Pro, I won't be buying a Time Capsule for myself. :p
     
  12. Terwal thread starter macrumors regular

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    #12
    Not even for the greater good of the community ? ;):)

    Thanks for your help though...
     
  13. clayj macrumors 604

    clayj

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    #13
    My pleasure.

    We are straying pretty far off-topic, but all of this brings up a question for me: Is the Time Capsule / Time Machine technology really intended to be a poweruser-level technology? I mean, a lot of the stuff I wrote about in the Remote File Access thread is stuff that only a fairly serious user is ever going to care about, much less mess with. It seems to me that Time Machine and Time Capsule are really more oriented toward the casual/inexperienced/nontechnical crowd of users, who just want to be able to get back their files in the event they mess something up. Serious/experienced/technical users like myself tend, I think, to come up with our own systems of backing up files which we can tailor to whatever blend of hardware we have and whatever particular network configuration we have. The problem with stuff like Time Machine, as far as I am concerned, is that it imposes rules on how things are backed up and (particularly) how they are to be restored. I've read posts where people have complained that after they did such-and-such, they were unable to get to the stuff that Time Machine had already backed up; to me, that's worse than never having a backup in the first place.

    But this really is a topic for another thread. ;)
     
  14. aristobrat macrumors G5

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    #14
    Don't know if it helps any, but the options for making the TC drive available across the WAN look virtually identical to the AEBS options for making the USB drive available across the WAN. :)
     
  15. clayj macrumors 604

    clayj

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    #15
    Ah, that's good to know. I have a USB hard drive I can connect to my AEBS, and share it out. I'll see if I can set that up tonight and borrow my neighbor's WiFi and see if I can get to it remotely... I think the only requirement will be to set up an additional port to forward on my AEBS (one that forwards to the Mac Pro, another that forwards to the USB drive on the AEBS).
     
  16. Terwal thread starter macrumors regular

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    #16
    aristobrat, thanks for the tip... clayj, thanks for spending the time to try to help us newbies...

    should we start a new thread dealing with this specific issue (since different than the original thread) ??...
     
  17. clayj macrumors 604

    clayj

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    #17
    Yes.

    But just to properly set expectations up front: I am not at all confident that you (or anyone else) will be able to make use of the actual Time Machine functionality across the Internet. My gut feeling is that the best that will be possible is to access the files that are stored on the TC/AEBS+USB HD, and that proper Time Machine functionality will require that the two machines (your machine and the TC or machine where Time Machine is backing files up to) be on the same IP subnet.
     
  18. Terwal thread starter macrumors regular

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