Do I need an Apple TV for streaming from my Mac to my TV?

desertman

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Do I need an Apple TV for streaming mp4 or other video files from my Mac (not from iTunes) to my TV, or can this also be done with other streaming devices like Roku or Chromecast?
 
Last edited:

Anonymous Freak

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Dec 12, 2002
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If you mean specifically to wirelessly stream any random content, then yes.

You can always plug an HDMI cord (either directly from the MacBook Pro, Mac Pro, or Mac Mini; or via an adapter from any Mac,) directly in to the TV.

YouTube (the website) can stream to a ChromeCast.

Other than that, if you want to wirelessly mirror your screen, AppleTV is the only game in town.
 

desertman

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Some research suggests that it should be possible with Chrome and a Chromecast stick, at least with mp4 files which would be good enough for me. It seems not to work with any Roku devices.
 

desertman

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Tune4mac is an M4V to MP4 video converter, not a streaming application (and given the fact that you usually just have to change the m4v ending to mp4 not one that I would recommend).
 

nebo1ss

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Jun 2, 2010
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Chromcast should work just fine. In addition to being able to use chrome you can install Plex which supports any type of media and also supports chromecast.

Here is a list of APPS that work with Chromecast.

https://www.google.com/chrome/devices/chromecast/apps.html

You do not need to buy a Plex pass to use plex just install the cliient and the server which are free.
 

desertman

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Thanks to all of you. Seems that both Roku and Chromecast can do what I need. I only have to decide which of them to buy. I guess I will try the Roku stick first. The main reason is the remote control; I don't think my wife would be happy if she would have to use her iPhone to control a Chromecast.
 

ixxx69

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Jul 31, 2009
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Thanks to all of you. Seems that both Roku and Chromecast can do what I need. I only have to decide which of them to buy. I guess I will try the Roku stick first. The main reason is the remote control; I don't think my wife would be happy if she would have to use her iPhone to control a Chromecast.
Is there a reason you don't want to get an ATV3? Is it just cost, or the way ATV3 works, or lack of features?

In my experience, just for ease of use, the ATV3 is hard to beat. Works really well with the Apple ecosystem. Airplay is great. Very easy to use (also keeps SO's happy).
 

AFEPPL

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ATV only works with iTunes (he doesnt want to use iTunes and i cant blame him).
As a device, ATV comes a poor third to both the other devices.
 

Boyd01

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Feb 21, 2012
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ATV only works with iTunes
I am content with iTunes and appleTV personally. But I can also use it just like any other external monitor with Airplay from my MacBook Air if I want. Not sure if you can do that with a third party device. At $75 for a refurb, it's a good value IMO.
 

AFEPPL

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Airplay sucks, its struggles to scale to the TV correctly, rendering is slow and jerky. iTunes takes airplay to a whole new level of suckyness. I want control over where and what i consume without lock in from apple.

Apple have done a fantastic job of making the product not work.
That said, i have 5 ATVs as well as chromecast.
 

gdb19

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Sep 22, 2014
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Airplay is awful when it comes to video but Beamer works really well. I use it to play videos from my MacBook Air on the tv via Apple TV.

I was actually considering getting rid of my Apple TV but Beamer has completely changed that.

If you've got a smart tv you could use plex or something like that for free.
 

desertman

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Original poster
Jul 14, 2008
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Is there a reason you don't want to get an ATV3? ...
In my experience, just for ease of use, the ATV3 is hard to beat.
I had a jailbroken Apple TV 2 that I just sold for a good price. I hardly ever used the jailbroken part and wanted to sell while the prices are still good. I also missed some channels here like HBO and Showtime which are not available on an Apple TV with software version 5.2 (which is the highest version that can be jailbroken).

I certainly need a replacement to stream mp4 files (mainly TV shows from Germany) from my Mac to my TV. This was pretty much the only feature that I used between my Mac and my TV. I never rent or buy movies in the iTunes store.

What advantages would now have an Apple TV for me?

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If you've got a smart tv you could use plex or something like that for free.
I do have a Smart TV (Vizio E601iA3). But I have never seen something like Plex among its apps, also not something like a "Vizio App Store" where Plex could be downloaded.