Enabling AirPlay mirroring on an unsupported Mac

Discussion in 'OS X Mountain Lion (10.8)' started by Lunaticx, Jul 30, 2012.

  1. Lunaticx macrumors newbie

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    #1
    Is it possible? I know about parrot but it has limitations. I have a 2008 unibody MacBook with Duo core 2. Really looking for the native functionality.
     
  2. T5BRICK macrumors 604

    T5BRICK

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    #2
    It requires hardware decoding that your computer isn't capable of doing.
     
  3. pdjudd macrumors 601

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    #3
    The limitations of AirParrot is the exact reason that your computer cannot support AirPlay - your Mac lacks the proper hardware support that you cannot get around. No tweak is going to help you since AirPlay is hardware dependent.

    Even if you could enable it, it wouldn't work any better than AirParrot.
     
  4. punchdrunk55 macrumors member

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    #4
    What about a mid 2010 MBP. does that also lack the capability or is apple just choosing not to give it to me
     
  5. pdjudd macrumors 601

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    #5
    It also lacks the ability.Apple is not denying you anything here given that this is a hardware feature. It is purely hardware based.
     
  6. SDAVE macrumors 68040

    SDAVE

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    Any Mac after 2011 revisions will have AirPlay capability. It uses Intel QuickSync technology and nothing before Sandy Bridge had it.

    Don't blame Apple for not supporting this on older models. If they left the decoding/encoding up to the CPU on older models, the performance wouldn't be that great. They waited until CPUs supported this feature to go with it.
     
  7. Mr. Retrofire macrumors 601

    Mr. Retrofire

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    That is nonsense, it requires the Quick Sync unit.

    Hardware decoding of H.264, VC-1 and MPEG-2 streams was possible before Quick Sync existed. Many Macs came with the NVIDIA 9400M IGP, which was able to decode 1080p H.264, VC-1 and MPEG-2 streams in realtime. QuickTime in Mac OS X 10.6.0 and newer used the NVIDIA IGP, if available. Apple included a new public hardware accelerated video decoding framework in Mac OS X 10.6.3 and higher, which developers can use in their own apps (VLC for example).

    Intels Quick Sync is a high performance decoding/encoding hardware unit for H.264, VC-1 and MPEG-2 streams, and Apples AirPlay implementation uses this unit to encode a H.264 stream.
     
  8. T5BRICK macrumors 604

    T5BRICK

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    #8
    And you've proven that I've had a few drinks tonight! *clap*
     
  9. AzN1337c0d3r macrumors 6502

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    #9
    I should note that H.264 encoding can also be easily done on CPU in real-time even on Core 2 Duo without Quick Sync support.

    The x264 website claims that it can do 4x 1080p streams on a single consumer-level computer.
     
  10. SDAVE macrumors 68040

    SDAVE

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    #10
    H264 is still a tough codec to work with, especially real time encoding/decoding.

    Sure Core 2 Duo could handle it, but it would decrease the performance of all tasks. Apple doesn't like half-assing things.

    If you want to see how it would have been if you let the CPU decode it, then try AirParrot...the performance is horrible.
     
  11. Lunaticx thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #11
    Thanks for all your insights. But damn that just sucks.
     
  12. SDAVE macrumors 68040

    SDAVE

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    #12
    Not really. Technology grows and moves on.

    Sell your MBP and get a new one :)
     
  13. AzN1337c0d3r macrumors 6502

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    #13
    And yet I can stream 1080p from a Dell Inspiron with Core Duo from my mom's linux laptop running Ubuntu to my workstation right? Must be really hard for much better architectures like Conroe or Nehalem.

    Like people would be doing other things at the same time as streaming Airplay from their Mac?

    Why would I choose AirParrot to determine how bad it would be if I let the CPU decode it? They definitely aren't rolling x264 since it is GPL'd yet x264 is pretty much the fastest implementation of H.264 out there.
     
  14. SDAVE macrumors 68040

    SDAVE

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    #14
    Cool, bro.
     
  15. AtomicGrog macrumors regular

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    #15
    I find it bemusing that Apple develop a product based on recent CPU hardware features and they get slated for it.

    Yes you could probably do the same in software, feel free to go find a package or even better still develop one yourself :)

    As for not doing things at the same time as streaming Airplay... I disagree because it's not just about streaming a film/video. I'm enjoying seeing my mac games on a 60" screen without even having to wire it up. If it was done in software I doubt the machine would keep up -especially a Core Duo...
     
  16. AzN1337c0d3r macrumors 6502

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    #16
    What kind of games do you play over the huge latency (500ms+) inherent in the encode/decode process? That rules out anything that requires interactivity.

    Maybe some turn-based strategy will be doable.

    I call ********s.
     
  17. pdjudd macrumors 601

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    #17
    Well, given that the only product out there that can emulate this is Airparrot and their product is notorious for being laggy (due to their reliance on the cpu) I would wish that person luck - they probably won't succeed though. Reliance on the CPU is going to be very difficult to work with properly.
     
  18. /V\acpower macrumors 6502a

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    #18
    You really don't understand the basic technology behind all of this.

    Your 1080p video is already encoded, its an encoded file. It's very easy to just send the file to another computer and let it decode the thing and show it.

    A feature like Airplay isn't about streaming some files over Wi-Fi (a thing you can already do with iTunes and an AppleTV.), it's about ENCODING the video output on the screen and THEN only stream it in realtime to the AppleTV. It's totally different.

    Encoding is really taxing cpu way more than simple decoding. The same way it take longer for an author to write a book than it take for you to read it.

    Take your Dell Inspiron Laptop, take your 1080p video in whatever format you choose and use a software like Handbrake to ENCODE it to 1080p x264 and check if you can do it in realtime (which mean that if your movie last 1 hour, can your computer ENCODE the movie in x.264 faster than 1 hour ? If it can, try to do some other work while it does.)

    Or on a Mac, take Quicktime X and use it to make a recording of all the screen while you do work. I don't think you'll like working on it.

    So basically, software encoding of a full 1080p screen + actual work + streaming it, really can't be done well in realtime.

    That's why AirPlay on the Mac is limited to computer who have special hardware to do this encoding in realtime.
     
  19. AzN1337c0d3r, Jul 31, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2012

    AzN1337c0d3r macrumors 6502

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    #19
    1080p is not an encoding genius. It's a resolution format.


    Did anyone claim anything differently? Guess what? VLC does http streaming in exactly the same way you describe.

    This a completely idiotic analogy. Writing is not compression, dont confuse the two. Compression can be made arbitrarily easy.

    Here's a scheme, I throw away every other frame and duplicate whatever the first frame. That's a pretty crude form of compression, but it's compression nontheless and any CPU made in the last 3 decades could probably do it in real time.

    Yes it does, at 2x real time, with x264. And lo and behold I can fire up my favorite game (Starcraft 2) while I'm at it too, since modern games are rarely CPU-bound anyways.

    Again, while are we comparing a ****** encoder? Apple won't use x264 so they rolled their own and we're taking it as reference that it's the least CPU-hogging encoder?

    Windows Remote Desktop and VNC have been doing this for... I dont know who knows how god damn long.

    AirPlay on a Mac is limited because Apple is planning obsolescence.
     
  20. thatoneguy82 macrumors 68000

    thatoneguy82

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    #20
    Argh. I didn't care/know about this feature until I read it on here. But now that I know it exists, I want it. Worse is, my MBP isn't supported. I've been extremely happy with my MBP, it's done everything I've wanted to do exceptionally well and never had the urge to ever upgrade. It's been upgraded to highest I can, of course (SSD, RAM, etc). Anyway, this feature is itching me to get an upgrade. I would love to no longer connect an HDMI adapter to connect to my TV.

    I'm not really well-versed in all of these things, but is the AirPlay (AirParrot) specific to the app or the entire MBP? Meaning when I press AirPlay on my iPad and exit out of the program, it still continues playing. It still allows to have continued use of my iPad and showing the content that I've sent over AirPlay.
     
  21. AzN1337c0d3r macrumors 6502

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    #21
    It's functionality is similar to the iPad, basically mirrors your screen.
     
  22. Lunaticx thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #22
    Hopefully airparrot will go on sale for .99 cents soon. :D
     
  23. JordanNZ, Aug 1, 2012
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2012

    JordanNZ macrumors 6502a

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    #23
    Like other people have already pointed out....

    Airplay on a mac is using a hardware feature built into recent chipsets. So it doesn't tax your CPU, so it can do it at a consistent frame rate, and it doesn't interfere with the performance of your applications. You can't go calling apples 'encoder' 'slow' when it's doing something in HARDWARE.

    Who cares how fast x264 encoding is on the CPU. With x264 you're taking an already compressed video file, and transcoding it to another file. Handbrake (which uses x264) can do this on my i5 iMac in roughly realtime. But it uses ALL FOUR CORES at 100% to do this.

    With airplay, you're taking the raw video output of your system, encoding it to h264 in realtime, and spitting it out over wifi all without using a large amount of cpu cycles.

    The only thing the two scenarios have in common is h264.
     
  24. Reason077 macrumors 68000

    Reason077

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    #24
    It requires hardware encoding. Pretty sure a 2008 MacBook is capable of hardware decoding ;)
     
  25. Blipp macrumors 6502

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    #25
    I'm going to quote myself from another thread on this exact topic:

    "I think the point everyone is trying to make is that AirPlay is written to use the built in hardware encoder, period. If your machine has QuickSync than you have AirPlay. Apple is not interested in writing a second software based solution separately from their already existing AirPlay w/ hardware for machines that have the necessary processing power to do the encoding via software. I'm not taking a side on whether I agree with Apple's decision on this matter one way or another but I think it's pretty clear that they just weren't interested in developing or supporting essentially 2 entirely different versions of AirPlay. "

    Planned obsolescence? Maybe, but I don't really think so. Apple is all about a consistent and positive user experience. They want AirPlay to be a consistent low-impact user experience on supported devices. A software based solution for older machines would provide a widely different user experience based on hardware. That just isn't the kind of thing Apple does.
     

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