Home theater using Air

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by Rainalkar, Dec 9, 2013.

  1. Rainalkar macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2013
    #1
    I would like to assemble a home theater system like this:

    HDTV (I don't know which yet)
    |
    cable
    |
    SOUNDBAR (Philips Fidelio HTL5120)

    +

    MacBook Air 13,3'' 2013


    1. The Air would be through AirPlay connected to the TV which I would use to watch movies and sports, sound coming from the soundbar ofcourse.
    2. The Air would be through Bluetooth connected to the soundbar directly in case I just want to listen to music without needing to turn on the TV
    3. If 2. doesn't work, I would use 1. to achieve it

    Questions:
    1. Will this work? The part involving the Air?
    2. How good will it be?

    If I've left something out please feel free to point it out. Thanks!
     
  2. Jaypi macrumors regular

    Jaypi

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2012
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #2
    You can connect the sound bar with your MacBook Air via Bluetooth.

    The quality will be good enough. Nothing is better than a cable, but an AUX cable e.g. isn't better than Bluetooth in my opinion.
     
  3. Rainalkar thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2013
    #3
    Good. And the range of Bluetooth? Can it handle 5 or so meters?

    If you had experience, is it possible to stream a single tab of the browser to the TV while simultaneously continuing to surf in other tabs? This tab I would like to stream while either be a YT video, but, more commonly, an embedded flash video (sport broadcasts).

    And second, is it possible to watch a localy stored film in 1080p on the TV while at the same time surfing on the Mac?
     
  4. Jaypi macrumors regular

    Jaypi

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2012
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #4
    5m shouldn't be a problem at all, if there aren't any steel barriers in between :)

    This is how it works: You connect your bluetooth audio bar with the MacBook and the whole sound output goes over the sound bar. Nothing changes, but it's not possible to listen to music (Via sound bar) and watch a video through the normal speakers of the MacBook. Therefore you need 2 sound cards. It would probably with an external USB sound card, but I have never tried that out.

    And the last point is no problem as well, as long your WiFi Router is good enough. I can't recommend streaming a 1080p while downloading an other movie with 2mb/s e.g. Except you have a router with a big bandwidth.
     
  5. Rainalkar thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2013
    #5
    Ah, I get it. So e.g. I can stream a Chrome tab with a video to the TV directly via Airplay, and the TV then ofcourse uses the soundbar, but at that point I can't use the soundbar for playing music from Air via Bluetooth?

    Or, put it other way. Say that I listen to music on the soundbar from the Mac via bluetooth. Now I turn on the TV, just some normal channel. What will happen? Will the sound come from tv speakers (soundbar being occupied), so sound at all, or all at once?

    What would you say is a good enough router? I will be setting this up in Luxembourg, they should be well equiped for it.
     
  6. blueroom macrumors 603

    blueroom

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2009
    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    #6
    To connect (mirror / second monitor) your Air to a TV via AirPlay you also need an AppleTV2/3. As for Bluetooth at 5m YMMV.
     
  7. Rainalkar thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2013
    #7
    Apple TV is that 100$ box that I connect to the HDMI? If yes, I know that, thanks.

    5m is max, that's why I wrote it. It will probably be around 3,5.
     
  8. kage207 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2008
    #8
    Why don't you actually get a receiver and buy some speakers? You'll get a lot nice quality. Invest in the long run. Just get the receiver and 2 speakers if that's all you can afford. I bought mine and will buy 3 more and a sub soon.

    Secondly, why are you building around the MacBook Air? Why not get an AppleTV? Mine is connected to the receiver and allows me to AirPlay music to it without turning on the TV and listen to my music through my speakers. I can use my iPhone, iPad or MacBook Air.

    Also, the AppleTV has apps for MLB, NHL, ESPN and more. Then there is the nice addition of iTunes to rent movies or TV shows. You can even own them and store them on your MacBook Air.

    What, I do is this: http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1674374

    I like my setup. Plex is very nice and I highly recommend it to complete the AppleTV.
     
  9. Rainalkar thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2013
    #9
    What will I get with the receiver? I am kind of low on space, and don't really want wired speakers, not even two, let alone surround systems.

    I do plan to get AppleTV (the box) but in order to connect it to the TV. If I connect it to the receiver, how will I stream anything to the TV aside play music?

    I am not in the States, but Europe. I will watch football (soccer) and tennis almost exclusively :).
     
  10. Jaypi macrumors regular

    Jaypi

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2012
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #10
    I guess the sound bar will only support one input at a time.
     
  11. Rainalkar thread starter macrumors member

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    Dec 1, 2013
    #11
    Interesting that these things aren't explored a lot. I can hardly find any answers to more complicated questions.
     
  12. kage207 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2008
    #12
    Then see if they either have an app on iOS and AirPlay to your TV?

    I just don't think a sound bar connecting via BlueTooth will be the best for a few reasons. Wire is always better for sound quality. Also, with pairing the BlueTooth isn't always reliable. You may still AirPlay music (via WiFi) through your system with the TV turned off.

    I mean, unless your TV can connect to your sound bar via BlueTooth you may run into some issues.

    What you gain with a receiver is that you may plug all your HDMI inputs (AppleTV, Xbox or PS3 or something), other inputs and get quality sound. Space may be limited but my living room is about 30feet by 20 feet and I have no issues with having large speakers in there.
     
  13. Mrbobb, Dec 10, 2013
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2013

    Mrbobb macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2012
    #13
    I have:

    ATV -> HDMI -> TV -> RCA --------v
    |
    + -> TOSLINK ----------------- > RECEIVER -> Speakers.


    So every time I want audio-only, I switch my Receiver input and it gets its audio directly from the ATV, which is the Airplay hub. So everything through WIFI.

    WIFI 802.11n should work good once you optimize it and minimal noisy neighbors.


    To multitask with the Air, I learned recently the multi-screen feature of Maverick will let you do that. Video Airplay occupies an entire screen, so whatever you want to show up on the TV is assigned its own screen 1, and you surf on screen 2.

    I don't like doing home theater on a laptop, but OK you got limited space and budget. Just don't do anything heavy while ur Airplaying Video because it will studder.
     
  14. Rainalkar thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2013
    #14
    Can I decide on the receiver later should I need it in my configuration? Frankly speaking, I have never seen a receiver in my life :) and my knowledge of it's uses is non existent.
     
  15. blueroom macrumors 603

    blueroom

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2009
    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    #15
    Soundbars are near worthless, handy if your TV has garbage sound.
     
  16. Rainalkar thread starter macrumors member

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    Dec 1, 2013
    #16
    This model has quite good reviews even on sound quality specialized sites :confused:
     
  17. kage207 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2008
    #17
    A receiver gets signal from your input devices (a computer, cable box, AppleTV, gaming console, etc.). It unifies the input of a certain type (let's say HDMI) to one input to the TV for the signal. Then it controls your volume.

    No, technically you want to build your speakers around your receiver with the input devices you plan to use.

    Honestly, sound bars are silly IMHO. The reason I believe this is because TV speakers are really good compared to the money you spend on a sound bar. The money is better spent on investing into slowly building your home theatre system.
     
  18. NewbieCanada macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2007
    #18
    I have found Airplay to be really unsuitable for Home theatre use. Poor quality.
     
  19. Rainalkar thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2013
    #19
    Then what would you recommend as a source for music listening?

    ----------

    Now I have to look up into receivers :D
     
  20. zhenya macrumors 603

    zhenya

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2005
    #20
    Airplay mirroring for video from a computer is not really suitable for quality video viewing. It will never be consistently smooth or reliable like you want video to be.

    Do you have an ipad, iPhone or iPod touch you could use in this configuration? They make his configuration a lot more workable.

    No reason to use Bluetooth for audio if you have Airplay. It will do audio fine without having the tv on.

    If your primary need is to stream embedded flash, I would look for a device other than an Appletv that will let you play the stream directly. Maybe a Roku or something similar would do this?
     
  21. Rainalkar thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2013
    #21
    No other Apple devices. Well, if it ends up being a problem that neither Airplay nor Chromecast can handle, I'll simply resort to HDMI. What else is there?
     
  22. zhenya macrumors 603

    zhenya

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2005
    #22
    If you really look into the capabilities of either Airplay mirroring or chromecast to mirror a browser video stream, you'll find that the capabilities aren't really there. It kind of works under ideal conditions, but never really makes a great way to watch something more than a short clip.

    It will take some work to figure out what alternatives will work other than hdmi. You'll have to identify what you want to watch and do the research on various devices to see if they support it. You can start here to learn about the various different options. http://thewirecutter.com/reviews/roku-3-best-streaming-box/

    If you had an idevice, and it would play the streams you wanted in Safari, then you could send them to the appletv via Airplay in good quality. That may be worth exploring, and if it works, picking up a used iPod touch cheap or something.
     
  23. Rainalkar thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2013
    #23
    All I need is:
    1. playing locally stored music on the Air wirelessly on the speaker system
    2. streaming videos from streamhunter.eu wirelessly from the Air to the TV
    3. playing locally stored (on a USB drive) HD movies wirelessly to the TV. But this isn't really that important because I can simply plug the Drive into the TV.

    I don't need specialised services, movie renting, maybe I will stream Youtube here and there but that's it.

    Maybe you could suggest what is best for 1. and 2.?
     
  24. zhenya macrumors 603

    zhenya

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2005
    #24
    Like I said, you will have to try playing that site on an idevice. I tried but it requires registration.

    If it works in Safari, you will be able to Airplay it to a tv in its maximum quality.
     
  25. NewbieCanada macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2007
    #25
    Sorry, I was referring to the video quality, not the audio.
     

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