How good is AirPlay?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Panini, Jul 27, 2012.

  1. Panini macrumors regular

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    #1
    I've heard a lot of stuff about AirPlay having screen tearing, lots of lag, and general chopiness when streaming 1080p HD, so I have some questions for people with AirPlay and ML.

    1. Is 1080p airplay streaming smooth?
    2. Is airplay mirroring smooth?
    3. How does retina display + airplay work? Does the mac enter a non hidpi mode for 1080p?
    4. What is the latency between what happens on computer to displaying on TV?
    5. Is airplay a suitable alternative for using an hdmi cable while gaming? Or is the latency too high?
    6. Is there any possible way to invoke choppiness or screen tearing?
    7. Is it possible for an iPad to receive airplay input to see what is happening on a mac? Or do the devices all only stream (and not receive)?

    Thanks
     
  2. ConCat macrumors 6502a

    ConCat

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    #2
    The truth is, most of it depends on the quality of your router, and where everything is located in relation to your router. I'd be willing to bet that a lot of those people who complain about choppiness have their routers a good distance away from their AppleTV, and their Mac/iOS device.

    EDIT: Or their router just plain sucks. :p
     
  3. Beta Particle macrumors 6502a

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    Jun 25, 2012
    #3
    No.
    It's variable depending on network conditions. Always noticeable.
    Absolutely not. Quality is too compressed, framerate is too low, and latency is too high.
    Devices can only transmit, not receive, though there is an app called Reflection for Macs that allows them to receive.


    Personally I would be waiting for 802.11ac support for smooth streaming. I have a very fast 802.11n setup and it's still far from smooth. Latency and quality would still be unsuitable for fast gaming though.
     
  4. mykelala01 macrumors 6502

    mykelala01

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    #4

    That is why Ethernet port is still essential. Wired is still the best connection.
     
  5. ConCat macrumors 6502a

    ConCat

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    #5
    Agreed. If you can use Ethernet, it's the best solution. The only thing that should suck down bandwidth is AirPlay, so if there's a way you can put the router near your AppleTV and plug it into Ethernet, you should do it. The placement of the router shouldn't matter much for your other devices.

    EDIT: There's also the fact that you'll be making better use of your connection in general that way. With all the traffic to the AppleTV going over the ethernet cable, the WiFi connection from the router can be 100% devoted to receiving the airplay data from your Mac or iOS device. Definitely a much more optimal solution.
     
  6. Panini thread starter macrumors regular

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    #6
    I have an extremely fast network connection. Assuming the Apple TV will have a wired connection, will any of this change?

    Does the mac transmit to the router which transmits to the Apple TV, or does it go straight to the Apple TV? (Meaning network speeds don't matter).
     
  7. ConCat macrumors 6502a

    ConCat

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    #7
    It goes from the Mac, to the router, to the AppleTV.
     
  8. Beta Particle macrumors 6502a

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    #8
    I had my AppleTV wired in when using it, with the device transmitting over 802.11n.

    I didn't try using a wired Mac to a wired AppleTV though, that might work better. (but I would still expect it to be unsuitable for gaming)
     
  9. steve-p macrumors 68000

    steve-p

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    #9
    It's a bit laggy even with fully wired. Also browsing MacRumors makes my plasma TV buzz, which it's never done before. Probably all that white.
     
  10. hallux macrumors 68020

    hallux

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    #10
    I wonder if this would be a good argument for using a dual-band router. Have the Mac or iPad/iPhone on one band (2.4 gHz) and the ATV on the other (5 gHz) and you then have dedicated streams for each device. If using a wireless Mac and a wired ATV will work, this should as well, provided the networks aren't segregated (I don't think mine are).

    I have a router like this (Netgear WNDR-3700) but have not yet updated to ML (though I may make the leap this weekend).
     
  11. Beta Particle macrumors 6502a

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    #11
    It's a WNDR-3700 (v1 I believe) that I'm using.

    Yep, that's what the cause is. Plasma displays are power-limited and have difficulty displaying large areas of white. (or just generally bright pictures)

    You will probably notice that if you set a dark background on the desktop, and have a white window open, the picture will dim as you increase the size of the window. (they all do it to varying degrees)

    You should be careful when displaying static images on the screen for long periods of time (OS X menu bars, App interfaces etc.) as you could potentially get an after-image stuck on the display. (image retention)
     
  12. iMacFarlane macrumors 65816

    iMacFarlane

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    #12
    Is this true for all HDTV's, or specifically the plasma ones?
     
  13. gentlefury macrumors 68030

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    #13
    I have a fast network connection, and Airplay, in its current form sucks. My Apple TV is wired. My Macbook is wifi...and it stutters on just audio with no screen movement, and gaming/video is impossible.

    Air Parrot is currently better (which really surprises me...I only bought air parrot as an in-between method, since I thought Airplay would be better!)

    Give it some revisions, it will get better.
     
  14. mykelala01 macrumors 6502

    mykelala01

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    #14
    Well that might work. But I found out that wired specially streaming content is reliable. Because less interference from the outside world. And 5ghz has a very limited distance. And compare to 2.4ghz... 5ghz are not good at penetrating thru walls. So you need your Apple TV really closed proximity with your router. So you better connect it with wired if you can. Then your laptop on 2.4ghz band, so you got more freedom that way.
     
  15. hallux macrumors 68020

    hallux

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    #15
    In my case, the ATV and router are less than 30 feet away from each other, in different rooms but the door from one to the other is always open (and the doorway creates a line of sight between the devices).
     
  16. mykelala01 macrumors 6502

    mykelala01

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    #16
    well if you think that is suitable with your needs and wiring is not an option for vanity reason that is fair enough. But you need to take into consideration that streaming over wifi overheat a router and your apple TV. You don't want to overheat your router. You begin to see a degrade connection and speed.
     
  17. steve-p macrumors 68000

    steve-p

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    #17
    I doubt that. Streaming HD Netflix for hours on end wirelessly works fine, why would anything overheat? It's what the router is designed for.
     
  18. Panini thread starter macrumors regular

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    #18
    This is really strange considering they advertised watching 1080p full HD movie via airplay in the mountain lion trailer (they even had a clip of someone doing it).

    Are all of you using ML?
     
  19. hallux macrumors 68020

    hallux

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    #19
    I'm installing this weekend. I can't do 1080p as I only have an ATV2.
     
  20. gentlefury macrumors 68030

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    #20
    So, I tested out airplay on my new retina MacBook Pro. It seems to be a lot better. There is some choppiness and occasional stuttering. But it is not nearly as bad as on my MacBook air. So I think it just requires a lot of power to be only get really good quality out of it. I know it is transcoding HI 264 on-the-fly. But I would assume that my MacBook Air should be able to handle that. But apparently it isn't.
     
  21. mykelala01 macrumors 6502

    mykelala01

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    #21

    Well if your router is barely new you won't notice any overheating problem....overtime wifi does degrade in performance. I have changed a lot of wifi router but never a wired Hub/Switch.
     
  22. igiboi macrumors member

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    Jun 17, 2012
    #22
    If you're at your house, if you're gonna go to all this trouble just to have it smooth, then go get a mini display port to hdmi and have the computer wired to your tv. If you're the type of person that gets annoyed of low quality streams or choppy pictures or whatever, just have it wired directly to tv.
     
  23. mykelala01 macrumors 6502

    mykelala01

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    #23
    Exactly hard wired win
     
  24. gentlefury macrumors 68030

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    #24
    therefore completely defeating the point and the convinience of airplay.
     
  25. igiboi macrumors member

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    #25
    We're not really saying we wouldn't want to do airplay, heck the reason I was so excited about ML was Airplay... but like Siri which doesn't work all the time or does work but not how we want it, we just wouldn't want to use a service or product thats not up to par with our expectations.
     

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