Mac and AVR

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by Puonti, May 3, 2016.

  1. Puonti macrumors 6502a

    Mar 14, 2011
    I recently tried connecting my 2010 iMac to an HDMI receiver and found out that the combination doesn't quite work; all of the AVR's HDMI inputs expect HDCP and the combination of my iMac and El Capitan apparently can't provide it in a way the AVR wants it. The audio comes through fine, but the video feed goes black for a second every seven or so seconds as the two fail to complete a handshake. When connecting directly to my projector the image is fine.

    Now, I'm willing to put the blame on the iMac here - it's pretty old. What I'd like to hear from all of you who have Macs and AVRs is that this combination CAN work just fine. That way I have something to look forward to when I eventually upgrade my Mac.

    So, which Mac and AVR do you have, working perfectly together despite HDCP? Note that I'm really only interested in cases where you're using HDMI connected to a HDCP-protected HDMI input on your AVR (some have inputs both with and without it). No HDMI splitters to strip out the HDCP, no AirPlay.
  2. archer75 macrumors 68020

    Jan 26, 2005
    I have a cheap monoprice HDMI splitter that works fine with HDCP.
    Your issue isn't the receiver it's the macs ability to support HDCP. I would have thought the Nvidia and ATI/AMD cards they put in them would support HDCP. I have an old AMD Radeon 5570 in my HTPC(no longer use) and even that worked fine.
  3. Uofmtiger macrumors 68000


    Dec 11, 2010
    What is your source? Is it a movie ripped to the drive, Netflix, etc? I have a 2010 Mini and a 4311CI Denon and never noticed that issue when I tested it. However, it has been a while (I use Roku and AppleTV now because they are easier to use), but I still have the Mini hooked up if you want me to run a test.
  4. Puonti thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Mar 14, 2011
    The Mac is simply transmitting the desktop and whatever applications happen to be open. No video content is necessary for it to glitch.

    From what I've researched on the web it's a problem between (some) Macs (more recently ones running El Capitan) and (some) HDCP-enabled AVRs. As I mentioned, connecting the iMac directly to my projector via the very same HDMI cables is glitch-free. The projector also supports HDCP, but clearly my iMac is able to negotiate a stable stream with it, unlike the AVR.

    If your Denon forces HDCP on some or all of its HDMI inputs and you won't mind testing your Mini through it, I'd be interested in hearing if it works. As far as I know there are no issues with connections through HDCP-less inputs.
  5. Uofmtiger macrumors 68000


    Dec 11, 2010
    This is from the manual, so I think it qualifies:

    "In order to play back digital video and audio such as BD-Video or DVD-Video via HDMI connection, both

    this unit and TV or the player need to support the copyright protection system known as HDCP (High-

    bandwidth Digital Content Protection System). HDCP is copyright protection technology comprised of

    data encryption and authentication of the connected AV device. This unit supports HDCP.

    • If a device that does not support HDCP is connected, video and audio are not output correctly. Read

    the owner's manual of your television or player for more information

    I have the newest firmware on my 2010 mini and it feeds two systems. One is a HP display via HDMi and the other is the Denon receiver via an mini display port via an HDMI to display port adapter. I played music via iTunes and a movie with a surround soundtrack via VLC on the Denon. I didn't have any issues.
  6. phrehdd macrumors 68040


    Oct 25, 2008
    Just by chance, have you tried changing the paths?

    Instead of Mac ---> AVR---> TV
    Mac ---> TV---AVR

    This would be Mac via HDMI to the TV and then most likely a tosslink cable to the AVR. Since OSX/Mac don't handle items such as DTS-Master or its counterparts, you should be via tosslink be able to play DTS and Dolby.

    Last - sometimes Macs don't match exactly the resolution of TVs, so you may want to investigate that as well if you do succeed at getting the Mac to work directly with the TV.

    It is sad that Windows and Linux can handle DTS-Master etc. and Apple continues to CHOOSE NOT TO support it. It is not that they can't afford any licensing but they insist on keeping us in their eco system the way they want us to submit to inferior product because it fits their marketing platform (iTunes, on line store purchase/rentals etc. and no discs because they told us they are antiquated -bs bs bs cough cough).
  7. Puonti, May 4, 2016
    Last edited: May 4, 2016

    Puonti thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Mar 14, 2011
    Thanks for taking the time to try this - at least that year's Mac mini's integrated GPU is able to handle the HDCP handshake properly, then! It amazes me that the Radeon 5750 in my iMac (on OS X, mind - I imagine it would work fine in Windows) can't achieve that.

    That was roughly how I had organized my connections previously - iMac to projector via HDMI and a sound system via Toslink. It's a fallback option for now if I can't get this thing to work right with the AVR, but what I really want to confirm here is that people who have newer Macbooks, Macbook Pros or iMacs have been able to get those to work with modern, HDCP-enforcing AVRs. I really don't want to have two long HDMI cables running to my projector - one from the Mac, the other from the AVR for Apple TV and other devices connected to it - for the 5+ years I'll no doubt be using my next Mac.
  8. nebo1ss, May 4, 2016
    Last edited: May 4, 2016

    nebo1ss macrumors 68030

    Jun 2, 2010
  9. Puonti thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Mar 14, 2011
    Thanks for sharing your experience, that's already two integrated Intel GPUs working fine with AVR HDCP. I also came by that page you linked to when I was doing my research on this - unfortunately their solution is a splitter box. I'd rather not use one if it's possible.

    Which is why I'm hoping modern Apple laptops and desktops with discreet GPUs handle HDCP better than my iMac does! I'm still interested in hearing from people who are successfully using a dGPU Mac (OS X, not Windows) with a HDCP-enforcing AVR.
  10. Puonti thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Mar 14, 2011
    For the sake of closure, let me share that I ended up sending both devices in for repairs under warranty.

    No fault was found in the Apple TV and it received a software update although I had already updated it to the latest publicly available version. The Apple Authorised Service Provider suspected a faulty HDMI cable.

    The X1200's Wi-Fi module was replaced and it received a software update although I had already updated it to the latest publicly available version. The local Denon importer/ service provider suspected a faulty HDMI cable.

    Before sending the devices in, I had already tried three different HDMI cables with varying specs; active and passive, short and long and cheap and expensive. I had determined the cables to work flawlessly with other gear such as my projector.

    In the end I returned both devices under the retailer's excellent return policy, unconvinced that they would start working together flawlessly after these reported repairs.

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