Mirroring, and general advice

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by Antipode2012, Apr 2, 2017.

  1. Antipode2012 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2012
    #1
    After many years without a TV I want to buy one.

    It will be used exclusively for mirroring my iMac, wirelessly since it will be in another room. I want to watch a variety of sources, all of which I can currently watch at my iMac (videos from youtube, vimeo, etc. in Safari; a lot of video through VLC; a bunch of other bits and pieces in different formats; some listening to Tidal from the standalone app; etc etc. Hence the desire to simply mirror my iMac on the TV.)

    I was thinking about buying a Samsung 32" Series 5 Full HD LED LCD Smart TV (UA32K5500AWXXY).

    My intention is to use the optical sound out through a DAC into my amplifier and speakers, so as long as the audio is in sync I'm happy.

    What I am not clear on is how to mirror the Mac on the TV. I found the 'Mirror for Samsung TV' app, which looks like it should do what I want. Is that right? Does anyone have experience using it?

    Or should I get an AppleTV? Would a second hand 3rd generation be sufficient? Or is there some advantage to a newer model? Can the AppleTV simply mirror the iMac? That's what I really want. I will never use the tv for apps and I haven't played a game since The Ancient Art of War some thirty year ago, and I don't have or want a Netflix subscription.

    Thanks for your help!
     
  2. Hermes Monster, Apr 3, 2017
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2017

    Hermes Monster macrumors 65816

    Hermes Monster

    Joined:
    May 4, 2010
    Location:
    UK
    #2
    I'd reconsider your set up to make things easier for yourself, if budget allows.

    My set up, which might appeal to you

    External hard drive connected to my Airport Time Capsule, which I connect my Apple TV 4 to. I use the infuse app (the VLC app also works fine) to read the movie files on my hard drive and watch them on my TV. You can obviously install YouTube and Vimeo apps too.

    Alternatively, you could install Plex on your iMac and on the Apple TV 4, and steam everything to TV that way.

    The Apple TV 3 will work for most of what you want, AirPlay from your mac (assuming its fairly recent model) but the options with the 4 would make it a lot easier to use imo

    Also, I'd use HDMI to connect to your amp, assuming it has it.
     
  3. Antipode2012 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2012
    #3
    Thanks for your reply. My amp is just a stereo amp, so I'll need a DAC, but that will be no problem from an optical output.
    What is the advantage of using an external hard drive attached to the airport time capsule? Why not just stream directly from my iMac (retina, 27")? I will sometimes want to use freely streaming video online from news sites and that kind of content, which might work better streamed? I have no idea if different newspapers and other news sits have apps for their content, and it seems like a hassle I don't need.

    (I am quite capable with audio setups, and I have some nice speakers, and a nice DAC and all that, but this whole video thing is another level, and it all seems to be proprietary in a way that isn't the case for audio.)
     
  4. HDFan macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2007
    #4
    If the TV is in another room, how are you going to control the content? I.E., if you see a different Youtube video you like how will you select it? Do you have to walk to the other room where the mac is, or do you use something like parallels access on an iPad to control your Mac?

    Yes, with the right version of OS/X or 3rd party apps.

    Your amp doesn't have an optical in?

    There seem to be some apps that would allow you to kludge airplay on the Samsung. Personally I'd avoid them since it's not officially supported.

    An Apple TV 4th generation has apps for Youtube, Vimeo and would allow you to airplay from your Mac. I would check your network bandwidth at the television location to verify that you have enough to deliver 1080p content. A 1080p blu-ray can take up to ~50 Mbps.

    Running a media server on your Mac makes things a lot easier for playing your existing content on the Apple TV. If you have Apple content (iTunes, Photos, etc.) then it's available on the Apple TV. There are also media player apps such Infuse and Plex which do a better job than Apple for things like movies. Personally I use Plex as I have had a lot of problems with Infuse. I use it for all of my video content.

    Airplay streaming will give you reduced audio quality, depending upon the source. If you use a media player you can get full original quality other than the lossless Blu-Ray formats.

    Given that you have a stereo amp and not a receiver I assume that you prefer not to update your equipment regularly. This makes me wonder why you are purchasing an 1080p television when it's on the way out, (4K UHD's are now outselling 1080p HD's). A UHD (4K) TV will give you a much longer lifetime as more content becomes available.
     
  5. Alrescha macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2008
    #5
    Practically speaking, this is probably not what you really want, as mirroring your Mac display is very resource intensive on the Mac side, and performance will likely not be what you would like (same for most other mirroring platforms - it is not a Mac-specific problem).

    Streaming content from your Mac to an Apple TV (using iTunes, or Safari) works very well, as does using an Apple TV's own apps.

    A.
     
  6. Antipode2012 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2012
    #6
    Yes, the TV will be in another room, so I'll press play on the iMac and then walk over to the TV. That doesn't seem much of a hassle, but it's great to know about Parrallels - thanks for that.

    My amp is 20 years old, and doesn't have an optical in, but I can easily enough get a DAC for that.

    I have a 120Mbps connection, so that's fine... Given the distance and the size of the TV I can live with lower quality video anyway. As find low quality sound more bothersome than lowish quality image, within reason of course!

    I don't have much apple content. I don't use itunes (I usually play audio through Audirvana), and I don't think I've ever paid for an app, so that's not really my scene. But I do have a lot of video content, through sources like Kanopy (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kanopy), which I need to access through a proxy etc etc, so it's easier to mirror that than stream it directly (I think).

    To be honest budget is an issue right now, so I can't afford to spend much on this. I have decent stereo audio, and I like my 27" retina iMac, etc etc, but I'd like a simple TV solution, so that I can sometimes sit on a sofa, but all the serious work will happen at the computer.

    I know what you mean about 4k (I have a 5k screen, so I get it!), but the shops near me all seem to be focussed on bigger televisions. I'll keep looking though, since I really only had a quick chance to look last weekend.

    Thanks so much for all your help.
     
  7. HDFan macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2007
    #7
    Do you have an iPhone or iPad? That would make the equation much simpler.

    Looking at the components, and their expected life can give you some guidance as to where to spend your money. Going from longest lived (best place to spend money) to shortest (less effective place to spend money):

    Television. If you get a UHD with both HDR-10 and Dolby vision support you could be looking at over 10 years. There are some HDMI upgrades in the works, but that won't effect the functionality of the unit. I have a Sony HD CRT (it was their last and best large screen CRT) which is somewhere between 10-13 years old. I'm only now starting to think about replacing it. If you can find a TV that supports Airplay then you may be able to eliminate the headache of having to get some sort of app or Apple TV. Even better if it supports Plex.

    Receiver. My Yamaha Receiver is 6 years old, does both DTS-MA and Dolby Master. Newer systems run apps, and can support Airplay but the sound is the same as my older system (other than supporting Dolby Atmos). I gain nothing from upgrading. If you are thinking that you have to buy a DAC, there are inexpensive receivers that cost not much more than some DAC's that would allow you to connect to the TV via HDMI which makes life much easier. If the receiver supports Airplay, then you might be able to avoid an Apple TV if your TV doesn't support Airplay. Is your only source of tv content going to be streaming?

    Router. My time capsules are between 3-6 years old. But there is a lot of activity in this area with routers supporting the ad standard (which has limitations)

    Just want to confirm that this is the speed test results that you get with a wireless connection on a device such as an iPhone or iPad at the location where the television will be. That's a rather high wireless data rate, the kind you would get from an AC router. My older a/c/n Airport Extreme only delivers around 50 Mbps 3 feet away from it, and it drops to 15 Mbps to the room upstairs less than 30 feet away. This is probably the biggest cause of headaches when streaming via something like Plex, so this one you have to get right or you have a TV that you can't use for streaming.

    Your Mac has wireless? You can connect to the internet without an ethernet connection? Now that I think of it if you are going Mac-TV I'm not sure whether your internet router's wireless is involved.

    Kanopy says you have to have at least 5Mbps for a HD stream. Very vague unfortunately.

    These are DVD's, Blu-Rays, YouTube videos? What resolution are they (and bitrate if you have it).

    Apple TV. We're now on generation 4, with rumors that the next generation will support 4K video. So you don't want to spend much money here. There are other devices, such as a Roku Box (don't think it supports Airplay), Chromecast and others. A lot depends upon whether you want to stay in the Apple Ecosystem - easy of use, fewer options, but pricier.

    I mentioned Parallels, but should have said Parallels Access. Sometimes I forget to start my plex server when I try to watch something to help me sleep. I can bring up the Parallels Access app on my iPad upstarts and start the server on my Mac downstairs. But there is a yearly fee for Access so it probably isn't worth it. Plex is free.

    My initial though from all of this is that you could minimize costs by getting a TV (or a receiver) that supports Airplay, even if you have the inconvenience of having to run into the next room to pause, change content. etc.
    --- Post Merged, Apr 5, 2017 ---
    Do you have an iPhone or iPad? That would make the equation much simpler.

    Looking at the components, and their expected life can give you some guidance as to where to spend your money. Going from longest lived (best place to spend money) to shortest (less effective place to spend money):

    Television. If you get a UHD with both HDR-10 and Dolby vision support you could be looking at over 10 years. There are some HDMI upgrades in the works, but that won't effect the functionality of the unit. I have a Sony HD CRT (it was their last and best large screen CRT) which is somewhere between 10-13 years old. I'm only now starting to think about replacing it. If you can find a TV that supports Airplay then you may be able to eliminate the headache of having to get some sort of app or Apple TV. Even better if it supports Plex.

    Receiver. My Yamaha Receiver is 6 years old, does both DTS-MA and Dolby Master. Newer systems run apps, and can support Airplay but the sound is the same as my older system (other than supporting Dolby Atmos). I gain nothing from upgrading. If you are thinking that you have to buy a DAC, there are inexpensive receivers that cost not much more than some DAC's that would allow you to connect to the TV via HDMI which makes life much easier. If the receiver supports Airplay, then you might be able to avoid an Apple TV if your TV doesn't support Airplay. Is your only source of tv content going to be streaming?

    Router. My time capsules are between 3-6 years old. But there is a lot of activity in this area with routers supporting the ad standard (which has limitations)

    Just want to confirm that this is the speed test results that you get with a wireless connection on a device such as an iPhone or iPad at the location where the television will be. That's a rather high wireless data rate, the kind you would get from an AC router. My older a/c/n Airport Extreme only delivers around 50 Mbps 3 feet away from it, and it drops to 15 Mbps to the room upstairs less than 30 feet away. This is probably the biggest cause of headaches when streaming via something like Plex, so this one you have to get right or you have a TV that you can't use for streaming.

    Your Mac has wireless? You can connect to the internet without an ethernet connection? Now that I think of it if you are going Mac-TV I'm not sure whether your internet router's wireless is involved.

    Kanopy says you have to have at least 5Mbps for a HD stream. Very vague unfortunately.

    These are DVD's, Blu-Rays, YouTube videos? What resolution are they (and bitrate if you have it).

    Apple TV. We're now on generation 4, with rumors that the next generation will support 4K video. So you don't want to spend much money here. There are other devices, such as a Roku Box (don't think it supports Airplay), Chromecast and others. A lot depends upon whether you want to stay in the Apple Ecosystem - easy of use, fewer options, but pricier.

    I mentioned Parallels, but should have said Parallels Access. Sometimes I forget to start my plex server when I try to watch something to help me sleep. I can bring up the Parallels Access app on my iPad upstarts and start the server on my Mac downstairs. But there is a yearly fee for Access so it probably isn't worth it. Plex is free.

    My initial though from all of this is that you could minimize costs by getting a TV (or a receiver) that supports Airplay, even if you have the inconvenience of having to run into the next room to pause, change content. etc.
     
  8. Hermes Monster macrumors 65816

    Hermes Monster

    Joined:
    May 4, 2010
    Location:
    UK
    #8
    The advantage of an external HDD (pretty cheap) or even a NAS (not so cheap) is that you don't need to have your iMac running as a media server, and can quickly access the files directly through your TV and using an app like Infuse, can even copy the movies to your iPad or iPhone over the network. Also, if you have one of the Apple airport routers (may work with others), the external drive will just show up as a network drive, so you can copy / save directly to it from your iMac. Obviously this isn't for everyone, but it's something to consider.

    I've also seen mentions of using/buying non-Apple equipment to AirPlay with, but I'm pretty sure Apple have stopped that in the latest updates, meaning only iOS or macOS devices can Airplay to the Apple TV and conversely the Apple TV is the only thing that will accept Airplay (could be wrong about the second part)
     

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