OS X Mirroring games

MacBH928

macrumors 68040
Original poster
May 17, 2008
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Can we mirror games on a macbook to an AppleTV to make it work like a console?

I know you can mirror iOS games but what about games from Steam?
 

Ainze

macrumors regular
Feb 28, 2010
120
8
You can, but you'll get some lag. My 3.5GHz i7 will happily send a 2560 x 1440 stream to my TV, and looks great, but you won't want to play anything that needs good reactions. I find it's only really useful for games like XCOM and Civilization.
 

cluthz

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Jun 15, 2004
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Norway
Steam stream is actually very usable.
With cabled network you get very little latency and even action games are pretty playable.

Ainze, are you using steam streaming over gigabit cable or something else?
As for me, that is used to play on very decent hardware, find steam streaming pretty good.
 

Irishman

macrumors 68030
Nov 2, 2006
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You can, but you'll get some lag. My 3.5GHz i7 will happily send a 2560 x 1440 stream to my TV, and looks great, but you won't want to play anything that needs good reactions. I find it's only really useful for games like XCOM and Civilization.
Also, your system is downrezzing your Mac to 1920 x 1080.
 

Ainze

macrumors regular
Feb 28, 2010
120
8
Ainze, are you using steam streaming over gigabit cable or something else?
As for me, that is used to play on very decent hardware, find steam streaming pretty good.
The OPs question was about AppleTV, so I'm referring to an Airplay setup over an n wireless network. I'm sure Steam's streaming is much better. The things I've read say many good things, but apparently it's not compatable with AppleTV (only computer to computer), unless that's changed now? I'm sure the OP and myself would like that.

Thanks for the comment from Irishman too, but the same applies to a native 1080p signal too. It's a good signal, but not twitch-responsive. Nothing you'd ever play Call of Duty on!
 

whooleytoo

macrumors 604
Aug 2, 2002
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Cork, Ireland.
I can't comment on Mac Airplay mirroring (don't have a recent Mac), but on iOS I've been surprised at how good mirroring can be.

Early on I tried a couple of games (Cro-Mag Rally was one, on an iPad2 / ATV2) and it looked great but the lag meant I always ended up fishtailing over the place as I was over-correcting constantly as my inputs were too late.

But recently I played Real Racing 3 (iPad Air, ATV, with a very good 5GHz MIMO N router) and it was very playable; no noticeable lag.

However, this is probably true for iOS games that specifically support mirroring rather than rely on the built-in screen mirroring. If Airplay on Mac relies on built-in mirroring rather than the game developer adding support for it, I doubt if any time/response-critical games will play well on it.
 

MacBH928

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Original poster
May 17, 2008
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This is confusing for me because I learned that the service OnLive actually takes your input response back to their servers and back, and some find it very playable in specific areas, but AirPlay will have lag only few meters away from my computer?

I think with the new AC wifi network or whatever its called it should be fast enough. I am not looking for super 4k resolution, it should work fine with 720p.
 

whooleytoo

macrumors 604
Aug 2, 2002
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Cork, Ireland.
This is confusing for me because I learned that the service OnLive actually takes your input response back to their servers and back, and some find it very playable in specific areas, but AirPlay will have lag only few meters away from my computer?

I think with the new AC wifi network or whatever its called it should be fast enough. I am not looking for super 4k resolution, it should work fine with 720p.
As I understand it, Airplay is streaming the screen (or screen buffer?) contents to the AppleTV, not just the inputs.

But ultimately, at some point the screen contents are being streamed, whether it's from the iOS device / Mac to the AppleTV, or from the OnLive server to your Mac / other device. I'm not sure I understand either why Airplay is generally so slow.

As I said though, I was pleasantly surprised how good Real Racing was via Airplay with a fast iOS device & good router. The question is, would Mac developers have to devote some time to tweaking their games to work well with Airplay mirroring, and do enough people actually use it for the work to be worthwhile.
 

Ainze

macrumors regular
Feb 28, 2010
120
8
This is confusing for me because I learned that the service OnLive actually takes your input response back to their servers and back, and some find it very playable in specific areas, but AirPlay will have lag only few meters away from my computer?

I think with the new AC wifi network or whatever its called it should be fast enough. I am not looking for super 4k resolution, it should work fine with 720p.
Airplay isn't designed for game use, whereas OnLive and Steam streaming are. If you've ever looked at processor usage with Airplay, it's very low. You don't really notice any difference. Rather than taxing your processor to get the best real-time performance, it just does enough to be presentation-friendly. To do that it uses Intel Quick-Sync, a hardware feature of newer Intel processors, which is also why Airplay isn't supported on all Macs, even if they're very fast.

In short, Apple didn't design Airplay with games in mind.

(With regards to whooleytoo's remarks with Real Racing, this is a great example of how well Airplay can work if a developer built their game with Airplay in mind. A very different approach to the standard screen mirroring, which is much slower).