New AppleTV with Airplay. Disappointed.

stark4

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Oct 14, 2008
386
1
Florida
Just got the Apple TV in the mail and set it up just to test Airplay but i'm disappointed. I tried to play homevideo using VLC on my MacBoook Air and enabled airplay. The quality on HDTV is bad. More like washed out colors compare to my MBA screen.

1) There is black 1 inch border all around my HDTV with Airplay.(How to make those black borders disappear?)

2) I haven't test itunes stream yet. Do you guys think if i stream the same home video from iTunes the quality will get better? (but the whole point of getting AppleTV is to Airplay)

3) What type of video files i can stream using itunes and AppleTV? AVI ,MKV and MP4 playable or do it need to convert?

Thanks
 

BlankStar

macrumors 6502a
Aug 13, 2004
622
347
Belgium
So you tested one thing and then ran to the forum to say how disappointed you are in the whole product.

Might want to try iTunes streaming first instead of Video LAN Crap with a nice HD .mp4 or .m4v ;-)
 

scottw324

macrumors 6502
Mar 5, 2012
452
1
Yeah try streaming it from your iTunes library. You only need to AirPlay something if it isn't in your iTunes library (as in a video you just took on your phone) or the file isn't in iTunes (say an avi file that isn't compatible with ATV but you want to view it on your tv). I would rather stream than AirPlay. I typically stream with my ATV and use the remote app on my iPad or iPhone to control it. I do use AirPlay here and thre and do love the feature. I love how the ATV, iPad, and iPhone all work great with each other. Definitely one of the reasons I stick with it versus a roku.
 

boto

macrumors 6502
Jun 4, 2012
437
28
To get rid of those 1" borders you need to deselect overscan correction and ALWAYS use the options on the display settings on your MBA. Resolution display should be MBA so you dont need to worry about it getting distorted to 16:9 aspect ratio and as for the colors, you gotta configure it on your TV settings.

iTunes streaming is available by using the Home Sharing option on your MBA and setting it up with your Apple TV. The app on the Apple TV should be able to guide you on the steps to setup that feature.
 

Gamoe

macrumors regular
Sep 19, 2006
246
0
I just got one that seems defective (wireless stopped working altogether), but while it was working, I tested Netflix and it looked beautiful. AirPlay mirroring with a video playing, however, was extremely blocky and low-quality. It was SD video- so of course it wasn't going to look as nice as HD, but the AirPlay image paled in comparison to that of my iMac's display.

Is this a typical experience for AirPlay or is there maybe something else going on?
 

CocoaPuffs

macrumors 68020
Aug 23, 2008
2,005
3
When you try to mirror anything in real time, naturally there will be a slight LAG, which is determined by your LAN connection speed and few other factors.
 

Gamoe

macrumors regular
Sep 19, 2006
246
0
When you try to mirror anything in real time, naturally there will be a slight LAG, which is determined by your LAN connection speed and few other factors.
Well, of course. But it's not the lag I'm worried about, it's the horrible quality I get. And the same router that connects the network locally is the one bringing in great quality HD content from Netflix. I mean, this is unwatchable blocky when I set the display to match Apple TV and am playing SD content. I've done wired video mirroring before and the difference in quality here is very great.
 

hipnetic

macrumors 65816
Oct 5, 2010
1,019
342
If you demand the utmost in PQ (i.e., 24Hz video) and/or lossless audio, the ATV3 will be lacking. If you can live without those two things, I've found that the ATV3 (and ATV2 if you only need 720p) is capable of delivering very high quality video and 5.1 audio. *BUT*, for optimal quality, you really need to get your videos converted to MP4 format.

Well, let's say, your needs aren't even quite *that* high. OK, I can tell you that I've had very good results with Air Video and Plex (last time I did a comparison, I think I found Air Video to have the edge in PQ). This will require running a server app (which I think is similar to VLC's needs). But here is where you're problem may be...

You say that you're streaming it from your Macbook Air. Well, the Air is a great machine (I have a 13" 2011 model that I love), but I don't think I'd trust it to be up-to-snuff at doing on-the-fly transcoding using the Air Video, Plex, or VLC server apps. Keep in mind that if you're playing a non-MP4 video, your VLC app running on your Air is doing transcoding. That requires CPU power. Then, it's got to stream it wirelessly to your router, which then transmits it to the ATV. So, a couple of network hops going on, too.

In your case, you mention black bars and such. If you're using AirPlay Mirroring, that's another strike against you. I've found AirPlay Mirroring to be "neat", but I think it's better as a presentation tool (e.g., showing your desktop), and have not had luck Mirroring video from the NFL Game Rewind website. The video will play smoothly on my Air, but drops frames when Mirrored.

Just for fun, I recommend you try installing both the Air Video and Plex server apps on your Air and experimenting with those. Note, though, that anything that involves a computer doing on-the-fly transcoding and then AirPlay streaming, will result in stereo sound only.

You'll probably be better off doing one of the following:
a) Converting your videos to MP4 (e.g., using HandBrake)
b) Running VLC, Air Video, or Plex on a more powerful desktop in the house that can do a better job of on-the-fly transcoding.
c) Get yourself a sub-$300 nettop, install XBMC or Plex, and hook that up to your TV. Or, if you want something cheaper (but not as nice of a UI), get something like the $100 WDTV Live (which is special among $100 boxes as it doesn't require another computer to do on-the-fly transcoding for it).
d) Get a Thunderbolt-to-HDMI cable (I got a non-Apple one for less than $20) and play your videos directly from the MacBook Air.
 
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shortcrust

macrumors 6502
Aug 7, 2008
476
104
So you tested one thing and then ran to the forum to say how disappointed you are in the whole product.

Might want to try iTunes streaming first instead of Video LAN Crap with a nice HD .mp4 or .m4v ;-)
I returned my Apple TV because of rubbish AirPlay performance. I can stream HD video from my mac to my tv without Apple TV (and better than Apple TV!) but wanted AirPlay for a couple of specific tasks. I just didn't work well enough. The fact that is does other stuff well doesn't help me one bit, and I suspect the same goes for the OP. It's like expecting someone to get over the trousers being too short because the sleeves are a good fit.
 

spacepower7

macrumors 68000
May 6, 2004
1,509
0
I returned my Apple TV because of rubbish AirPlay performance. I can stream HD video from my mac to my tv without Apple TV (and better than Apple TV!) but wanted AirPlay for a couple of specific tasks. I just didn't work well enough. The fact that is does other stuff well doesn't help me one bit, and I suspect the same goes for the OP. It's like expecting someone to get over the trousers being too short because the sleeves are a good fit.
I've seen this happen a few times. Especially AirPlay audio working fine but anything video, whether from an iPad or Mac with 10.8, or even YouTube on the AppleTV, barely working.

Most of the time it was a netgear/d-link router that needed a firmware upgrade. In a couple situations we replaced the router with an Apple one, usually airport express..

The Cable/DSL modems with built in wireless are the worst offenders in my experience.
 

SimonTheSoundMa

macrumors 65816
Aug 6, 2006
1,002
190
Birmingham, UK
I tried to play homevideo using VLC on my MacBoook Air and enabled airplay. The quality on HDTV is bad. More like washed out colors compare to my MBA screen.
VLC doesn't recognise standard colour spaces for video for a lot of formats, it may also be outputting the video at your MBA colourspace and not the TVs.

You may also want to switch settings off on your TV such as "dynamic contrast", sharpness and brand specific things such as DINe on Samsung TVs, X-Reality PRO on Sony TVs etc. They just make the image worse.
 

theJTA

macrumors newbie
Nov 26, 2012
2
0
why so mean?!?!

I know it is easy to get annoyed, but there are some very mean spirited responses here.

I have experienced the same issue streaming from my brand new Macbook Retina (so it is not processor). I have looked at all the options previously described. I am running about as fast a 802.11n network as you can run.

What is odd is the higher resolution video of the interface / tracking looks AMAZING, performance is lightning fast. But... When you play a video through VLC, it looks horrible. I will be moving to test direct airplay mirroring on some apps, which I assume will look better. (like iTunes). What is odd is I have a ATV3 at work as well, it is hooked up to a crap HDTV (720p). I feel like the same exercise the video looks MUCH better, the reverse of what I am experiencing at home (interface performance lags and jumpy, bad resolution, video through VLC looks great). The TV at home is a 240hz set (which buying, since I am not a sports guy, was the worst move of my life). I am wondering if you are experiencing the same thing I am. TV LCD is "too good" pointing out flaws in the on the fly compression.

I have the HDMI cable, it looks awesome. Maybe it is a Hz thing? I have 4 variables of refresh rate going. The videos, the ATVs, the computer and the monitor. Maybe it is just one translation too many.
 

torndownunit

macrumors regular
Jan 4, 2009
242
0
Has anyone had any experience streaming a Pay Per View even in a web browser through AirPlay? I am having some friends over for one in a couple of weeks, but have never been able to test this. I don't even know a good way to test... stream a high resolution video from YouTube in my browser maybe?
 

JoeBlow74

macrumors regular
Aug 2, 2012
218
9
Just got the Apple TV in the mail and set it up just to test Airplay but i'm disappointed. I tried to play homevideo using VLC on my MacBoook Air and enabled airplay. The quality on HDTV is bad. More like washed out colors compare to my MBA screen.

1) There is black 1 inch border all around my HDTV with Airplay.(How to make those black borders disappear?)

2) I haven't test itunes stream yet. Do you guys think if i stream the same home video from iTunes the quality will get better? (but the whole point of getting AppleTV is to Airplay)

3) What type of video files i can stream using itunes and AppleTV? AVI ,MKV and MP4 playable or do it need to convert?

Thanks


Stream everything from Itunes. If you can, hardwire your Mac and AppleTV with a good CAT6 cable. I stream stuff all the time from my home movie collection on my 65in plasma. It comes out crystal clear. The Apple wireless is garbage, including the Time Capsule wireless. Anything that is WIFI or wireless is garbage when you try and stream HD video. There is waaaaay too much interfearance from the surrounding environment.
 

mic j

macrumors 68030
Mar 15, 2012
2,656
150
The Apple wireless is garbage, including the Time Capsule wireless. Anything that is WIFI or wireless is garbage when you try and stream HD video. There is waaaaay too much interfearance from the surrounding environment.
Now...that is garbage! :rolleyes:
 

MagnusVonMagnum

macrumors 603
Jun 18, 2007
5,163
1,377
Well, of course. But it's not the lag I'm worried about, it's the horrible quality I get. And the same router that connects the network locally is the one bringing in great quality HD content from Netflix. I mean, this is unwatchable blocky when I set the display to match Apple TV and am playing SD content. I've done wired video mirroring before and the difference in quality here is very great.
How odd. I can mirror my Mac Mini's display (at 720P) to my Gen2 Apple TV on the other side of the house just fine (perfect quality as far as I can tell). I've mirrored everything from my desktop and web browser to Bejeweled 3 to iTunes (and of course it can already grab my iTunes content directly using its own interface). I've used Airplay with my iPod Touch (gen 4) as well for movies/tv shows (it doesn't mirror other content; I think you need an iPod Touch 5 for that). I've even got Airplay working on my Generation 1 AppleTVs using RemoteHD (works fine for regular Airplay off my iPod Touch, but mirroring my Mac only works on Gen2/3).

I'd suspect a network issue. Netflix HD may be running at a lower bit-rate.
 

kelub

macrumors regular
Jun 15, 2010
136
45
Now...that is garbage! :rolleyes:
Agreed. Wired is obviously preferred, but not everyone can do it. I have a wired connection between my home server and my iMac so I can handbrake then move files quickly, but other than that, I have 3 Apple TVs, a PS3, a laptop, 3 iPads, 5 iPhones, and my DVR all running off an Airport Express (new model)... flawlessly. No lag, no studder, even when streaming 16GB blu-ray rips with full surround sound. The fact that the Apple network devices do 2.4 AND 5ghz signals makes the whole "interference" argument a bit moot. Just depends on your house, your setup/config, etc.
 

Hail Caesar

macrumors regular
Mar 2, 2013
125
0
Never had any issues with Apples wireless products, I use an new gen Extreme, and an Express at the other end of the house. iTunes streaming to Apple TV works flawlessly, no issues. :apple:
 

Mike in Kansas

macrumors 6502a
Sep 2, 2008
962
71
Metro Kansas City
Stream everything from Itunes. If you can, hardwire your Mac and AppleTV with a good CAT6 cable. I stream stuff all the time from my home movie collection on my 65in plasma. It comes out crystal clear. The Apple wireless is garbage, including the Time Capsule wireless. Anything that is WIFI or wireless is garbage when you try and stream HD video. There is waaaaay too much interfearance from the surrounding environment.
Why are you spreading misinformation? I stream HD video consistently through my 5GHz network from my TC. I have 4 computers, 4 iPhones, 1 Galaxy Nexus, 1 iPod, 2 wireless printers, a PS3, a wii and an ATV3 always connected to the network. I stream 1080p content from my iMac to the ATV3, and also stream from iTunes online. No problems at all. And I have cordless phones and a microwave in my house, so plenty of interference sources.
 

MagnusVonMagnum

macrumors 603
Jun 18, 2007
5,163
1,377
The Apple wireless is garbage, including the Time Capsule wireless. Anything that is WIFI or wireless is garbage when you try and stream HD video. There is waaaaay too much interfearance from the surrounding environment.
Yeah because your environment is the same as everyone's environment. :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes:

HD streams fine here over WiFi, even to multiple AppleTV units at the SAME TIME.