New AppleTV with Airplay. Disappointed.

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by stark4, Aug 23, 2012.

  1. stark4 macrumors 6502

    Oct 14, 2008
    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?

  2. BlankStar macrumors 6502


    Aug 13, 2004
    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 ;-)
  3. scottw324 macrumors 6502

    Mar 5, 2012
    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.
  4. boto macrumors 6502


    Jun 4, 2012
    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.
  5. heisenberg123 macrumors 603


    Oct 31, 2010
    Hamilton, Ontario
    have you played with teh various display settings?



    best for TV
    best for device

  6. Gamoe macrumors regular

    Sep 19, 2006
    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?
  7. CocoaPuffs macrumors 68010

    Aug 23, 2008
    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.
  8. Gamoe macrumors regular

    Sep 19, 2006
    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.
  9. hipnetic, Sep 12, 2012
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2013

    hipnetic macrumors 6502a

    Oct 5, 2010
    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.
  10. shortcrust macrumors 6502

    Aug 7, 2008
    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.
  11. spacepower7 macrumors 68000

    May 6, 2004
    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.
  12. SimonTheSoundMa macrumors 6502a

    Aug 6, 2006
    Birmingham, UK
    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.
  13. theJTA macrumors newbie

    Nov 26, 2012
    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.
  14. wharzhee macrumors 6502

    Apr 27, 2010
    @OP: if u used an iphone 5 to mirror, those borders wont be so obvious. haha
  15. Che Castro macrumors 603

    May 21, 2009
  16. torndownunit macrumors regular

    Jan 4, 2009
    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?
  17. JoeBlow74 macrumors regular

    Aug 2, 2012

    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.
  18. mic j macrumors 68030

    Mar 15, 2012
    Now...that is garbage! :rolleyes:
  19. MagnusVonMagnum macrumors 601


    Jun 18, 2007
    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.
  20. kelub macrumors regular

    Jun 15, 2010
    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.
  21. Hail Caesar macrumors regular

    Mar 2, 2013
    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:
  22. Mike in Kansas macrumors 6502a

    Mike in Kansas

    Sep 2, 2008
    Metro Kansas City
    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.
  23. MagnusVonMagnum macrumors 601


    Jun 18, 2007
    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.

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