Possible to stream movies from Mac or iPhone to TV using Apple TV?

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by -mattias-, Oct 20, 2016.

  1. -mattias- macrumors member

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    Dec 11, 2009
    #1
    Is it possible to stream movies from my Mac (early 2011) to an Apple TV (3rd generation) without any lag or anything?
     
  2. Rigby macrumors 601

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    #2
    If the movies are in the right format (H.264 video with AAC/Dolby Digital audio in an MP4 container) then yes. Otherwise the files may require transcoding, which may or may not work well depending on the format and the specs of your Mac.
     
  3. Boyd01 macrumors 68040

    Boyd01

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    #3
    You can certainly stream movies, but the "lag" part may depend on your personal standards. I think it works pretty well, but the ATV3 is just a slow device (I have two of them). Mine are connected by gigabit ethernet, but that's not much help because the ATV3 only has 100baseT. Ethernet is still probably faster than the slow wifi it uses though.

    I am working on some standard definition (720x480) video projects now and was airplaying them to my Apple TV as an easy way to get them on a big screen. But the quality definitely takes a hit. Maybe some people wouldn't notice, but since I'm really familiar with this video, I find it very noticeable. So now I'm plugging my MacBook Air directly into the big screen TV for that purpose.

    But as a convenient way to get video from your laptop or phone to a TV, airplay is very handy.
     
  4. Rigby macrumors 601

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    #4
    Did you perhaps use Airplay Mirroring? Regular Airplay of ATV-compatible video does not reduce the video quality (since the video stream is sent to the ATV without any conversion).
     
  5. cynics macrumors G4

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    #5
    What exactly do you have in mind? Streaming just a random file via AirPlay? Using iTunes? A streaming service (netflix, hulu, etc)? When you say lag do you mean a delay from latency or stuttering/buffering?

    With a good home network this it typically a pretty easy task. Just AirPlay....or if you need to AirPlay Mirror.
    --- Post Merged, Oct 22, 2016 ---
    He would need to be mirroring since it sounds like he's working with his own videos.
     
  6. Boyd01, Oct 22, 2016
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2016

    Boyd01 macrumors 68040

    Boyd01

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    #6
    I was using VLC and comparing it to what I see when the laptop is directly connected to the TV with a Thunderbolt to HDMI cable. I was using the Apple TV as a second screen for my MacBook Air, and in that regard it behaves just the same as a directly connected 1920x1080 monitor. It was not "mirroring" my MBA built-in screen. There was a definite quality difference, it wasn't terrible but I found it too annoying to use when evaluating my own project on a big screen. It was clearly dropping frames for example - not what I would call "lagging", more like sometimes only getting 25 of the 30 frames per second. As I said, I am using hardwired gigabit ethernet for the AppleTV3 and 802.11ac wifi on the MacBook Air that I have clocked at 60MB/sec so the network wasn't the problem.

    Now, I also have a Mac Mini for an iTunes server. If I copy my files to it, then the Apple TV is truly processing the same file… but that's not Airplay. :)

    Looking at the OP again, maybe I wasn't properly interpreting what was meant by "stream movies from my Mac". I was thinking of Airplay, which allows you to use the Apple TV just the same as a directly connected monitor.

    If you put your movies into iTunes and turn on home sharing, that's a different matter, and it does work very well. As long as the file format is compatible, those movies should look just as good on the Apple TV.

    But with my own video, if I use the full quality (especially with HD), the Apple TV just chokes and can't handle the high data rate. I need to directly connect to the TV and let the laptop do the heavy lifting for that. Even better, I have a BlackMagic UltraStudio MiniMonitor which is a little thunderbolt device with HDMI output. Directly connecting that to the TV gives me quality far superior to anything the laptop itself is capable of.
     
  7. cynics macrumors G4

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    #7
    Hmm... I guess my usage of mirroring isn't exactly accurate. What I meant it wasn't directly AirPlaying meaning pulling the information directly from a web source and making the host device a glorified remote.

    For example if you AirPlay youtube, a link is sent to the ATV which then streams the video from the source (youtube.com). When you AirPlay mirror Youtube the video from your device is sent across your local network. What you are doing is more akin to AirPlay mirroring which would explain why the quality isn't quite as good as directly connecting the devices.
     
  8. Magwin macrumors newbie

    Magwin

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    Oct 14, 2016
    #8
    This is the way you want to go OP, you can use a myriad of solutions to achieve it. A lot of people use a server on their mac to stream their content to ATV via Airplay. You can also transcode on the fly with most of them. With H.264 material you get hardware transcoding of the picture directly on the ATV3, which results in an uninterrupted picture from the video recording.
    My camera records in H.264, and the files can be fed through VLC and AirPlayed without conversion and ends up getting acceleration on the ATV3. Pristine 1080p picture.
     
  9. Rigby, Oct 22, 2016
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2016

    Rigby macrumors 601

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    #9
    No, if you encode and mux your own videos properly (i.e. use the right codecs and container format), they can be directly airplayed via iTunes or Quicktime (or 3rd party apps such as Beamer).
    --- Post Merged, Oct 22, 2016 ---
    That *is* Airplay mirroring.
    Of course. When you use mirroring, the Mac takes the screen buffer and compresses it using H.264 on the fly before sending it to the ATV. Depending on what's happening on the screen, the quality difference can be quite severe.
     
  10. Boyd01 macrumors 68040

    Boyd01

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    #10
    Thanks, that makes sense. Never really thought about the specifics of how the data gets from the Mac to the AppleTV with Airplay.
     
  11. zhenya macrumors 603

    zhenya

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    #11
    What I have been doing for years is using AirVideo HD. Server program runs on the Mac, you use your iPhone/iPad/etc. as the remote to initiate playback to the ATV. The server program takes care of any transcoding, and it just always works, flawlessly.
     
  12. -mattias- thread starter macrumors member

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    Dec 11, 2009
    #12
    What about, lets say I stream a soccer game on a website, would it be possible to stream that to the Apple TV without any lag at all?
     
  13. 2010mini macrumors 68040

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    #13
    Yes. But it depends on your home network and the equipment you are using.
     
  14. priitv8 macrumors 68020

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    #14
    I think on compatible sites the video player (at least in Safari), shows the AirPlay icon. Using that one should just redirect the video stream to aTV, but without transcoding. It should be like a file copy action.
    Screen Shot 2016-10-25 at 08.22.49.PNG
     
  15. ignatius345, Oct 25, 2016
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2016

    ignatius345 macrumors 6502a

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    #15
    You people are all insane. There's a solution for this already on your computer and your Apple TV.

    As long as the movie is in an iTunes compatible format (h.264 for example), you can just drop it into iTunes and then sign in to Home Sharing on the Apple TV and use it to browse through your iTunes library. It works perfectly -- much much smoother and better than AirPlay. No dropped frames, none of the weird jitter and flakiness you get with AirPlay or mirroring.

    If the source file is NOT in a compatible format, convert it and then drop it into iTunes. I like to use a program call iVI which also adds the right metadata and drops it into iTunes for you after conversion. You could also use Handbrake, which is free.

    If you have the video file, use iTunes/Home Sharing. If you don't, I guess then you're back to AirPlay.
     
  16. Boyd01 macrumors 68040

    Boyd01

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    #16
    Still crazy after all these years. This was covered earlier in the thread actually…

     
  17. priitv8, Oct 25, 2016
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2016

    priitv8 macrumors 68020

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    #17
    The OP wants to watch website video on aTV. Why would you go all the way to get it into iTunes library?
    AirPlay and AirPlay Mirroring are 2 different things, despite similar name and underlying transport.
    iTunes uses still AirPlay.
    Safari AirPlay icon has the same effect playing from iTunes would (sends just the stream coming from the website), not the AirPlay Mirroring.
    For some time now, iTunes has been clever enough to read your AirPlay connection status on the menubar. If you have AirPlay mirroring enabled but start to play a movie from library, it will still just AirPlay it to aTV, and not do the Mirroring part.
     

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