I recently bought a new TV. Now I want to mirror my MacBook Air on it. I don't need all the other fancy features of Apple TV (I don't have an iPhone/iPad, don't use iTunes etc.). Right now I'm using a VGA cable, but I want to do this wireless.

If I get Apple TV, can I still play the sound over my MacBook (to use USB-Headphones)? I live together with other people and want to watch movies late at night.

Are there good alternatives to Apple TV that I could use or is Apple TV the only hardware that would allow for me to wirelessly send a mirrored display of my Mac to a television set?

Update for people who stumble upon this now: By now I'm using Chromecast. For my case it does the very same thing and it's cheaper, more handy, is hidden behind the TV (invisible so to say) etc. It streams YouToube or Google Music/Movies and I can control it with my Android phone/mac. If you have a movie file, you can stream it to it (1080p, no problem) with the 'Videostream for Google Chromecast' extension for Google Chrome. The mirroring performance (enabled through the Google Chrome browser) is.. ok? A little worse than Apple TV I think, but it's ok for presentations, or showing pictures etc.

4 Answers 4


There are two options which will suit what you want

  1. Any AirPlay video receiver will let you stream wirelessly. (You can stream the audio and video, or just the video and use headphones) AppleTV is one such receiver and by virtue of it being on the market the longest, it has the most users with experience as to how it works.
  2. Buy a longer cable and link up physically.

On a personal note, I'd be in favour of the longer cable option, as it offers slightly more compatibility (a friends laptop, perhaps) and costs way less. That said, Apple TV's are awesome. I'd also recommend using either HDMI or Thunderbolt/displayport.

In short, yes, an Apple TV will do what you want.

  • Thanks. I ordered Apple TV now. You are right: A cable would be an option, too. But I think I will enjoy Apple TV for years, so it'll make up for the price...
    – fancy
    Dec 9, 2013 at 15:14

You can definitely do what you want using apple TV. There may be cheaper solutions, I'm not sure.

If you use an apple tv to mirror your air's display, you can choose to either send the sound to the tv or to use the internal speakers/headphones by going into System Preferences -> Sound -> Output, and selecting your desired output device in there.


I have a MacBook Air and I use Chromecast. It's $35 and right now you get three months of Hulu Plus free. It's a lot cheaper than Apple TV but it only works on your Chrome browser, not your actual screen.

I am currently looking for a way to cast my VLC player onto my Smart TV. VLC said they were working on an extension for Chromecast but I think that got squished by corporate.


Edit: Are there good alternatives to Apple TV that I could use?

There certainly are alternatives to Apple TV. And they are a lot cheaper. Have a look at the options listed (and explained) here. They give you 4 AirPlay Receivers That Are Cheaper Than Apple TV.

PC Advisor gives you the 5 Best alternatives to Apple TV.

  • Maybe to add. You can certainly do what you want with Apple TV, but I think unless you make full use of Apple TV, it's not justified paying £99 for it.
    – fsimkovic
    Dec 9, 2013 at 13:44
  • instead of providing link-only answers, you should extract the information from the link, and display it here. That way future readers can get at the information quickly. And it doesn't matter if the link expires.
    – wrossmck
    Dec 9, 2013 at 13:48
  • @RossMcKinley I agree, but it's a lot of additional information that it uses. I can list here the alternatives, but explanations would include other links and then I would enter an endless cycle. After all, is the second part of the question (i.e. Edit:[...]) not a simple Google search?
    – fsimkovic
    Dec 9, 2013 at 13:55
  • Yes and no. People come here because we're expected to have better answers than google. The first link you provide gives 4 options, but final option is just other airplay devices. I would wager the OP doesn't want a more expensive option, if it offers less functionality. That said, the Raspberry Pi sounds like it's a great idea, and offers some other neat features. I'd edit the list into the answer, and then provide a link for further reading. Even better, combine both lists, and provide both links.
    – wrossmck
    Dec 9, 2013 at 14:01

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