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I have a MacBook Air (April 2013) and a new Apple TV. Mirroring of the desktop is alright if I disable my TV's post-processing of the image. But If I start a video (VLC or Netflix for example), the quality is not very good. The framerate is too low and the sound is out of synch.

If I use the App Beamer, the image quality is great. Running Netflix natively on Apple TV works also great. My guess is, that Beamer streams the video file directly to Apple TV and that mirroring is slower, because the MacBook has to encode the image on the fly. Hence the low frame rate and delay (the video is also much smoother if I change the resolution down to 720p, but still not watchable for a movie).

Right now the situation is ok, because I can watch Netflix natively and stream files via Beamer. But this is not what I expected from Apple TV.

I didn't expect to play the newest action games like this, but stream videos to it in decent quality (YouTube, IMDb etc.) without using some native App on Apple TV.

Can I somehow improve this? Am I right that the bottleneck is the encoding of the MacBook? Can I improve this by disabling the MacBooks monitor or something?

EDIT: An employee at an Apple certified store told me this is definitely my router. My housemate bought a TimeCapsule. This did not help a bit. I already guessed that the employee just didn't want to admit he sold me something I didn't want. I'll probably sell AppleTV now, but I'd still be interested in answers though.

  • Is your AppleTV connected via wifi or ethernet? – jmk Jan 22 '14 at 9:47
  • It's connected via wifi. Due to the location of the AppleTV, using a cable is no option. – fancy Jan 22 '14 at 10:27
  • Did you try the AirPlay mirroring to an AppleTV in the Apple Store? Did it work as you expected? does your setup behave differently or the same? – JBRWilkinson Jan 22 '14 at 14:57
  • No, a friend bought this for me. I just went back to the store were I was then told that it'll work as soon as I had a potent router. Can I just go to an Apple/Apple certified store and test stuff like this? – fancy Jan 22 '14 at 21:18
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I'm having quite the same issue not with an apple tv but with another stuff provided by my Internet broadband which is doing air mirroring. I have a mid 2013 macbook air and mirroring my screen is lagy.

So I thought the issue was from the router too, but my brother with his latest MacBook Pro doesn't have any lag, it's really fluid.

So I thought the MBA wasn't power enough too handle the real time encoding, but one day while I was mirroring my screen I launched a slide show in iphoto and it was really fluid. Then I noticed when I turn air mirroring on it's always lagy until I launch a video from QuickTime.

So, to sum up - this likely is a software issue since under iPhoto and Quicktime, the MBA is fast enough to handle high performance mirroring of some content. (Or that it lags when it has to both assemble the image to draw on the screen and then mirror it - but when QuickTime or iPhoto take over the entire screen - mirroring can be quite snappy).

  • This should probably be a new question. – dwightk Mar 9 '14 at 16:03
  • @dwightk This shows how to troubleshoot the issue well. I suppose a follow on question could probe why when one H.264 video only is playing, it streams well or why iPhoto can do slide shows efficiently, but an entire screen render (and possibly flash player / internet lag) can bog down the Air when it's mirroring to AirPlay. – bmike Mar 9 '14 at 16:16
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How about streaming using the native capability of both products and stream Netflix and YouTube directly on the AppleTV. I would say you are trying too hard to things too complex. Just a simple opinion. Sorry, I can't help with the Beamer App. My advise is to simplify your approach.

  • Thanks for your answer. I am watching Netflix now natively and that works well. What I hoped for was for Apple TV to be an extension to my MacBook, not to have another device I have to use with other controls etc. Also I have to say that Apple TVs usability doesn't live up to Apples reputation. – fancy Dec 12 '13 at 14:32
  • I have to agree @fancy, I have an Apple TV myself, and while it's a cool little box, the mirroring capability is terrible from my MacBook Pro, and "okay at best" from my iPhone. – Charlie74 Mar 9 '14 at 18:11
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I have been using a script for Mac and PC that literally transcodes mkv files from the source to 1080p at the original frame rate and 20mbps and also encodes the original AAC-HE or just AAC 5.1 audio into a 5.1 dolby mix that works. Try Plex and PlexConnect on your PC or Mac to stream smoothly to the Apple TV.

 Note: you must be somewhat familliar with the command line, and have Python

       installed on the device you are streaming from. You will also not be 
       able to use Trailers while the script is running, and you will not be able to 
       update the Apple TV after installation.

       The first piece of software is under Freeware licencing, and PlexConnect is under
       the open source licencing.

To activate the script, and make it live, follow directions found in the wiki when it says that you must have ethernet, they are lying, you can do this over wifi.

You must install Python 2.7.x and assign your PC or Mac a fixed IP address if you are unsure of this, see the Lifehacker Guide

Follow all steps found on the Wiki under your Operating System, and you'll be golden...

Have a wonderful day.

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