Can I stream any video played with VLC player to Apple TV ?

Any additional plug-in for it...?

3 Answers 3


It's not using VLC (although it uses some of its components and should be able to open anything VLC can open), but it looks like there's a way to do this. It requires on-the-fly transcoding for formats the AppleTV doesn't support (essentially anything not .mp4 or .m4v), which means it may take a fair bit of CPU power on your Mac, especially for HD stuff. It also means that aside from files the AppleTV natively supports, you're not getting bit-perfect renditions of the files, it's a lossy translation, but if you have a decently fast Mac, it should be pretty good.

The main tool you'll want is AirFlick. It's a pretty basic program that sends a URL to the AppleTV that tells it to open a stream from your computer. It also handles transcoding the non-native files. It's not very well documented; it looks like the latest versions use a built-in copy of ffmpeg for transcoding, but some of the resources around the web suggest that it may need VLC installed as well.

Usage is pretty straight forward.

  1. Open up AirFlick
  2. Select your AppleTV from the drop-down in the upper-left
  3. Drag the file you want to play onto the droplet, and hit play.

It should take around 30 seconds to buffer the transcoding, then start playing. It's definitely beta software, so YMMV.

AirFlick window

From what I can tell, the transcoding support is pretty simplistic. If you want to configure the transcoding process, you need to use custom VLC or ffmpeg command-line options and pass the output to AirFlick.

This guide from TUAW should give you a starting point for how to do that, but you'll want to consult other VLC or ffmpeg resources for specific configurations - it's beyond my expertise. The basic idea seems to be:

  1. Use VLC or ffmpeg to transcode the source (in the example, that's dvdread:///dev/rdisk5@1:3-, replace that with the path to your file of choice) on-the-fly to an AppleTV compatible format
  2. Pipe that output to mediastreamsegmenter which breaks the video into a streaming playlist the AppleTV can read
  3. Host the streaming playlist on a webserver on your Mac
  4. Use AirFlick to pass the URL of the playlist to your AppleTV
  • Thanks sorry for late reply. What about importing movie files into iTunes and then streaming from iTunes ?
    – aneuryzm
    Commented Oct 2, 2011 at 13:42
  • 4
    You can stream anything in iTunes to your Apple TV, but iTunes can only open a limited subset of what VLC can open. If a file is .mov, .mp4 or .m4v, iTunes should be able to open it, but anything else (particularly .avi or .mkv) will require transcoding beforehand into an iTunes compatible format. The best tool for that is HandBrake, which has several good presets for this sort of thing. The method in the answer gives you on-the-fly transcoding, whereas the iTunes/Handbrake method requires transcoding before hand, and you end up with an iTunes compatible file.
    – robmathers
    Commented Oct 2, 2011 at 16:50
  • Is it possible to mirror a video running in VLC on my mac to the Apple TV via mirroring?
    – jbandi
    Commented Apr 6, 2013 at 8:37

I'm a Windows user and I'm streaming to Apple TV with Air Media Center. It is also compatible with Mac OS as well. You'll need an iOS device with the Air Media Center app instaled. The steps to stream are described as follows:

  1. Start the Air Media Center on your PC;
  2. Open the Air Media Center app on your iOS device;
  3. Select the file you want to stream and open it;
  4. Click on the AirPlay symbol and it's done!

This solution requires all the devices to be under the same network. You can configure Air Media Center on your PC for authentication (Windows username and password) and also the folders which can be accessed by the app. So far, works perfectly with avi and rmvb files for me!


For streaming movies from mac to apple tv use Beamer app, its flawless..

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Which movie file formats are supported?

We support all common formats and resolutions. You don’t need to convert your videos. AVI, MOV, MKV, MP4, WMV and FLV files will play just fine.

You can download the trial to test any obscure file format you may have. We aim to offer smooth playback for all movie files on all supported Macs. If you have a movie file that doesn’t play well, we’d love to hear about it.

Why use Beamer and not Screen Mirroring?

Screen Mirroring over AirPlay works great in general, but the video quality is a lot less reliable than when you are streaming a movie using Beamer (or iTunes for that matter). The video stutters every now and then. You may find this acceptable when watching a YouTube video, but it is very distracting when you are immersed in your favorite film or TV-series.

Beamer offers smooth playback and consistent quality, because it builds a buffer of video to prevent stuttering.

Beamer also enables playback control (pause, fast-forward, etc.) using the Apple TV remote and you can still use your Mac for other tasks while the movie is playing.

Can Beamer play DVDs and DVD-rips?

Beamer currently has no support for DVDs and DVD-rips. However, you can play the individual VOB files within the VIDEO_TS folder.

Are subtitles supported?

We’ve added support for both embedded subtitles and subtitle files in version 1.5. Supported formats are: SSA/ASS, SubRip (SRT), SubViewer and MicroDVD. Your Apple TV software needs to be updated to version 5.1 or later for subtitles to work.

Is surround sound supported?

Yes. Support for surround sound output was added in version 1.6.

I don’t hear any sound (except a buzz or roar)?

If you play a file with a surround sound audio track, Beamer will offer the Apple TV a choice of playing either surround or stereo sound. Which choice the Apple TV makes is based on the setting ‘Dolby Digital’ (In the Settings app on Apple TV, go to ‘Audio & Video’)

If you don’t hear any sound or only a buzz, the Apple TV has picked the surround sound track. Make sure that your receiver is set to receive a Dolby Digital (AC-3) signal.

Alternatively, if you don’t have a surround sound setup, set the ‘Dolby Digital’ option to ‘Off’.

The subtitles menu says ‘Automatic’ but I don’t see any subtitles?

The ‘Automatic’ settings means that Beamer will let the Apple TV determine if and in what language it needs subtitles. To make it work, take the following steps:

Select your default subtitle language from the Apple TV settings screen. Go to “Audio & Video” and select “Subtitle Language”.

Make sure your subtitle tracks or files have a language code. For subtitle tracks this is usually already part of the metadata of the file, for external files you must put the language code after the name, before the file extension, e.g., movie-name.de.srt, for a German SRT file.

In the case of external files, make sure they have the same base name as the movie file. For example, for a movie called ‘movie-name.mkv’ its English subtitles file must be called ‘movie-name.en.srt’.

If you manually load an SRT file (e.g., by dragging it onto Beamer’s window), it will show the subtitles and ignore any language settings.

Can Beamer send video to more than one Apple TV?

You can choose which Apple TV you want to use for video playback. It’s currently not possible to send video to more than one Apple TV simultaneously.

Does Beamer work with AirPlay receivers other than Apple TV?

It may work, but we don’t officially support it.

Can I use my license for multiple Macs?

Yes, a license for Beamer is a personal license. You can use it on as many Macs as you (personally) own.

Will I have to pay for upgrades?

The license is valid for all upgrades of version 1.x.

Can I queue another movie file so it starts playing automatically after the current one ends?

Beamer does not currently provide such a functionality, but the ability to create and run a playlist is on our roadmap.

Beamer suddenly reports it cannot find my Apple TV. What’s wrong?

When this happens, the Apple TV has trouble announcing itself on your local network. With some Wi-Fi routers his happens more often than with others. Try to restart your router, your Apple TV (unplug it and plug it back in) and your Mac’s Wi-Fi. For more information, please refer to this Apple Support article.

Apple TV just shows a spinning wheel when I start a movie. What’s wrong?

Apple TV fails to connect to your Mac to get the video stream. For most people, this is an issue with their firewall. You can check whether the OS X firewall is enabled: open System Preferences, select “Security & Privacy”, then “Firewall”.

A movie plays, but stops to load sometimes. How can this be fixed?

Try to restart your router and your Mac’s Wi-Fi. If that doesn’t help, the movie file may be too large to process fast enough on your Mac. We will keep improving compatibility in future updates.

Can I play a movie with Beamer but let the sound come out of my Mac?

Yes, this is possible by virtue of a feature of the Apple TV and AirFoil Speakers by Rogue Amoeba.

Install and run AirFoil Speakers on your Mac

Select your Mac as AirPlay speaker via Settings > AirPlay on your AppleTV

You can also change the AirPlay speaker while playing a movie. Press the select button on your AppleTV remote until you see the menu. Here, you can also change the volume.

Can I increase the size of the subtitle text?

Yes, this is supported through a feature of the Apple TV. Go to Settings > General > Accessibility > Style on the Apple TV. You can configure a wide range of styles and sizes.

Why is Beamer not in the Mac App Store?

It was turned down for using undocumented Apple technology. We use an undocumented way to communicate with the Apple TV over AirPlay. The same technology is used by Apple’s own apps, so it works well in practice.

Will there be a Windows version of Beamer?

We have no plans to make a Windows version, but we won’t rule it out. There’s still a lot we want to improve in the Mac app.

Email us at [email protected] if you have any questions.

  • 1
    Does it do .avi files? and what does it do a longer explanation is required.
    – mmmmmm
    Commented Feb 8, 2014 at 13:46

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