page 4 of 4
You don’t have to enable audio for AirParrot. If your Mac plays AirParrot video without issues, but cannot handle audio, turn it off. You do this by opening AirParrot from the widget icon at the top of the screen. Then select “disable audio”, if audio is enabled. If audio is already disabled, don’t do anything. Make sure to go to System Preferences → Sound and change the audio output to the appropriate setting — most likely either internal speakers or line-out.
Your Mac should be playing audio now. Unfortunately, if your plan was to watch AirParrot in a room distant from your Mac, you will not have sound. You could turn the volume up very loud. This may work in some situations, however, if your Mac is located far away it is not feasible. You could run a long cable out of line-out or headphone jack into your TV room, and connect it to an audio device. This is not an elegant solution, but it may work for some.
Wireless audio is a good solution if your Mac can handle AirParrot video, but chokes on the audio. There are a few options. On the high-end, you can use a product such as Amphony’s wireless audio system. I mention this in my article on Apple TV’s poor audio quality. Indeed, if you really want high quality audio out of your Mac, this is a great option, particularly for enjoying your iTunes collection. Apple TV has inferior audio quality, so it is not ideal for listening to high quality music — even music downloaded from iTunes.
There are less expensive schemes to get wireless audio. The cheapest would be to buy an FM transmitter and connect it to the line out or headphone jack of your Mac. There are many FM transmitters, and these are typically used to connect an iPod to a car stereo, however, they work just fine in the home. You may already have one. If not, they are inexpensive and readily available. I even see them at the drug store nowadays. Once you have the transmitter connected to your Mac, you can tune into the signal on a radio in your TV room. I think everyone still has an FM radio. This is also a great solution if you want to use headphones too — dust off that old Walkman and tune in to the FM transmitter’s signal. I think the Zune also has an FM receiver ;-).
I think wireless audio is the best way to go. You will not need to tune down the video quality of AirParrot in order to get audio. Sure, you may need to invest in more equipment, but it’s much cheaper than buying a new Mac. You may also want to consider a PC. Windows PCs have had Intel Wireless Display (WiDi), long before Apple “invented” AirPlay. If you search this site (top of every page) for “widi” you can find out more. I have written about WiDi in a few articles. Basically, it allows certain Windows laptops to transmit video to an HDTV, in 1080p quality, using an inexpensive receiver box (about $50). I personally prefer Macs to Windows PCs, having used Windows for over two decades. My Mac has never crashed, although a few apps have rarely run afoul. That said, the Windows world had WiDi a few months before AirPlay came out, and it featured 1080p resolution when it debuted. It all comes down to what you prefer. I do think Apple products offer better quality, though this seems to be in decline. That said, if I were to buy a new computer today, I would buy another Mac.