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Mac Media System with AirParrot and Splashtop

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You will need to purchase some software in order for this to work. If you want to remote control your Mac with your iPad, I suggest purchasing Splashtop for your iPad. If your Mac is connected to your HDTV or you have a laptop, this is not necessary. Splashtop is available from the App Store. Keep on the lookout for discount pricing, as they often have specials. Once you have purchased Splashtop, you can download Splashtop Streamer (free), which is installed on the Mac. Splashtop Streamer is the server and Splashtop Remote Desktop is the client.

You will also need to purchase AirParrot for your Mac, to share your Mac’s screen with your Apple TV 2. AirParrot costs $9.99. There are other AirPlay solutions for the Mac, but in my research, AirParrot was well reviewed, and it works for me.

Once you have the software purchased and installed, you need to make some changes. By default, Splashtop will stream audio from your Mac to your iPad. You want to turn this off, because you want the audio from your Mac to go to the Apple TV. You disable the audio on Splashtop by accessing Splashtop Streamer (from the menu widget at the top of the screen), choosing preferences, and unchecking the selection labelled “When your mobile device connects to this computer, redirect all sound to it and mute this computer (for most apps)”. This is checked by default.

Next, you want to enable audio for AirParrot. Do this by opening AirParrot from its widget on the menu bar, and choose “Enable Audio” from the menu. The first time you do this, it may install an audio driver, so follow their user-friendly instructions.

Now that everything is installed, you need to start everything in the right sequence. It is a good idea to shut everything down at this point (put your Apple TV to sleep), except the iPad.

1. Turn on your HDTV.

2. Turn on your Apple TV.

3. Turn on your Mac.

4. Wait about 10 seconds after booting up for it to create a network connection. If you do not, the Splashtop Streamer widget on the top menu bar will appear grey and be disabled.

5. Switch your Mac’s desktop resolution to be as close to 1280×720 as possible. I have a wide-screen 30″ monitor, so 1280 x 800 is as close as I can get. This will make it easier for AirParrot to convert its output to 720p. If you have the new Apple TV 3 that does 1080p, AirParrot supports that too. In that case, you want to set your screen resolution as close to 1920×1080 as possible.

6. Start Splashtop Streamer and make sure that the widget in the top menu bar is black, and not grey.

7. Start AirParrot and make sure that audio is enabled.

8. From the AirParrot main menu (pictured above) click on the Apple TV you would like to connect to. The cool thing is, you can run multiple instances of AirParrot and send the video to multiple TVs, but you need a powerful computer to pull this off. (continue…)

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