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Mac Media System with AirParrot and Splashtop

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9. Open up the content on your Mac you want to stream to Apple TV (Hulu for example). Start the video and put it in full screen mode.

10. Go into the room with your HDTV and enjoy the show.

It is important that you start the video from your Mac and not via Splashtop Remote Desktop on your iPad. If you do the latter, you will not have audio. Once you have initialized the audio stream, connecting with Splashtop should not give you any issues. Starting it from your Mac is a one time thing, per session. Instead of having to run back to your Mac to pause or pick a new show, just start Splashtop Remote Desktop on your iPad, and use it to control your Mac. Once you have finished with Splashtop, it is best to break the Splashtop remote connection, as the video will perform better and your iPad’s battery will not be drained.

Also, when you are done watching video on your TV, and want to use your Mac again, you may notice there is no sound on your Mac. Just go to System Preferences → Sound, and select the correct audio output. Ideally, AirParrot should reset this when the program is closed.

If you have any questions or comments please post them below. Keep in mind, I have a fairly beefy Mac Pro. Your results may vary. Also, if you have a MacBook, this process is greatly simplified. Just omit all the Splashtop steps, and just use AirParrot to screen share to your Apple TV.

For me, this works much better than native apps on Apple TV or using my iPad to send content to my Apple TV via AirPlay. Buffering is done very poorly on iOS. I don’t know why. Hulu support informed me this was for legal reasons. Also, Hulu has more shows and movies available for computers than mobile devices. Again, this is for legal/licensing reasons. Beyond legality, I found Netflix on Apple TV also has very poor performance. My hunch is that Apple does not allow streaming apps to have a large enough buffer to run smoothly.

I also want to mention that this solution is not energy-efficient. Rendering the graphics on the Mac and sending them through AirPlay involves a lot of CPU horsepower. People with weaker systems complain that AirParroting will make their Mac’s fan turn on and CPU usage is intensive. The irony is that one reason I bought the iPad 2 and Apple TV 2 is that it was the most “green” solution. That said, your digital cable box is one of the most power-hungry beasts in your home. It guzzles power when it is on or off, because it never really turns off. If you cancel cable and join the many cord-cutters, you will save at least $1200 a year. With my limited TV viewing habits, I have not noticed a bump in my power bill.

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