I have a similar dilemma.
With the Air, which does NOT have the Retina display (but looks nicer to many that have both AIR and PRO non retina), ........with BLURAY level videos, you can with VLC streamer, ...stream Retina level to your Ipad 3 or 4 FROM your Macbook AIR, either its SSD or a connected external HD. I watch High Def bluray level movies on Retina Ipad that way as streamed from my AIR. Fantastic quality video! the Program is only $2 on the APP STORE!
So, for video playing RETINA level movies, you can do it FROM your Air to your retina IPAD very easily.