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Question: When using airplay from mac to apple tv it lags/freezes, but works fine with iPhone

Ive recently bought a apple tv 3rd generation. Everything seems to be working fine with airplay from my iphone to apple tv, but when I try and use airplay from my mac book pro, it is extremely slow, and if I try and stream a movie or something its that terrible it is unwatchable and usually freezes then stops. How can I resolve this problem? is this a problem with the apple tv?

Posted on Aug 21, 2013 4:55 AM

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Aug 25, 2013 7:34 PM in response to sheila_m. In response to sheila_m.

The link you posted was absolutely useless (it does not addres the issue with Apple but rather attempts to push the issue off on external hardware which is not the problem). I own a brand new macbook pro and purchased apple tv this past december, all software has been updated on both machines. Everything worked fine until I updated both machines. Now I can sync videos with apple tv through my iphone with no problem but when I attempt to mirror from my macbook pro I get audio but the screen freezes and lags way behind (showing one frame every 2 to 3 minutes). Additionally when I attempt to play music from apple tv via my macbook pro the songs take 10-20 seconds to start then I only hear a sound every 5-10 seconds but the songs. The controls then freeze on apple tv and I have to wait 2 to 3 minutes before the screen clears and I have access again.


Most of the posts that I have read (at least 100 or so in my frustration to find an answer) all detail issues related to Mountain lion and recent updates.

Aug 25, 2013 7:34 PM

Question marked as Helpful

Apr 3, 2015 12:48 AM in response to krissoundz In response to krissoundz

The problem is not with you AppleTV or your Mac. Your problem is the network. I had the same problem and finally solved it.

airplay makes screen mirroring, there is a lot more data to be sent from you mac than from your iPhone or iPad

-> airplay can be okay from the small monitor, but jumpy/lag from your mac->Network handles the smaller data sufficiently enough.

"five bars on my wifi" does not mean you get great signal strength.

-->press "alt"-key on your keyboard and then click on the WiFi symbol on your mac to get more data.

You want to look at "RSSI" and "Noise".

- RSSI (=received signal strength indication) can go from 0 to -100 (on apple). Closer to 0 is better, closer to -100 is worse. My RSSI is -54dBm meaning that the signal strength is 54dBm less powerful when it reaches my mac than when it left the base station. For WiFi normal range is from -45 to -87. Below -85 is more or less unusable (for example -90 is just horrible).

- Noise is a combination of all unwanted interfering signal sources (your wifi is not the only one in the neighbourhood, radio frequencies interference etc). this is valued form 0 to -120dBm. Closer to -120 is better(little to no ninterference), closer to 0 is worse. My Noise is -94dBm.

Calculate your SNR margin by doing the following:

SNR margin = RSSI(dBm) - Noise(dBm)

for example my RSSI is -54dBm and my Noise is -94dBm and thus

my SNR margin = -54dBm - (-94dBm)= +40 --> the higher the better.

SNR over 40 excellent, 25 to 40 good, 15 to 25 airplay probably will lag, under 15 is just horrible.


What can you do to get better SNR margin which means of course no lag/jumpy video on airplay form you mac to AppleTV.

1. You can use a router that has 5Ghz instead of "the normal 2.4GHz"

-5GHz is faster with a good signal, but 2,4GHz will go through walls better. A couple of walls(even thin walls) will kill 5GHz quickly, distance also kills it more quicker than a 2,4GHz. Most people use 2.4 GHz and the channels on 2.4GHz are more crowded.

2. You can use ethernet cables to connect either your mac or your apple tv to you router. Beware there are different ethernet cables though, I tried an old ethernet cable which i got in 2000, but boy did my internet connection (internet speed test) get worse readings than through WiFi.

3. You can buy a powerline adapters (sends your network to your power line)


What did I do?

a) My router is upstairs (I get internet from 4g antenna mounted on my outer wall). ->Airplay really bad (new AppleTV 3rd gen, new 27' iMac).

b) I bought a router that handles 2.4gHz and 5Ghz (TP-Link Archer C7, cheap & got lots of awards), connected it with a new ethernetcable to my upstairs router. Connected appleTV and iMac to the new router on the 5Ghz bandwidth. -> Airplay got better but still bad.

c) put my MacBook Pro into use, pressed "alt" key and then pressed the WiFI symbol on the top right corner, looked at my RSSI and Noise and noticed that next to my apple TV my SNR margin was a lot better than next to my iMac, so the problem was the WiFi connection between my iMac to router rather than between my router and appleTV.

d) Used a longer ethernet cable so that my Archer was upstairs above the room my iMac is in-> SNR margin got better-> airplay got better ->still not watchable enough.

e) bought power line adapters (didn't know they existed, didn't believe they were good, my brother recommended them, the shop offered a 30 days trial & return policy) (Netgear powerline AV500 (XAVB5401)). Now I get internet through 4g to my original upstairs router. Upstairs router to Netgear powerline via ethernetcable. Downstairs the internet comes from my power outlet via the second Netgear powerline through ethernet cable to my Archer C7 router. iMac and appleTv are connected to Archer-router via 5Ghz WiFi. ->Airplay works wonderfully with VLC,iDVD,Quicktime,iTunes, from a movie DVD connected to my iMac.

One could of course just use router to powerline via ethernet cable and then powerline to mac and another poweline to appleTv that would have been the neater solution.


You can also look what channels your neighbors use (press "alt"-key + click on WiFI symbol). there are some charts in the net that show what channels interfere , what channel should you put your router on.

An easy test should be to put your router, computer and Apple TV next to each others and try airplay (hey your router doesn't have to be connected to the internet to be able to do this), if that solves the lag, then your network is definately the problem (SNR margin remember?).


Hope this helped, i cursed that I didn't find an explanation like this, people just say "bad apple", "why doesn't apple fix this", "I have 5 bars on my Wifi so the network can not be my problem" "solved it by lowering my resolution (=less data to be send so they had almost enough of SNR margin, enough for low resolution(less data), not enough for higher resolution or something like that)! !


Click "this helped me" if this really helped, you so more people find this lengthy text easier ! !

Apr 3, 2015 12:48 AM

Question marked as Helpful

Nov 16, 2013 1:21 AM in response to krissoundz In response to krissoundz

I have the exact same problem. I have a macbook pro 13 (2011) and the screen freezes every 20 seconds while the sound continues.

I tried with my girlfriends Retina 13 inch pro from this year and the result was much better however not as smooth as with the Iphone. I'm thinking that the enhanced graphical performance of the intel 4000 graphics vs. 3000 in the 2011 pro makes some difference.


I am in no way qualified to answer way the iphone gives better performance when it comes to mirroring with airplay, but I think it must be because of the different way the two platforms use airplay.

The iphone uses quicktime and streams "just" the video of your choice and does make a mirror of the iphone in the same sense.

The macbook makes a direct mirror onto the tv of everything on the macbooks screen. This might require a lot more from the computer compared to the iphone. Because the macbook is of course on all parameters much more powerful than the iphone.

It would be nice if Apple were able to make the macbook use airplay in the same, what seems to be a more efficient way, as the Iphone.

It is kind of bugging me because I have used money buying an airport express and new cables since I got the impression that this was what was causing the poor performance. But now i know that it isn't inference since:

1) of the networks I can detect, my network is the only one running 5ghz(dual).

2) my network works perfectly and has a persistently high signal.

3) since the airplay works flawlessly with the Iphone and works a lot better with a newer computer with better graphics.


I really hope Apple will address this problem.

Nov 16, 2013 1:21 AM

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Aug 23, 2013 9:36 AM in response to krissoundz In response to krissoundz

Hello krissoundz,


Congratulations on your new Apple TV! I understand how important it is to have media play without interruptions on the Apple TV, and I appreciate the details you provided regarding the situation you are experiencing.


I recommend reviewing the steps in the section titled "Troubleshooting performance issues with AirPlay or AirPlay Mirroring" in the following article (you can skip the steps that review to an iOS device since you are only experiencing the issue on your MacBook Pro):


Troubleshooting AirPlay and AirPlay Mirroring

http://support.apple.com/kb/TS4215


Thank you for using Apple Support Communities.


Best,

Sheila M.

Aug 23, 2013 9:36 AM

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Question marked as Helpful

Aug 25, 2013 7:34 PM in response to sheila_m. In response to sheila_m.

The link you posted was absolutely useless (it does not addres the issue with Apple but rather attempts to push the issue off on external hardware which is not the problem). I own a brand new macbook pro and purchased apple tv this past december, all software has been updated on both machines. Everything worked fine until I updated both machines. Now I can sync videos with apple tv through my iphone with no problem but when I attempt to mirror from my macbook pro I get audio but the screen freezes and lags way behind (showing one frame every 2 to 3 minutes). Additionally when I attempt to play music from apple tv via my macbook pro the songs take 10-20 seconds to start then I only hear a sound every 5-10 seconds but the songs. The controls then freeze on apple tv and I have to wait 2 to 3 minutes before the screen clears and I have access again.


Most of the posts that I have read (at least 100 or so in my frustration to find an answer) all detail issues related to Mountain lion and recent updates.

Aug 25, 2013 7:34 PM

Reply Helpful (23)

Nov 3, 2013 7:53 PM in response to krissoundz In response to krissoundz

Same problem here.


I can stream hd content just fine from my iPhone 5s to my atv3. However, my expensive macbook pro retina cannot not stream the same exact content without severe stuttering/lag. Why is this?


atv3 is hard wired to the router. Both my other devices are using the same wireless connection to the router. How is it possible that the less powerful 5s (and any other iOS device) can stream it without quality loss, but the mbp retinas cannot?

Nov 3, 2013 7:53 PM

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Nov 6, 2013 10:27 PM in response to krissoundz In response to krissoundz

i'm experiencing the exact same problem, lagging (alot) when playing from my brand new MacBook PRO retina , or even my iMac but lagging not when airplaying from my IPhone 4s o Ipad 2. Someone told me it might been caused by interference with other network routers (because I live in a apartment complex)... Tho I discarded this theory when I experienced the exact same problem when airplaying at my parentes house where no other routers are interfering..


I Would really like for this problem to be solved. I really love all of my Apple products but customers shouldnt have to create work-arounds for this problem, such as finding the same content on our iPhones and iPads for a error-free airplay stream.

Nov 6, 2013 10:27 PM

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Question marked as Helpful

Nov 16, 2013 1:21 AM in response to krissoundz In response to krissoundz

I have the exact same problem. I have a macbook pro 13 (2011) and the screen freezes every 20 seconds while the sound continues.

I tried with my girlfriends Retina 13 inch pro from this year and the result was much better however not as smooth as with the Iphone. I'm thinking that the enhanced graphical performance of the intel 4000 graphics vs. 3000 in the 2011 pro makes some difference.


I am in no way qualified to answer way the iphone gives better performance when it comes to mirroring with airplay, but I think it must be because of the different way the two platforms use airplay.

The iphone uses quicktime and streams "just" the video of your choice and does make a mirror of the iphone in the same sense.

The macbook makes a direct mirror onto the tv of everything on the macbooks screen. This might require a lot more from the computer compared to the iphone. Because the macbook is of course on all parameters much more powerful than the iphone.

It would be nice if Apple were able to make the macbook use airplay in the same, what seems to be a more efficient way, as the Iphone.

It is kind of bugging me because I have used money buying an airport express and new cables since I got the impression that this was what was causing the poor performance. But now i know that it isn't inference since:

1) of the networks I can detect, my network is the only one running 5ghz(dual).

2) my network works perfectly and has a persistently high signal.

3) since the airplay works flawlessly with the Iphone and works a lot better with a newer computer with better graphics.


I really hope Apple will address this problem.

Nov 16, 2013 1:21 AM

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Nov 20, 2013 5:20 PM in response to krissoundz In response to krissoundz

Just bumping this as I have the exact same issue. I have the original ATV but the latest software update. Using iPhone 5S and original iPad with AirPlay to ATV causes no problems. But every time I use AirPlay from my MacBook Pro to ATV it skips about every 20 seconds. Audio is fine as you mention above. But video is very skippy.


I really hope Apple figures out a solution to this. I've restarted/unplugged/ and done all the typical things that a support bar will tell you to do. There is definitely an issue with this AirPlay connection.

Nov 20, 2013 5:20 PM

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Nov 23, 2013 3:25 PM in response to krissoundz In response to krissoundz

I got same problem..

My macbook pro retina got 2.6 i7, 16GB on it..

And I got new apple TV last night..

Also my iPad is brand new iPad air 128 GB......


Exactly same thing happens to me..

the apple TV flies with my iPad.. but..

with my mac..

it's laggy or even frozen..


APPLE!! please solve this issue!!

Nov 23, 2013 3:25 PM

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Nov 24, 2013 4:53 AM in response to krissoundz In response to krissoundz

Got exactly the same problem. Brand new MBA with OSX 10.8.5 running.

In addition I can say that since the new updates released for ATV (mine is a 2nd gen) the problem became severe and the Airplay mirroring not usable.


Apple, please share with us your thoughts and plan about this issue.

Nov 24, 2013 4:53 AM

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Nov 24, 2013 10:51 AM in response to krissoundz In response to krissoundz

I have a:


  • new MBPr 15" late 2013 with dedicated graphics card
  • new airport extreme base station
  • 3rd generation apple tv
  • iPhone 5s
  • 200mb download speed (not important, as streaming video on your local network has nothing todo with outside bandwidth)


All equipment is up to date software wise. Airplay mirroring from my laptop to my apple tv is ok. I get frequent lag, pixelation, audio skip (every 10 mins or so).


I'm using the 5ghz specturm to connect to the airport express so shouldn't have any inteference from my neibours (accordiing to iStumbler i'm the only person with a 5ghz setup using channel 30). I've tried connecting apple tv wirelessly and wired. No issues streaming from my iPhone or an iPad!


Surprisingly, using apps such as Beemer or Air Video Server on my MBP work better than native mirroring when it comes to video play back.


Strange when you think how Air Video works:


  1. Video file lives on MBP
  2. iPhone connects to laptop
  3. Video plays on iPhone and is sent to Apple TV via Air Mirroring


Rather than:


  1. Video played on laptop
  2. Video sent to Apple TV


Seems bizzare that my iPhone can handle better streaming than my pro laptop.

Nov 24, 2013 10:51 AM

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Dec 4, 2013 1:00 PM in response to krissoundz In response to krissoundz

All - Since there hasn't been any action by Apple to this point I went ahead and submitted the issue as feedback here - http://www.apple.com/feedback/appletv.html


I suggest that you all do the same as well to hopefully get some awareness created for this issue. I just tried again to show a movie using iMovie on my MacBook Pro to my ATV and it was horrible. It completely froze. Plus I had to reconnect my MacBook about 3 times at the beginning because it kept losing connection to the Airplay and not showing my screen on my TV.

Dec 4, 2013 1:00 PM

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Dec 11, 2013 9:05 AM in response to krissoundz In response to krissoundz

Same here, too.


MBP 13" Retina 2.6/i5, 8 GB, OS X 10.9

ATV 3. Gen., 6.0.2

iTunes 11.1.3


Full speed mirroring with iPhone 4S via personal hotspot, low speed mirroring with MBP via W-LAN (Netgear WGR614v7 without any issues).


No Parallels in progress. Just Mavericks and iTunes.


Feedback submitted to AppleCare.

Dec 11, 2013 9:05 AM

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Question: When using airplay from mac to apple tv it lags/freezes, but works fine with iPhone