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Stream Audio and Video with Mac’s AirPlay and AirPlay Mirroring

With AirPlay, you can stream music and videos from your iTunes library, over a network to an Apple TV or AirPort Express. AirPlay Mirroring lets you stream what’s on your Mac screen or other iOS device to a television, via Apple TV.

Stream audio using AirPlay

If you connect AirPort Express to your home stereo receiver or powered speakers, you can pump the music from your Mac (or Windows) iTunes library through your stereo system. You can use either a ministereo-to-RCA cable or a minidigital, fiber-optic TOSLINK cable, if your stereo can accommodate that kind of connector.

Either way, iTunes detects the remote connection. Through a small pop-up menu, you can click Computer to listen to music through your Mac (or whatever speakers it is connected to), or you can listen through Express and whichever speakers or stereo it is hooked up to.

If you have an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, download Apple’s free Remote application from the App Store. It controls AirTunes (along with Apple TV and iTunes).

Apple has built an ecosystem around AirPlay. These days, you can wirelessly stream music, and for that matter other content, to third-party AirPlay-compatible speakers, A/V receivers systems, and stereos.

Stream video using AirPlay Mirroring

If you have a Mac running Mountain Lion and an Apple TV set-top box, you can display whatever is showing on your Mac screen on a television connected to the Apple TV. It’s all done through technology called AirPlay Mirroring. You can even stream up to the 1080p high-definition video standard.

To take advantage of AirPlay Mirroring, the Mac and Apple TV (second generation or later) must be on the same wired (Ethernet) or wireless network. And you’ll need a MacBook Pro dating from early 2011 or later or another Mac model from mid-2011 or later.

If your compatible Mac detects an Apple TV on the same network, the icon highlighted here will appear in the status bar of your Mac, signifying the presence of the AirPlay Mirroring menu.


If you don’t see the icon and think it ought to appear, make sure that the Show Mirroring Options in the Menu Bar When Available check box is selected under the Displays preference in System Preferences.

To turn AirPlay Mirroring on, select Apple TV from the AirPlay Mirroring menu to stream stuff from your Mac to the TV. You’ll know that it’s working when the icon turns blue and when, hopefully, the TV shows the Mac screen. You can also scale the desktop resolution size to best suit the Apple TV or your Mac screen.

If you’re playing a movie or TV show through iTunes when you exploit AirPlay Mirroring, you’ll enjoy a full-screen AirPlay Mirroring experience on the television.

Having a robust wireless network makes a difference. Under less-than-ideal networking scenarios, any video that’s playing may pause or stutter on the TV.

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