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Mac Gems: Beamer streams video from older Macs to Apple TV

Dan Frakes | Jan. 4, 2013
There are a few people who connect an older Mac to their TV using various audio and video cables to play videos. Most of them would love to instead stream those videos wirelessly to an Apple TV, but their Macs aren't new enough to support Apple's AirPlay technology and the AirPlay mirroring feature of Mountain Lion (OS X 10.8). Sometimes they stream video using iTunes, but they also have video files in formats iTunes doesn't support.

Unfortunately, Beamer can't stream DVDs (although it can stream the individual VOB files contained in a ripped DVD's VIDEO_TS folder). And Beamer converts multi-channel audio tracks to stereo, so you lose surround-sound effects. (The developer's FAQ says future versions of Beamer will support multi-channel audio.) Finally, the developer says that sometimes Beamer may have trouble streaming extremely large files, although I experienced no issues with ~1.5GB .m4v files streamed from a 2010 Mac mini. (I've seen a few reports of problems with files 4GB or larger.)

Beamer does only one thing, but in my testing does it well. And at $15, it's a lot cheaper than buying a new Mac just to get AirPlay capability.


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