For streaming iPad and Macbook Pro to TV: Any alternatives to Apple TV?
November 24, 2018 10:04 AM   Subscribe

The title pretty much says it all. I've looked over the internet, but can't seem to find a straight answer. I want to wirelessly stream my screens to my LG 1080p non-smart TV, but I'd like to avoid spending so much money on Apple TV if possible.

I've already got a device that plugs into both thunderbolt ports and has an HDMI adapter, but it's finicky and becomes unplugged quite easily.
posted by ggp88 to Computers & Internet (10 answers total)
I use a Chromecast in the USB port of my laptop. Works easily. With an iPad, you might need a USB dongle (I don't own an iPad but I suspect they don't have USB ports). You should know that Chromecast mainly works with the Chrome browser, i.e. great for streaming Netflix and YouTube. But I've also used it to stream downloaded videos with VLC Player.
posted by AppleTurnover at 10:10 AM on November 24, 2018

Also, a Chromecast is currently only $25 so if you decide you want something more robust, you've barely spent any money on trying it out. I don't use my Chromecast often - I mainly use it for YouTube and downloaded videos as I also own a Roku with a built-in Netflix app - but enough that the $35 I paid was worth it.

You should specify what you want to stream. Because if you do just want to stream Netflix, you aren't really wanting to streams "your screens" as you say - you want to stream Netflix. In that case, Roku can do that for you. My Roku Express was $30. The Roku can't stream what my laptop screen is showing though. So it's another cheap option, but not the same as a Chromecast. It depends on what you want.
posted by AppleTurnover at 10:23 AM on November 24, 2018 [2 favorites]

I also have a chromecast for streaming my screen. Cheap and works great!
posted by ananci at 10:26 AM on November 24, 2018

Thanks everyone. I do a lot of video editing in Premiere Pro as well as visual design in Sketch and Photoshop. I also use my iPad Pro for drawing. I'd like to stream all of these things to my TV.

What about the Amazon Fire TV Stick? Does it do AirPlay?
posted by ggp88 at 10:29 AM on November 24, 2018

The Fire TV stick does not do AirPlay; only the Apple TV does. Despite the price, I would seriously consider an Apple TV if I were you.
posted by hijinx at 10:49 AM on November 24, 2018

The previous generations of Apple TV were much more reasonably priced and support AirPlay fine. I’m still using my 8-year-old 2nd gen model, mostly for watching iTunes movies and streaming games and YouTube videos via AirPlay. If you can find a used one it may fit your needs fine. Caveat: if they introduce new AirPlay features in the future you may be frozen out of those.
posted by pocams at 11:32 AM on November 24, 2018

Those extra details are pretty important - your use case sounds rather unique to you and aren't what most people want to stream their screens for. So, just to clarify, a Chromecast and a Roku definitely aren't what you want.
posted by AppleTurnover at 11:57 AM on November 24, 2018 [5 favorites]

For streaming the stuff you mentioned in your update, an Apple TV is required. You can get a used or refurbished 3rd generation Apple TV for about $50 or $60 and that would work just fine for your purposes.

If you don't go the Apple TV route your only other option is a physical connection, so see if you can find a better quality cable/dongle setup than what you currently have.
posted by theory at 12:11 PM on November 24, 2018

Thanks everyone, I just got back from the Apple store with a new Apple TV, 4th Generation.
posted by ggp88 at 1:31 PM on November 24, 2018 [1 favorite]

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