TV on the Mac

How To Play AVI Files On Apple TV

Since the introduction of AirPlay Mirroring – included in the latest version of OSX Mountain Lion (10.8) – streaming .avi formatted video files to Apple TV (2nd generation or better), is now a built-in feature (provided your Mac was manufactured in mid-2011 or later). But what if your Mac is older, or running a pre-Mountain Lion OS? Fear not! Avi streaming is still an option but you’ll be relying on 3rd party solutions which are abundantly available for little or no cost.

In very general terms there are 2 different approaches to viewing .avi files on your HD TV through Apple TV: file conversion and 3rd-party player. Let’s review the differences and options for each approach.

File conversion

The key here is to convert your .avi file(s) into a format that can play in iTunes (.m4v, .mp4, and .mov). Not that you necessarily have to use iTunes as your media player, the idea being that, if iTunes can play the movie, it can be streamed to Apple TV.

The obvious advantage to converting your files, instead of streaming them through a player such as Beamer, is that once the files are converted, you needn’t rely on a 3rd party player or converter the next time you play the video. If you have video files you wish to keep and replay in the future, you may find that storing them in an iTunes friendly format may facilitate organization as well as streaming. Conversion software can be found for free, or relatively cheaply, and most developers offer a demo download you can use for testing before you buy. The assortment of available video file converter apps is far too large to list here but a few of the more popular ones are, Handbrake, Streamclip, and Pavtube.


3rd-Party Players

These players are usually very simple to use (drag and drop), connect to Apple TV automatically, and since format conversion is performed on the fly during streaming, no pre-conversion is required. Just the opposite of the advantages you find with the file conversion approach, these apps are perfect for a quick, single viewing of video files that you’re not likely to need to store or view again. For .avi streaming, check out Beamer or FireCore. Another interesting choice is StreamToMe – an iOS app the uses an iPhone/iPad as an intermediate streaming device.


So Little Effort For Such Great Reward

Whichever approach you take to enjoying your .avi files on the big screen, you’ll find that the effort required to do so is not huge, but it is necessary – that is, until you’re finally able to invest in that shiny new Mac with AirPlay Mirroring.

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About the author


I've been a passionate evangelist for Apple and the Macintosh throughout my working life, my first love was a Quadra 605 working with a small creative agency in the south of Norfolk UK in the mid 1990's, I later progressed to other roles in other Macintosh dominated industries, first as a Senior graphic designer at a small printing company and then a production manager at Guardian Media Group. As the publishing and printing sector wained I moved into Internet Marketing and in 2006 co-founded which grew to become one the top 200 visited sites in the US (according to Quantcast), at its peak receiving over 15 million visits per month. For the last ten years I have worked as an Affiliate and Consultant to many different business and start ups, my key skill set being online marketing, on page monetisation, landing page optimisation and traffic generation, if you would like to hire me or discuss your current project please reach out to me here.

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  • You may try iDealshare VideoGo which can convert AVI to Apple TV more supported MP4 on Mac or Windows. And the converted AVI files are also compatible with other Apple devices like iTunes, iPad, iPhone, iPod, QuickTime, iMovie, Final Cut Pro and etc.

    Aside from converting AVI to Apple TV format, it also can convert WMV, MKV, ASF, FLV, MPG, WTV, VOB, SWF, 3GP, RMVB, MXF, and etc to Apple TV video format. It even can convert Apple MP4, MOV to Windows video format like AVI, WMV and etc.

  • Thanks for the information. I’d add ArkMC app for iOS and Android which helps me to stream my photos, ideos, music to different devices like PC, Mac, iPad or Smart TV. I definitely recommend using it, coz it works smothly, fast and without any bugs.