Use Beamer to Stream Almost Any Video From Your Mac to Apple TV

You Can Even Stream Video From Older Macs

Apple TV video streaming
You Can Stream Almost Any Video Using this App. (Photo by Chesnot/Getty Images). Getty
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Apple has a lot of bases covered when it comes to watching video on Apple TV, but one thing it hasn’t managed to do is ensure support for all the different available video formats.

You can get around this to some extent using media servers and app combinations such as Plex, Infuse, or VLC, or you can use an app to stream directly from your Mac.

When it comes to Mac to Apple TV streaming, Apple provides AirPlay Mirroring but for a more standards-compatible alternative, many Mac users choose to use Tupil’s Beamer 3.0 app.

What is Beamer?

Beamer ($19.99) is a Mac app that will stream video to an Apple TV or a Google Chromecast device. It’s a highly capable solution that will play all common video formats, codecs, and resolutions and can handle most widely used subtitle formats.

This means it can play AVI, MP4, MKV, FLV, MOV, WMV, SRT, SUB/IDX and many other formats. It cannot play video from Blu-ray or DVD disks as they use copy protection.

Depending on the source file, your video will be streamed at up to 1080p quality, and the app will even stream content from Macs that don’t support AirPlay Mirroring. You can even use the Apple TV Siri Remote Control to manage video playback.

How do I use Beamer?

Beamer is available for download here. To give you a chance to see what it can do while you decide if you want to purchase it, the application will play the first 15-minutes of any videos you throw at it. If you want to watch longer clips you’ll need to purchase the app.

This is how to use Beamer once you have it installed on your Mac:

  • Launch Beamer
  • A small window appears onscreen, inviting you to ‘Drag movies here to stream to…”
  • The app should automatically detect and name any Apple TV it finds on the same Wi-Fi network.
  • Choose the Apple TV or Chromecast device you want to stream video to using the devices menu in the lower-right corner of the application window (it looks like a TV).
  • You will need to find the video you wish to play. Select it with your cursor and drag-&-drop it into the Beamer window.
  • Playback will begin immediately. You will not need to transcode video into Apple TV-friendly formats.

If the video you want to play has them, you can choose different audio tracks and subtitle languages in Beamer’s Playback preferences. 

The Playback Window

The Beamer playback window will list the movie title and duration at the top of the window.

Underneath that you will find audio and video playback settings, a progress bar, forward/reverse and play/pause buttons and the devices menu.

To the left (just underneath the progress bar) you’ll find the Playlist item (three dots beside three lines). You can drag and drop multiple movies into Beamer and then use the Playlist item to place them in the order in which you want them to play. It doesn’t matter which formats any of these videos are in when you set playback order. 

In the unlikely event that playback is faulty​, or videos don't work with Beamer you can find lots of helpful resources on the company's support website.