How to watch a movie from your computer on Apple TV.

1. Send (Stream) your movie from your computer to Apple TV .

Any movie that’s playing on your laptop or iMac can be ‘streamed’ to your Apple TV.

Once your Apple TV is turned on, a new ‘Airplay’ icon will appear in your menubar.


Click on it and select Apple TV. This will ‘mirror’ all that’s on your screen to the Apple TV, as well as the sound. (Make the movie full screen for it to fill the Apple TV.)

2. Browse to the movie from Apple TV.

To do this you firstly need to turn on ‘Home Sharing’ in iTunes on your computer.

home sharing

Now in Apple TV go to ‘Computers’ and you will be able to navigate via the remote to any movie in your iTunes library. (The computer needs to be on with iTunes open.)


Playing files from a network drive

If you have some kind of external hard drive or network drive full of movies, all you need to do is drag the movies into iTunes on your laptop or desktop computer and they will appear in the Apple TV menu for that computer. Make sure you turn off the ‘Copy files to iTunes’ box when you do this or it will try to copy all the movies to your computer!

Be sure to disable this checkbox before dragging movies into iTunes or it will copy the entire movie into your iTunes folder.
Be sure to disable this checkbox before dragging a movie into iTunes or it will copy the entire movie into your iTunes folder.



23 responses to “How to watch a movie from your computer on Apple TV.”

  1. ccMac

    I did the first step with my iMac and everything “mirror” to my apple TV but i have a problem… As the movie play from my apple TV is stacking but from my iMac the movie playing perfect. What is the problem? My media player is MPlayerx.thanx

    1. What do you mean by ‘stacking’? Maybe your network is too slow. You might be better off contacting the support forum for MPlayerx.

      1. Ross

        Really? What do you mean that my network is slow? I don’t need mirroring, I need streaming, why streaming is supported by iPhone and iPad, but not supported for MacBook? I need to use 3rd party apps to stream the video with no lags, but I can’t do that with native settings. When Apple will be so kind and will allow users to watch movies using their expensive devices by providing with quality applications.

      2. Yes it’s a bit lame.

    2. Aviva Hava

      I had the same problem with my Mac, & found a solution. To prevent I do the following:
      1. You can stop the movie and restart: check if this works
      2. disconnect from APPLE TV on your Mac and reconnect, not even waiting to require a new passcode for Apple TV
      3. Disconnect from Apple TV (stopping movie, as always), wait long enough that when you connect on TV icon at upper right, you will receive a NEW Apple code to enter. Enter new code, then agin push play on your movie as seen on Mac

    3. Loukas

      turn of Bluetooth on your device and try again to connect with airplay

  2. ROD M

    how can i get my videos to play full screen on my computer and apple tv they play at about 75 % screen itunes movies will play full screen with out a problem but my movies wont

    1. Watch them in Quicktime player and zoom them (Menu item View: Fit to Screen). Or View: Increase Size (Command +).

  3. chloe

    I tried to mirror my computer onto the tv screen but it didn’t work. I clicked computers, still didn’t work. (I don’t have a mac btw.)

  4. Robin

    I have an external HDD with movies attached to a new Time Capsule and wish to use my new MacBook Pro to send the movies via Apple TV to my smart television. However I have a problem in that although the movie will play fine on the laptop (using VLC Player) it does not play smoothly on my TV – sound and vision both “stutter” slightly.
    My home network is fine and uses the Time Capsule as a bridge to wirelessly connect to my laptop. Any ideas on what may be going wrong?

    1. My GUESS is that the wifi link to the TV is not as good as it could be (distance? a wall?). Does airplay work OK from your laptop to the Apple TV? Try connecting from Time Capsule to the Apple TV with an ethernet cable and see if it works. That will show you if it’s a wireless problem.

  5. Alex

    You ever tried using instructions by yourself? If you just mirror the screen to Apple TV and try watching video from your pc, it will not work as you think and describe in the article. The video will lag, actually, even music will lag on tv. It will work well only if you transmit music/video from itunes or if you use iphone instead of mac book. Apple TV and Mac book do not work well with each other…

    1. We do this and it works fine. You might possibly have a bad network from the laptop to the Apple TV?

  6. Bea

    In the past few weeks, whenever I start watching any internet video (news clips, youtube vids) on my laptop, the video immediately freezes and mutes the moment I hit AppleTv to stream. AppleTv will only allow me to stream from my mini iPad. Very frustrating and confusing to this ol’ geezer who is about as tech savvy as an ol’ geezer. This endless morphing and upgrading or whatever is going on that keeps making us learn[BUY] a new trick every other week is downright erosive and absolutely exhausting.

  7. Tony

    Just use the Beamer App for Mac.

    1. Johan

      Beamer App actually solved the problem with lag. Brilliant!

  8. will

    doesn’t work Only plays music and home videos

  9. will

    An Error occurred while connecting to the Air play device “Apple TV” -50 but the device is powered on

  10. Vovo Dev

    Thanks for the tip got everything up and running.

  11. fausto

    Can I use my apple TV to stream a movie from my nas?

  12. Sophia

    Noteworthy, thank you

  13. Jeff

    My mac book plays videos just fine from all websites, however, the moment I connect/mirror through the apple tv the videos won’t play anymore. How can this be fixed? Thank you

  14. Firestick Apps

    Thank you, I’m using your advice and everything works

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