I have a collection of movies (Please note: Mostly 1080p) on my external hard disk drive. This drive is attached to my PC (Mac). The external hard disk also contains some important work files, hence I will not be able to detach it from my Mac.

I have a 32" TV in the hallroom nearby. I can attach the output of my Pi, through HDMI to my TV. Now all I need to do is stream the video content from my Mac, to my TV through the Pi. Both my Pi and Mac are connected to the same Wifi network. The Pi is connected wirelessly too, if that helps. Both rooms are nearby as well, very with both the Mac and the Pi also close to the wifi router.

I would simply like to replicate my Mac's screen on to my TV in the hallroom. This way I can play anything I want and it will show up on my TV.

I have some couple of doubts, though:

First of all, is this possible? If yes, will the video be choppy? Do I need to buy the additional codecs?

Thank you.


If you want to use the PI exclusively as a HTPC or media center, you could use a distribution geared towards such applications. OpenELEC/XBMC /RasBMC seem to be the obvious choice. I did try OpenELEC at one time, but getting WiFi to work reliably on it seemed to be a pain.

Here's how I went about using Raspbian (since I use the RPi for tasks other than media playback) for playing back media on the Pi:

  1. Share the (external) drive with media on LAN, mount the same on the RPi as a samba share.
  2. Use a player like OMXPlayer to playback your videos on the Pi itself. The newer builds available here supports subtitles and multiple audio streams.
  3. Run a web-interface like this one or control the media player via SSH.
  4. You could add the samba share mount command & remote/web interface startup of the media player to ~/.bash_login file so that every time you login, the Pi is ready to play media.

There are some drawbacks to this kind of a setup the most important one being that not all formats can be decoded and played back on the Pi, but .mp4s and .mkvs seemed fine most of the time. If the Pi stutters sometimes when playing back 1080p videos, you could try overclocking via raspi-config (playback is smooth most of the time with 900Mhz).

Screen "mirroring" can be achieved via VNC, you could install a VNC server on the host machine and access it via a VNC viewer running on RPi. While this might be useful for accessing text or images, video playback via such a setup will most likely be horrible.

  • @imaginonic: I'd also like to suggestion Rasplex in addition to Bhargav's excellent answer. Plex is my preferred media player as all the encoding is done on the server (your Mac) and then streamed to the client (your pi).
    – Jacobm001
    Dec 4 '13 at 16:07
  • To add to @Jacobm001's comment, Rasplex info can be found here: rasplex.com. Note that it requires installation of the Plex Media Server (plex.tv/downloads) on your host device, but it can apparently host from iOS or Andriod, too! Pretty sweet! Nov 29 '14 at 17:45

Google's Chromecast uses similar technology in a compact hardware package (though the similarity probably ends there). It turns out there is a screencast standard for Wifi called Miracast. There is a Raspberry Pi project in the early stages of development (beta) called Piracast. Right now there is support for only a limited hardware (the Realtek RTL8188EUS chipset) and software (2013-09-25 Wheezy Raspbian image), but it appears to be under current development, so there is hope for broader support.


copying the screen will most likely not work well.

the best approach would be to share the folder with the movies using NFS or SAMBA and access it from Pi to read the contents and play it on the TV screen.

still, 1080p movies might play choppy during the action scenes because of wifi speed not being fast enough to support the necessary bandwidth. you might need to use the wired ethernet as the last resort.

  • I don't buy that wifi wouldn't be fast enough. Isn't that how Google Chromecast works? Sure they may use a proprietary codec (I haven't looked into it), but certainly Google can do it using a very petite hardware package. Dec 2 '13 at 4:10
  • Yes but you fail to release when the Chromecast plays a video, say on YouTube. It downloads the video from the internet, it doesn't stream the video off the device controlling the Chromecast. If you have ever tried casting a google chrome tab you will see that there is significant lag.
    – Darth Vader
    Oct 26 '15 at 9:15

i am using the same setup using xbmc, now kodi. i have a synology nas as multimedia and file server. in kodi i have mapped the share, it's quite easy, all you need to know is a bit of basic networking. the player will then take care of everything, and works great with 1080p as well, no lag or choppy playback. i also recommend a subtitle addon

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