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Headless MacMini mid 2011 and airplay mirroring

 
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LeejavAU
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 29, 2012 5:34 pm    Post subject: Headless MacMini mid 2011 and airplay mirroring Reply with quote

Hi all, a newbie to the forums here.

I'm seeking some confirmation of the issues of using airplay mirroring via mountain lion on a new (mid 2011) mac mini with no display attached.

I've recently purchased a new mini and wanted to airplay mirror the display to a nearby apple tv so i could configure/play with the mini without the need of having to use my MacBook Air (2012) and screen sharing all the time.

I thought this was going to be simple... LOL.

Needless to say, I'm having issues, as by the sound of it some other people are also. I'm not sure if these issues are with every mac mini trying to airplay mirror, or just a few minis that are faulty and which should be returned.

Anyway the first issue is with the image received on the appleTv (3rd gen) from the Mini. I can select the apple tv in the mirror display menu, and the appletv attempts to display the image, but what it displays comes out garbled in flashing neon pink and yellow.

After further playing and research, I thought i had fixed this issue yesterday when i found references to some software, airparrot, which i downloaded and tested. Airparrot provides the airplay mirror features to older macs not supporting apples airplay mirror in mountain lion.

Anyway,...success! The Mini's display will mirror to the Apple TV perfectly, problem solved i thought. I disconnected my MBAir screenshare and and took control of the mini directly using it's local keyboard and mouse expecting everything to work fine. However, i was wrong and this brings me to my next issue.

It also seems that when the mini has no display attached, the use of the local mouse is disabled, although the keyboard works fine. I tried connecting a magic mouse (via bluetooth) and a mighty mouse (wired) directly to the mini neither would move the cursor. Although both did seem to have a working primary mouse button... which i thought was odd!

In my initial setting up of the mini, directly connected to a HDTV via HDMI, the mouse worked perfectly. So i'm suspecting it's another issue caused by not having a display connected to the mini. Where the mini sits, i don't have the option of connecting a display but i'm going to confirm this at some point by relocating the mini temporarily and reconnecting everything to my tv and retesting.

So i need to ask, are these symptoms common for all headless mac mini's or do you suspect i have a faulty machine and i should return it? If they are common i can live without airplay mirroring, it's not crucial, but it would be nice to be able to use it. if it is a common fault then fine, but if its a faulty mini i will return it.

I love the mini and it is doing almost everything i want from it, but any help or assistance you could provide would help perfect it.

Cheers
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Ben Tex
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 30, 2012 8:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't think it sounds like an issue with your Mac mini. Airplay is mirroring your screen. Internal (with MacBook) or external. So if you don't have a screen connected, how can you expect it to work properly?. I guess you could trick it by disconnecting the screen, but that's probably only going to work for so long.
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macmanmacman
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 30, 2012 9:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

it's you apple tv remember there are two apple tv versions.

1. displays in 720p

2. displays in 1080p

if your display that the apple tv is connected to only displays at 720p and you try to display 1080p you will get a distorted image neon pink and blue

you video settings are two high for the display sorry
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LeejavAU
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 05, 2012 7:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ben Tex wrote:
I don't think it sounds like an issue with your Mac mini. Airplay is mirroring your screen. Internal (with MacBook) or external. So if you don't have a screen connected, how can you expect it to work properly?. I guess you could trick it by disconnecting the screen, but that's probably only going to work for so long.


Hi and thank you for replies.

I've had a few people say this to me, but i'm not sure that is the case. Without a monitor connected the mini still has 'display' options, and you're able to select different resolutions to output an image via screen sharing or, as i hoped, airplay mirroring. But in theory i see what you're saying.

The image i receive on the appletv does have a image there trying to represent the desktop, as i can see words and movement when i shake the mouse around, but it's like it's out of phase or the resolutions are clashing....

macman's suggestion got me wondering whether it was outputing a higher rez than the tv/ or apple tv, could take but after further testing that isnt the case. Even matching resolutions on the appletv and the mini at their lowest resolution, which was well below 1080p/i (sorry if that's wrong trying to do this from memory!!) , still resulted in the garbled image.

I've replicated this on a second appletv and hdtv, so i know it's not at the tv end where the problem lies, or at least not with any hardware faults that is.

The only remote glimmer of hope i've discovered was the i could possibly trick the mini in to thinking it has a monitor connected with the use of a modified vga display adaptor or dongle (running 1-3 resistors across some of the pins which is apparently enough for the mini to think the display is connected). I should be able to do this easily, so it may be the next avenue i take.

I've seen and read about certain dongles/display adaptors that are already wired for such a situation, but they're costing $100+ which is too much for me to risk on something so trivial.

The main reason for the message on here was to see if it is possible to get airplay mirroring to work at all on the mini as i see other people with the same problem but nobody with acknowledgment of whether they ever resolved it (the frustrating thing about forum life i find!) or anyone confirming they have it working without any issues. This would at least confirm whether it's a hardware fault, bug or just impossible by design.

I had another crazy idea last night which i'm playing with now. I'm going to see if the mini can host a virtual instance of mountain lion installed via parallels and see if it can airplay mirror... i doubt it would work but i thought it would be a giggle to try! It's raining... what else do i have to do! haha.

Anyway, it's turning in to a mission to see if i can get this working. So if i succeed i will report in! Over and out!
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