Without a doubt, my favorite Mountain Lion feature is AirPlay Mirroring, which allows me to easily mirror whatever is happening on my Mac to my Apple TV. My girlfriend and I use it pretty much all the time to watch movies at night — I digitized our vast DVD collection long ago to save space. It’s truly indispensible to me.
Although I love AirPlay Mirroring, the feature still has two main issues. First of all, AirPlay Mirroring doesn’t work at all on Macs released before 2011, meaning that my 2009-era 27-inch iMac can’t easily stream anything off of its 3.25 TB (rolled-at-home) Fusion Drive. There are apps like AirParrot that get around that limitation, but I’ve always found them to be a little bit strange and laggy, doing weird things like letterboxing my iMac’s display on all sides.
Even if you have a Mac that is newer than 2011, though, there’s one major limitation of AirPlay Mirroring: if you’re streaming a movie to your Apple TV using AirPlay Mirroring, you can’t actually do anything else with your Mac while the movie is playing. If you switch away from the video player to check your email or your Twitter account, it’s all mirrored on the screen.
What I have always wanted is this: the ability to easily stream a movie to my Apple TV from any Mac in my house, while allowing me to still use my Mac without disrupting the viewing experience.
Today, I discovered a gem of an app that lets me do all of this. It’s called Beamer and it frickin’ rocks.