Controlling Netflix on my Mac via ipad? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 10 Old 01-22-2012, 12:27 PM - Thread Starter
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Lately we've been doing most of our TV watching via Netflix streaming on a Mac Mini hooked up to the TV.

What I'm really missing is a good way to search & access streaming content. We've been using a bluetooth keyboard to control Netflix via Safari - not very elegant as it is an awkward interface from when sitting on the couch.

What I'd really like is an iPad App that can control netflix playback. One where I could browse streaming titles on the ipad, then have it play back on the TV. Anyone know of a good solution? I'd be open to Roku or AppleTV if I could have this Apple Remote style interface.

Thanks
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post #2 of 10 Old 01-22-2012, 01:36 PM
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There are apps for both AppleTV (Apple's Remote.app) and Roku (multiple) which will control those players. All navigation is done on the TV screen, however; you don't get to browse titles on the iPad screen--but you do get a keyboard so you're not limited to the 7 buttons of the AppleTV remote or 7-12 of the Roku.
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post #3 of 10 Old 01-22-2012, 02:14 PM
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We've been using a bluetooth keyboard to control Netflix via Safari - not very elegant as it is an awkward interface from when sitting on the couch.

Have you tried accessing Netflix from within front ends like XBMC and Plex? Both have had support for NF for a few years now. I haven't done it for a while because Netflix is better on the Apple TV, but you might find it easier to control that way. You could also use a VNC app and screen share in to your Mac mini desktop from the iPad to control Netflix (my favorite is Screens) and that would be much better than using a BT keyboard.

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What I'd really like is an iPad App that can control netflix playback. One where I could browse streaming titles on the ipad, then have it play back on the TV.

I have seen that there are a couple of Netflix remote control apps in the app store, I haven't checked them out, but perhaps you could be our guinea pig?

http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/remot...457837291?mt=8

As Petern has already been mentioned, the Apple remote app for the aTV2 is still limited in this respect, it hasn't been updated in a while and you still have to look at the TV for non-music tasks. But once you load up your instant watch queue, you could select and scroll through your list very easily with just the little Apple remote. No benefit involving the iPad just for NF.

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I'd be open to Roku or AppleTV if I could have this Apple Remote style interface.

Netflix streaming on the aTV2 is better quality, and with a better interface, than any Mac option, add AirPlay into the mix and it is well worth the price.
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post #4 of 10 Old 01-22-2012, 08:23 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the replies. I've used the Plex Netflix plugin in the past, but it has mysteriously stopped loading. Maybe if I remove/re-install is.

I did see that Remote for Netflix app. and several others. looks promising, I'll give it a try.

So you say the picture is better on the ATV than on a Mac? Are you getting 5.1 out of the AppleTV?
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post #5 of 10 Old 01-23-2012, 12:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by funkle View Post

So you say the picture is better on the ATV than on a Mac? Are you getting 5.1 out of the AppleTV?

For me, same PQ (up to 1080p) and SQ (5.1 - but no HD sound codecs) for Mac mini (july 2011) and ATV2 (ATV1 is up to 720p and 5.1)

Regarding the VNC apps, I haven't tried Screens ($20) but I sure love Splashtop Remote ($5 - currently on sale- which includes the Xdisplay driver so I can connect to Mac mini without having the HDMI-connected TV on or having to have a monitor connected to the mini)
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post #6 of 10 Old 01-23-2012, 08:13 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by oceanjumper View Post

For me, same PQ (up to 1080p) and SQ (5.1 - but no HD sound codecs) for Mac mini (july 2011) and ATV2 (ATV1 is up to 720p and 5.1)

Regarding the VNC apps, I haven't tried Screens ($20) but I sure love Splashtop Remote ($5 - currently on sale- which includes the Xdisplay driver so I can connect to Mac mini without having the HDMI-connected TV on or having to have a monitor connected to the mini)

How are you getting 5.1 out of your Mac Mini? I get 5.1 from Plex & iTunes, but stereo from Netflix.

I tried Remote for Netflix (full $1.99 version), and after a brief trial it seems to be exactly what I was hoping for. It lets you browse titles on the iPhone/pad and then control the stream on the computer. You have full control over the screen, including full screen, FF, Rew, chapter etc. Air mouse & trackpad. Control over other media & web browser. It works in conjunction with a server you install on the computer. Pretty nifty really.

There is no dedicated iPad version unfortunately. Too bad, it would look great optimized for the iPad.
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post #7 of 10 Old 01-23-2012, 08:14 AM
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I tried Remote for Netflix (full $1.99 version), and after a brief trial it seems to be exactly what I was hoping for. It lets you browse titles on the iPhone/pad and then control the stream on the computer. You have full control over the screen, including full screen, FF, Rew, chapter etc. Air mouse & trackpad. Control over other media & web browser. It works in conjunction with a server you install on the computer. Pretty nifty really.

That's great, thanks for the report.


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I've used the Plex Netflix plugin in the past, but it has mysteriously stopped loading.

That's not a surprise, trying to do Netflix on Plex has always been buggy for me and it's just one of several reasons why I've completely given up on Plex. Best for you to look for threads over on the Plex forum discussing user dissatisfaction with Netflix:

http://forums.plexapp.com/index.php/...etflix-plugin/

in order to find out how things are working these days. You should also know that XBMC has its own problems with Netflix. I don't really care too much because I like the aTV2 for NF better anyway.

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So you say the picture is better on the ATV than on a Mac? Are you getting 5.1 out of the AppleTV?

Depends on the particular Mac mini model you have, and which version of the Silverlight plugin you have installed. If you have an older C2D mini, yes, the aTV2 will probably seem better when displayed on a big HDTV. With the 2011 minis, that gap between Safari/Silverlight and the aTV2 has narrowed and your NF video quality will seem essentially the same. Netflix doesn't offer any content in 1080p to any Apple product, so you're getting 720p no matter what. Another potential variable is how your HDTV processes what it receives from your Mac vs. your aTV2.

But, one thing I have noticed, even with a 2011 mini where Netflix HD titles within Safari are now pretty good video-wise, is that streaming via the aTV2 does the more reliable job with DD 5.1 audio--if a title says that it has DD audio, the aTV2 will pass it through. The same title, selected within Safari on the 2011 mini, will not pass it through. I think that's because Netflix serves different versions of files to different devices, and what they serve to the aTV2 is ahead of what get's served to Macs. Just double-checked this this morning after updating Silverlight to version 5..."The Fighter" in HD on the aTV2 sends DD 5.1 to my AVR, the same title on the 2011 mini does not.

And I agree with oceanjumper about Splashtop, I have it as well on our iPads and recommend it, especially if on sale.
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post #8 of 10 Old 01-23-2012, 05:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by funkle View Post

How are you getting 5.1 out of your Mac Mini? I get 5.1 from Plex & iTunes, but stereo from Netflix.

Sorry. I must have misunderstood your question. NF I only watch through ATV2 (living room) or iPad (while under the covers).
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post #9 of 10 Old 03-03-2012, 10:48 AM - Thread Starter
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An update: I've been using Remote for Netflix for a while now. It is a great app - the missing link needed to control Netflix on the HTPC. The search & browsing functions are great, just pick a title and press play, then hit the full screen button. The only issues for me are: Cursor arrow remains in the center of the screen, have to manually move it with the touchpad sometimes. Full screen & transport buttons are a little slow to respond.
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post #10 of 10 Old 03-06-2012, 08:04 PM
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Touchpad works well as a general control for my Mac Mini. It does mouse controls like a touch pad, keyboard input, and various Media Center remote controls. It controls via VNC, so no server app is needed.

Mobile Mouse is another option which does require a server component.


But, for the most part I have switched to my AppleTV for Netflix streaming. I use my Mini as the media server and the AppleTV as the frontend for most things.
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