Why Your Old Mac Can't Use Mountain Lion Mirroring

AirPlay mirroring is one of the sweet new features that arrives on your Mac with OS X Mountain Lion — as long as you have a newer computer. But if you've got a pre-2011 Mac, it's not going to work. Don't worry, though. It's a hardware problem, not a conspiracy.

You need a newer computer to take advantage of one of Mountain Lion's tastiest treats? Cue the outraged masses: "WTF! Forced obsolesce!" Not so fast, friends.

The problem with pre-2011 Macs is that their graphics chipsets don't have the necessary powers for AirPlay mirroring:

It's simple: the secret sauce that Apple requires to make AirPlay Mirroring work is on-GPU H.264 encoding, or the ability to compress video on your device's actual graphic chips without calling upon the CPU.

The great Cult of Mac article points out that Apple requires your graphics card encode the video for your own good. If it didn't, your processor would get so bogged down by the churn that the performance of menus and the like would die. Make sure to check out the whole feature for more video codec nerdery. [Cult of Mac]


Comments

    what about your mac cant use mountain lion because Apple ahs completely screwed up the uptodate free software upload for new computers.

    Insert your details get no confirmation and wait 72 hours for them to check your application? Outrageours

    Why hasnt gizmodo run a story on this con? Its already at 25 pages on teh apple support boards.

    wait, is this mean that they've enabled on-GPU H.264/Quicksync on mac? I've been waiting for this ever since I brought my sandy bridge iMac.

    Currently, my $1k pc beat the almost $3k iMac in video encoding by 5x

      You actually purchased a $3k iMac those POS just turn into egg cookers as soon as you do any form of encoding/rendering. mac pro would haven been a better idea.

    What about applications that make this feature functional on older macs tho like Air Parrot. Regardless the feature specifications should have been more clearly stated.

      I use Air Parrot on my 2009 MBP and its useless when it tries to render things like video or other animated transitions. its effectively only useful for showing things like spreadsheets or websites through your apple tv.

      Late 2009 MacBook Pro: AirParrot works ok, but when streaming video, it chops in and out and audio drops. Simple GI tasks are fine, but encoding to H.264 while streaming will over clock the GPU. Its easier to convert vids to mp4 and stream via iTunes.

    The writer of the article seems to think this is not forced obsolescence simply because Apple was looking after our best interests. A couple of things to make clear - Apple is NOT interested in anyone's well being - everything they do has everything to do with profit margins and taking advantage of the Mac cult to generate repeat business (even if at an immoral rate) and lastly Apple has a history of bringing out features/gimmicks which will only work on the latest hardware which then has made it essential to buy new devices. Mac fanatics have always been enslaved to this ridiculous cycle and are always told it is for their own good when it clearly is not. While we are not enslaved to the product, we are highly offended at the flagrant disrespect shown towards Apple fans which portrays them as brainless sheep unable to reason further than the next big Apple announcement. Maybe they have brought it upon themselves but at what point do morals finally kick in?

      Apple definitely has a stake in forced obsolescence and a regular consumer product cycle, but this isn't an example of that. The article explains that.

        Do you even understand how powerful a GPU you need to encode AND stream 1080p H.264 video over wifi? Those types of processor didn't exist 2 years ago. So you'd like your CD drive to play DVDs too? Idiot.

          yes they did! its just that apple refuses to actually put decent hardware in their computers for the price you pay.

    the quicker they force me to upgrade the quicker i just move back to windows. i don't feel like supporting this company anymore.

      Are they forcing you to upgrade? Does this SINGLE new feature not being available to you render your Mac utterly useless?

      Yeah, like you have anything Apple. Good luck trying to mirror your brand new PC with ATV. This is what this tread is about isn't it? Apple stories seem to end up becoming a troll feeding trough here. A lot of sad, insecure nobodies trying to make themselves feel superior.

        the exactly same thing happens when a windows or android article comes up.

    Come on get real. You buy a car, they bring out a newer version, you change your car or you keep the old one. What's the problem?

    Only newer Mac?. I just installed ML on a early 2009 Power Mac. Works fine.

    God almighty what a huge amount of whining. No one is forcing anyone to upgrade to ML. Don't like it? Use Windows or Linux or whatever. I have a PC and a Mac and enjoy using both. Neither is perfect but neither is terrible.

    Apple are VERY lazy with backwards compatibility with "wizzy features" these days - both on the iPhone and Laptops. I actually don't think its marketing conspiring to get us, just a desire to only support one hardware/software base for anything "interesting" to minimize support issues and get things out "quickly". I use third partly software display mirroring frequently from my mac to my iPad and other devices, and the CPU resources utilized are minimal and it works great. Lazy coding, not a technical limitation, definitely - examples Siri (no real reason not to work on iPhone4), iMovie editing on older ipads (works, as jailbreaks show), Xcode for iOS (works on older PPC CPU with simple hacks), app store only on later OSX etc etc.

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