AirPlay from Mac to AppleTV fails

For months now I’m unable to use Airplay to send music from my MacBook Pro to any of our newer model AppleTVs. When I try to pick one of these AppleTVs (whether in iTunes itself or from the System Preference Audio settings or from YouTube running in Safari) it gives an error. First is a rather plain error that it “Could not connect” and then another pops up that says “The Bluetooth device cannot be selected for audio output.” I am able to connect successfully from our iMac. Also the MacBook Pro can connect to our A/V receiver and a very old AppleTV.

It’s weird that the Bluetooth error pops up because I didn’t think AirPlay used BT to send audio/video to AppleTVs. I’ve checked the Bluetooth pane in System Preferences and no AppleTVs are listed as Devices.

I’ve done searches for solutions a couple of times and the ones I’ve seen haven’t resolved the issue. If anyone has run into this and solved it I’d love to hear about it.

Some background: The MacBook Pro and iMac are both connected to the same Ethernet router and both have WiFi enabled as well. The AppleTVs are also connected to Ethernet on the same router. I have tried unplugging Ethernet on the AppleTV but that didn’t help. One of the AppleTV is using the beta and the other is on the latest production build. Both Macs are running the latest High Sierra (but the problem started happening a long time ago). As far as I can tell I don’t have any software on the MBP that would interfere (i.e. no other software that messes with audio/video output). I’ve looked at the Console - there are a lot of messages there regarding AirPlay but no smoking gun that I can recognize.

Hey there @ronguest, I’ve had something similar, I’ve a 2017 MBP that I occasionally use a USB-C > Network adapter & network cable to connect on to the network with. When I do this I get the “Cannot Connect” message when trying to airplay youTube videos to an appleTV. I’ve not noticed it with anything else though, if memory serves I could quite happily airplay other stuff ok (i.e. mp4 video file) so it seems specific to airplaying from a web browser. For me the problem goes away when I unplug the network cable from the MBP and go back onto wifi.

The appleTV is connected to the network via a network cable so I’m confused as to why it won’t work with the computer on ethernet but does over wifi. My best theory so far has been that the cable network connection on the MBP seems to be configured to run through some “thunderbolt” bridge so maybe the browser / youTube is having an argument with that. I only connect the MBP via network cable if I’ve a big NAS/Time Machine backup to do otherwise I’m on wifi so I’ve not dared faff with it too much in case it completely stops working.

I see you say you’ve tried the appleTV on cable and on wifi, have you tried the MBP on wifi only?

1 Like

I yanked the Ethernet cable from the MBP and you are correct - it can now stream to the AppleTV (via WiFi) in the same room! Very strange and it seems counter intuitive since the AppleTV and MBP are plugged into the same switch. I don’t really want to live with WiFi speeds so I’ll try to think about an alternative solution. I have one kludge in mind so we’ll see.

One experiment: after it starts playing plug the Ethernet cable back in. It seems to play and work fine in this case. It seems once it figures out a connection path it will work indefinitely. However as soon as I turn off WiFi the AirpPlay icon goes orange and a bit later it stops playing.

I’ve noticed a similar “selected path” behaviour myself when time-machine is backing up to my NAS. It doesn’t seem to like switching connection, if it starts on wifi & that drops out, even if I’ve plugged in the network cable then it falls over. Does the same the other way, can’t start on ethernet then complete on wifi even if there’s already traffic going over wifi.

Does your MBP have a network port on it or are you using a USB adapter like me? I’m curious to know your ‘kludge’ solution and if it works! (fingers crossed for you!)

Same as you - Ethernet via Apple’s USB adapter.

@ronguest, Hi, you might want to try this one again!

This weekend I had disconnected my wifi and plugged in the network adapter/cable to do a large Time Machine backup. I then started to airplay some youtube videos to the Apple TV, it suddenly occurred to me that this works now…!

Not sure what’s made the difference, don’t think I’ve done any faffing recently with the network set, the main change is upgrading to Mojave, not sure if that’s it or not. Might be worth you re-checking on your set up and see if the issues you had before have gone! crosses fingers.