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[2023 Updated] How to Play DVDs on Apple TV

Q1: When I try playing a DVD from my MBP to my Apple TV, it goes to a gray screen. Does anyone know why?

Q2: I tried to watch a DVD loaded in the iMac on the TV via airplay but as soon as I turned on Airplay, the picture disappeared, and a grey and white checkerboard showed up. Is it not possible to watch a DVD on Apple TV via Airplay?

Apple TV Airplay only shows blank gray screen when trying to mirror DVDs from MacBook? This because both the DVD format and copy protections prevent AirPlay from streaming or mirroring DVDs on Apple TV. So how to play a protected DVD on Apple TV without getting a grey screen or other errors? Luckily, you can decrypt and rip DVD to Apple TV on Mac and then play DVDs on Apple TV 1/2/3, Apple TV HD, and Apple TV 4K 1/2/3 easily.

Part 1: Rip Protected DVDs to Play on Apple TV Freely

Home Sharing enables you to view shared libraries from other computers that are connected to the same Wi-Fi network and have the same Apple ID. It allows you to play DVDs on Apple TV once the DVD movies are added to the Apple TV library or iTunes library. So, the first step should be to convert the DVDs and remove the copy protections on DVDs.

To successfully play DVDs on Apple TV, use MacX DVD Ripper Pro to remove protections and convert DVDs for Apple TV.

  • Remove any protection from DVDs, including CSS, Region Code, UOPs, CPRM, Sony ARccOS, Disney X-project, etc.
  • Rip DVD to Apple TV 4K/4/3/2 MP4 (H.264, MPEG-4, or HEVC), MOV, MKV, AVI, FLV, VOB, MP3, iPhone, iPad, iTunes, iMovie, Android, and 420+ preset profiles.
  • High-end multi-core CPU (8) and Intel QSV/Nvidia/AMD tech to offer 5x faster speed, being able to convert a DVD to Apple TV format within 5 minutes.
  • Copy Disney DVD, Sony DVD, Beachbody DVD, workout DVD, yoga meditation DVD, AV Japanese DVD, etc. with full/main title in 1:1 ratio of quality.

Now let's get started to ripping DVDs to Apple TV supported formats and syncing converted DVDs to Apple TV.

Step 1: Free download DVD ripper for Apple TV on your Mac or Windows PC. Fire it up and click the "DVD Disc" button to import the DVD movie from your computer; it will then start to remove the DVD copy protection and detect the correct title of the movie.

How to watch DVD to Apple TV
DVD to Apple TV ripper

Step 2: Once the scanning finishes, it will pop up an output format window. As we're going to convert the DVD for Apple TV, scroll down the list on the left column and select Apple Devices > choose to Apple TV Video and select the model of your Apple TV from the list on the right. If your Apple TV model is not on the list, you can also choose a format supported by Apple TV.

Rip DVD to Apple TV supported formats:

  • H.264/HEVC SDR video up to 2160p, 60 fps, Main/Main 10 profile
  • HEVC Dolby Vision (Profile 5)/HDR10 (Main 10 profile)/HLG up to 2160p, 60 fps
  • H.264 Baseline Profile level 3.0 or lower with AAC-LC audio up to 160 Kbps per channel, 48kHz, stereo audio in .m4v, .mp4, and .mov file formats
  • MPEG-4 video up to 2.5 Mbps, 640 by 480 pixels, 30 fps, Simple profile with AAC-LC audio up to 160 Kbps, 48kHz, stereo audio in .m4v, .mp4, and .mov file formats
How to play a DVD to Apple TV
Rip DVD to Apple TV

Step 3: You can tick "Safe Mode" when ripping the latest commercial DVDs and tick 2, 4, or 6 cores in CPU Core Use to accelerate DVD conversion speed. Then click the "RUN" button to begin to rip DVD to Apple TV digital format.

Step 4: After DVD is converted to an Apple TV format, you can sync the converted DVDs to Apple TV for playback.

note icon

You're supposed to use this DVD ripper for Mac to rip and play DVD on Apple TV for legal personal use, instead of illegal reproduction or distribution of copyrighted content. Please obey your local DVD copyright law before doing it. DO NOT do harm to others' lawful rights and interests.

Part 2: Methods to Play DVD Videos on Apple TV

1. For Mac only: play DVD video on Apple TV via AirPlay

As the protected DVD is converted into a DRM-free video for Apple TV, you can now mirror your desktop or laptop screen from your Mac system to an Apple TV using Airplay.

Step 1: Connect your Mac and Apple TV to the same network. Then enable your Apple TV and set your television to the right input for Apple TV. Then you should see the home screen of Apple TV.

Step 2: On macOS Ventura, Monterey, and Big Sur, click the Control Center icon > choose Screen Mirroring, and select Apple TV or the name of your smart TV. On earlier macOS, simply click on the AirPlay status icon and select the Apple TV or AirPlay-compatible TV.

Then you can play the DVD video on Apple TV via your Mac.

Add DVD movies for playback on Apple TV
Add DVD movies to library

Note: For homemade DVDs, you may watch them on Apple TV using AirPlay. However, you can use Apple DVD player to AirPlay a homemade DVD to Apple TV as it blocks all content from being airplayed. If you are playing a home made DVD on Apple TV using AirPlay, you might use VLC or similar rather than the Apple DVD software.

AirPlay Mirroring Requirements:

  • Apple TV 2 or later; Mac OS X 10.8 or higher;
  • Mac computer models: iMac (Mid 2011 or newer), Mac mini (Mid 2011 or newer), MacBook Air (Mid 2011 or newer), and MacBook Pro (Early 2011 or newer).

2. For Mac and PC : play DVD video on Apple TV via Home Sharing

Another way to play DVD movies on Apple TV is Home Sharing. In this method, you need to make sure your computer and Apple TV are signed in with the same Apple ID and connected to the same Wi-Fi network.

Step 1: Import the converted DVD movie to your Apple TV library or iTunes library. On macOS later than Catalina, click the Apple TV app on your Mac, select File > Import. Locate the converted DVD movie on your Mac and click Open. On Windows and earlier macOS, open the iTunes app, choose File > Add File to Library or Add Folder to Library. Then locate the converted DVD movie on your PC and click Open.

Add DVD movies for playback on Apple TV
Add DVD movies to library

Step 2: On your Apple TV, go to Settings > Users and Accounts > and then select Home Sharing. Enable Home Sharing and sign in with your Apple ID.

Step 3: The next steps are a bit different on macOS and Windows.

On macOS later than Catalina, choose Choose Apple menu on your Mac > System Preferences. Click Sharing > Media Sharing.

On Windows and earlier macOS, open iTunes for Windows on your PC. In the menu bar, go to File > Home Sharing.

Play DVD on Apple TV via Home Sharing
Play DVD on Apple TV via Home Sharing

Step 4: Next, you can open the Computer App on your Apple TV screen and access the DVD movie from the shared library. Then you can watch the movies added to your library on your Apple TV.

3. For Mac and PC: Stream DVD to Apple TV via VLC

You can also watch the ripped DVD video using VLC for Apple TV. VLC for Apple TV offerse three basic ways to get VLC on Apple TV to play DVD videos on Apple TV: Local Network, Remote Playback or Network Stream. a web browser for the second, and a web or FTP server for the third. Let’s take a look at each in order.

Local Network

VLC is able to stream the ripped DVD movie to Apple TV from your local network. It requires a media server, wether it's a DLNA/UPnP media server, FTP server, Plex server, or Windows Share. Simply transfer the ripped DVD videos to the server > select Local Network on the VLC for Apple TV and find your server > browse and select the movie stored in the server and then you can play DVDs on Apple TV.

playing DVD to Apple TV via VLC
Watch DVD to Apple TV via VLC Local Network

Remote Playback

VLC for Apple TV offers another easy way to watch DVD video on your Apple TV from your PC/MAC/iOS: Remote Playback. Here are the steps:

1. Open VLC on Apple TV and choose Remote Playback. Click on the Enable Remote Playback button.

2. Then you will see two URLs on the screen: one is your IP address and the other is your local network address. Enter either URL into the web browser on your PC/Mac, then drag and drop the ripped DVD movie into the screen. After a quick load, you should be able to play the DVD video on your Apple TV.

Watch DVD to Apple TV via VLC
Play DVD to Apple TV via VLC Remote Playback

Network Stream

The Network Stream feature lets you play DVDs on Apple TV if you store the ripped DVD movies in Dropbox, Google Drive, web servers, and FTP servers on the internet. Simply enter the URL of the cloud address of the DVD video in the Network Stream tab, then it will play on Apple TV.

4. For Mac and PC: Stream DVD Content to Apple TV via DLNA

If your computer has 5KPlayer already installed, just rely on 5KPlayer DLNA tech to cast DVD content from Mac/PC to Apple TV. 5KPlayer is a nice blend of DLNA controller, DLNA renderer and DLNA server. It can activate DLNA tech to cast H.264/MP4 media file from Mac/PC to Apple TV, smart TV, as well as PlayStation, Xbox, etc. (of course, you get DVD ripped by HandBrake or MacX DVD Ripper Pro already).

By the way, this HD video player supports playing 4K/5K/8K UHD videos with multi-subtitle tracks and soundtracks, YouTube videos, HD Camcorder, Blu-ray videos and more. Apparently, playing DVD on Apple TV is a piece of cake now. Follow the steps to stream DVD media files to Apple TV.

Before you go further, you need to install Apple TV DLNA app. The recommended Apple TV DLNA apps are Plex DLNA APP for Apple TV 4th gen, Local Cast, etc. Install one of them, run it and then do as follows:

Step 1: Download this DLNA-based DVD player and launch it. Connect your computer and Apple TV to the same network.

Step 2: Click on "DLNA&AirPlay" on the main UI and toggle on DLAN service on Mac

Stream DVD video to Apple TV via DLNA
Stream DVD video to Apple TV via DLNA

Step 3: Go back to the home screen and click the DLNA drop-down menu, then select Apple TV. Now you can stream your ripped DVD file from Mac/PC to DLAN certified Apple TV.

On top of 5KPlayer, other apps like Plex DLNA server for Mac, Serviio DLNA server for Mac, and Universal media server for Mac can also play the role of DLNA server to turn your MacBook/iMac into a media server for wireless media access. Give it a whirl if you have any of them installed on your Mac computer.


1. How to fix the Airplay grey screen when watching DVDs?

The DVD player goes grey screen when you mirror a DVD to Apple TV is caused by the copy protection. Due to the copyright, the DVD player is blocking the AirPlay screen mirroring and thus you will see a grey screen. In other words, you can only watch unprotected DVDs on Apple TV via Airplay (but don't use Mac's DVD player app), or you need to strip the copy protection from the DVD.

2. Can I connect an Apple DVD-player to Apple TV and play DVDs on it?

No. Apple TV is a media streaming device for accessing content from online services as well as local files over the network. The DVD player can only be connected to your computer, not to the Apple TV Box. A DVD player connected to a computer will be blocked from airplay due to copy protection. You need a DVD player connected to your TV or need to convert the DVD to a DRM-free file for Apple TV.

3. Why can't I mirror movies to Apple TV?

If you fail to AirPlay the converted DVD movies from your Mac to Apple TV, you can check: the AirPlay settings on both Mac and Apple TV are set to On; both devices are connected to the same Wi-Fi network; make sure the device is compatible with AirPlay.

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