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supercooled
Mar 28, 2008, 07:05 AM
This is going to sound like a blog entry but it's part vent, part cry for help. I bought an AppleTV thinking I could store some of my movies/music library on it for occasional viewing but was caught sleep walking when I read it was not possible to do so without another machine running iTunes. Apart from the cumbersome process of hacking the AppleTV via patchstick, I conceived of another idea of using a Mac Mini (haven't acquired yet) to do the streaming duties and also manage my growing collection all at once. I won't be using the Mini for any other purpose except to delegate files to my machines. This is the plan, however, how efficient would it be to also have it act as an AppleTV replacement and therefore I can cut down on the redundancy not to mention hydro bill. It's a 1.66 Core Duo w/2GB.

I'm just kicking myself for not researching the AppleTV a little more thoroughly before jumping in head first and now have a pang of regret.



Jimmdean
Mar 28, 2008, 11:43 AM
Depends on the TV really. The component and HDMI options on the Apple TV pretty much make it universally compatible with recent televisions. The Mini, however, only has DVI. By not having component, that takes quite a bit of the compatibility away. There's a good reason the Apple TV has it...
If you have a HDMI/DVI television you're probably ok - there can be some hiccups with certain sets that require some freeware to set up the image right. If your only option is DVI to VGA, then prepare for some tweaking for sure...

robbrick
Mar 28, 2008, 11:55 AM
Why do you need another machine running iTunes, except for getting the media onto the ATV in the first place? If you have another computer, then you should be able to sync the ATV, turn off the computer when you're not using it and then use your ATV. The next time you turn on iTunes, your ATV will sync anything new over and you have more to watch/listen to.

Globetrotter
Mar 28, 2008, 12:45 PM
Why do you need another machine running iTunes, except for getting the media onto the ATV in the first place? If you have another computer, then you should be able to sync the ATV, turn off the computer when you're not using it and then use your ATV. The next time you turn on iTunes, your ATV will sync anything new over and you have more to watch/listen to.

That was my impression of how it worked. I can't see the computer needing to be on, except to sync the devices.

But if not, it would be an unmovable obstacle to my own purchase of the :apple:TV.

err404
Mar 28, 2008, 12:59 PM
The AppleTV was design specifically so you do NOT have to have a machine running all the time for it to work.

That said I have a similar setup with a mini feeding an apple TV (among other chores I have the mini doing). if you have a need for a home server that is running 24/7 (TM, NAS, G router..) then I would get a mini for these tasks. Otherwise I'd look into why you need a machine always running for the AppleTV and change your sync options/viewing habits accordingly.

Keep in mind that even if you can connect a mini to your TV, the interface is not optimized for that task. You will have basic access to your iTunes library via Frontrow, but you will need to manage it through a traditional desktop UI. The AppleTV UI on the other hand is much more functional via just a remote.

err404
Mar 28, 2008, 01:04 PM
That was my impression of how it worked. I can't see the computer needing to be on, except to sync the devices.

But if not, it would be an unmovable obstacle to my own purchase of the :apple:TV.

Fortunately, thats not how is works. Synced content plays from the AppleTV HDD, and the rest (usually older content) will be seamlessly integrated into the list and streamed when your PC is on.

For example, if you have it set to sync the 5 newest episodes of a TV show onto the AppleTV you will only see those 5 when your PC is off. However when the PC is on, you will see them all.

You also have a good amount of control over what is synced and what is streamed.

supercooled
Mar 28, 2008, 08:24 PM
I'm so confused. All I see is iPhoto for my options to sync via iTunes. I can't get any other content on the AppleTV except photos or stream it vai AppleTV's shared directory. How do I go about enabling the AppleTV to sync movies, music?

robbrick
Mar 28, 2008, 08:38 PM
I'm so confused. All I see is iPhoto for my options to sync via iTunes. I can't get any other content on the AppleTV except photos or stream it vai AppleTV's shared directory. How do I go about enabling the AppleTV to sync movies, music?

you should have a part of the main ATV window that looks like this:

See picture.

supercooled
Mar 28, 2008, 08:40 PM
you should have a part of the main ATV window that looks like this:

See picture.

That's the problem! What you see in my screen capture is what I see. It's absolutely barren! Might be something wrong methinks.

supercooled
Mar 28, 2008, 08:51 PM
Thanks for the help guys. Went ahead and restored it to factory mode. It seems to show up now.

robbrick
Mar 28, 2008, 08:53 PM
Thanks for the help guys. Went ahead and restored it to factory mode. It seems to show up now.


cool.. glad to hear that. you should also have tabs now at the top that allow you to sync various stuff over.

supercooled
Mar 28, 2008, 10:04 PM
cool.. glad to hear that. you should also have tabs now at the top that allow you to sync various stuff over.

Yes, everything is present. I'll be using VisualHub to encode feverishly. Is there a thread that lays out the best settings for VisualHub for the ATV? It's going to be a mix of 720p and ordinary resolution files. Right now I'm just leaving it at the factory preset for ATV.

robbrick
Mar 28, 2008, 10:45 PM
Yes, everything is present. I'll be using VisualHub to encode feverishly. Is there a thread that lays out the best settings for VisualHub for the ATV? It's going to be a mix of 720p and ordinary resolution files. Right now I'm just leaving it at the factory preset for ATV.

I am using Handbrake, so I can't help you there. I am encoding my movies in a format compatible with ATV and iPhone.

supercooled
Mar 29, 2008, 06:27 AM
I am using Handbrake, so I can't help you there. I am encoding my movies in a format compatible with ATV and iPhone.

Mind sharing? I am using the same files on my ATV and Touch which I suspect is going to waste on the Touch. For instance, for a 1h30min file, it's 1.3GB which is very wasteful. What resolution is a good compromise?

robbrick
Mar 30, 2008, 08:03 PM
Mind sharing? I am using the same files on my ATV and Touch which I suspect is going to waste on the Touch. For instance, for a 1h30min file, it's 1.3GB which is very wasteful. What resolution is a good compromise?


I took the preset for iPhone, made it strict anamorphic (picture settings button) and then set it for 2-pass encoding. This way, I can use the file in ATV and on my iPhone. I watched one of the movies last night on ATV and for me, it's more than acceptable. I am not so sensitive for exemplary picture quality, I just wanna watch a movie. I also like this way better for me, because I don't want to have a specific file to only watch on the iPhone; takes up too much space and adds more steps to getting something on my iPhone from ATV.