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View Full Version : Why doesn't Apple TV offer support for external HDDs?




ss957916
Jul 22, 2009, 10:58 AM
I so desperately want an ATV but just don't see the point in buying one when, if I ripped all my DVDs I'd have about 1TB of data.

Can anyone hazard a guess as to why Apple have crippled them so as not to allow an external drive to be added? Seems a really odd move to me.



guydude193
Jul 22, 2009, 11:00 AM
So they can have a reason to update if they ever do. :p

upinflames900
Jul 22, 2009, 11:01 AM
There is a hack to be able to do this.

http://www.tuaw.com/2007/07/28/apple-tv-usb-hard-drive-patch-has-arrived/

probably several other articles on this, and btw i have not tested it.

Tallest Skil
Jul 22, 2009, 11:03 AM
Because the idea is to stream from your iTunes library on your Mac.

ss957916
Jul 22, 2009, 11:04 AM
I'm really not interested in hacking stuff - don't want to spend 300 on a product that doesn't do what I want it to and then immediately void the warranty in an effort to make it better.

bohbot16
Jul 22, 2009, 11:14 AM
If you want to avoid hacking you could do what I did: buy an Airport Extreme and attach an external 1TB hard drive to the USB port.

ss957916
Jul 22, 2009, 11:20 AM
If you want to avoid hacking you could do what I did: buy an Airport Extreme and attach an external 1TB hard drive to the USB port.

Don't get me started on Airports!!

Nice idea but I use an airport express so I can stream music to my hifi so would rather not have another base station, but that's food for thought.

If only the airport extreme would stream music too. Another case of apple crippling their products!

ss957916
Jul 22, 2009, 11:39 AM
Interesting that no-one has said why (except so they have a reason to update) so maybe I'll just keep waiting til they're updated... Anyone know when that might be?

Shuttleworth
Jul 22, 2009, 11:45 AM
Interesting that no-one has said why

To force you to have iTunes open so you can stream, which means they have more chance to sell you something, as the computer is likely to be connected to the internet and all the sales and rentals will be a couple of clicks away. If it were all on a local hard drive it wouldn't need an computer connection to work, so there is less temptation.

Shuttleworth
Jul 22, 2009, 11:47 AM
BTW streaming works very well IMO and you can easily get away with a 40GB :apple:TV, mine was 132 from the refurb store, they usually come up once a week, check just after 00:30hrs for the best chance of getting one.

ss957916
Jul 22, 2009, 11:52 AM
Ah ok - didn't know you could stream stuff from your computer! Thanks for that - I'm off to read further!!

nutmac
Jul 22, 2009, 05:51 PM
Although streaming is one way to get around the storage issue, it isn't always convenient (and sometimes wasteful) to leave your computer on, particularly when your only computers are notebooks (Snow Leopard will get around this issue, however).

I seriously hope the next update to Apple TV will bring expandable storage, or at least larger hard disk capacity at reasonable price.

iowamensan
Jul 22, 2009, 09:22 PM
Just get a cheap old Mac and set it up as an iTunes server. I have a G4 450 PowerMac in my basement with about 1.2 TB worth of external HDD hooked to it to stream to the :apple:TV.

bohbot16
Jul 22, 2009, 09:35 PM
I'm not convinced that there's a large enough user base who needs a large capacity Apple TV. I bet that the problem mostly exists for us (the enthusiast crowd) and we find ways to work around the issue. I also think that Apple's true solution is a Time Capsule in conjunction with the streaming improvement coming in Snow Leopard.

I think Apple would be very smart to allow users to stream directly from the iTunes Store and let users stop worrying about storing/backing up their purchases.

racer1441
Jul 22, 2009, 10:33 PM
I have the apple TV. Ordered the refurb 40gb, because I don't want the media stored on the device itself. I have it hard wired from the Apple tv, to a 8 year old Dell desktop found at a garage sale, with a 1tb hard drive running itunes. Works like a charm. I have never had issues with delays, lags, ect. Just works perfectly.

Apple Tv was $200, drive was $100, machine was $25....for $325 I have hundreds of Tv shows, movies, and songs pumped through the TV. Just love it!

upinflames900
Jul 22, 2009, 10:35 PM
I'm really not interested in hacking stuff - don't want to spend 300 on a product that doesn't do what I want it to and then immediately void the warranty in an effort to make it better.

It is a software hack only, so I am pretty sure that would not void the warranty. You can always restore it to its original state and no one would even know.

Maserati7200
Jul 22, 2009, 11:31 PM
Because the idea is to stream from your iTunes library on your Mac.

Yes, but with the 2nd version of :apple:TV you don't need a computer. You could download movies directly onto an :apple:TV without using a computer.

Galley
Jul 23, 2009, 07:19 PM
Why would you want an external hard drive attached to the :apple:tv? Everytime you wanna add something new to it, you have to unplug it, connect it to your computer, and transfer the new stuff to it. That's why :apple:tv streams everything. so there's no hassle.

Tallest Skil
Jul 23, 2009, 07:21 PM
Yes, but with the 2nd version of :apple:TV you don't need a computer. You could download movies directly onto an :apple:TV without using a computer.

But the idea is to back that up in iTunes... and then stream. It's all about the streaming.

There is one Apple TV. The second version of the software, yes, but there has been only one Apple TV.

chrysrobyn
Jul 28, 2009, 02:38 PM
Why would you want an external hard drive attached to the :apple:tv? Everytime you wanna add something new to it, you have to unplug it, connect it to your computer, and transfer the new stuff to it. That's why :apple:tv streams everything. so there's no hassle.

So I don't have to leave my iMac on. I want my 750 GB of video painstakingly ripped from DVD to my AppleTV so I can let my iMac sleep. I want to have all the speed of direct attach (even over USB2) instead of having to go through the latency of going to Shared Videos -> iMac Library (this takes a long time)-> before picking something. Heaven help me if I put my iMac to sleep while my kids are watching a video. If Apple would support it, iTunes could keep track of the videos on any drive they cared about and the external would never need to unplug, plug, replug / whatever hassle you dreamed up.

gcpenn
Jul 28, 2009, 02:53 PM
This had been one of my issues with the Apple TV. The network latency involved in streaming had exarcerbated the occasional sluggishness of the Apple TV software. Moreover, I've found that letting your computer go to sleep would cause Itunes to forget that the Apple TV was there even when the computer awoke from sleep. Supremely annoying to my non-techy wife when the only movies to appear were the 40 GB of synced content.

With the ATV flash hack (and other (free) solutions) you can attach an external and make the Apple TV see that drive as its primary storage. Itunes plays along as well. For example, my Itunes shows the capacity of my 40 GB unit as 1 TB thanks to my external.

Been working pretty well for about a week. The downside with this approach is that you need to sync the files to the Apple TV rather than just dump them on the external.

I know there are solutions that let the Apple TV see an external without the need to sync movies but I wanted to keep the experience for my wife as close to the non-hacked Apple TV as possible.

iStudentUK
Jul 28, 2009, 03:18 PM
I sympathise with the OP, many users here have suggested work-arounds but this doesn't change the fact that this shouldn't be a problem in the first place.

Apple TV is a great concept, but the device is crippled. There are of course ways around the problem of no external hard drive support (hacks, streaming etc) but I do not want to hack and void warranty or have my computers on to stream data- I just want it there on the device!

The other major problem it has is the lack of supported codecs, what about Divx or the very common avi?!

The product really needs an upgrade (who still makes 40 GB disks?!), it could be great and pave the way for the transfer away from optical media, but Apple seem to have forgotten about this little device.

Mirai 11
Jul 28, 2009, 06:45 PM
This had been one of my issues with the Apple TV. The network latency involved in streaming had exarcerbated the occasional sluggishness of the Apple TV software. Moreover, I've found that letting your computer go to sleep would cause Itunes to forget that the Apple TV was there even when the computer awoke from sleep. Supremely annoying to my non-techy wife when the only movies to appear were the 40 GB of synced content.

With the ATV flash hack (and other (free) solutions) you can attach an external and make the Apple TV see that drive as its primary storage. Itunes plays along as well. For example, my Itunes shows the capacity of my 40 GB unit as 1 TB thanks to my external.

Been working pretty well for about a week. The downside with this approach is that you need to sync the files to the Apple TV rather than just dump them on the external.

I know there are solutions that let the Apple TV see an external without the need to sync movies but I wanted to keep the experience for my wife as close to the non-hacked Apple TV as possible.
Can you tell me how you did this? I'm tryin to get that to work and understand but no luck so far.

Michael CM1
Jul 28, 2009, 10:14 PM
I sympathise with the OP, many users here have suggested work-arounds but this doesn't change the fact that this shouldn't be a problem in the first place.

Apple TV is a great concept, but the device is crippled. There are of course ways around the problem of no external hard drive support (hacks, streaming etc) but I do not want to hack and void warranty or have my computers on to stream data- I just want it there on the device!

The other major problem it has is the lack of supported codecs, what about Divx or the very common avi?!

The product really needs an upgrade (who still makes 40 GB disks?!), it could be great and pave the way for the transfer away from optical media, but Apple seem to have forgotten about this little device.

It definitely needs an update. The one problem with Apple's reluctance to offer even minor updates midstream is stuff like this. Prices on stuff go down (like HDDs), and yet it's about a year and a half since the last update at the same price. Why can't the 40GB version drop to $199 or get a HDD boost?

I also can't curse the UI/OS of ATV enough. It should be reworked a lot and given a spiffy remote that can do more than an old-school NES controller.

gcpenn
Jul 29, 2009, 04:10 AM
SuperDA,

Here is a link to the Wiki for the ATV Flash method. I've seen other threads here that go over the steps as well. Follow these steps and it works.

http://wiki.atvflash.com/index.php?title=USB_Primary_Storage

You don't need to purchase the ATV flash package to make this work as long as you have used a patchstick.

Mirai 11
Jul 29, 2009, 05:33 AM
thank you very much. If you could possibly take a look at my thread http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=755001 just to help me out on a couple others, i'd really appreciate it :)

gugy
Jul 29, 2009, 04:44 PM
The storage issue, different codecs and the lack of 1080p support are the reasons I have not give :apple:TV a shot,

I hear MacMini is great but my biggest issue is that my family (wife/kids) are not so computer oriented and I want to make sure that they can access the library of videos and music with the simplest possible way. If it becomes a bit complicate, they will just drop it and ignore it.

I hope the next :apple:TV will address these issues and become a real HTPC solution for the rest of us.

JonHimself
Jul 29, 2009, 11:41 PM
Although streaming is one way to get around the storage issue, it isn't always convenient (and sometimes wasteful) to leave your computer on, particularly when your only computers are notebooks (Snow Leopard will get around this issue, however)

Can someone explain the SL part? I'm missing something

Shuttleworth
Jul 30, 2009, 04:52 AM
Can someone explain the SL part? I'm missing something

You will be able to allow your computer to go to sleep, Snow Leopard will enable Airport to wake a computer from sleep. Not quite a cure as the MB still needs to be powered, but at least it can be alowed to sleep!

adbe
Jul 30, 2009, 01:03 PM
I can't understand why Apple can't shoehorn an iTunes server into an Airport Extreme or similar.

A Mac Mini running as a whole house media server is vastly overkill. A slightly beefed up AE with a Drobo hanging off the back, or even just 2TB Time Capsule would provide a true all in one media system from Apple.

One box sitting in the basement, or closet, quietly running the wireless network, acting as a backup target, but also providing streaming to Airport Expresses, ATVs, and iTunes clients around the house, it just seems like such an insanely obvious gap in the product line-up. :confused:

At even a hundred bucks over the price of the current Extreme, it'd still be way cheaper than a Mini, draw much less power, and be much less intimidating to non-techies. Particularly if existing iTunes setups could see the device, then offer the user the option to just auto push all content to it, and rejig themselves as streaming clients. One-click media server config for under $500 USD, seems like a deal to me.

CBlakeston
Aug 3, 2009, 05:53 AM
I've never found the Apple TV to be limiting. The trick is to look at it as a way to get your iTunes library to your TV. In the same way an iPhone or iPod Touch is a way to carry your iTunes library on the move (or a selection of it)

So my 40GB Apple TV auto syncs any unwatched TV Shows, Movies and Podcasts, and if I want to watch anything else I just make sure my mac is on or I sync it to the apple TV ahead of time.

If you're looking at the Apple TV to be a big dumping ground for all your media I don't think it will ever suit that expectation fully.