I haven't seen anything out on the web like this, so I thought I would share it after I figured it out. We use our Apple TV's to watch movies/tv shows from our iTunes library (mac), but often use the xbox 360 for Hulu Plus and Netflix (more reliable in our case). I grew tired of switching back and forth all the time just to start a movie, wondering if there was a way to tap into my iTunes library from the 360. Most of our movies/shows were encoded using handbrake specifically for Apple TV (Some HD). Connect 360 didn't work for me, as the 360 was unable to play the videos. Here's how I pulled it off:
- Installed Parallels 6 on my Mac that hosts iTunes
- Installed Windows 7 Ultimate
- Configured my iTunes drive as a shared drive through parallels (Read-Only)
- Opened Windows Media Center and specified my shared iTunes drive as the video library
- Connected my 360 to Windows Media Center
- Installed Media Browser for WMC
Works like a champ.....for the most part. There was some tweaking I did to improve the experience. I dedicated all 8 CPU threads to Parallels, moved the virtual to a dedicated drive, and dedicated 4GB of ram. I installed antipack to improve the video quality. I also made sure Parallels did not have write access to my shared iTunes drive, as I didn't want WMC screwing with it. I have the fortune of using a Mac Pro, so your experience may vary. Here are the only drawbacks I've found so far:
- Expetedly, content purchased from iTunes does not work
- Browing the library is slow. I have around 385 movies, so your experience may vary. I attribute this to using the shared drive through parallels.
End result: I can use my 360 to watch movies from iTunes without disturbing the Apple TV/iTunes ecosystem! Before you ask "Why not ditch the Apple TV?", I will say we prefer the experience and performance of the Apple TV...and we have a fair amount of purchased iTunes content. For us, this approach was simply a convenience thing. If you happen to use Windows for your iTunes server, you're in a much better position to pull this off and will likely have much better results.