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Old Mar 20, 2010, 10:26 AM   #1
roland.g
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Syncing vs. Streaming 'HD'

I have a 40GB original Apple TV, so not too much room. I always have my iMac up with iTunes running so I can stream my collection of 200 movies to my Apple TV. I sync some photos (but not all) and very little music.

1. Does the Apple TV stream iTunes store HD movies well or do you need to sync those for playback?

2. In stream mode (given #1 works fine), do movies with iTunes extras show up as such, or only when synced?

As I get more HD movies from the iTunes store I don't want to have to pick which ones are synced if I can stream those as well as the SD movies.
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Old Mar 20, 2010, 10:29 AM   #2
juanster
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I don't have a superfast internet conection.

I stream everything Video from my machine in my basement (both HD and SD). It takes about 3-5 seconds at the beginning to buffer up a bita nd it plays smoothly all the way to the end.

I've never had a problem. The 40 gb drive in my ATV is used only to store music...
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Old Mar 23, 2010, 04:39 PM   #3
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I stream content from a USB drive connected through TimeCapsule to my ATV located 12 feet away over wireless N. I do experience unwatchable stuttering with HD movies that top out over 3 GB. Most everything under that size stream without any problem.
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Old Mar 24, 2010, 04:58 AM   #4
pacmania1982
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I have over 350 movies in iTunes (160 of them are 720p HD) and they all live on an external hard drive connected via USB 2 to my Mac mini in the bedroom upstairs. The Mac mini is connected via ethernet to my Airport Extreme base station. The Apple TV streams nearly all of the content over the WiFi and I have had varying levels of success watching the movies. Some stutter and buffer really badly, the others play fine. I can't find anything in common that would pin point what the exact problem is. What I usually do now though is sync a movie to the hard drive of the Apple TV before I'm going to watch it. It usually takes about 15 minutes. Movies I like I have synced already so no streaming. I upgraded the hard drive of the Apple TV to a 250GB drive a week or two ago and can't belive I didn't do it sooner. The drive I have is a 5,400RPM drive with 8MB cache and I find the Apple TV a lot more responsive than before.

I've rented a few movies (both HD and SD) from the store and usually have to wait about 5-10 seconds before I can play the files. I assume what happens when you rent something is it downloads it and starts to play it back from the internal drive rather than buffering it memory and playing it that way. I have a 6MBit DSL connection and have never had it pause while watching it.

Your milage may vary depending however

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Old Mar 24, 2010, 07:45 AM   #5
mstrze
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My content is hosted on my Mac Mini with the iTunes Library on a FW external. I wirelessly stream EVERYTHING to my 40GB AppleTV. The only thing that resides on my HDD are some photos. My AEBS resides 30 feet away from my iMac and 25 feet away from my AppleTV. None of the 3 componants have a hard-wire connection between them.

I have plenty of HD content (movies and TV shows) and lots of ripped and purchased SD movies. I have not had ANY issues streaming HD/SD/iTunes extras (recent HD 'extras' aquisitions are "Star Trek" and "Up") over my wireless connection (AEBS 5GHz 'n').

Remember, when you 'stream' you aren't streaming in the true sense. You are transferring a file and once enough of that file has transferred to the internal ATV drive, the movie begins playing. In a true streaming situation, the content never truly resides on the internal drive...the data is played as it comes in with usually a small buffer...and in this situation, you surely can have stuttering and issues.

'Streaming' according to ATV means no files are 'permanantly' stored on the internal drive....unless your network poops-out, you should have no stuttering issues unless you don't have enough room to store the whole file on the internal...I suppose.

Last edited by mstrze; Mar 24, 2010 at 02:09 PM.
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Old Mar 24, 2010, 06:24 PM   #6
pacmania1982
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Originally Posted by mstrze View Post
My content is hosted on my Mac Mini with the iTunes Library on a FW external. I wirelessly stream EVERYTHING to my 40GB AppleTV. The only thing that resides on my HDD are some photos. My AEBS resides 30 feet away from my iMac and 25 feet away from my AppleTV. None of the 3 componants have a hard-wire connection between them.

I have plenty of HD content (movies and TV shows) and lots of ripped and purchased SD movies. I have not had ANY issues streaming HD/SD/iTunes extras (recent HD 'extras' aquisitions are "Star Trek" and "Up") over my wireless connection (AEBS 5GHz 'n').

Remember, when you 'stream' you aren't streaming in the true sense. You are transferring a file and once enough of that file has transferred to the internal ATV drive, the movie begins playing. In a true streaming situation, the content never truly resides on the internal drive...the data is played as it comes in with usually a small buffer...and in this situation, you surely can have stuttering and issues.

'Streaming' according to ATV means no files are 'permanantly' stored on the internal drive....unless your network poops-out, you should have no stuttering issues unless you don't have enough room to store the whole file on the internal...I suppose.
Not true. When you stream something on a drive connected to another machine, nothing is downloaded to the Apple TV's drive and played from there. It literally sends a request the video be streamed over the network connection to the Apple TV. It thinks about it for a few seconds as it buffers the file into memory, then plays it back from there.

It is different if you download something from the iTunes Store, say a rental. This does get downloaded to the Apple TV's internal drive and it then plays from there. But stuff over your network comes directly from the drive of the machine it is hooked up to.

I have no clue why I have stuttering video other than I can only assume that some video has a much higher bit rate and therefore struggles to play. But its not all the time, so perhaps other devices on the network are causing issues. I find the weather affects its performance. When we have a thunderstorm, wireless file transfer takes a bit longer than usual, which is either coincidental or due to the excess in static in the air. Perhaps its me ;0)

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Old Mar 25, 2010, 08:58 AM   #7
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Well then if nothing does get written to the internal, how come I can pretty much skip instantly to anywhere in the movie after a minute or so (playing from the start...I can start watching within 5 seconds...but to skip to anywhere, there certainly is a loading lag time). How much RAM is in the ATV? Not enough to hold a whole HD movie surely?
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Old Mar 25, 2010, 09:06 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by pacmania1982 View Post
Not true. When you stream something on a drive connected to another machine, nothing is downloaded to the Apple TV's drive and played from there. It literally sends a request the video be streamed over the network connection to the Apple TV. It thinks about it for a few seconds as it buffers the file into memory, then plays it back from there.

It is different if you download something from the iTunes Store, say a rental. This does get downloaded to the Apple TV's internal drive and it then plays from there. But stuff over your network comes directly from the drive of the machine it is hooked up to.

I have no clue why I have stuttering video other than I can only assume that some video has a much higher bit rate and therefore struggles to play. But its not all the time, so perhaps other devices on the network are causing issues. I find the weather affects its performance. When we have a thunderstorm, wireless file transfer takes a bit longer than usual, which is either coincidental or due to the excess in static in the air. Perhaps its me ;0)

pac
I disagree; looking at my network traffic, I can easily see a large spike of traffic during the first few minutes of the video stream, and then nothing. This behavior would point towards the AppleTV caching the content locally for playback and then deleting the file when the user exits.

I do wish Apple would let us increase the pre-start buffer if we'd like... I'd let it sit for a few more seconds if it meant I wouldn't get an occasional stutter during the first couple minutes of playback (HD sources).
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Old Mar 25, 2010, 10:31 AM   #9
mstrze
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NightStorm View Post
I do wish Apple would let us increase the pre-start buffer if we'd like... I'd let it sit for a few more seconds if it meant I wouldn't get an occasional stutter during the first couple minutes of playback (HD sources).
You could always just hit pause at the start and wait a few more seconds if 'caching' more of the file would help in your situation.
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Old Mar 25, 2010, 10:50 AM   #10
NightStorm
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You could always just hit pause at the start and wait a few more seconds if 'caching' more of the file would help in your situation.
Yes, this is the current work-around I have... usually only takes an additional 15-30 seconds.
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Old Mar 25, 2010, 11:35 AM   #11
dynaflash
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Now I only sync thanks to two 1 TB atv's so I have no need to try this, but back in the day this article caught my attention before I modded my hdd setup and I always wondered if it would make a difference if streaming wirelessly.

http://devroot.org/2007/05/01/optimi...-your-appletv/

Important Disclaimer: I have never tried it and have no clue if it would make any difference or would brick your atv or what. Just a (possibly worthless) datapoint.
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