iTunes Sever?

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by blueroom, Jan 10, 2011.

  1. macrumors 603

    blueroom

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2009
    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    #1
    What do you folks use for as an iTunes server for your media? It's been a real thorn in my side as it seems there is no NAS solution to share your media on an ATV or ATV2. You need a PC or Mac running iTunes or am I missing something...
     
  2. macrumors 68000

    tersono

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2005
    Location:
    UK
    #2
    Depends on what you're streaming to (and what you're wanting to stream - music only is easier), but personally I find the simplest solution (streaming to an ATV in my case) is an old G5 DP 1.8 with two 1tb hard drives running iTunes. Cheap, reliable and easy to manage. Certainly for an ATV, a Mac is the best solution
     
  3. macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2007
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    #3
    You're not missing anything. I wish there was an iTunes server, but no such thing exists and it doesn't appear to be on the horizon either. The streaming-only ATV2 is done more to save on upfront cost rather than a hint at a server coming down the road.

    The only saving grace - if you don't want to have a dedicated media computer (as suggested above) - is that any recent Mac will wake on network, allowing your Mac to fully sleep the CPU yet still fire up when an ATV on the network needs servicing. Definitely not ideal, though.
     
  4. macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2008
    #4
    What does an 'iTunes Server' do that a Mac mini with iTunes installed doesn't do?

    A.
     
  5. macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2007
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    #5
    The same job but cheaper.
     
  6. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2010
    #6
    I have a server with 4TB of space that is running Raid0 with WHS as the OS. It is in a closet with all my videos, songs etc in the itunes folder. I built it for next to nothing.

    I just stream everything to two ATVs one new one old, and they are streamed from my Macbook pro.

    Works fine, I was using the home server for all our storage, so when i Outgrew the ATV HD, it was just natural to point the mac to itunes folder on the server.

    Someone told me that the upcoming WHS was going to have something inti to make the WHS be an Itunes server. I know nothing about that.
     
  7. macrumors G3

    rhett7660

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2008
    Location:
    Sunny, Southern California
    #7
    Lots! :)

    This would be ideal. I would love for Apple to also include natively if you add a file to iTunes it sends it out to all the other iTunes that are connected and it updates those automatically. So I don't have to update them manually or use the share command.
     
  8. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2010
    Location:
    Virginia
    #8
    Functionally no difference for streaming content to an aTV or other HomeShare system. To me the difference would be that in a notional server, you would not need to be logged into the computer and have iTunes running. Rather iTunes would operate as a service, maybe even sharing multiple users libraries. Another possible server feature could be library syncing, so that content added on any computer would be recognized by all computers using the same account.

    I guess there are third party product that handle the syncing, and you can probably do multiple libraries through user switching.

    I think iTunes in the cloud is going to show up eventually and solve the server issue.
     
  9. Moderator

    balamw

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2005
    Location:
    New England
    #9
    Same thing that using an ATV instead of a Mac Mini does. Consume less power, take up less space, and yes, cost less.

    Now that I have the ATV2 on the wired network, my main iTunes library is going to go on the iMac (also wired) and hopefully it'll be able to wake the iMac up reliably.

    B
     
  10. thread starter macrumors 603

    blueroom

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2009
    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    #10
    If a Mac Mini or old G4 could wake up from sleep whenever something tried to access it that would be great. Even an old PC could be tasked to the job but I doubt it would wake up. My NAS draws 20W when running, 8W idle and 2W sleeping (2am till 8am) a Windows PC could only dream of this sort of power consumption. HP's home servers could be hacked to do iTunes but they've been discontinued. How is it no one has gotten iTunes running on Linux...
     
  11. macrumors G5

    Consultant

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2007
    #11
    10 year old PowerMac G4 is running for many years at 24/7 with barely any problem.
     
  12. Moderator

    balamw

    Staff Member

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    Aug 16, 2005
    Location:
    New England
    #12
    Some parts of it do work under Wine. I'm not sure that the Home Sharing Server is one of them.

    I'm planning to migrate my HP Mediasmart server over to Ubuntu sometime later in the year and may give that a shot.

    B
     
  13. macrumors 603

    notjustjay

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2003
    Location:
    Canada, eh?
    #13
    Not even a Mac can get that kind of consumption. Look at Apple's figures for the Mac Mini:

    http://support.apple.com/kb/HT3468
     
  14. Moderator

    balamw

    Staff Member

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    #14
    FWIW typical load is closer to idle than the max ratings in that table. When I got my Kill-A-Watt, I stuck it on my old iMac for a couple of days and was very pleasantly surprised.

    But that is exactly the point. Just like the old Apple TV was about 14 W idle, 20+W active and 48W peak the new one is 1W idle 2W active 6W peak. An ARM based iTunes server could be in that ballpark, plus any hard drives when needed.

    B
     
  15. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2006
    #15
    Up until a couple weeks ago I used a PowerMac G4 500 Mhz... but then I got a new Apple TV that needed iTunes 10 to have Home Sharing, and that required 10.5, which required an 867 Mhz processor so I swapped it out for a 1 Ghz Mac Mini.
    I have 2.0 TB of external HDs hooked to it to hold my movies.
     
  16. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2009
    Location:
    NYC
    #16
    This is probably a dumb question, but if I use a NAS to store my MP3 files, what's the benefit of using an iTunes server on the NAS to make the MP3s visible as a shared music library for my Macs vs. just setting iTunes on my Macs to use a folder on the NAS as the main iTunes music library?

    For instance, I've got all my video files on a NAS, and I've set up Boxee on my iMac and my MacBook (and on a Boxee Box) to scan the video folders on the NAS via SMB - Boxee finds and plays the videos fine, without having to turn on the DLNA media/video server on the NAS. I'm wondering if I can do something similar in regards to having iTunes scan in music from a shared NAS folder without using an iTunes server, and what the negatives/positives would be.

    The reason I ask is that with my current NAS (an old Buffalo Linkstation) the iTunes server caused the NAS to constantly spin, creating a lot of noise; and it seemed tougher to manage/sort/update/tag the shared files via iTunes compared to having the library on the local disk. And trying to use the NAS to just store music files caused problems too - iTunes took a long time to load up the files when the NAS's iTunes server was turned off (I've got over 20,000 MP3s). (With the iTunes DLNA server turned off the NAS performed much better overall, with the key exception being the speed at which iTunes would load up the music on my Macs after any reboot.)

    So I moved all of music back to the internal drive on my iMac.

    But I'm thinking about upgrading to a new NAS (likely the Synology DS211j) - and I'm wondering if I should try this experiment all over again, or if I should just stick to using the iMac's internal drive (or a connected USB HDD) for storing, managing, and sharing my music.

    I like the idea of the keeping all of my music on a NAS so I can access it from either of my computers (and Boxee Box) even when one of the computers is turned off. And, like I said, this works great for my video files (which I don't use iTunes to manage) - but trying to get this working for music files with iTunes has been such a headache, I figure I'm doing something wrong.
     
  17. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2005
    #17
    I'm using the DiskStation from Synology as iTunes Server.
    I have one OS X account, which iTunes is connected to the remote iTunes library.
    The NAS uses the same data for it's media streaming incl. being an iTunes Server.
    It is found by any other iTunes on different machines.
    Therefore ATV should see it as well.
     
  18. balamw, Jan 11, 2011
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2011

    Moderator

    balamw

    Staff Member

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    Location:
    New England
    #18
    Careful when you make assumptions. ATV1 required the use of a PIN to "see" other iTunes libraries and ATV2 requires home sharing which is not supported by any third party server.

    EDIT: Plus, third party servers (usually based on firefly media server) only support audio, and do not support video streaming so would be of quite limited use with the ATV.

    My plan is a bit of a hybrid. As I mentioned before the iMac will be home to the iTunes database, but I plan to keep the actual media files on my Mediasmart server.

    B
     
  19. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2008
    #19
    My money is on a new NAS server enabling Home Sharing. Think of it as the replacement for the current 'iTunes server' found on most NAS units. It'll probably ship out on the next gen Time Capsule and AEBS models and then become available to 3rd parites after that.

    in the meantime, I guess you could hook up a storage device of your choice (NAS, external usb drives) to a netbook with only Windows and iTunes installed, and set the screen to time out. The combination of Atom CPU, small SSD and having the screen off for most of the time should keep the power down.
     
  20. Moderator

    balamw

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    #20
  21. tomg2tg, Jan 11, 2011
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2011

    macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2003
    Location:
    Buffalo, NY
    #21
    Ready NAS

    I was looking at purchasing a Netgear ReadyNAS Duo (4TB) drive because it claims to have itunes streaming server built in. Based on some of the comments above it sounds like this might not be a solution to stream directly to the new AppleTV, is this correct? I have one AppleTV v1 and an AppleTV2 currently streaming from a PM G5, but am running out of space and would like something that consumes less power.
    Thanks!
     
  22. Moderator

    balamw

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2005
    Location:
    New England
    #22
    Correct. ATV2 will only stream from iTunes 10 with Home Sharing enabled. (Both the ATV2 and iTunes box need to be authorized to the same iTunes account.) ATV1 had its own PIN exchange to make libraries available for streaming. Neither feature is enabled outside iTunes.

    Of course for ATV1 hacks exist to get it to play content from any SMB share, and these may also make it to ATV2.

    As mentioned an Atom based Windows box is probably the best you can do now. :(

    B
     
  23. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2003
    Location:
    Buffalo, NY
    #23
    Thanks for the clarification! Looks like I'll be forced to run a cable to my PM G5 and use the Wake On LAN option. Can the PM G5 dual 2 handle 2TB drives with RAID 1?
     
  24. macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2007
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    #24
    How recent a model is that? Because older Macs cannot wake on network.
     
  25. macrumors 603

    notjustjay

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2003
    Location:
    Canada, eh?
    #25
    I sure hope so. I'd love to buy one. Right now I'm using a D-Link DNS-323, which is a great little unit, if a little bit slow (but that could be my WD "green" drive). It's sort of a glaringly obvious hole in Apple's living room solution.

    Pretty much the ability to watch your movies and listen to your music without having to keep a computer turned on and running iTunes. It's a convenience thing as much as a power-saving thing.

    For example, in my house, I have moved all of my mp3's, my movies (from non-iTunes sources), photos, etc. onto my NAS. The D-Link NAS offers DLNA streaming and iTunes sharing (the simple kind). So on any computer, I can play my music through iTunes, or I can navigate to the shared folder to access all of my other files. On my PS3, I can watch any movie or play any music. I have a Sonos home music system that can also play my music. So can my iPad. All of this can happen whether my Mac is turned on or off.

    Meanwhile, I recently got an Apple TV around Christmas time. Great little box. I bought a movie from iTunes, so it's sitting on the iTunes library on my Mac. If I want to watch the movie on my TV, I need to go over to my Mac, turn it on and start iTunes first.
     

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