Advice on Apple TV2

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by Chappers72, Jun 19, 2011.

  1. Chappers72 macrumors newbie

    Jun 19, 2011

    I purchased Apple TV2 yesterday and have to say I'm really impressed and to be honest as a family it's never been off since it was installed.

    I'm hoping someone can let me know if this idea will work or if there is something else I need to do.

    As I was sorting out all my DVD's I noticed very quickly that my Laptop HD space was reducing very quickly with the DVD being added. So have been looking and thinking of a way round it and have come up with this.

    Get an old PC cleared down and pretty much use it just for Itunes.

    Drobo purchased and attach this to the old PC.

    Move Itunes media folder over to Drobo

    Change the path of itunes to point to the folder on Drobo

    Old PC is connected to the TV, so use this as the way of navigating round Itunes, so the Old PC is pretty much just sitting in the corner next to the TV

    So when we want to use Apple TV, I just turn on the old PC, Itunes comes on and then Apple TV can be used streaming from the drobo.

    Does this make sense and will it work, or is there something better out there for around the £350 that this lot is going to cost me.

  2. ashman70 macrumors 6502a

    Dec 20, 2010
    First of all I would steer clear of Drobo's I've never ready anything too positive about them and they appear to be slow compared to other NAS's in the same category, so save your money and buy a better NAS or external hard drive.

    I would do this, the ATV2 has a network connection, plug it into a hub/switch and then plug your PC into it as well. With iTunes setup on the PC, the ATV2 will see it and be able to access everything on it.

    Also, if you are interested, you can look into jail breaking your ATV2 and using Plex or XMBC which further extends the usefulness of the ATV2, IMO anyway.
  3. Chappers72 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 19, 2011
    Cheers for this but I'm a bit lost of with the bit in bold.

    If I get say an 3TB external hard drive, do I attach that to the old PC and then plug the PC into the ATV2?

    And will everything still run as it has done over the last couple of days as it has over my lap top, with no issues at all.
  4. pwhty macrumors newbie

    Sep 17, 2010
    The ATV can access the iTunes library of any PC/Mac on the network. The PC/Mac has to be turned on at the time you want to access its files and iTunes must run. It doesn't matter where the iTunes library is stored. It can be stored on that computer's internal drive, external drive or even on a NAS. If you know how to move your iTunes library to an external drive, then do that.

    Then there's nothing to plug into the ATV, but the Ethernet cable (if you don't use WiFi). The ATV will find that other computer running iTunes over the ethernet cable or via WiFi. You only have to enable "Homesharing" on both the computer and the ATV using the same Apple ID. More information here and here.

    After that you will see the other computer in the main menu of the ATV and can access its files.
  5. Chappers72 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 19, 2011

    I've for the Old PC which is connecting to the internet via wireless and it is running Itunes, with home sharing on (That seems easy enough and it's pretty much what I have set up now but just on the lap top)

    Now it seems that NAS is the way forward next for the actual storage of the Itunes Media, but i've been looking on the net re NAS and have to be honest have no idea where to start.

    Don't suppose anyone can reccommend a NAS and also everything else I need in order to set this up as don't want to spend a couple of hundred pounds and then find that i've wasted my money

  6. Aidoneus macrumors 6502

    Aug 3, 2009
    Contrary to the above poster, I completely recommend the Drobo. While its not the quickest for day to day use, its more than quick enough for use as a media library. Coupled with easy expandability and automatic backup, I think it is the best choice for what you need.
  7. itickings macrumors 6502a


    Apr 14, 2007
    True, it should be fast enough for media serving. But searching for Drobo and lost data results in quite a number of hits on the web. Far too many for me to be comfortable using a Drobo...

    Just out of curiosity - what do you mean when you write "automatic backup"?
  8. scienide09, Jun 20, 2011
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2011

    scienide09 macrumors 65816


    May 5, 2007
    There's another option that I don't see here.

    You can cut out the middle-man (PC running itunes) by jailbreaking your ATV and installing one of the readily available, free media servers. You ATV will talk a NAS or other drive on your wireless networkand be able to play more media-types than the default ATV setup from Apple.

    I've done this, and am using Nito-TV and XBMC to access my NAS and a whole bunch of other content without bothering with iTunes at all.

    My NAS is the DNS-323. It's a few years old now, but is a little workhorse and I've never had trouble with it. Plus, it too can be 'hacked' (just modified really) fairly easily to expand capability and functionality
  9. Alrescha macrumors 68020

    Jan 1, 2008
    You may want to consider not using a NAS - you will effectively double the load on your network if you are streaming to devices. Traffic has to flow over the network from the NAS to your iTunes machine and then from iTunes to the end device. A disk drive plugged into the iTunes machine is more efficient.

    (maybe you don't have anything else using the network so you don't care, but it's worth mentioning.)

    I've had a second generation Drobo since 2008 without any data loss issues. It is on a UPS with Western Digital GP drives. It is slow, I find it irritating to use on my desktop computer, but as an iTunes archive it is fine.

  10. musique macrumors regular


    Apr 10, 2009
    NAS consideration

    FWIW, if you decide to go the NAS route, I can recommend the ReadyNAS from Netgear. I've had a ReadyNAS Pro for a few years on the home network. It has never had any problems streaming as many as 10 video files concurrently. (We've never tried to test its limits.)

    Plus it can also work with Time Machine. In addition, it can be accessed using CIFS (SMB) and/or AFP as well as other methods.

    Not cheap, but ours has been on 24/7 for the past few years. It can be configured to run in different RAID formats. Ours has four 2TB drives with RAID 5 so there's close to 6TB of space available.

    Good luck.
  11. ZZ Bottom macrumors 6502a

    Apr 14, 2010
    Seems to me the obvious answer is to just buy an old PC with at least two empty drive bays so you can pop in a couple 2-TB or 3-TB drives. Why futz with something external?

    I specifically bought a PC for this very reason and aside from the main drive I have two others filled with content.
  12. Panch0 macrumors 6502a

    Feb 23, 2010
    I would also recommend using internal or Direct Attached (FW800 or USB) storage vs. NAS for your Media library. I want NAS to work, and it sort of does, but it is definitely complicating my iTunes life. If you just want everything to work and especially if you want it to be easy for the whole family to deal with, use iTunes with Home Sharing on local or direct attached storage.

    JailBreaking and using XMBC/Plex is not nearly as easy to use as the default ATV interface. That's based on my experience with ATVFlash on the First Gen ATV. Yes, it plays direct from a NAS and yes it plays more formats. Other than that, it's really not very good. Examples: you can add sources, but you can't delete them; your content, such as TV Shows is only listed by File Name - not by season/episode as it should be.
  13. OmegaRed1723 macrumors 6502


    Jun 19, 2009
    The Waste
    I'll echo the sentiments of those who say direct-attached device might serve you better than a NAS. I use a Drobo 4-bay connected to my Mac mini which serves up video to an :apple:TV1 running Crystalbuntu/XBMC in one room and an :apple:TV2 running Plex in another. While transfer speeds are slow (30-32MB/s sustained), it's more than enough to push a 50Mb/s 1080p file to my XBMC box while simultaneously streaming a 5-10Mb/s 720p file to the Plex :apple:TV. If all you're going to do is store media on it, the Drobo is a simple, no-fuss solution.
  14. Chappers72 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 19, 2011
    Cheers everyone.

    With the PC being about 7 years old, I just assumed that I would not be able to stick 3 TB in there, that of course is my preferred option but like I said with the PC being so old thought it would be able to handle it.

    So next question would be, how do I find out if it can handle 3TB and would I need anything else in there to help it.

    Cheers again.
  15. sim667 macrumors 65816

    Dec 7, 2010
    Put it on external storage connected to your mac, and then use the wol function on your mac to wake it up when it needs to be accessed from apple tv
  16. Chappers72 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 19, 2011
    While I wish I had a Mac as it seems to be the only apple thing I've not got. Just bog standard PC's and Laptops for me.
  17. trip1ex macrumors 68000

    Jan 10, 2008
  18. Aidoneus macrumors 6502

    Aug 3, 2009
    I mean that the Drobo will automatically spread your data out across all drives available to it. While it means you get much less actual usable storage space, if one drive fails, you can replace it and carry on with no data loss.
  19. Chappers72 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 19, 2011
    cannot believe this can be so difficult. Thought there would just be a easy option.

  20. itickings macrumors 6502a


    Apr 14, 2007
    Yeah, which (even if it should happen to work) isn't backup. Having storage that is somewhat resilient to hardware failure will not protect you against deleted files, corrupt file systems, clumsy users or buggy software for example.
  21. Chappers72 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 19, 2011
    Well my old PC is not capable to take that much new hard drive so going to get a very basic one built with 4TB hard drives and then use this to run Itunes. Only issue is back up's but will worry about that at a later date.

    Know this will work 100% as it's what I'm doing now but with the laptop.

    Getting there.
  22. HellDiverUK macrumors 6502

    Oct 24, 2009
    Belfast, UK
    I run a HP Microserver with Windows 7 Home Premium on it as my server/NAS. It has 2x1TB drives in RAID1 which holds both my iTunes stuff, and also a standard Windows share holding all my MKV/AVI stuff. The HP is plugged in to the Time Capsule via ethernet, and the ATV2 connects to that via 5GHz Wireless.

    I'm running XBMC on the ATV2 for movies/TV shows, and just use AirPlay or connect to the server's iTunes Homesharing connection. I also have a Airport Express in the kitchen for tunes. Works wonderfully.
  23. scienide09 macrumors 65816


    May 5, 2007
    It's not difficult. The suggestion I gave above is simple. It's also going to be cheaper to implement, especially if you're already considering purchasing a NAS.

    JB'ing your ATV allows you to cut the old PC you've planned for your setup -- you don't need it. Unless you absolutely refuse to consider jailbreaking, there's no reason at all to to dump money into that 7-yr-old PC just to serve iTunes.

    Just to be clear, here's what I do:
    NAS--->router--->AppleTV (either by wifi or hard connection) running XBMC

    In this setup, no PC required for media streaming at all, as all of that work is handled by the NAS.

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