Apple home network media questions?

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by TwinCities Dan, Jan 10, 2009.

  1. TwinCities Dan macrumors 603

    TwinCities Dan

    Joined:
    May 19, 2008
    Location:
    Double Parked out front of the Courthouse
    #1
    So, I have a little money/time on my hands and I am interested in wireless linking some of my :apple: toys together and would love some advice on the possibilities and options.

    My current setup:
    Office: This is where my Internet comes in, got the
    1) router tied to
    2) an older (UFO style) Airport Extreme Base Station (g series, I think)
    3) HP all in one printer, so I can print wirelessly from anywhere in the house and pick up the printouts in the office. (remote scanning even works :cool:)

    Living Room: Where I live :p, I have a big ol'
    1) 42" 1080p hanging on the wall with my
    2) Digital Cable box in the HDMI 1 slot.
    3) Upscale DVD player (I don't need the BR quite yet) in the HDMI 2 slot
    4) :apple:TV (hacked with Boxee of course) in the HDMI 3 slot
    5) Airport express (g) to tie my
    6) MacBook Pro to my
    7) Stereo which is tied to everyting else in the living room

    Not a bad setup, but I am ready to add to it. I started reading the forums and wiki'ed some info. I don't really know much about the wireless standards but from what I've read I should updgrade to a (n) network. Has (g) been holding back my internet on my MBP?

    My main goal is to add some storage to the network that can stream iTunes content to my various devices, from what I've read I need a newer Airport Base Station n series (the one that looks like the mini or :apple:TV) in order to add a external HD? Some may say Time Capsule but I think the AirDisk option of daisy chaining HDs sounds more appealing? (I live dangerously, automatic backup isn't neeed for my situation:eek:)

    So then if I add a external HD to the NEW Base Station (g), throw my iTunes Library on the HD, and I should be able to stream wirelessly to my :apple:TV Movies from that wirelessly? and use AirTunes on my stereo in the living room also from that network drive? :confused:

    Any suggestions, corrections, ideas, death threats? I love to hear 'em, Thanks! :eek:
     
  2. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    #2
    That is correct, the AEBSn support USB drives, the AEBSg does not.

    You cannot daisy chain USB drives, only though a USB hub can you add two or more. I've not done this so I do not know if it'll work with AEBSn. I had a MiniStack II for this purpose at one time, but do not currently use it in this way.

    I don't know if this would work, so I cannot comment on it.

    I can't help you with this.
     
  3. TwinCities Dan thread starter macrumors 603

    TwinCities Dan

    Joined:
    May 19, 2008
    Location:
    Double Parked out front of the Courthouse
    #3
    Thanks for the reply Caveman! ;)

    Ok, so my first step will be to pick up the new AEBS(n) to replace my (g) series. :)

    Has anybody tried streaming from AirDisk to an :apple:TV? I am little worried about lag time... :confused:
     
  4. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    #4
    You might want to ask in the ATV and Home Theater forum - there is a much greater chance your query will be seen by someone who has an answer for you.
     
  5. TwinCities Dan thread starter macrumors 603

    TwinCities Dan

    Joined:
    May 19, 2008
    Location:
    Double Parked out front of the Courthouse
    #5
    That is where I originally had it but I asked a mod to move it here, maybe I'll bother them some more and have it moved back... :eek:

    Thanks again
     
  6. downinitjr macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 17, 2007
    Location:
    Minnesota
    #6
    You cannot currently stream directly from any drive to the Apple TV. Everything has to go through a computer running iTunes first. So if you have a drive connected to your base station, and the computer you are using itunes on is connected to the base station wirelessly, then you will be essentially doubling the traffic that the streaming to the apple TV has to go through, not a great setup. First the media on the drive connected to the wireless router will have to wirelessly be sent to the computer running itunes, then back to the router, then, wirelessly again to the apple TV. A much better situation would be to have the computer that is serving files to the apple TV hard wired to the router that the drive holding your media is connected to, that shouldn't be a problem streaming then to the apple TV. I use this setup myself.
     
  7. TwinCities Dan thread starter macrumors 603

    TwinCities Dan

    Joined:
    May 19, 2008
    Location:
    Double Parked out front of the Courthouse
    #7
    So, are you saying its really not possible without a second machine to go in my office with the router? I obviously don't want my MBP hardwired to anything, could I still control my living room components with my MBP if I were to add a second machine to the office? :eek:

    Thanks for your help!
     
  8. downinitjr macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 17, 2007
    Location:
    Minnesota
    #8
    After reading your initial post again, you may have other options. Although the stock apple TV cannot stream directly from a drive be it wireless, or wired, the boxee firmware I believe may give you the option of reading files directly from a drive, without having to go through itunes first. If that was the case then you should be alright.
     
  9. andypullen macrumors member

    andypullen

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2007
    Location:
    Oregon
    #9
    An 802.11n wireless network would increase the speed of your network between devices that are 802.11n. If your 802.11n network is compatible with older 802.11g devices, your network will slow down to be as fast as your fastest device. Currently, I have a Time Capsule, which is an 802.11n device, and I have it setup to be compatible with 802.11g devices. It works well for everything, and when I turn off the older g devices, it speeds up for our MacBook and our AppleTV. When I turn my iPod touch on, network speeds go down. They don't go down too much, as real-life network speeds are very different than they are on paper. All that to say, an 802.11n network upgrade is a good upgrade to make, if you care and have the money. But 802.11g networks are seriously sufficient to stream video to the AppleTV.

    Your internet probably isn't even close to being as fast as an 802.11g network. The benefit of a faster network is just how much data can be transferred from two or more devices on your LAN, such as an AppleTV and your MBP. Internet has a ways to go before it catches up to wireless routers, from what I understand.

    The way that Apple has set up the AppleTV is that it has two options for viewing content:
    1) Sync from a computer with iTunes... so the AppleTV hard drive fills up with copies of the stuff you selected in your iTunes library
    2) Stream from a computer with iTunes... so the AppleTV hard drive can be completely empty and all of your iTunes content is stored on the computer you are streaming from.
    Unfortunately these aren't the best options with notebook computers, since if you are syncing your AppleTV, the hard drive can fill up fast... and if you are streaming, your computer has to be constantly on with iTunes open and running for any content to be accessible through your AppleTV. Also, your notebook's hard drive will fill up fast as well, which brings in the need for network storage. The problem of having to have your notebook on with iTunes running still exists if you have your iTunes library stored on a network drive, and adds another issue since all of your content is streamed from your network storage to your computer back to your AppleTV. Does that make sense? That's when you'll see lag times in loading movies go up, because you're streaming it twice over the network. In other words, like someone else said, you cannot stream iTunes content from a network attached storage device (like a Time Capsule or a hard drive attached to a AirPort extreme). Apple just hasn't made this work yet.

    So... what I would recommend, since you say you have some money and some time, is invest in a iTunes server that AppleTV can connect to, you can leave it always on and running iTunes. You can hardwire it into your network, so there isn't too much wireless traffic, and then you can save money on a router. When it's all said and done, your network will look like this:

    -->Music, movies, photos, etc. are stored on an iTunes server (Mac mini or other inexpensive Apple desktop if you're an Apple only guy or just a junker PC with iTunes and your iTunes library)
    -->Attached via Ethernet cable to your old AirPort router
    -->AppleTV connected to your TV via HDMI, wirelessly streaming from your iTunes server
    -->AirPort Express attached to your stereo also streaming wirelessly from your iTunes server

    Some extra bonuses of this setup would be:
    1) if you have an iPhone or an iPod touch, you could control your iTunes server all wirelessly using Apple's Remote app.
    2) if you have all Macs running Leopard, you can use "Screen Sharing" to setup and control your Mac mini or other Mac based iTunes server from your MBP, which would get rid of any need for an extra keyboard, mouse and display.

    The way that our setup works is that we have an external drive hooked up to an iMac in our office streaming all of its iTunes content to our AppleTV in the living room. My wife and I don't shut down iTunes ever. Then we have an AirPort express attached to our stereo and use my iPod touch to control that (works so well!). Lastly, when we want to go to bed, we can access all of the iMac's iTunes library through our MacBook, so we can watch movies and TV shows in bed. It works great.

    Hope that helps, and hope you have fun! And sorry for the long post!
     
  10. ichabodkky macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2008
    #10
    Due to the fact that you have Boxee on the AppleTv, all you really need to do is upgrade your AEBS from g to n. You can then add a USB hard drive for Network storage and stream using boxee by adding a network source.

    Here is my setup and it works flawlessly.

    Time Capsule in the closet (that's where the DSL comes into the house, and house is fully ethernet wired)

    AppleTV in living room connected to 42" plasma. (Boxee loaded)
    MacBook (mine)
    iBook (wife's)
    Windows desktop in bedroom plugged into ethernet (can't wait to get an iMac)

    On my MacBook, I have the preference "add file to library" unchecked so when I rip a movie, I can store it on the Time Capsule and add the file to the library without having it stored and taking up space on the macbook. Because the file is linked to the library, i can put the movie on my iPhone for travel, but when I want to watch it at the house, I just use Boxee to stream the movie to my TV.

    I REALLY wish that Apple would "allow" the streaming of movies from network storage by using a finder approach instead of having to link it to the library. The current set up is not in the best interest of notebook users without all this "tricking" the AppleTV or worse, hacking the thing to add functionality.
     
  11. TwinCities Dan thread starter macrumors 603

    TwinCities Dan

    Joined:
    May 19, 2008
    Location:
    Double Parked out front of the Courthouse
    #11
    Thanks for all the advice everybody. I guess I am going to purchase a newer AEBS and an external HD and try AirDisk. I will play with the boxee software and see what can be done with streaming. If all else fails I guess I'll be looking for a mini. :)
     
  12. downinitjr macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 17, 2007
    Location:
    Minnesota
    #12
    I currently stream my library of movies to my apple TV over wireless, but I did end up setting up a seperate wireless-N network (at 5ghz range for max. bandwith) just for the apple TV. I kept my old router running my 2.4ghz wireless-g, for everything else not running n. I found that I would see some hiccups in the streaming when I tried to run everything off of the same wireless network in mixed mode. Just something you may want to consider doing. Of course we all love to buy apple products, but you may want to look at buying say a linksys wrt610n router. It will serve both wireless n and g networks from it at full bandwith, without one affecting the other. Of course if you use both of your routers as I suggested above, you won't have to worry anyway. Good Luck.
     
  13. mr1970 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2008
    #13
    A couple of other minor thoughts based on my own experience:

    - wireless through the house was too patchy for me and I couldn't lay cable so I went with a 200Mbps powerline network between the lounge and study - it works great

    - I needed an iTunes server for exactly your reasons so bought an old G4 tower (with Gigabit ethernet) off eBay for about $100. Works brilliantly and when I feel the need I can expand it to 3TB internal storage with a Sonnet SATA card and 2x1.5TB Seagates - the Mini is cute and doesn't take much room but is limited on expansion.
     
  14. TwinCities Dan thread starter macrumors 603

    TwinCities Dan

    Joined:
    May 19, 2008
    Location:
    Double Parked out front of the Courthouse
    #14
    Thanks for the tip! I think I am going to buy the new AEBS (n) anyway, but I never thought of using both at the same time. Now that I think about it my MBP is only a CD so I don't think my computer will even be able to use the (g) setting anyways, so maybe both will be the best option. :confused:
     
  15. TwinCities Dan thread starter macrumors 603

    TwinCities Dan

    Joined:
    May 19, 2008
    Location:
    Double Parked out front of the Courthouse
    #15
    Alright, here goes nothing! ;)

    Hope I'm not gone for too long... :eek:
     

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  16. peterdevries macrumors 68040

    peterdevries

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2008
    Location:
    Amsterdam, The Netherlands
    #16
    Good luck man! Tell us how it all went..
     
  17. DoFoT9 macrumors P6

    DoFoT9

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2007
    Location:
    Singapore
    #17
    are you still alive?? youve been gone for nearly 12 hours haha, we want results!
     
  18. dynaflash macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2003
    #18
    Hey go easy on him, its -10F here in the twin cities. :)
     
  19. TwinCities Dan thread starter macrumors 603

    TwinCities Dan

    Joined:
    May 19, 2008
    Location:
    Double Parked out front of the Courthouse
    #19
    Hahaha, yea I'm alive! :p :)

    Ok so I have my new network up and I have transfered some movies to my external HD. I have pointed iTunes on my computer at the drive and I can pull movies from the drive to watch on my computer but I can't figure out how to point the :apple:TV to that drive. All I see are the movies on the :apple:TV itself? :confused:
     
  20. dynaflash macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2003
    #20
    in itunes go to your AppleTV and in Custom sync, make sure "Show only the synced items on my appleTV" is unchecked. That should show everything in iTunes on your AppleTV menu. Of course you have to have iTunes running.
     
  21. TwinCities Dan thread starter macrumors 603

    TwinCities Dan

    Joined:
    May 19, 2008
    Location:
    Double Parked out front of the Courthouse
    #21
    Uh oh. iTunes doesn't see my :apple:TV anymore! :eek:
     
  22. DoFoT9 macrumors P6

    DoFoT9

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2007
    Location:
    Singapore
    #22
    hhmm good to hear that you have everything setup. im afraid i cannot help with the setup of the :apple:tv because i do not have one. there would have to be a setting in the :apple:tv when you connect it via your computer in itunes, somewhat like when you connect an ipod to it...
     
  23. downinitjr macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 17, 2007
    Location:
    Minnesota
    #23
    You don't really want to change anything in itunes. Everything that is synced or streamed to the TV needs to be listed in itunes, and iTunes needs to be running. So open itunes on whatever computer you want to use as the main computer for your TV, setup the TV (enter pin code etc.). I would recommend setting it to sync-custom sync, then set it in itunes to sync movies, tv shows etc, just don't actually check off any of the movies or shows. To add shows/movies on your new external drive, copy them to the drive, then drag them into iTunes holding down the option key. This will add them to your itunes library so they can be viewed on the TV, but will leave them on the external drive (not copy them over to your existing library file.)
     
  24. TwinCities Dan thread starter macrumors 603

    TwinCities Dan

    Joined:
    May 19, 2008
    Location:
    Double Parked out front of the Courthouse
    #24
    Just wanted to post that I'm up and running. Movies are streaming wirelessly and I'm :D.

    Thanks again everybody for your input, knowledge, and help!
     
  25. dynaflash macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2003
    #25
    Very nice, gonna be even colder tonight I hear. ;)
     

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