Apple TV 2 Hard Drive Question

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by macwondering, May 23, 2011.

  1. macwondering macrumors newbie

    May 23, 2011
    Hi all,

    First time poster, long time reader and appreciator of the whole community on MacRumors.

    I have a question about which I would love to get your advice. I have searched other threads and other sites, but it is somewhat specific. Basically, I am trying to make sure that I have the strongest possible set-up for streaming movies.

    (I apologize in advance if this question belongs someplace else/has already been answered.)

    My set-up:
    I have a jailbroken ATV 2. I also have a pre-unibody 15", 2.5/500 GB MacBook Pro (4,1), to which I have attached a newer WD 3TB drive (comes with a USB 3.0 connection, which I wish I could use!) Finally, I have XBMC installed on the ATV 2. I basically use the 3TB drive to store movies, and stream them to the ATV 2, using XBMC to watch them. So here is the question (finally):

    Sometimes XBMC will just quit while watching a film, though this is pretty infrequent, but more importantly, if I pause a film for more than about 5 seconds on the ATV 2, the WD needs to "kick back on," rebuffer, and when it does start replaying the movie, it will stutter the video, forcing me to press the back button on the ATV remote to get the movie playing smoothly again.

    Whew! Does anyone have any specific suggestions regarding this situation? Are the stuttering and occasional drops inevitable in this set-up? Is there a simple solution like upping the cache on the MacBook Pro, or checking Energy settings? For that matter, if there isn't a fairly straight-forward answer, does anyone have buying tips for a new drive to stream from? It can be esata, Firewire 800/400, USB 2, etc. It occurs to me now, are there settings on the WD that maybe I didn't see? There aren't a ton of options there...

    Again the issue is really just with streaming to the ATV 2. Is there a more optimal set-up? Or something simple I have missed? I'm very happy to have come across this solution to watching my movies!

    Thank you all. I am very happy to be a new MacRumors member.
  2. TwinCities Dan macrumors 603

    TwinCities Dan

    May 19, 2008
    Double Parked out front of the Courthouse
    Welcome! :)

    Hmmm, I don't really have a tech solution for you but I have a similar setup that works pretty damn well. The only difference is that I have my external drive hooked up to my AirPort Extreme Base Station. I point my iTunes movies section to that drive and then stream to my (non-JB) :apple:TV2 (also works great with my original :apple:TV ;))

    It usually buffers for maybe 30-45 seconds at the beginning of the movie but after that I never see stuttering.

    It sounds like you are having problems with an energy saving setting or something? :confused:
  3. macwondering thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 23, 2011
    Thanks, Dan! Such a fast reply!

    I have heard of other users utilizing the base station. I don't have one, so I just keep the the WD plugged in to the MacBook Pro. I wanted to just keep my movies in an iTunes folder on the WD and point to the Apple TV to that. But for some reason iTunes doesn't like my files (odd - they are m4v - I thought that was iTunes-compatible?) so I just keep the harddrive connected and use XBMC.

    The energy savings tip is an excellent one. I am going to check it out tonight. I have a feeling that the WD goes to sleep fairly quickly, but it is also possible that the MacBook Pro is falling asleep itself.

    Anyway thank you again for the quick reply. MacRumors is definitely the best!
  4. blevins321 macrumors 68030

    Dec 24, 2010
    Winnipeg, MB
    Is the MBP directly connected to your router via Ethernet or is it going wireless? If it's wireless, it could easily be having bandwidth issues over a G-speed connection. N should be fast enough to handle pretty much any video file.

    For the M4V question - I'm not 100% sure but I think many of the compatibility issues there lie with the audio codecs. This is a semi-guess, but iTunes might not handle an MP3 audio track correctly and it prefers AAC.
  5. eTip macrumors 6502

    Mar 12, 2009
    I would bet it's a sleep setting on the drive. I had a similar issue with my Seagate 1tb when I first got it a couple years ago. I had to turn of all sleep settings for the drive. Cant recall specifically how I did so but this may help:
  6. macwondering thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 23, 2011
    Checking out some solutions

    Hi y'all,

    Thank you for your suggestions.

    blevins321 - I am currently connected wirelessly to the router, but I am going to go the ethernet route this morning to see if it improves streaming. Thank you for the tip

    eTip - Very cool idea. I just downloaded the applet and I'm going to see if it helps. Can't believe I wasn't able to find such a program. And I searched for a long time...

    I'll keep you all posted later in the morning. Again, many, many thanks for your help!
  7. macwondering thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 23, 2011


    That drive-spinning app did the trick!!

    Thank you all for helping out! I am sort of a lonely graduate student who watches a lot of movies, and this problem, while certainly small, was driving me nuts.

    It really is a huge upgrade not to have to worry about the stuttering.

    Again, thank you all for helping me!
  8. Pigumon macrumors 6502


    Aug 4, 2004
    How did you access your drive?

    I just installed XBMC and I have no clue how to find the drives hooked up to my mac mini... how did you do it?

  9. eTip macrumors 6502

    Mar 12, 2009
    Videos > Add Source > Browse - then browse to the computer/drive/folder that contains your media

    For a detailed explanation & how to set up file sharing:
  10. macwondering thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 23, 2011

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