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Apple TV best option?

macmesser

Contributor
Original poster
Aug 13, 2012
850
126
Long Island, NY USA
Hi. We are a two-user Apple family with multiple MacBook Pros and a couple desktops, plus iPads. As someone familiar with Mac, I thought Apple TV would be the device of choice. Given my requirements, am I correct? I would like a setup that would enable several people to watch different streams on their local computer, plus users watching from the big screen in the living room. It would be great if the web could be surfed from any/all of these stations as well. Am I right in thinking that an Apple TV pretty much will make any TV a "smart TV?" Also, can video content authored/recorded locally be shared on the home LAN? I'm a pretty much a newb to multimedia.
 

FarmerBob

macrumors regular
Aug 15, 2004
231
83
The way your question is written, at least for me, it is difficult to define exactly what you want or expect to do.

To try answer parts of your question, I have Mac Computers since 1985, desktops and laptops; Samsung TV's (Tizen OS), Samsung Android Tablets (Android OS: Lollipop, Oreo and Pie). The ATV4K is a stand alone device that will only operate one connected TV only. But can operate many apps from third party content providers. All the rest of the devices, being able to stream from various and multiple services/providers, which I do, is going to be a subscription based thing per services and options they allow. Android is so much easier to use. You will have to have to treat each device individually, unless you have DISH and you can use their DISH Anywere app, Xfinity has one too, to access you DVR from anywhere and watch anything that is on it, or have the apps of the services that you want to view on each of those devices and a subscriptions to those services, and possibly, paying more for a multi-view version if it does not support multiple viewers at one time and possible upgraded versions to get 4K.

I have an ATV 4K and it is hooked up to one 4K TV but I use the same apps on it and have subscriptions to those services that allow or pay for multiple access for all the devices that I have the apps on other TV's, Mobile or Desktop Devices (usually a website) and if they don't support multiple viewers at the same time I have purchased the step up tier for multiple viewers. Plus some services cost extra to get 4K and that usually includes multiple viewers or the reveres.

With Amazon Prime Video you get that with an Amazon Prime buyers account, but have to pay for extras. We lost HBO on our DISH boxes and when I switched from Xfinity Internet I lost the ability to use my subscription on Xfinity as a login to the HBOGO app for access HBO. We now subscribe to HBO as a Channel, which you can do on Prime Video with many of the current stand-alone streaming services such as CBS All-Access and more. We have HBO that way instead of directly since one of our TV's has the HBOGO app that requires a subscription with a Cable or Satellite provider, but not the HBONOW stand alone app that allows a direct subscription. Samsung thinks it's now necessary to have the stand-alone app. Which I would think it would be reversed.

tl;dbtr

Each device has to be accessed and consdiered as an individual viewing device and subscriptions to each service you want will have to be gotten for the service you require for all your devices and if you have need for 4K. These subscriptions will have to be individually addressed for what they will allow you to in the way of multiple viewer at one time and HD or 4K viewing. The ATV will only support one TV, does not distribute content, personal fare will have to be watched using iTunes in pre Catalina OS's. In Catalina, who knows how they are going to let you access your own stuff. I was a Beta Tester and stopped when they started removing and changing logical features for whatever they are trying to do. That is why I am have many different devices and OS's.

I hope this is more helpful than confusing . . .
 
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macmesser

Contributor
Original poster
Aug 13, 2012
850
126
Long Island, NY USA
The way your question is written, at least for me, it is difficult to define exactly what you want or expect to do.

To try answer parts of your question, I have Mac Computers since 1985, desktops and laptops; Samsung TV's (Tizen OS), Samsung Android Tablets (Android OS: Lollipop, Oreo and Pie). The ATV4K is a stand alone device that will only operate one connected TV only. But can operate many apps from third party content providers. All the rest of the devices, being able to stream from various and multiple services/providers, which I do, is going to be a subscription based thing per services and options they allow. Android is so much easier to use. You will have to have to treat each device individually, unless you have DISH and you can use their DISH Anywere app, Xfinity has one too, to access you DVR from anywhere and watch anything that is on it, or have the apps of the services that you want to view on each of those devices and a subscriptions to those services, and possibly, paying more for a multi-view version if it does not support multiple viewers at one time and possible upgraded versions to get 4K.

I have an ATV 4K and it is hooked up to one 4K TV but I use the same apps on it and have subscriptions to those services that allow or pay for multiple access for all the devices that I have the apps on other TV's, Mobile or Desktop Devices (usually a website) and if they don't support multiple viewers at the same time I have purchased the step up tier for multiple viewers. Plus some services cost extra to get 4K and that usually includes multiple viewers or the reveres.

With Amazon Prime Video you get that with an Amazon Prime buyers account, but have to pay for extras. We lost HBO on our DISH boxes and when I switched from Xfinity Internet I lost the ability to use my subscription on Xfinity as a login to the HBOGO app for access HBO. We now subscribe to HBO as a Channel, which you can do on Prime Video with many of the current stand-alone streaming services such as CBS All-Access and more. We have HBO that way instead of directly since one of our TV's has the HBOGO app that requires a subscription with a Cable or Satellite provider, but not the HBONOW stand alone app that allows a direct subscription. Samsung thinks it's now necessary to have the stand-alone app. Which I would think it would be reversed.

tl;dbtr

Each device has to be accessed and consdiered as an individual viewing device and subscriptions to each service you want will have to be gotten for the service you require for all your devices and if you have need for 4K. These subscriptions will have to be individually addressed for what they will allow you to in the way of multiple viewer at one time and HD or 4K viewing. The ATV will only support one TV, does not distribute content, personal fare will have to be watched using iTunes in pre Catalina OS's. In Catalina, who knows how they are going to let you access your own stuff. I was a Beta Tester and stopped when they started removing and changing logical features for whatever they are trying to do. That is why I am have many different devices and OS's.

I hope this is more helpful than confusing . . .

Thanks for your detailed response. Since I'm pretty green here it was indeed a little confusing but I definitely was able to extract a a feel for things from all your experience. On second reading things became more clear. I intend to come back to this post after a little focused research on the capabilities of a few devices (including Apple TV and ATV 4K). Specific questions will no doubt arise with a little grounding on my part. It seems like the Apple TV might be closer in capabilities to my desired setup.
 
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Casey Royals

macrumors member
Sep 25, 2016
47
12
Melbourne, Australia
This is what I do and recommend in a home with an Apple TV, an iMac, multiple MacBooks, multiple iPads and iPhones ... remember as the earlier post pointed out Apple TV is really for one user at a time. So my comments are about using your both your Apple TV and local network for what you want to do. The Apple TV only does as much as your devices can do, but on a TV.

You need to get “Plex Server” set up on the most appropriate computer, a desktop that’s turned on all/most of the time. (Plex Server running on your computer will provide the streams you are looking for ... not the Apple TV).

Set up libraries in Plex Server for Movies, TV and music. (These movies, TV shows and music files will usually be stored on the computer).

Install Plex App on the Apple TV. The app will find the Server easily (if on same network).

Install Plex App on the iPads and Macbooks so they can connect to the Plex Server.

If you have this type of setup you can watch whatever you want on Apple TV in the lounge and the other devices can watch/listen (stream) things in the Plex libraries at the same time.

Plex Server and Client (the TV, iPad and iPhone App) are free so you can do all the above for free. You can also pay a subscription to have additional features.

Visit www.plex.tv for more information.
 
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macmesser

Contributor
Original poster
Aug 13, 2012
850
126
Long Island, NY USA
This is what I do and recommend in a home with an Apple TV, an iMac, multiple MacBooks, multiple iPads and iPhones ... remember as the earlier post pointed out Apple TV is really for one user at a time. So my comments are about using your both your Apple TV and local network for what you want to do. The Apple TV only does as much as your devices can do, but on a TV.

You need to get “Plex Server” set up on the most appropriate computer, a desktop that’s turned on all/most of the time. (Plex Server running on your computer will provide the streams you are looking for ... not the Apple TV).

Set up libraries in Plex Server for Movies, TV and music. (These movies, TV shows and music files will usually be stored on the computer).

Install Plex App on the Apple TV. The app will find the Server easily (if on same network).

Install Plex App on the iPads and Macbooks so they can connect to the Plex Server.

If you have this type of setup you can watch whatever you want on Apple TV in the lounge and the other devices can watch/listen (stream) things in the Plex libraries at the same time.

Plex Server and Client (the TV, iPad and iPhone App) are free so you can do all the above for free. You can also pay a subscription to have additional features.

Visit www.plex.tv for more information.

I think this should do the trick for me. Will check out Plex Server. Thanks!
 
Comment

Bayshun

macrumors member
Feb 24, 2014
74
80
Many smart TVs already have the Plex app available. If you already have a smart TV, check its store to see if it is available. And no, you can't surf the web from an Apple TV.
 
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HDFan

Contributor
Jun 30, 2007
2,610
754
You need to get “Plex Server” set up on the most appropriate computer, a desktop that’s turned on all/most of the time.

A Plex server can also run on NAS units and routers as well. You can also use Infuse either with a Plex server or with an SMB server. Infuse is simpler, may play with fewer stutters and better subtitle support. Plex is feature rich (playlists, collections, ratings, play position shared between clients, great support for multiple servers, rich sorting options (name, rating, added date), etc.).
 
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