Apple TV how to browse movies on my iMac

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by macuser3112, Jun 4, 2015.

  1. macuser3112 macrumors newbie

    Apr 12, 2015

    I have a newbie question. I'm contemplating buying an Apple TV (never used one before). If I buy one, it will be connected to the same router as my home PC (a new iMac 2015), so the two devices will be able to "talk" to each other.

    My question is - I currently watch a lot of stuff off my iMac - rather than watching DVDs, it has lots of video files like mp4, avi, mkv .. which I play using VLC Media Player.

    I would like to browse these same videos from my TV, so the solution is presumable to get an "Apple TV".

    The TV and iMac are in two different rooms. I know it's possible to "mirror" my iMac's screen to my TV (using Apple TV), however that's not ideal. Currently I copy what I want to a USB stick, and the USB stick is connected to my TV so I can watch those videos at the time (but of course this requirements me to copy and paste new videos into the USB stick as required).

    Can I do the above using an Apple TV? Directly browse videos on my iMac if I purchase one?

    I think I know the answer to this, which is:

    a) "yes, but only if I copy those movies into iTunes". If that's true, then I don't think iTunes supports all video formats, and also iTunes has its own storage place for videos and music, so I'll need to be careful to delete my old videos once they're copied into iTunes, to prevent duplicate videos taking up space on my iMac. Is that correct?

    b) Is there any alternate solution? e.g. buying a Chromecast or something else that could read data off my iMac as the central drive for the videos?

  2. The-Pro macrumors 65816

    Dec 2, 2010
    Have a look at Plex. Its a media server application that can read most types of formats. There is a "hack" that you can use to get plex on an apple tv.

    plex would be idealfor you in my opinion
  3. zhenya macrumors 603


    Jan 6, 2005
    Managing videos in iTunes and then using Home Sharing to access them on the ATV is the Apple way of doing this, but I agree with you that iTunes is a poor video management interface.

    My preferred method for many years has been to use an iOS app called Air Video. You run a server app of their software on your iMac, which allows you to designate any folders there to be watched for content, then you use the Air Video app on an iOS device to browse and play the videos, using Airplay to move it to the ATV. Once playing, you can use either that device or the remote to play/pause/ff/rw. It works very well - and other than requiring an iOS device, overall the hassles are very low compared to using Plex or other services. The UI is great, the quality is perfect, and there is never any hassle - it plays any file type first time every time.
  4. macuser3112 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 12, 2015
    Thank you so much!

    I'll check both Plex and Air Video out. For Plex, it looks completely free and I believe there is a new blog post/app discussing the Plex app for Apple TV.

    For Air Video I'm checking it out now, I believe the server is free and the app is $2.99, is that correct? Can I simply install that app to an Apple TV once I purchase it? and I'm not very familiar but would it be $2.99 per device (e.g. I would like to install it on my iPhone and Apple TV so would I need to pay twice?)

    Many thanks!
  5. The-Pro macrumors 65816

    Dec 2, 2010
    Well you cant actually install anything on the apple tv. You would buy the airvideo app which you can install on as many and any ios device that is using your itunes account. You would then airplay the content from the ios device to the apple tv.

    For plex you have the Plex media server on your iMac.
    You can then use Plex Connect, which is an unofficial "hack" to get the plex interface on the apple tv. You can browse through your content etc.
    You can also buy the plex app for ios (4.99$ i think). Its a great app. If you dont want to use the plex connect then you can airplay the content from the plex app to your apple tv.
  6. matrix07 macrumors 601


    Jun 24, 2010

    Plex app on iOS is absolutely not free. On Mac however, you don't have to pay for anything.
    But you can get your movie on Plex on iOS for free using VLC app. Too bad it doesn't support AC3 now.

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