Apple TV + iTunes Library that cannot fit on iMac HD.

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by mac'n'nz, Jun 17, 2012.

  1. mac'n'nz macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 17, 2010
    Location:
    Havelock North, New Zealand
    #1
    Hi All.

    I have a library that will not fit on my iMac HD (500Gb+).
    So I shifted it to my 1TB WD External (USB2 Powered) but it is still in my iMac iTunes Library (just located on USB External).

    At present my Apple TV2 (720p) will NOT buffer anything located on this External. If i shift a movie to the iMac, it will buffer, put it back on the external, and it won't.

    Im picking that the USB external won't transfer the files through home sharing fast enough to stream.

    A friend suggested that the router may not be good enough for streaming. (which makes sense, but I don't think is applicable as it works fine when the files are on the iMac HD).

    So, I thought I would buy a 2TB Time capsule. Enough space to hold my library, and the router built into the TC would slightly improve my wireless setup.

    I Rang apple (as in New Zealand we don't have APple Stores) and they said that getting a Time Capsule would not improve the situation. THey said the only way to increase buffer speed is to shift the media I want to stream back to the iMac, and possibly upgrade iMac Hard Drive.

    This will not work as I have found it impossible maintaining a library in different places, and it is far too expensive to upgrade iMac hard drive.



    My Question to my fellow MacRumorians is that if i bought a FireWire 800 capable external, consolidated my iTunes to the that external, would this still buffer through Apple TV?
    THis is going on the basis that FW is faster to transfer than USB2.

    If not, what solutions exist? I refuse to believe that no one else has an Apple TV with an iTunes Library bigger than their iMac HD.

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. steve-p, Jun 18, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2012

    steve-p macrumors 68000

    steve-p

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2008
    Location:
    Newbury, UK
    #2
    It's hard to believe that the USB disk wouldn't be fast enough for streaming. I would expect to get something like 40 megabytes per second on read from a USB2 disk. That's way faster than the bandwidth requirement for streaming 720p. IIRC as an example Netflix HD is about 5 Mbps which is only about 600 kilobytes per second. The slowest USB2 hard disk in the world should be able to provide that. It seems to me there's some other issue with the setup that we're not understanding. You have tried playing one of these movies which is on the external in iTunes on the iMac I take it? Does that work ok?

    I don't think Time Capsule is your answer. To play something on your Apple TV would require ATV to get it from iTunes on your Mac, which would then have to get it wirelessly from the Time Capsule. Wireless throughput is nowhere near the headline speeds and that's a lot of traffic. I think you are on the right lines using an external disk, but if it were me, I would consider upgrading the disk in the iMac for simplicity.
     
  3. mac'n'nz thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 17, 2010
    Location:
    Havelock North, New Zealand
    #3
    The movies streamed perfect when they were on the iMac Hard-drive, but they only stopped buffering when shifted onto the external.
     
  4. steve-p macrumors 68000

    steve-p

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2008
    Location:
    Newbury, UK
    #4
    Right, but forget streaming for a moment. Do they definitely play in iTunes on the iMac when they are on the external? i.e. you're 100% sure it's not a problem with iTunes not finding the files after you move them.
     
  5. mac'n'nz thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 17, 2010
    Location:
    Havelock North, New Zealand
    #5
    Good thinking,

    Movies play instantly in iTunes when the media is on the external.
    They also load within a couple of seconds when I watch them on my macbook air, connected to iMac through Home Sharing.

    I Wonder why AppleTV can't buffer them?
     
  6. steve-p macrumors 68000

    steve-p

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2008
    Location:
    Newbury, UK
    #6
    It's a bit mysterious. One more thing you could try to narrow down the problem assuming you have a recent enough iTunes is to see if the movies will play using Airplay. What happens if you play the movie in iTunes on the Mac and select the Apple TV as the Airplay target?
     
  7. Crazy Badger macrumors 65816

    Crazy Badger

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2008
    Location:
    Scotland
    #7
    I have no problems streaming HD content (1080p) from an external USB2 drive so think the problem may be something else, although not sure what.

    What router are you using and what is the external HDD plugged into? Assuming the iMac and you're streaming to the aTV wirelessly?
     
  8. Panch0 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2010
    Location:
    Virginia
    #8
    Well, that pretty much rules out anything that I would have tried for trouble shooting.

    You could try opening up Activity Monitor and Console (both in Applications/Utilities) on your iMac to see if any messages are being logged. Console is similar to the Event Viewer in Windows - if an application encounters a problem it will log a message there. Sometimes they are cryptic, but might point you to a problem. Activity Monitor will let you see things like Disk Activity (how many disk operations and how much data in or out), CPU, Memory and Network throughput.

    I personally use Firewire 800 almost exclusively. USB2 should be more than fast enough for video playback, but USB places some burden on the CPU which Firewire offloads to its own controller. I don't see any way that could be enough to cause this issue unless something else is going on as well. Serving up media to an apple TV isn't exactly a processor intense activity. I've done it with a hacked AppleTV 1 running Leopard and pulling media from a NAS without issues.
     
  9. HobeSoundDarryl macrumors 603

    HobeSoundDarryl

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2004
    Location:
    Hobe Sound, FL (20 miles north of Palm Beach)
    #9
    OP, how long are you waiting for the movie to start streaming? Maybe your USB drive goes to sleep and needs a bit of time to wake up when the movie is requested by :apple:TV. When getting instant start from iTunes, it's probably already spun up (already awake) because you are currently using iTunes.
     
  10. nohaver macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2008
    Location:
    Texas
    #10
    Maybe it's your external or your network speed?

    I run a 1TB WD Passport through our Mac Book Pro's all the time. Movies stream through iTunes to the ATV2 flawlessly.
     

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