Apple TV Questions

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by KosmoVT, Jun 27, 2007.

  1. KosmoVT macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2007
    #1
    Aight, so I'm sure this has been answered a million times, but I want 100% clarification. I have a Apple Wireless Base. I want to hook a 500GB hard drive to it that can be accessed from any laptop or computer in my condo.

    The questions are:
    Can this be done in general, and how hard is it to set it up?

    If bring in a laptop, whether it's mac or not, will is sync up to the wireless and allow me to play music/movies off it's iTunes?

    Do I need to worry about storying the music/movies on the external to be able to read it with the AppleTV? I was going to keep movies on there, but music on my laptop.

    The questions come from a new Apple user. My girlfriend has a PC, so I want to make sure we can play music off her iTunes if need be.
     
  2. banjomamo macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 9, 2006
    Location:
    USA
    #2
    Lots of people use an external drive for their itunes libraries and have no issues. You can sync up the laptop (but you can only do it with 5 total machines) and you can stream movies/music from it fine. I dont store any music on my AppleTV. The only hiccup would be having to connect to that library instead of the local AppleTV library but its only a few clicks. Movies also stream well but you cant scan through the movie's timeline as easily when its not on the local AppleTV.

    Things to note:

    Its just like sharing your iTunes library with another computer. It takes a few seconds to load but once its up it works pretty flawlessly.

    If you are using a library from another computer, iTunes must be running and the computer must not be asleep.
     
  3. KosmoVT thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2007
    #3
    So if I store the movies on my External hard drive, which will be connected to the wireless, I will be able to pull them off to watch on the AppleTV? What did you mean by the "Movie's Timeline"? Also, if AppleTV is playing from a computer, will it keep it alive? or will it fall asleep?
     
  4. banjomamo macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 9, 2006
    Location:
    USA
    #4
    You dont exactly pull them off. Your appletv will have its own itunes library. You have to imagine it as if it were another computer with itunes running. So this external hard drive would have to be the storage for some other itunes library. In which case it will stream the content to the appletv. Since its streaming you cant scan ahead 30 minutes into movie without waiting for it to catch up. Much of this lag would depend on the quality of your wifi network.

    I would think that a computers sleep mode overrides itunes.
     
  5. KosmoVT thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2007
    #5
    Ok, so is there any way that I can just hook my External up to the AppleTV?

    So what is the best way for me to setup the system I want then? I want to be able to listen to music and watch movies through the AppleTV any computer I have in my place. Whether I'm using the external harddrive that is connected to my wireless or my girlfriends pc laptop. Is that possible and if so, what do I need to do for it?
     
  6. banjomamo macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 9, 2006
    Location:
    USA
    #6
    You cant just connect a hard drive to it. Its not a full fledged computer.

    You could either build an itunes library that stores all its library and media on a shared drive (your wireless drive - it doesnt matter how it connects as long as its accessible to you and your gf) so that both of your collections are essentially the same. Think of it as one big itunes library for the both of you. Then pick one of those comps and have it sync with the appletv. Whatever you dont sync will be avail by just connecting to either of the computers.

    Or if you want to have separate libraries you need to choose one as the master (that syncs) and whenever you want to view media on the other machine just connect to it and you can stream it.

    Tons of good info can be found here:

    http://www.macworld.com/topics/appletv/
     
  7. KosmoVT thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2007
    #7
    So it sounds like I need to just move my whole iTunes folder off my laptop and onto the external hard drive for this to work. Will it automatically sync up new songs and things I've ripped or downloaded when hook up to the wireless?
     
  8. neven macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2006
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #8
    1. Connect an external HDD to your laptop/desktop computer and set it up
    2. Move your iTunes library to it (Preferences / Advanced, Change library location). This might take a while.
    3. Sync your AppleTV the standard way. It won't care where the files are

    You'll have to have the external HDD on whenever you want to listen/watch. This is my current setup and I have no problems with it. Streaming movies over a wireless-g network works flawlessly, even though they have to get streamed over USB and then over the network.
     
  9. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    #9
    You really only need iTunes for playing movies on the Apple TV. For your other computers you can play the movies through QuickTime by mounting the AEBSn hard drive onto the computer. This is how we are doing it in our house.
     
  10. KosmoVT thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2007
    #10
    That sounds awesome. Would it be harder or not allow me to stream as well if I set up the hard drive to the wireless and then just move my library over to it? Or is that even possible. What I kind of wanted to achieve with this set up. Is the ability without my laptop to access my library on the wireless hard drive and pull up any song or movie on command.
     
  11. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    #11
    Yes, this is what we do for ours. Any hard drive connected to the AEBSn will show up on the network. So long as everyone has the password to access it, its volume will mount automatically. It is very convenient.

    Edit: I should add that streaming is a function of the bitrate of the movie file, transmission speed of your network and processor of the computer decoding the file. We encode our DVDs as H.264 AVC at 1500 to 2500 bitrate, stream through our AEBSn to our Apple TV (802.11n), my MacBook (802.11n) and my wife's iBook G4 (802.11g). We have no troubles using two of the three simultaneously, but we have not tried all three devices at the same time. The G4 is plenty fast enough to decode H.264 files.
     
  12. KosmoVT thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2007
    #12
    That sounds great. But you lost me on the last part. I have a macbook pro, and I'm using handbrake to take movies and turn them into 700MB files.... so I can store more on my 500GB hard drive. Well that produce a movie to the affect of if I had everything on individual dvds, and put it in the dvd player?
     
  13. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    #13
    Handbrake's default encode is H.264 (an MPEG-4 variant; part 10, I think), which is what the Apple TV likes, so you will be able to play your Handbrake-ripped movies on your Apple TV or your Macbook Pro using QuickTime. You will not, however, be able to play H.264 videos on your DVD player - that requires the VOB files in the VIDEO_TS folder on your DVD Video discs. (Unless your DVD player has the ability to decode H.264 files, which is unlikely.)

    As a side note, if you make an alias of the folder in which you save your movies on the 500 gb hard drive, then copy that alias to your Movies folder in your Home folder of your Macbook Pro, your movies will then be accessible through Front Row that came with your Macbook Pro (using the remote). Mount the 500 gb drive on your Macbook Pro's desktop. Launch Front Row, then select Movies. The next screen should have the aliased folder, which you can then select for the list of your movies (or any subfolders) on the 500 gb hard drive. We use the subfolders for different genre; e.g., Drama subfolder, Action subfolder, Kids subfolder, SciFi subfolder, etc. This way all of our movies are on a single hard drive that is accessible by our Apple TV and any computer connected to our network, either through QuickTime or Front Row.
     
  14. KosmoVT thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2007
    #14
    Is there any way to make handbrake encode into a DVD friendly code? I think I understand what to do with the movies and the alias folder. that's exactly what I wanted to do. But what exactly does "mounting" it to my macbook pro mean? If I set it up to the wireless base, I should be able to see it on any computer that has access correct?
     
  15. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    #15
    No, Handbrake does not encode MPEG-2 VOB files. For that, you need either (1) VisualHub to make stand-alone DVDs from movie files (this is what I use) or (2) MacTheRipper and DVD2OneX ("DTOX") for squishing a DVD Video disc down to another size.

    Mounting it means that hard disk shows up on your desktop as a disk volume (e.g., hard disk icon). When you install the AEBSn software on your Macs, there's a utility called AirPort Disk Utility (ADU) that gets installed on your menu bar near the clock and other items. (The acutal program is in your Applications:Utilities folder.) When you first connect the hard disk to the AEBSn through its USB port you need to run Airport Utility and configure the hard drives access privledges (e.g., password, name, etc.). This is a one-time setup.

    Since you have your 500 gb hard disk connected to your AEBSn, clicking on the ADU icon in the menu bar should reveal the 500 gb drive. Select it and enter the password and the drive will mount on your MacBook Pro's desktop and be accessible like any other hard disk.
     

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