Apple TV server setup - What do you guys think?

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by hcopp, Jun 5, 2007.

  1. hcopp macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2003
    Location:
    East Lansing, MI
    #1
    So I just got an Apple TV and am in the process of ripping all my DVDs and TV shows, as well as converting the latest seasons of Lost, 24, Office, and others in HD. So far it is going great, but my plan fell through using an old iBook as a constant server for the AppleTV, storing everything on an external. My newest idea is catching a cheapo PC on the dell outlet for sub 200 bucks. I could then throw 2 500 GB drives in there, mirror them so I always have a backup. Then I could place the PC near my Home theater, use my 37" LCD as the monitor, if need be, but mainly just remote into the PC using my macbook. Do you think it would be able to work well as a server? everything would be using Cat5 - no wireless. All in all it would be the cheapest and most effective way in my opinion.
     
  2. topher5 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 30, 2007
    #2
    Should work. My backend server right now is a 1.4Ghz Mini with an external 250GB Firewire drive for storage. Mine is completely wired like yours and works like a champ.

    That's only temporary as I'm working on a larger server similar to your config but running RAID with Linux instead of Windows. I'm planning on sharing the RAID using AFP and still use the Mini for running iTunes with the library stored on the AFP share. Kind of complicated I know but the RAID on the linux box will be infinitely expandable as I'm imagining having over 1TB of stuff when I'm all said and done.

    Really wish I could afford a Mac Pro to simplify this. Can't bring myself to run Windows instead of Linux. I finally got rid of all my Windows systems in the house so I'd hate to reintroduce it just for this.
     
  3. hcopp thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2003
    Location:
    East Lansing, MI
    #3
    i really dont want to run windows either. but for sub 200 bucks on outlet.dell.com with a 250 GB drive to begin with its hard to pass up. I didn't realize buying an Apple TV would be such an investment, oh well, when all is said and done it will be amazing.
     
  4. plinden macrumors 68040

    plinden

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2004
    #4
    The only problem with using a cheapo PC near your home theater is, it's going to sound like an airplane taking off. Even if the fans aren't on all the time, when they do kick in, it's going to be annoying. It really has to be in a separate room.

    This is why I went for the Mini as a server connected to the TV - quiet and serves content to the other computers in the house, and expandable with external HDDs when I need more disk space.

    You should be able to access a server headless from your Mac - but I agree with looking into Linux for the OS. It'll be less expensive in CPU cycles if it doesn't have to run the Windows GUI. Look at a dedicated NAS distro like freeNAS.

    Edit: and make sure you can actually put two drives into that Dell.

    Edit 2: I don't see any refurb desktop for less than $670 at delloutlet.com ...
     
  5. topher5 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 30, 2007
    #5
    I'll let you know how my experiment turns out with Linux, I'm planning on trying this weekend. I'm hoping the extra overhead of linux --> Mini --> AppleTV won't add too much delay. Luckily I've got a fully wired solution so I'm thinking I'm safe.

    The Mini is a good answer but what it isn't giving me is any type of expandable, redundant storage solution. I can keep adding firewire drives (which I have been doing) but it becomes this mess of drives and storage eventually. I was using multiple firewire/usb drives and rsync'ing them to created copies but it really became too much of a pain. I looked into the firewire drive RAID'ing native in OSX but it only does RAID 0 or 1, no 5 which was a non-starter for me. Why can't Apple (or anyone) just come out with an true Home Media/Backup solution. Everything is either too small or too $$$.

    Careful with the NAS solutions if you opt to go that route. From what I've read OpenNAS and FreeNAS have suspect RAID'ing capabilities. Also I see a big difference in transfer speeds between SMB and AFP so you have to make sure they support AFP. Most of the D-Link/Linksys/etc. solutions don't support AFP.
     
  6. hcopp thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2003
    Location:
    East Lansing, MI
    #6
    I guess I can technically put the machine wherever I wanted to because all I will be doing is remoting into it to add stuff to the library. And the refurbs change every second, its a real time inventory, you just gotta get lucky. And there are tons of 10% off coupons floating around as well.
     
  7. localoid macrumors 68020

    localoid

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2007
    Location:
    America's Third World
    #7
    If you're just streaming media you don't need a very powerful computer at all. If you really want to go on the cheap, buy this barebones system, add some RAM, a couple of SATA drives, and Linux. It's quiet and uses very little power.
     
  8. hcopp thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2003
    Location:
    East Lansing, MI
    #8
    But then I would still need to run iTunes on my macbook and use the Linux just as the file server? Everything would still be pumping through my macbook regardless. I want a standalone server - I.E. running itunes on the PC and syncing with that library.
     
  9. localoid macrumors 68020

    localoid

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2007
    Location:
    America's Third World
    #9
    You don't need no stinking Windows to run a iTunes server! :p

    You'd just need to run an iTunes compatible server under Linux. ;)

    If you want an iTunes client, that's a different story. But you started out this thread by talking about a "server" you wanted to build. Which do you want to do?
     
  10. ezekielrage_99 macrumors 68040

    ezekielrage_99

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2005
    #10
    Too bad you can't hook a decent USB2 HDD up to the Apple TV....

    I'd buy one if I could do that.
     
  11. localoid macrumors 68020

    localoid

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2007
    Location:
    America's Third World
    #11
    But at this moment in time, you can't. So why waste time fretting about the things you can't do when you could be pursuing what can be done? ;)
     
  12. ezekielrage_99 macrumors 68040

    ezekielrage_99

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2005
    #12
    Yeah but I have my G4 Mac Mini with a 500GB external HDD as my media centre at the moment, if it ain't broke why fix it. If the iTV had the ability to utilise an external drive I'd update in a second.
     
  13. topher5 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 30, 2007
    #13
    The problem is I don't think there is built in support for AppleTV in daapd yet. Also it doesn't looked like it's been updated in a year. I'd love it if it were true though.
     
  14. Scarpad macrumors 68000

    Scarpad

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2005
    Location:
    Ma
    #14
    Yep, Mac Mini for me with 3 External Drives a 500gb, 2- 400gb, Streams like a Champ. I have about 300gb left before I need to add and at that point it will probably be a 1tb drive
     
  15. localoid macrumors 68020

    localoid

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2007
    Location:
    America's Third World
    #15
    Ok, then I'd think about mounting a remote drive on ATV. But then that would require installing some hacks on the ATV, and AFP.
     

Share This Page