AppleTV, two users, two libraries

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by Evangelion, Mar 2, 2008.

  1. Evangelion macrumors 68040

    Jan 10, 2005
    Hello folks. I have sort of a perpetual project going on, that will involve an AppleTV in the future :). But I'm still planning my setup.

    Basically, what I would like to do is to get an AppleTV, and turn it in to a central device for our (me + wife) media-playback. So far sounds pretty simple, right?

    There are few things that are making me scratch my head though. I currently have a MacBook Pro that acts as the primary computer of the household. I also have a Mac Mini that I'm planning to use as a server. The MBP has two users (me + wife) and we each have our separate user-accounts and iTunes-libraries. And I would like both of those libraries to be available for playback on the AppleTV.

    Now, I have been thinking about streaming, and considering the amount of content (I'm moving my DVD-collection to iTunes as well), that would be my best choice. But I don't want the AppleTV to be reliant on my MBP for operation. That is, I want AppleTV to work even when the MBP is switched off. And that brings us to the Mac Mini. One solution would be to stream from the Mini. But how could I make that work in such a way that I could still use that content on the MBP as well? I mean, we would have to be able to sync that content to our iPods, and we should be able to add content to the library with the MBP. If the content was streamed to the MBP from the Mini, we could not add to it, nor could we sync it to iPods.

    Also, we should still have separate libraries in the MBP, so that my music and my wifes music don't get mixed up. That wouldn't be an issue in the AppleTV, since it would be our central mediaplayer that holds all our content. But on the computer we could end up facing issues when I have iTunes open in my used-account, and my wife decides to add content to the same library in her user-account. It wouldn't work.

    In short: The Mac Mini would have iTunes running that would have a library that would be streamed to the AppleTV. That library would basically be a combination of my library and my wifes library. If I purchased a song from ITMS or ripped a CD, that content should automatically appear on the Mac Mini's library, so it could be played back on the AppleTV.

    Is there any way to make this setup work? Or is there some kind of alternative approach that I'm missing here? Maybe I could set the AppleTV so that it syncs with my wifes library (that could work since she doesn't have THAT much content), while my content would be streamed from the Mac Mini, and I could then manually make sure that the library on the Mac Mini reflects my library on the MBP (of course, the actual files would reside on the Mac Mini). I could handle that extra hassle, but the Mrs. could not. But in any case, I would really appreciate as simple solution as possible.

    I don't think I'm not alone with this situation.... How have you guys solved this issue?
  2. Evangelion thread starter macrumors 68040

    Jan 10, 2005
    Hello? Anyone having a dilemma similar to mine :)?
  3. alFR macrumors 68020

    Aug 10, 2006
    I don't think there's a totally automatic way of doing what you want. What I'd do is to put a master library on the mini with all your content on it, which is available on the Apple TV. You could then access that iTunes library from the MBP over the network (set itunes on the mini to share its library). The problem is that you wouldn't be able to sync your iPods with that library from the MBP: I think you'd need still to keep a library each on the MBP for that purpose and manually add new rips/purchases into the master library as required.
  4. mike12806 macrumors 6502

    Sep 30, 2007
    Boston, MA
    Well, you can share the library, but you also add the "shared files", by going to "Add Library" under File, and then navigate to the shared drive on the mini and add songs that way. However, if you add files to the library on the mini, they will not automatically appear on the MBP like they would on shared library. You do gain the functionality to sync to ipods/iphones etc. tho. Too bad Apple, didn't build an "iTunes Sever" functionality into a product like Time Machine!
  5. Evangelion thread starter macrumors 68040

    Jan 10, 2005
    the more I think about this, the more I start to feel that getting a ps3 would be a better alternative. If I used medialink from nullriver, then I could stream my content to the device. And not only does it stream iTunes-libraries, it can stream directories as well, making the setup a lot more flexible. Also that way I would have just one device that would play back all my content, including optical disc. And I could use it to play games as well.
  6. darkerside macrumors member

    Jul 11, 2007
    Here is a setup I use for me and my wife
    I have a 1tb external harddrive, my iTunes folder is on this HD
    On my wifes user account I have an alias folder called iTunes that points to the external HD where the iTunes library is, this is the same for my account, so when either of us launches iTunes it uses the library on the external HD. Now since we have different taste in music I have specific play lists set up for my wife and I, since this set up is as mentioned 1 itunes library.

    My Apple TV connects to the itunes library for easy access of all our stuff to the TV room :)

    Hope this info helps

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