ATV2 and NAS - Help!

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by pomme4moi, Dec 6, 2010.

  1. pomme4moi macrumors newbie

    Dec 6, 2010
    Boy, I hope someone out there can clarify this for me. I've posted on the Apple and QNAP forums, and still don't understand the answer. Here goes:

    I have my iTunes media library on the internal hard disk of my MacBook Pro. I have about 100 movies in iTunes. I want to move the library to a NAS, specifically to a QNAP TS-419p+ device. Once migrated to the QNAP, I would want to stream movies to my TV as follows:

    1. Turn on my MacBook Pro and start iTunes
    2. Turn on my TV (I have an ATV2 connected to the TV) and use the Apple Remote to select a movie from the on-screen menu
    3. Watch the movie!

    I know that the QNAP (or I believe any NAS device) cannot stream the movies directly from the QNAP to the TV. The QNAP software cannot handle Apple DRM and cannot simulate iTunes and Airplay. But in the manner I describe above, I am using iTunes on my MacBook Pro to stream the movie via ATV2 to my TV - I'm just using the QNAP NAS as a "dumb" external hard drive.

    The people who responded to my thread on the Apple forum think this will work. The people who responded to my thread on the QNAP forum (QNAP technical support guys) say it will not work. They said that "QNAP Turbo NAS doesn't support the video streaming based on iTunes Service. Turbo NAS doesn't support the Apple TV, as the extra iTunes login authorization mechanism needed by Apple TV. In addition, the Apple TV doesn't support SAMBA service."

    I guess the guys at QNAP ought to know whether it will work, and they say it won't. But I don't understand why it won't. And if it won't work on a QNAP NAS, would it work on some other brand of NAS? If so, why?

    Thank you!
  2. chris-d macrumors newbie

    Dec 7, 2010
    Works for me!

    I use a similar setup for my (gen 1) Apple TV except I'm using an iMac that is physically connected to a gigabit Ethernet network instead of a laptop (that I assume is connecting wirelessly). I have a Thecus NAS that is also on the wired network and that is where my iTunes library is. I created a persistent NFS share from my NAS to the iMac and moved my iTunes folder to it. (You should be able to do this with AFP or SMB also.) I then used a symbolic link (ln -s in the terminal) to make it so my entire iTunes folder points to the iTunes folder on the NAS. This works fine and I can access the library from multiple computers (only one at a time and the permissions are VERY difficult to manage!), but can be a bit slow at times (especially when downloading from the iTunes store) - even on a gigabit LAN.

    As long as iTunes is running on the iMac (and it doesn't go to sleep) then the Apple TV works great. You should be able to get similar results, but I would think it might be better for you to link just the Movies folder instead of the entire iTunes Library. This would let you keep music/apps/etc. on the MacBook, but the movies would only be available when you are connected to your network. Otherwise they would show up in iTunes with the little exclamation point icon on them.

    I also use a simple shell script that I can run in Terminal to remove the symbolic link and move a local iTunes folder into place so I can have a local iTunes on the machine if I'm doing a lot of changes. If you wanted to keep your whole library on the NAS but a smaller library on the MacBook that might work for you as well, although it involves keeping multiple copies of an iTunes Library in sync without the Home Sharing option.

    Overall you should be able to get this to work. You'll just have to judge if the performance over the network meets your needs.

    Best of luck!
  3. pomme4moi thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 6, 2010
    Thanks chris-d. You response was helpful. Even though the solution probably is easy for someone who knows what they are doing, it seems a little complex to me. Maybe I'll just buy an 1.5TB external drive, connect it to my MacBook Pro via FireWire 800, and move my iTunes library onto that. Not as flexible a solution, but maybe good enough for now.

    You made the following comment in your response that I'd like to understand a little better: "I would think it might be better for you to link just the Movies folder instead of the entire iTunes Library". I assume this means keeping the movies on the NAS, but everything else on my MacBook Pro hard drive. In this scenario, how does one link to the movies folder?

  4. keeper macrumors 6502

    Apr 23, 2008
    i use this setup, I keep my music on my macbook and Movies and TV shows on my QNAP NAS.

    The best way seem to be copy the files to the NAS, then in the original Itunes folder create an ALIAS that links to the folder on the NAS, i.e the movies folder on the macbook is an alias called movies that links to the movies folder on the NAS where the files are stored..
  5. pomme4moi thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 6, 2010
    Thanks Keeper. Can you tell me where to find the settings in iTunes such that music would be held within the iTunes library and movies would be held outside the iTunes library (and accessed via links)?

    I like your solution. It's interesting that content held outside the iTunes library on the QNAP can be streamed via iTunes on your computer to the ATV2, but that content held within the iTunes library (if the entire library is held on the QNAP) cannot be streamed in the same manner. Oh well, I guess that's the state of technology right now.

  6. Wheeler macrumors member

    Nov 29, 2007
    I think the people posting on the QNAP forum are confused and think you are trying to stream directly from the nas to the atv without itunes. Your setup should work perfectly- its what I do but with a linux blade server as my NAS running a samba server, which just allows iTunes to see your NAS folders.

    I'd put your everything on your NAS, leave a copy of your music on your MBP with your iTunes media folder pointed at it, deselect "copy files to iTunes Media folder when adding to library", then manually add your videos from the NAS to the itunes library (file:add to library).

    This way you can have your music with you when you are not at home, and when you have the MBP on at home with iTunes open, the ATV will see it and all your videos and music will work form it.

    The only issue I can see is with turning your MBP on and off, it may not connect to your NAS every time perfectly or take a minute or two to mount- the aTV will still load your media but may get an error when trying to play them if the NAS isn't mounted.

    Also- anytime you add videos to you NAS, you will have to manually add them to iTunes- which MetaX can do for you after tagging if you use it.
  7. sapporobaby macrumors 68000


    Sep 27, 2007
    3 earth minutes from your location....
    One thing you will want to consider is to make sure you connections all start when you reboot your computer or restart the NAS. I have two systems. One is a Drobo that actually contains my iTunes library which is connected via FW 800. I also have a WD ShareSpace or SpaceShare that was originally used as my iTunes library. Make sure you go into System Preferences, then into System (Accounts), then to Login Items. Click the " + " and add your drive (QNAP) to the start up list so that it makes a connection as soon as your Mac starts. Then iTunes will always know where to look.

    Hope this helps.
  8. wunderboy macrumors member

    Sep 12, 2008
    Just to chime in...

    I have had my iTunes and iPhoto library on my ReadyNAS for, at least, two years now. And I have been happy despite the fact that it isn't supported by Apple. Only a few hiccups here and there, but relatively good experience.

    I do have my media folder share as a log on item on all of my computers so that it is always available.

    I moved my entire iTunes library to the NAS and have everything but Photos stream to my ATV1. Of course, my iMac is on and iTunes started.

    Can't really complain and keeps my files more protected than on a single hard drive.

    I actually back up my valuable data and store it in my safe deposit box. Continuing to look for a good online solution.

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